Last year when training for the Camino de Santiago, I spent months hiking in Sydney. I also spent months scoping Sydney for the best hikes to ensure my time training was enjoyable.
Although some of the hiking trails in Sydney are difficult: there are also some lovely walks. These hiking places have some of the prettiest views of Sydney I have ever seen.
The best thing about Sydney is that it is both a large city with many walking trails and a coastal town with many options to explore. So here are (in my opinion) 10 of Sydney’s best walks.
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Things to know about Sydney before you go
Sydney weather averages 18-26 C in summer and 8-17 C in winter, so hiking is okay at any time of the year. In addition, there are currently 200 registered National Parks in New South Wales alone, so hiking is plentiful in almost every suburb of Sydney.
Best hikes in Sydney
Best coastal walk’s Sydney
Bondi to Maroubra Coastal Walk
No hiking poles are needed for this beautiful coastal walk in Sydney, and the hike itself is moderate. You can walk a lot further than this, as the hiking trail in Sydney from Maroubra to Malabar is approximately another 25 minutes. (Note that: You won’t be able to bring your pet along this part of the walk, though)
Although this coastal walk in Sydney can sometimes be congested, especially as the weather warms up, this hike around Sydney is beautiful as it follows the coastal shoreline. Unfortunately, the signs aren’t as well advertised in some areas, so you will have to look closely in some places if you have never been here before. But the beach views are worth it!
Distance – Approximately 2-hour walk one way.
Recommendations – Pool Cafe – This is a great place to end as they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in an excellent location. I love this cafe, and sitting outside is highly recommended for a beautiful day.
Spit Bridge to Manly
The Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk is not as busy as the coastal walk I mentioned earlier. So this Manly walk can be more enjoyable as you can, more often than not, be the only person on the path.
The views along the north beaches walk are spectacular and uninterrupted. However, even though the Manly beach walk has some fantastic views, the entire coastal walk is worth mentioning! At every corner, you find yourself on some of the prettiest hiking trails in Sydney.
Distance – Approximately 3.5 hours via the scenic view
Recommendation – Take the time to view the indigenous carvings in the Sydney Harbour National Park. Indigenous rock art dates back to 5000 years ago.
Cronulla Coastal Walk
Start at Wanda Beach and hug the walkway to Oak Park Beach, this part of Sydney’s coastal walk is gorgeous but can be busy (especially on weekends). However, there are many great spots along the way to stop and enjoy the view!
There are many cafes and restaurants along this strip, so you are spoilt for choice. This scenic walk in Sydney can be enjoyed at any time of the year, especially when the sun is shining!
Distance – Approximately 1 hour each way.
Recommendation – There are many rock pools and beaches along this strip. So there is ample opportunity to take a dip if the walk gets too much.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk
Palm Beach has always been a great place to visit, and The Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk should be added to the list of things to do when you are in Sydney. The views from the Barrenjoey Lighthouse are exceptional from both sides of the peak.
You can walk up the steep steps or wander slowly up the paved sloped path; you can see the fantastic view of the beaches and reservoir; either way, it will just depend on which way you prefer to get to the top of this scenic walk in Sydney.
Distance – Approximately 30 minutes each way
Recommendation – If you are lucky you may see the film crew there because this is where “Home and Away” is filmed. If not, head down to the Boathouse (which has a great healthy menu and friendly staff).
Balmoral to Chinamans Beach
Balmoral has always been an excellent beach for swimming, as it has crystal blue flat water and very few waves. When you are walking from Balmoral to Chinamans Beach and back. Stay along the water’s edge because otherwise, you will end up on a busy main street which is not very enjoyable.
You can also park at Chinamans Beach (where there are more parking facilities) and stop at Balmoral for a coffee before heading back to Chinamans Beach; either way is an enjoyable coastal walk in Sydney.
Distance – Approximately 25 minutes each way
Recommendation – Go for a swim at Chinaman’s beach, which is so much quieter than Balmoral, and the beach itself is less crowded.
Federation Walk (Bondi to Watsons Bay)
This Coastal walk in Sydney is either explored separately or in conjunction with the Bondi to Maroubra (Malabar) Sydney coastal walk. The Bondi to Watsons Bay coastal walk in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is a hidden gem, as most people prefer to walk in the opposite direction.
Here you will find a spectacular view along this Sydney Coast walk, and it is a relatively flat track, making it easy. However, for most parts of this scenic walk, you cannot take your pet, so it would be best to leave your pooch at home for this one.
Distance Approximately 1.5 hours one way.
Recommendation– Stop at Watsons Bay Hotel for a bite to eat or a well-deserved drink. Who doesn’t love a well-deserved delicious seafood meal after a great coastal walk?
Centennial Park is an excellent location for those who want to see a little paradise in the middle of busy Sydney. Not far from Sydney CBD, this park’s loop is approximately 3.7km in the distance.
So it is worth doing a couple of circles. The best part about this nature track is that there are many places to stop to eat, picnic or feed the ducks. The park can get busy on weekends, filling up with joggers, cyclists and families.
Distance – Approximately 1 hour
Recommendations – Pick up a coffee and walk to the duck pond; it is a great spot to end your walk.
