Store Beach, Manly by Kayak – Sydney’s Secret Beaches

Who can resist a secret beach? We’re so lucky to have lots of them here in Sydney.

Store Beach: A perfect day getaway with your child

By Kim Cotton

If you’re like me and have one child, then you can sympathise with me. Having a bunch of kids comes with its own brand of pain, but one kid often means you are the sole playmate. Unfortunately, the phrase ‘Will you play with me?’ sends me huddling into foetal position occasionally because sometimes … I just don’t want to play – oh the guilt.

Recently I had a few days to entertain my daughter and I decided to try something different – kayaking to Store Beach, a little relatively unknown beach just off Manly’s North Head in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Store Beach Manly Sydney

Hiring kayaks from Manly was easy. Deciding to paddle over to Store Beach took a little bit more courage but once we were in our double kayak with sturdy sides and two sets of paddles my adventurous spirit took over.

First stop was Little Manly Beach where we took a coffee break before we set off to Store Beach, which amazingly can only be accessed by boat.

Although it took about 45 minutes, paddling wasn’t as difficult as I thought. The idea of sharks circling us disappeared and the sea salt cleared our heads. (As the months get cooler wearing a wetsuit is a good idea just so your bottom doesn’t get cold.)

The only issue was our chicken, the salad and the breadrolls in my backpack. You see, I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I was starving. So, as we paddled towards this gem of a place complete with topaz water lapping onto a sandy strip of beach, all I could think about was food.

Dragging the kayak up the beach was simple. We placed our oars and life-jackets in and then grabbed our food and found a secluded spot at one of the beach’s ends. Then we ate!

Store Beach Manly Sydney

As we began to get comfortable lying around on the fine sifted sand with native scrub and bush at our backs it felt like we were the only two there. I felt tempted to call my daughter ‘Wilson’ from the Tom Hanks movie Castaway. But it wasn’t strictly isolated. Yachts gently bobbed a couple of hundred metres away where families barbequed or paddled in dinghies. Other kayakers came and went and politely found their own piece of paradise away from us and other day trippers so that we all had space.

We made sandcastles and had running races up and down the beach. My daughter felt so at ease she began to play on her own for a while so I could just lie on my towel and dream. When we grew hot we kicked around in the water until we were totally immersed, floating, laughing, feeling tranquil and light-hearted the way only natural beauty can make you feel.

Store Beach Manly Sydney

I noticed litter had run up on the sand with the tide so we decided to do a clean up. It took longer than I anticipated to collect it all but I felt it was a good investment in my karma account. Besides, the gentle sunshine on our backs, warming our souls, and pouring vitamin D into our bones was an instant reward.

As the sun’s rays drew longer we hopped in our trusty vessel and I calmly paddled back with my daughter finally getting the hang of the paddling rhythm. If this was the place Tom Hanks’ character Chuck Noland had been washed up on then I’m surprised he wanted to leave – we were certainly sad to say goodbye it had been such a delightful afternoon in a totally unspoilt part of the world.

Store Beach Manly Sydney

A Day at Store Beach

Store Beach is found at Manly’s North Head and can only be accessed by water.

Kayaks can be hired at Manly Kayak Centre

Take a packed lunch and plenty of water and sunscreen.

This trip is great for one, two or however many you decided to take.

Read about five more excellent smaller Sydney beaches over here.

PS Another gorgeous rather secret beach around manly is the lovely Forty Basket Beach, read more here.

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  1. It sounds like you had an amazing day. And such a gift to be able to discover new places and explore with a child, and see things through young eyes. Wonderful.
    Have a great week. I hope you get out with your daughter again very soon. I am linking up to you through Travel Photo Thursday.

  2. says: Leigh

    What a glorious sounding outing. Since moving from Vancouver to Calgary I’m finding it not nearly as easy to get out in my kayak – and the season is too short. I am envious at all your opportunities.

  3. What a gorgeous place to picnic! I will have to rally my troops and row there next time we have a weekend in Sydney! We will just pack a gourmet picnic and spend the day as you did.

