Located around thirty minutes south of Sydney is a cute little beach gem called Little Bay.
It’s a secret place that not a lot of people have heard about. And those who have, have either never been, or go often and prefer not to tell anyone about it.
But it’s not just a beach, it’s a place of historical reference for Sydney, which hold a past unbeknown to most people.
The Little Bay area was first used as a sanitation camp during Sydney’s smallpox outbreak in 1881–82, to isolate the healthy contacts of sufferers of the disease. At first, a “tent city” it was established on the beach, but as well the government decided to build a permanent hospital here to treat infectious diseases of all kinds.
It was considered the most ideal location because it was isolated from current settlements, but still close enough to Sydney. The Coast Hospital was particularly valuable during the bubonic plague in Sydney of 1900 and then again when soldiers returning from Europe brought the influenza virus back in 1919. The Coast Hospital became Prince Henry Hospital in 1934. In 2001 services were transferred to Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney and the hospital site became available for residential use
But it’s the beach we really want to talk about, as it really is a hidden gem, and way better than most other beaches around Sydney.
It is not a surf beach and does not have an undertow or “rip” unless there is a strong sea from the south or south-east running into the bay. Which is probably why it so popular for the locals and for me, as I am not a fan of the wave. The beach is not patrolled by lifesavers, but it it safe enough as it protected and surrounded by rocks which prevent any sharks from coming in, and from any rough waters (unless there is a major storm hovering).
There is a ring-of-rocks bathing pool known as Little Bay Rock Pool or Little Bay Baths which was created from beach rocks at the southern end of the beach in the early 1900s to provide safe shark-free bathing for nurses resident nearby at the Coast Hospital. The pool is still partially intact. Which is why the whole beach is safe and easy to swim in for any one.
What I love most about the beach, is the location. The water is so clean and blue, probably the cleanest I have seen around the Greater Sydney area, compared to a few northern beaches which are fairly blue. Which I feel is probably due to their being no waves chopping and churning up the sands. So clear, clean and super smooth waters.
The perfect beach – in my eyes it is anyways.
Of course, parking can be a little challenging. And most of the surrounded cliffs and mountains are occupied by the local golf club, so you need to be mindful of stray balls. But it is so worth it and an easy beach to find, explore and relax at. But the people are friendly and there are plenty of cafes nearby, if you forgot to pack any food or drink.
In all honesty, the style of the beach, the people and the atmosphere reminded me of a European beach, hidden in the cliffs of an old Italian coastal town somewhere. The fact that we can’t really travel anywhere overseas right now, Little Bay makes a great alternative (in an Aussie way) to a small European beach.
We were a little unprepared when took a visit to Little Bay, as we were intending to actually visit a national park and take a stroll through the bushland. Except we found ourselves strolling along the beach of Little Bay instead. And it was such a lovely treat. I just wish I had packed some beach gear, so we could have enjoyed it a little better. Next time. And there will be a next time.
Im already planning a day when I can go back to enjoy the cool, clean waters of the bay.