As a big global city, Sydney can sometimes feel fast-paced and dominated by motor vehicles. But Sydney is also home to some of Australia’s most gorgeous coastal and bush walks, with stunning views of perfect beaches, beautiful national parks and a certain world-famous harbour to help keep you motivated. Here are seven of our favourites.
1. Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk
Right at the very tip of Palm Beach stands Barrenjoey Lighthouse, a heritage-listed structure that was built in 1881 and has become one of Sydney’s most iconic attractions. This walk will take you up the hill to the lighthouse, with plenty of wonderful restaurants and fantastic barbecue, picnic and swimming spots along the way.
Best for: It’s a short hike at just 2.2 km and easy for the most part, so it’s suitable for most fitness levels – however, it can get quite steep in places. There is also the harder Smugglers Track for those who like a challenge.
How to get there: Go to the most northern part of the Palm Beach car park (past the Boat House) and follow the signs down to the beach and the tracks.
2. Chowder Bay to Balmoral Beach
This walk is a must for lovers of history, with plenty of military relics like tunnels, battlements and cannons to view along the way. There are loads of lookouts and picnic areas, and when you finish at Balmoral Beach, there are plenty of restaurant options available as well.
Best for: This is an easy 2.7 km course that’s great for all levels of fitness, children, and even the family dog.
How to get there: Look for the sign that says Bungaree’s Walkway, beside the coffee shop near the Chowder Bay car park.
3. Jibbon Beach Loop Track
Royal National Park, Bundeena
A beautiful mix of coastal views and bush scenery all on one track. This 5km walk will take you about two hours to complete and take you through Jibbon Head, Port Hacking Point and Shelley Beach, with plenty of panoramic views and 1000-year-old (wow!) Dharawal rock art to see along the way.
Best for: An easy-to-moderate track that’s suitable for most walkers.
How to get there: The track starts at Bundeena ferry wharf, so you can enjoy a scenic drive there or take the ferry from Cronulla for easy access.
4. Bondi to Coogee Walk
One of Sydney’s most famous walks and arguably one of the best tracks in all of Australia. This 6km trek will let you to soak in some of Sydney Harbour’s best sights, including beaches, parks, cliffs, bays, and rock pools. Best of all, you finish in scenic Coogee, where you can wash the experience down with fine coffee and healthy food from a range of cafes and restaurants.
Best for: This is a kid-friendly, medium-graded walk that suits most people and fitness levels. It will take you about two hours and dogs are allowed to join you as long as they’re on a leash.
How to get there: Both Bondi and Coogee beaches are easily accessible, with paid parking and regular buses connecting at both ends (perfect for your return journey).
5. Federation Cliff Walk
A light 5km walk that runs along the famous South Head cliffs and delivers astonishing views over the Tasman Sea. There are many sights along the way, including the Macquarie Lighthouse, and a timber walkway with viewing platforms at the height of the cliffs.
Best for: It’s a 5km trip that’s graded as easy and suitable for families, children and dogs.
How to get there: The journey starts at Gap Park in Watsons Bay, but the track is one-way, so you’ll need to organise transport from Dover Heights when you’ve finished your trek.
6. Great North Walk
This is the walk that adventurers, fitness enthusiasts and anyone who likes a challenge is looking for. At 250km long, it takes about 15 days to complete and stretches all the way from Sydney to Newcastle. It was created in 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentennial Project and covers an amazingly diverse range of ecosystems, views and experiences, including wineries, Aboriginal cultural sites, and the historic obelisks trail.
Best for: Experienced bushwalkers, the very fit, and those who like an extreme challenge. Planning ahead is a must.
How to get there: Your journey starts at Macquarie Place in Central Sydney. You can get a train back from Newcastle when the trek is complete.
7. Spit Bridge to Manly Walk
PLAN YOUR SYDNEY GETAWAY
Spit Bridge is the gateway to Sydney’s Northern Suburbs, as well as the gateway to one of the city’s best bush walks. This 10km trail snakes its way through native bushland and coastal bays, finishing up in trendy Manly, where you can enjoy a relaxing meal after a long – but satisfying – walk.
Best for: The track is moderate, but long. It’s not recommended for young children and some parts do not allow dogs.
How to get there: Catch a bus from the city to the starting point at the northern end of Spit Bridge.