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The Best Sydney WalksOver the 17 months that I lived in Sydney, I made it my mission to discover as many Sydney walks as I could. And there are loads of great walks around Sydney.

Sydney has an abundance of national parks as well a stunning coastline which makes it one of the best cities in the world for access to the great outdoors. And the way to truly experience the best of Sydney, is to walk it.

I had intended to write about the best Sydney walks that I have been doing individually, but I never got around to it. That’s probably a good thing as I think a run-down of a whole heap of juicy scenic walks in Sydney in one post is more informative for you keen hikers out there.

This way you can compare and decide which of Sydney’s walks appeal to you the most, as most visitors to the city wouldn’t have time to do all of them.

So here it is folks, my ultimate guide to the best of Sydney’s walks. Time to get hiking in Sydney!

The Best Sydney Walks

Manly to Spit Walk

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Distance: 10km one way
  • Best for: Harbour views and Native bush

Manly to Spit Bridge, one of the best Sydney Walks

Starting at Manly Wharf, the Manly to Spit Bridge walk will take you past beautiful Sydney beaches, pristine pockets of native bush, and incredible views – all of which earn it a place on any list of the best Sydney coastal walks.

Look out for the small huts visible in the distance below when you reach the Crater Cove Lookout and a sea of white wild flowers in Spring along the Sydney National Park section of the trail.

The Manly to Spit walk is definitely one of the best Sydney harbour walks, as you will get glimpses of the harbour the entire way.

I’ve classed it as Intermediate because there are sections that are reasonably strenuous as the track rises to the top of the headland. For more details, check out my more detailed post about the Manly to Spit walk.

Forty Baskets beach on Manly to Spit Bridge Hike - one of the best Sydney walksView from Manly to Spit Bridge walk - one of the best Sydney walks

Bondi to Coogee Walk

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 6km one way
  • Best for: Swimming at the most iconic beaches in Sydney

Coogee to Bondi Walk - one of the best Sydney walks

THE most famous of Sydney’s walks, the Bondi to Coogee walk (or Coogee to Bondi walk) is very popular and best done on a week day in winter if you don’t want to share the trail with hundreds of tourists.

Despite the crowds, the walk from popular Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach, one of the best beaches in Sydney, is a corker, with stunning coastal views from the top of sheer cliffs, lots of those picture-perfect, white sand Sydney beaches, rock pools to swim in and even the sprawling Waverley Cemetery which has arguably the most beautiful setting of any cemetery in the world.

The Bondi to Coogee walk is popular for a reason and if you only have time for one Sydney walk and don’t mind crowds too much, this is the one to do. It is absolutely one of the best coastal walks in Sydney.

Gordon's Bay on Coogee to Bondi walk - one of the best Sydney walksTamarama Beach on the Coogee to Bondi Walk - one of the best Sydney Walks

Maroubra to Coogee Walk

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 4.5km one way
  • Best for: Checking out the surfers at Maroubra Beach

Coogee to Maroubra Walk - one of the best Sydney walks

The Maroubra to Coogee walk is one of the lesser known walking tracks in Sydney.

Starting in Maroubra, which is home to some of the world’s best surfers, this stretch of coastline on Sydney’s Eastern Beaches is a lot less crowded than its famous counterpart, the Bondi to Coogee Walk. The trail doesn’t hug the coast the whole way as there is a ten minute section where you have to walk through the suburban streets.

There is a section that takes you across the rocks and you can even swim in the super clear Ivor Rowe natural rock pool along the way. If you really feel like walking you could tack this on to the Bondi to Coogee Walk for a an epic Sydney day walk.

Rock pool on Coogee to Maroubra walk - one of the best Sydney walksCoogee Beach on the Bondi to Coogee Walk - one of the best Sydney walks

Narrabeen Lagoon Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 7.5km loop
  • Best for: Experiencing a different side of Sydney, away from the coast

Narrabeen Lakes Loop Walk - one of the best Sydney Walks

Something a bit different than most of the Sydney walks as it doesn’t involve any time hiking the coastline, this lake loop hike is very easy and a great hike to spot birds. It is also the only place I have ever seen snake in Sydney. Depending on whether you like snakes this could be taken as a good or bad thing. I don’t like snakes but it was still kinda cool seeing one (at a distance).

The Narrabeen Lagoon trail is one of the best bush walks in Sydney.

Narrabeen Lake Loop - one of the best Sydney WalksNarrabeen Lake Loop - one of the best Sydney walks

Dee Why to Manly Coastal Walk

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 7km one way
  • Best for: Discovering Sydney’s quieter Northern beaches

Dee Why to Manly walk - one of the best Sydney walks

Another beautiful Sydney coast walk, this one takes you past some of Sydney’s most beautiful but quieter beaches in Northern Sydney. Starting at Dee Why it follows a path along the top of the cliff for a while before heading down to one of my favourite beaches in Sydney, North Curl Curl.