    I it makes you feel any better, siblings don’t actually play together, they fight and mums referee 😉

    1. says: Kim

      Hah! Yes I remember fighting with my sister when we were small. The gourmet picnic sounds like a great idea – gourmet lunch on a piece of paradise – sounds divine. Come to Sydney soon, if the sun is shining Store Beach is beautiful any time of year, Kim

  4. says: Hotly Spiced

    Great images, Seana. It looks just like paradise. I’m sure I’ve been there but of course, only by boat. After seeing your post I’d love to visit again. Have a great time at the Carrington and best wishes for your talk xx

  5. I recently tried kayaking and loved it. That’s funny that you did a litter run. That’s the kind of thing I do. It looks like you had a wonderful day.
    PS the “Will you play with me?” line Is not one of my favourites either.

  6. says: Marcia

    I’m an only child so this made me smile but I had lots of cousins so that took the pressure off my mom, at least some of the time.
    I love how deserted Manly Beach looks. It must be a great place to spend a day kayaking or swimming.

  7. says: Mrs BC

    I remember this beach, it is beautiful! There are lots of hidden beaches in Sydney, and Manly seems to have a few. What a lovely experience to share with your daughter.

    1. says: Kim

      Hidden beaches are great for families because it’s like exploring our own piece of paradise. We are so lucky to have it on our doorstep. Thanks for popping by, Kim

  8. says: budget jan

    Kim was an excellent choice for your first guest post. Her words resonated with me on different levels – the mental foetal position at the request “will you play with me”. I remember that so well and the attached guilt! And how the sunshine warms your back and soul. What a great day.

  9. says: Kim

    Seana you did such a lovely layout and presentation of this post – thank you. I’m sure this gem of a place will delight many of your readers into the future – whether they have one kid, no kids, a bunch of them, or one coconut called Wilson. 🙂

    Kim x

  10. says: Emily

    I know what you mean Kim, despite the fact I have THREE – when I was a nanny in NY I had just one boy and I was his playmate and it was full on! She’s a wee cutie pie BTW! Em

    1. says: Kim

      Thanks Emily yes she can be cute … But even being cute doesnt always cut it when I dont want to play. Thank goodness for kayaks 🙂 xx

  11. What an amazing day – the weather and the calm waters look gorgeous! Over here we are having the most horrendous introduction to Summer – it’s practically still winter. So this post really cheered me up. I could really feel those rays on my back. Lovely. X.

    1. says: Kim

      I know, you must come down under during one of yr winters. Little A wld adore it, and it would be so good to read some of your descriptions of Sydney life. Kimx

  12. says: Lisa Wood

    gosh that sounds ideal! We took a day trip to Manly a few months back, and we saw a lot of people out in the water with their Kayak’s and wonder if it was easy enough to hire one. Would love to the Secret Beach, and like you wouldn’t want to leave at the end of the day.
    Sure looks surreal. Thanks for sharing your paradise day….and anytime you want to “borrow” another child you can have my 14 year old Hormone Driven Teenager! Not sure that you would speak to me ever again afterwards 🙂
    I have a cousin who is an only child, she had lots of friends when growing up but always wanted a baby brother or sister. Now she has two sweet girls of her own, and is very content.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hello there, yes Manly can be SO busy, and even the little beach to the south, Shelly, can be busy. On the northernmost point of the long sweep of Manly is Queenscliff Beach which has a great rock pool and is often easier to enjoy, far fewer crowds.

  13. says: Wayne Wilson

    Wow! What a cool way to spend your time. I didn’t see that much people in the picture. Is the place secluded from the population?

    1. says: Kim

      No I filmed it so it looked quite deserted but a few people popped in and out and there were a few yachts moored close by but it was completely tranquil and undisturbed. A few days later I came by on a yacht, which was moored with three others for Anzac day and it was quite a different place, still beautiful but a little a little less spacious.

  14. says: Kim

    Perhaps you cld have a mum and daughter kayak together for a spesh occasion? It really is easy, and besutiful. Thanks for,dropping by, Kim

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