5 unspoilt slices of Sydney paradise to explore this weekend

BUNDEENA

These are the hidden Sydney spots we're about to blow the lid off

Despite its population of over five million, Sydney and its surrounding areas still has some of the most unspoiled scenery in the world. But somehow the same beautiful, yet crowded, beaches, hikes and parks are mentioned again and again. 

With the tourist season in full swing, this is the ideal time to explore quieter, untouched slices of paradise. From jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches to the often-overlooked garden oasis in the heart of the city, here's a guide to five off-the-beaten-track spots in and around Sydney you won't want to share.

1. Bundeena

BUNDEENA

Only a 30-minute ferry ride away from Cronulla, or less than an hour’s drive from Sydney, Bundeena is a hidden gem. Arriving on the ferry, you’ll find yourself at the area’s main, and therefore, most crowded beach. But continue walking along the shores and you’ll soon find quiet stretches of historic, national park-protected beaches usually only frequented by the resident's of the luxury homes dotting the rocky clifftops. There's fishing, kayaking, and more than 100kms of walking trails to be enjoyed in this local's paradise.

2. The Royal Botanical Gardens

BOTANICAL GARDENS SYDNEY

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is a blissful oasis in the busy city. And best of all, it’s completely free to visit and open every single day of the year. Adjacent to the CBD and in a prime position to take in the beauty of the Sydney Harbour, Bridge, and Opera House, the Botanic Garden is the perfect spot to feel both the city buzz and nature’s calmness. The area covers 74 acres, and is divided into four precincts each holding many smaller gardens and lawn areas.  

3. North Bondi

NOEL ALVA

For most people, the mention of ‘Bondi’ conjures up images of teeming bathers-wearing crowds covering nearly all corners of the beach. And with 40,000 people known to frequent Bondi Beach on a scorching hot summer’s day, that idea isn’t far off. But continue walking past the busy beach cafes and you'll find yourself in the much quieter headland area of Ben Buckler. Sunbakers can take in rays laying on the rocks near the sea (beware of the tides though!), and adventure-seekers can explore the terrifyingly-high, yet oh-so-Instagram-worthy cliffs at the edge of the North Bondi Golf Course. 

4. Petersham Park

PETERSHAM

One of the largest parks in the Inner West, Petersham Park is a historic, leafy park home to an aquatic centre, cricket ground, bandstand, gardens, playground, BBQ and picnic area. A stone’s throw away from Parramatta Road and the Petersham train station, like the Botanic Garden, the park is another oasis amongst city bustle.   

5. Burning Palms

BURNING PALMS

Its the second Royal National Park destination on the list, but there was no way Burning Palms couldn't be included. Easily accessed by the Garawarra Farm car park, the view from above the small strip of Burning Palms Beach surrounded by rolling green hills will take your breath away.

And while the spot is pretty enough to visit for the view alone, it's also an attractive destination being the starting point of the Palm Jungle loop. The challenging track weaves through rainforest, cliff tops, and beaches, making it one of the Sydney area's most beautiful walks.

Photos | @noel.alva, tiff.wu, @frankie_moloney, @gemma_peanut, @sangeetatatiana

Written By Sangeeta Kocharekar

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