I definitely recommend a swimming break at the beach there or in the rock pool before walking along the beach then over to another beauty, Freshwater, before reaching Manly.

Grab a drink on the deck at Manly’s awesome 4 Pines Brewery – they do a mean alcoholic ginger beer.

Pool at North Curl Curl on the Dee Why to Manly walk - one of the best Sydney walksSouth Curl Curl on the Dee Why to Manly walk - one of the best Sydney walks

Manly North Head Loop Walk

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 5.5km loop walk
  • Best for: Secluded coves and ocean views

Manly North Head walk - one of the best Sydney walks

This was a local Sydney walk for me and one I did quite regularly. Starting at Manly Beach take the gorgeous waterside path to sheltered Shelly Beach which is a good spot for snorkelling, then follow the path up to the Fairy Bower Headland where you might be lucky enough to see whales migrating offshore in winter.

Continue on over North Head and down the road to the secluded Collins Flat beach which is surrounded by native bush and has a waterfall falling onto the sand from above. Follow the bush path around to lovely Little Manly Cove before finishing at the Harbour where you can grab an ice-cream or a drink. This little loop is one of the best northern beaches walks and a great option if you are short on time.

If you are in Manly from July till January, stay at the Wharf till sunset to see Manly’s Little Penguin population – I used to be a Penguin Warden here and these little guys are fascinating as well as being incredibly cute.

Manly North Head walk - one of the best Sydney walksCollins Beach on Manly North Head walk - one of the best Sydney walksFairy Bower on the Manly to Shelly Beach walk - one of the best Sydney walks

Rose Bay to Hornby Light Walk

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 8km one way
  • Best for: Harbour beaches, upmarket suburbs and Sydney’s best lighthouse

Rose Bay to Hornby Light - one of the best Sydney walks

A great way to explore Sydney’s harbor beaches close to the city, this walk starts at upmarket Rose Bay where you will see many luxury boats in the harbor. Stop at the beautiful white sand Shark Beach for a swim then continue on along the coast to the village with an English vibe, Watson’s Bay.

This walk then takes you past a nudist beach to the most beautiful lighthouse in Sydney, the candy-cane colored Hornby Light. From the Lighthouse there are dramatic views of the waves crashing onto the rocks below at the entrance to Sydney harbor. It’s one of the best lookouts in Sydney.

Hornby Light walk - one of the best Sydney walksShark Beach on Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk - one of the best Sydney walks

Bondi Beach to Watson’s Bay Walk

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 7.5km
  • Best for: Stunning views of the city and coastline followed by fish and chips on the wharf at Doyle’s in Watson’s Bay

Bondi Beach to Watson's Bay walk- one of the best Sydney walks

Iconic Bondi Beach is the starting point for this Sydney walk. Check out the Bondi Market in the School grounds by the beach if you are walking on a Sunday. Head north following the road for a bit before the path rejoins the coast along the top of huge limestone cliffs.

The Bondi Beach to Watson’s Bay walk has views out to sea on one side as well as one of the best views of the opera house and harbour bridge on the other. The walk ends at lovely Watson’s Bay which is the home to Doyles where you can get Sydney’s most famous fish and chips. Catch a ferry to the city from there.

Rose Bay to Watson's Bay walk - one of the best Sydney walksView from Dover Heights to City on walk to Watsons Bay - one of best Sydney walksMacquarie Lighthouse on Bondi to Watsons Bay walk - one of the best Sydney walks

The Basin Trail in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

  • Difficulty: Intermediate/Difficult
  • Distance: 5.6km return
  • Best for: Spotting wild wallabies and aboriginal rock art

The Basin hike - one of the best Sydney walks

The only place in Sydney I have seen wallabies (and their tiny babies), the Basin hike in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park involves walking along a dirt road and down into a river basin on the Pittwater, a large estuary. Near the beginning of the Basin hike there is some aboriginal rock art on large flat rocks including the outline of fishes, people and other animals.

The Basin itself is a camping area as well as a day area and has an amenity block, a small swimming beach and barbecues. We reached the basin a couple of hours before sunset and there were wallabies everywhere. Quite an amazing sight.

You can also take a ferry to the basin from Palm Beach but it is much more fulfilling if you hike there.

Wallaby and baby in the Basin - the Basin hike is one of the best Sydney walksAboriginal rock art in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park - one of the best Sydney walks

Balmoral to Cremorne Point Wharf Walk

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Distance: 12km
  • Best for: Native bush and sparkling harbour and city views

Balmoral to Cremorne Point - one of the best Sydney walks

The walk from Balmoral Beach to Cremorne Point is my favourite Sydney walk, and one I kinda cobbled together myself.