Lane Cove National Park
Sydney has so many parks, coastal walks and National Parks to choose from that you can find so many great spots no matter where you are. In addition, Sydney is spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor hiking tracks.
The Lane Cove National Park is like a National Park in the middle of a city, although you would never believe it once you step into this oasis.
Although this scenic bushwalk has many hiking trails, the circuit is about 10 km. This picturesque Sydney walking path is my favourite because you can walk it any time of the year, and it is enjoyable. In addition, it is an excellent way to see some wildlife in the middle of a busy Sydney suburb.
Distance – Approximately 3 hours, depending on the path you take.
Recommendation – In summer, you can hire paddle boats and kayaks, which is a great reason to spend the entire day there if you have the time.
Queenscliff Beach to North Head
Although this is technically a Sydney Coastal Walk, it is set among a national park, so it can also be classed as a bushwalk. It is a Sydney trail, one of the Northern beach’s hidden gems.
Although most people have walked along some scenic northern beaches walks, the walk to North Head finds you with breathtaking views and little surprises along the way. Explore this part of the Northern Beaches and stop to enjoy small pieces of history. The walking trail is secure, and there are no walking poles needed!
Distance – Approximately 1 hour each way
Recommendation – Stop by the Aboriginal artwork set among some of Sydney’s most spectacular views or head towards the quarantine station and graveyards set among the coastline.
Hikes Around Sydney
The Royal Botanical Gardens
The best part about the Royal Botanical Gardens is not just the view (which is fantastic, by the way) but the many guided tours on offer. If you start at the Domain Carpark, walk down to Lady Macquarie’s chair and then around to The Sydney Opera House, there is much to see.
This Sydney landmark has a spectacular view of Sydney Harbour and is one of my favourite places in Sydney to walk. Early morning hikes around Sydney are always high on my priority list as it gives you the rest of the day to explore more places in Sydney or enjoy some of Sydney’s city walks.
Distance – Approximately 1 hour, depending on whether you choose to walk back up to The Domain Carpark.
Recommendation – Stop by the Terrace Eatery for a cup of takeaway coffee, sit by the water’s edge, and enjoy the view; on a sunny day, the idea is spectacular.
McMahons Point to Balls Head Reserve
This walk has spectacular views of The Sydney Harbour Bridge and is worth starting at McMahons Point and walking to Balls Head Reserve and Back.
There are many photo opportunities along the way, and each turn gives a better view. McMahons Point is one of my favourite Sydney Harbour walks, and it is pretty isolated. There are many hikes around Sydney, especially this part of Sydney, but nothing beats this view of Sydney Harbour!
Distance – Approximately 40 minutes each way
Recommendation – Catch a ferry to McMahons Point and start your walk here; the view on the ferry and when you arrive is breathtaking.
The Bay Run
The Bay Run is a well-known walk around Rozelle, Leichardt area; it is approximately 7kms loop around Iron Cove. The circuit is entirely around the water’s edge, but it is pretty popular and can sometimes be crowded (especially on weekends).
This Sydney walk also has a bike track, so you must share the hiking trail in many areas. The pathway has many places to stop and have coffee if you walk the loop a couple of times.
Distance – Approximately 1 hour
Recommendation – Walk a little further down the track to Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet, where you can pick up a bargain, or try walking a bit further to Drummoyne ferry pier and catch a ferry back to Circular Quay; the trip is worth it.
Kurnell to Greenhills Beach
This little hiking trail in Sydney has been a hidden gem for years, as the locals here have loved the isolation that Kurnell brings. However, until recently, most people would not have ventured further than Cronulla unless they were on a mission to discover one of Sydney’s landmarks (Captain Cook’s landing spot and whale watching).
Recently, this has become a great hiking spot in Sydney, as Kurnell has created many reasons to come and view this beautiful part of Sydney.
Distance – Approximately 2 hours one way.
Recommendation – Start at Captain Cooks’s landing spot and enjoy the many new bronzed sculptures along the way. This hiking trail is now a hot tourist spot, so be ready for it to be busy during the weekend.
Circular Quay to the Spit Bridge
You can combine the Spit Bridge to Circular Quay walk with this lesser-known Circular Quay to Spit Bridge Walk and spend an entire day hiking the Sydney harbour front. Start early and enjoy Sydney Landmarks, coastal views and beautiful landscape.
You will want to take many photos along this spectacular hiking trail in Sydney, as each bend brings something different and even more breathtaking.
Distance – Approximately 2 hours
Recommendation – Walk a little further (approximately 20 minutes and enjoy a bite to eat at Clontarf and enjoy a relaxing meal at the Sandy Bear Cafe
Things to remember when hiking in Sydney
- Always bring water!!! Some hikes won’t see you fill up for some time on the tracks, so it is best to bring along water to ensure you keep hydrated. Also, bring snacks!
- If you are hiking for 2-3 hours without a shop in sight, it is a good idea to be prepared.
- Always tell someone where you are going before you leave for your hike! Especially if you decide to explore some Sydney hikes alone.
- Ensure the battery on your mobile phone is charged! You never know when you may need it. It is also a great navigation tool for getting lost in areas like National Parks.
- Wear comfortable hiking boots are walking shoes (depending on the Sydney hike you choose), as be the reason you enjoy your Sydney Walk or loathe it.
Would you like to read more about Sydney?
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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