The beachy enclave of Balmoral faces off with Manly across Middle Harbour, and has some good restaurants and a beaut swimming beach. Split in two by an outrageously picturesque rocky islet accessed by a little bridge, Balmoral attracts picnicking North Shore families. Swimmers migrate to the shark-netted southern end.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Sydney attractions

1. Obelisk Beach

0.61 MILES

An isolated gay and nudist beach surrounded by bushland in the Middle Head section of Sydney Harbour National Park. It loses the sun quickly in the…

2. Cobblers Beach

0.68 MILES

A nude and secluded beach on the other side of Middle Head from its partner in crime, Obelisk.

3. Chinamans Beach

0.79 MILES

Gorgeous, peaceful and serene, despite its proximity to busy Balmoral, this is a photogenic location for a swim. At low tide it's a lovely stroll along…

4. Middle Head

0.94 MILES

Offering super harbour views and a look straight out to sea between North and South Head, this bushy headland is riddled with fortifications, some dating…

5. Chowder Bay Beach

0.94 MILES

A beautiful place to enjoy scenic harbour beach swims with views of Fort Denison, Chowder Bay is also a convenient rest point on the coastal walk between…

6. Washaway Beach

0.98 MILES

Rugged and beautiful, Washaway is a secluded little spot within Sydney Harbour National Park, near Grotto Point on the Manly Scenic Walkway. As its name…

7. Clontarf Beach

1.35 MILES

A long, low-lapping elbow of sand with bobbing yachts offshore, pretty Clontarf is popular with families, and has grassy picnic areas and a cafe.

8. Taronga Zoo Sydney

1.37 MILES

A 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, this forested harbour hillside is full of kangaroos, koalas and similarly hirsute Australians, plus numerous…