SMART Boating’s Guide to the Secret Sailing Spots of Pittwater

Where else in the world can you drive 45 minutes from the CBD of the nation’s largest city … jump on a yacht … and within minutes enjoy a peaceful sail surrounded by unspoiled national park?

Pittwater and Broken Bay are much less crowded than Sydney Harbour and because most of Pittwater’s beaches are only accessible by boat, they remain unspoilt, uncrowded … and unbelievably beautiful!

If you want an exhilarating sail, uncrowded Broken Bay is perfect for you … the wind is pretty reliable most afternoons and there’s generally very little swell.

And if you love peaceful nights at anchor under the stars in beautiful bays, you are spoilt for choice.

Towlers or Morning Bay

Towlers or Morning Bay has two arms and is just 20 minutes from Bayview Marina.

The view south towards Scotland Island from the beach is stunning.

This is a great spot for children to splash and swim as it’s very shallow for a good way from the water’s edge.

There are fallen trees for them to climb over and a great creek bed to explore.

Portuguese Beach

Portuguese Beach is a beautiful isolated bay with a sandy beach on the western side of Pittwater, between Morning Bay and Coasters Retreat.

The bay is only big enough to handle four or five yachts for an overnight stay, but more often than not you will find yourself the only one in the bay. There are no moorings in this bay, but anchoring is good on a sandy bottom. The bay provides good protection from westerly winds with sunshine the minute it pops up over the horizon and great night-time views.

Smiths Creek

This has to be one of our favourite Pittwater locations. If you want to escape the real world you can’t beat Smiths Creek … the beauty of this place is quite simply the peace and tranquility.

There are no houses lining Smiths Creek; instead you are surrounded by towering, unspoiled Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

You get here via Cowan Creek and you’ll need to allow at least four hours from Bayview by yacht.

Resolute Beach

Resolute Beach and Little Resolute Beach are remote and isolated little beaches tucked right up under the West Head cliff face.

These are two of the nicest spots to swim, with crystal clear water and beautiful sandy beaches.

There is not much room here so there’s no chance of overcrowding.

America and Refuge Bays

America and Refuge Bays are a pair of small secluded inlets sheltered by towering sandstone cliffs, forming a fabulous, world-class anchorage. The bays are very sheltered in all conditions except a strong north-westerly.

As you sail upstream towards Cowan Creek, the bays are on your port side just opposite the Hawkesbury River entrance. A stunning two to three hours’ sail from the SMART Boating base at Bayview Anchorage marina means this is a great spot for a day out.

Refuge Bay, the southerly inlet, has a waterfall that cascades into a pool behind its small sandy beach in Refuge Bay.

There are many moorings in these bays and during weekdays you can usually pick up a mooring right in front of the waterfall, swim ashore and rinse off in the crystal clear freshwater.

You’ll also find it beautifully calm for an overnight stay.

The bays are filled with club moorings but you will still find plenty of space to anchor if the public moorings are taken.

In summer, Refuge Bay is generally busy especially at the weekends – so if you want a more peaceful anchorage overnight you might look elsewhere. The head of America Bay is the quietest spot in summer and America Bay also keeps the sun longest in the evening.

In the winter, Refuge and America Bays are peaceful and restful places to stop and admire Australia’s incredible natural beauty. We never tire of looking at the unique landscape of impressive rock formations and gum trees reflected in clean and unspoilt Pittwater.

Flint and Steel

Flint and Steel is the first beach around West Head on the southern side of Cowan Waters as you head west towards the Hawkesbury entrance.

This is a great spot in a southerly, as the protection is fabulous, surrounded by the Kur-ing-gai national park.

It is close to the entrance to Broken Bay, so tends to pick up any swell that is around and can be a bit uncomfortable in anything other than calm conditions. There is plenty of room to anchor off the large sandy beach, although it is strongly tide affected.

It’s best for a lunchtime stop for a swim and a walk on the beach. The point just to the west (Flint and Steel Point) is popular with fishermen who walk down the track from West Head, which takes about 40 minutes. The track is very steep but a great work out and huge reward with a 360-degree view from the lookout at West Head.

Hungry Beach

Hungry Beach is the next beach on, heading west from Flint and Steel Beach. Again, this spot is great in southerly wind and is less affected by swell than Flint and Steel.

The most notable features of this beach/bay are the dramatic cliffs that rise from the back of the beach. On the western headland there are numerous large caves that would no doubt have been host to the local Aboriginal people; in fact, it is possible to see the middens (discarded shell fish mounds) left by these people. It is easy to transport yourself back for a moment and imagine how it was to live in those times.

This is a great lunch time spot and reasonable overnight anchorage in the right conditions. There is plenty of room to anchor on a bottom of mud and sand.

Which Pittwater Beaches Will You Visit?

Bayview Anchorage Marina is the original home of SMART Boating and your gateway to the world-class cruising waterways of Pittwater, Broken Bay, Brisbane Water, Cowan Water and the Hawkesbury River.

With our current SMART Boating syndicates available at Bayview you can visit all of the secret sailing spots of Pittwater for yourself THIS SUMMER!

Our current boat share syndications include aa Lagoon 42 catamaran, an Integrity 380 motor yacht, a Fountaine Pajot MY37 and a Hanse 345 yacht.

Contact us to find out more.

Contact Us

If you hear the sea calling you… don’t wait another minute, contact Smart Boating today!

    Pick your dream boat

    Yachts, motor cruisers or catamarans, the choice is yours…


    Jeanneau NC11

    Jeanneau NC11 features spacious daytime living spaces, including a dining area and galley arranged around a spacious deck saloon.



    Palm Beach PB32

    The Australian-designed PALM BEACH PB32 affords classic styling and efficient performance in a sleek, compact and very comfortable package.

    Pittwater + Whitsundays

    Hanse 418

    The beautiful new lines, straight stem and extra-long waterline of the Hanse 418 are key to a fast, safe and comfortable sailing experience.