1. Taylor's Bay, Mosman View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Distance from the CBD: 25 minutes This tranquil spot might look like it's far out of the city, but it's actually just a short ferry ride away. You can find Taylor's Bay around the headland from Taronga Zoo, on the walking trail that takes you to Clifton Gardens and Mosman. 2. Collins Flat Beach, Manly View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @adventures Distance from the CBD: 25 minutes If you're sick of the crowds that flock to Manly beach every weekend, take a short wander up the road to Collins Flat Beach. It's a good place for a picnic, and great a swimming spot if you're not a fan of waves. There's also a baby waterfall which adds the perfect background noise. 3. Arthur McElhone Reseve, Potts Point View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @sa1987na Distance from the CBD: 10 minutes You've probably heard of Beare Park, but if you're after something a bit more secluded, head up the hill to this park. It's got the view and the perfectly manicured grass you want, and also a pond filled with Koi fish! 4. Resolute Beach, Pittwater View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Distance from the CBD: 1 hourLocated up north near Palm Beach, it's certainly not the easiest Sydney beach to get to. But oh boy, is it worth the trip. It's usually pretty deserted, as you've got to walk down a trail in Ku-ring-gai National Park to get there. With its unbelievably clear water and total lack of tourists, it's easy to feel like you're on your own private island. 5. Shark Island, Sydney Harbour View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @katie_apple Distance from the CBD: 20-minute ferry rideThere's a chance this is actually the best picnic spot in Sydney. The water is perfect for swimming, and there's heaps of grass space if sand isn't your thing. Plus, it's easy to get to by ferry from Circular Quay or Watson's Bay. 6. McCarr's Creek, Ku-rin-gai Chase National Park View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Distance from the CBD: 50 minutes If you're dreaming of swimming in waterfalls but can't get out of the city, McCarr's Creek is the place for you. It's part of the national park, and perfect for a summer day trip. Located off the road and through some bushes, you'll feel like it's your own private sanctuary. 7. McKell Park, Darling Point View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @maryamanaya Distance from the CBD: 15 minutes Yet another park with stunning views of the water, McKell Park is a perfect rest stop on a lazy harbour walk, or just a great place to while away the afternoon with friends or a good book. 8. Barangaroo, CBD View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @pecheypop If you haven't checked out the new parks and walking paths at Barangaroo, it's a great place to spend an afternoon. It's now connected to Darling Harbour so you can walk all the way around, and see great views of the Anzac and Harbour Bridges. There's a ton of places to stop and chill out on the grass. 9. Watsons Bay View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @watsonsbaysup Distance from the CBD: 30 minutes Watson's Bay has everything. You can grab a drink at the waterfront bar, you can chill out on the grass, or you can go for a scenic walk around the headlands. Or if you're brave, you can turn your beach trip into a workout and give stand up paddleboarding a try. 10. Cabbage Tree Bay, Manly View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @amygunstone Distance from the CBD: 35 minutes Between Manly and Shelly Beach, there's a little area which is perfect for snorkelling. There are no waves, and the water is crystal clear. What's most remarkable is the sheer amount of fish and marine life just hanging out right below the surface. Take a snorkel, or just a pair of goggles, and you're guaranteed to see some awesome things. 11. Lane Cove National Park, Lane Cove View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Distance from the CBD: 30 minutes The closest national park to Sydney's CBD, this park is filled with kilometres of walking trails. It's so peaceful, you can't tell that you're still in the city. You can even rent a rowboat and spend a couple hours floating down the river. 12. Cronulla to Bundeena Ferry View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @free Distance from the CBD: 45 minutes to the ferry terminalBundeena is a perfect beach, but because it's in the Royal National Park, it's not the easiest to get to for city-dwellers. Not many people know that you can actually catch an incredibly scenic 30-minute ferry from Cronulla, and from there you can chill on the beach or go for a coastal walk. 13. North Sydney Olympic Pool, Milsons Point View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @ssssswimmer Distance from the CBD: 10 minutes You've probably seen this place all over Instagram, but have you ever actually gone? It's the best place in Sydney to work off all the Messina you've been inhaling in the warm weather. 14. The Manly Wormhole View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @3dcupcake Distance from the CBD: 35 minutes Near Queenscliff beach, there's a little tunnel in the rock which gives amazing views of Manly beach. It was originally built ages ago by fishermen as a path between Manly and Freshwater, though some of it has been cut off by rock falls. It's just off the path of the Manly to Dee Why walk, which is an A+ trail. 15. Balls Head Reserve, Waverton View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @tommy_staunton Distance from the CBD: 17 minutes If you walk around the harbour from Milsons Point, past Lavender Bay, you'll get to this amazing shady little oasis. From here there are a couple of walking tracks which will take you around the headlands. 16. Hermit Bay, Vaucluse View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @alessandrotano Distance from the CBD: 20 minutes If you can't get enough of harbour beaches, then you need to add Hermit Bay to your list immediately. Hidden from the surrounding houses and roads by trees and rocks, it's peaceful AF and there's both sand and grass to lie on to enjoy the sun. 17. Cape Banks, La Perouse View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Distance from the CBD: 30 minutes Cape Banks is in a secluded section of Botany Bay National Park, with rock platforms to walk over and explore. You can also visit the shipwreck of the SS Minmi, and what remains of the old Fort Banks. 18. The Needles, Engadine View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @joeelyboy Distance from the CBD: 55 minutes Just above the Woronora River in south-west Sydney is a beautiful swimming hole surrounded by rocks and trees. The water is always warm, and there's a rope swing for the daring. 19. Callan Park, Lilyfield View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @pom_queen Distance from the CBD: 25 minutes This fairly large park is filled with heritage-listed sandstone buildings that used to belong to a huge psychiatric hospital. It's on the water and is a great place for a picnic under a tree. 20. Wolli Creek Walking Track, Wolli Creek View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Distance from the CBD: 32 minutes It's hard to believe that this trail is so damn close to the city. There are a bunch of trails that connect to this so you can walk anywhere from 2km to 13km, depending on how you feel. There is a ton of birdlife, and the trail winds beside the creek for a section. 21. Cremorne Reserve, Cremorne View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @nami_gupta Distance from the CBD: 17 minutes The reserve offers a great vantage point to perch above the harbour and take in the surrounds. There's a secret garden to discover, which leads down to a little rock pool you can wade in. There's also an actual harbour pool if you want more of a swim. 22. Kurnell Peninsula View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @annaleise_lynch Distance from the CBD: 45 minutes Just north of Cronulla is the Kurnell Peninsula, part of the Botany Bay National Park. If you walk around the headlands and sand dunes, starting at Kurnell Beach, you'll be rewarded with amazing views stretching kilometres out to sea. 23. Ivor Rowe Rockpool, Coogee View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @mull_it_over Distance from the CBD: 25 minutes This teeny-tiny rockpool is shallow enough that it's always warm from the sun, but deep enough that you can float in it and enjoy the view. It's just south of Coogee Beach, on the coastal walkway. 24. Chinese Gardens Of Friendship, CBD View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @brgttb If you're in the city and you've only got a couple of hours to kill, the Chinese Gardens are a perfect option. The trees and flowing water block out all the noise and it's unbelievably tranquil. Sit by the lake and watch Koi swim past, wander along the hidden pathways, or visit the teahouse for some yum cha. Want more proof that Australia is the greatest place on earth? Sign up for BuzzFeed's "Meanwhile in Australia" newsletter! If you can't see the signup box above, just go here to sign up for BuzzFeed's "Meanwhile in Australia" newsletter!