Little Bay Beach and playground is the perfect combination for families that like to swim or snorkel and then have a play.
Little Bay Beach is only a short drive from Sydney city centre and is like a Mediterranean cove with its golden sands and clear azure water. The beach is well protected from large swells making it perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
It is described on multiple web sites as one of the Sydney’s undiscovered jewels or as a “secret beach”. Probably, the main reason is because parking can be a nightmare. And, secondly, the access is via a steep timber staircase.
Don’t let these drawbacks to put you off. I can guarantee that the effort of waking up early to find a car park is worth it.
Little Bay Beach
4R Coast Hospital Road, Little Bay NSW
By Mireia Garriga Seguranyes
We went to Little Bay Beach at the end of the summer season last year and we fell in love with it. It is quite close to the city, but it feels miles away. Although it was a stunning day, it wasn’t too crowded. I guess that Little Bay Beach is still a hidden gem…
The beach has a double semi circular shape, enclosed by headlands to the south and north with amazing rock formations. My daughters really enjoyed exploring them.
We didn’t go at the southern end, where there is the ring-of-rocks bathing pool (known as Little Bay rock pool or Little Bay baths), as the tide was too high.
This rock pool was created from beach rocks in the early 1900s to provide safe shark-free bathing for nurses residing nearby at the hospital.
Instead, we walked towards the central part of the beach where the semicircle joints with the other one and we found some cool natural rock pools, too.
The water was crystal clear. Little Bay used to have a high level of pollution because of its proximity of the Malabar sewage treatment plant.
Nowadays, it is one of the cleanest beaches in Sydney. So Little Bay is a great spot for fishing besides snorkelling. At the veranda of the staircase, close to the toilets, there is an informative panel that shows all types of fish that you can find in the bay.
Secluded beaches with shallow and calm waters like Little Bay Beach are the best for young families. Also, they are good places to go at the beginning of spring or at the end of summer.
Feeling the fresh breeze without feeling chilly after a good swim is sensational, don’t you think?
Toilets: they are located on the timber staircase about halfway down to the beach. There are also changing rooms and one shower outside, on the veranda with great views over the beach. Also, there is a drinking fountain.
Nearest takeaway coffee: at the top of the beach near the chapel with partial sea views. “2036 Little Bay Cafe” serves all day brunch. Foods and beverages are made from scratch, all organic and seasonal. They have high chairs and there is plenty of room for the kids to run around.
Coast Hospital Memorial Park Playground
21R Pine Ave, Little Bay NSW 2036
After spending the morning in the beach, we walked uphill to the Coast Memorial Park, aka Pine Avenue Reserve. This large grassed park is lined by the iconic Norfolk Island pine trees and offers stunning views to Little Bay beach and beyond.
Dogs are welcome, but they have to be on leash and away from the playground.
The playground is fantastic. It is fenced, it is protected from the sun with large sails and it has soft fall flooring to keep the kids safe. Although there isn’t lots of equipment, there is enough to have fun.
There is a very cute boat for little kids, a wooden structure with several robes for the older, a set of swings and two spinning wheels.
With plenty of benches inside of the playground area, you can literally relax and enjoy the view!
Tip: remember to take your kids to the toilet before going to the playground, otherwise you will need to go all the way down to the beach, as the park doesn’t have any toilets. And, then, uphill!
Little Bay Beach is a beautiful, stunning secluded beach, protected from the wind and the large coastal swells. On the top of the beach there is a café that serves organic food and coffee. And, following Pine Avenue, there is a great park, the Coast Hospital Memorial Park, with a great fenced playground for primary school aged kids.
For us, beach and playground is always the perfect combo. The only handicap is the lack of parking and the staircase going down the beach. So, don’t forget to pack light!
- Are you interested in local history? If so, visit the Prince Henry Museum. Note: it only opens on Sundays. For more information, website is here.
- To find walks and more things to do at Little Bay check out the Visit Little Bay website here.
- Do you like beaches with calm waters? Then, you might like to explore Parsley Bay (Eastern suburbs), Little Manly Cove (Northern Beaches), Pearl Beach (Central Coast) or head south of Little Bay and swim at Congwong Bay, La Perouse.
- Also, if your family likes to explore National Parks, don’t forget Wattamolla Beach (Royal National Park) and The Basin (Pittwatter). To find more about these beaches, click on this post about wild swimming spots.
Bus stop nearby: on Anzac Parade. Routes 393, 394, L94, X94, 399 and X99 offer regular bus service between the City and Little Bay.
Note: if you travel by public transport, please check the latest updates.
Parking: there isn’t a car park in front of the beach, so it may be hard to find a spot in summer. Try Pine Avenue (2P free parking available) or the little streets nearby. We tend to park in front of the playground. The walk to the beach is quite easy.
And, before you go, take into account:
- Randwick City Lifeguards or Surf Lifesavers does not patrol the beach.
- Dogs, alcohol and glass bottles are not permitted on the beach area.
- The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Beach Watch Program advises as a general precaution to avoid swimming during and for 24-hours after heavy rain. Stormwater runoff from surrounding streets drain to the beach, which may pollute the water.
- Take with you hats, umbrellas or tents. Shade is quite limited on the beach.
- Don’t pack too much, as it can be difficult to find a car park close by.
Little Bay Beach is a paradise for us. Miss 8 year old and Miss 6 year old love snorkelling. And, Miss 4 year old is nearly swimming.
Beaches with calm waters like this one help to build their confidence without being washed away by big waves.
Do you know other secluded beaches close to Sydney? We would love to hear your suggestions!
PS Did you know there is also a Little Bay beach up at South West Rocks, a fab place for a family holiday. Read all about South West Rocks and Little Bay (and it’s mob of resident kangaroos) here.