Balmoral Beach is gorgeous with it’s powdery white sand and crystal clear water, one of the most impressive of Sydney’s beaches. After grabbing brunch at the fantastic Boathouse Cafe, take the trail through native bush to Chowder Head, across the beach and through more native bush in Sydney Harbour National Park, all the way around Middle Head and Bradley’s Head to Little Sirius Cove.

You will briefly leave the bush behind for suburban streets before re-emerging in it at Reid park. A path then follows the coastline along the side of Cremorne Point past beautiful gardens and water views to the wharf at Cremorne Point where you can catch a scenic ferry to the city.

This hike is an absolute joy with a lot of time spent in pristine coastal bushland as well as one of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches. A fantastic introduction to the harbour and one of the best bush walks in Sydney.

Chowder Bay - one of the stops on one of the best Sydney walksBalmoral Beach - the starting point of one of the best Sydney walks

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate
  • Distance: 3km
  • Best for: Pittwater and Palm beach views and a sandstone lighthouse

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Trail - one of the best Sydney walks

Like Hornby Light, Barrenjoey Lighthouse is another of Sydney’s iconic lighthouses. A short but stunning hike will lead you from the Palm Beach Surf Club where the TV Show ‘Home and Away‘ is filmed and over to the Pittwater before rising up the headland to the lighthouse.

Along the way there are stunning Sydney coast views with the beach on one side and the Pittwater on the other. Keep an eye out for whales from the top!

There is a small grave of a past Lighthouse Keeper near the lighthouse and you can walk further to the end of the headland for views back to the lighthouse. Short and sweet, and one of the best walks in the Greater Sydney area.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse - on one of the best Sydney walksView from Barrenjoey Lighthouse - one of the best Sydney walks

Centennial Park Loop Walk

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 4km
  • Best for: A city parkland escape

Centennial Park Loop - one of the best Sydney walks

For one of the best Sydney city walks, head to Centennial Park, where inner city Sydneysiders can be found walking, running and biking whenever the sun is out.

There are many routes you can take through Centennial Park and I recommend doing a bit of a loop, but rather than following the loop road, do some off-roading by winding your way past some of the beautiful ponds. There are always a lot of black swans, ducks and Canadian geese to be fed.

Centennial Park loop - one of the best Sydney walksCentennial Park in Sydney - one of the best Sydney walks

Download my Sydney Walks map on Jauntful with all of the walks on it for ease of reference. And make sure to check out my Hikes and Walks page for more of my favourite hikes from around the world.

Which of these Sydney walks would you most like to do? Do you know of any more amazing hiking trails in Sydney that you think should be on the list? I would love to hear from you!

Plan Your Sydney Trip

Where to Stay in Sydney

Although it is so nice to stay by the beach, I would recommend you stay close to downtown – particularly The Rocks and Circular Quay – as it is the best base to get around from.

If you really want to splurge, I highly recommend the Four Seasons in Circular Quay or the Park Hyatt in the Rocks – they both have pools and are handy to trains, buses and ferries.

There are a number of hostels around Sydney but I have heard really good things about one in particular –  the Sydney Harbour YHA Hostel in The Rocks. The location is perfection and there is even a harbor-view rooftop.

Alternatively, look for Airbnb rooms in Paddington, Darlinghurst, Pyrmont, CBD, Surry Hills areas – as these are all pretty central. If you haven’t signed up to Airbnb yet – use my link to sign up and get $50 off your first stay! Here is an excellent list of luxury Airbnbs in Sydney if you want to treat yourself.

A great way to get awesome accommodation practically for free is by housesitting, sign up to Trusted Housesitters through my link to get 25% off your membership fee.

If you really want to be by the beach, go for Bondi – this has the best transport links of the beaches, with a train line near by at Bondi Junction, as well as lots of buses. Stay at Bondi Backpackers which has great reviews and is right on the beach.

The Best Insurance for Your Sydney Trip

Make sure you get travel and health insurance before your trip. Safety Wing is my go-to and they are cheap and easy to claim with – it auto renews every month unless you turn it off so you don’t have to think about it for longer trips

Safety Wing also allows you to sign up when you are already traveling, unlike a lot of other travel insurance providers.


Best Sydney WalksUltimate Guide to the Best Sydney Walks

Want to know more about what to do in Sydney? Check out my other Sydney posts:

20 Comments on Ultimate Guide to the BEST Sydney Walks

  1. Definitely put Royal National Park in southern Sydney on your list for next time. It’s like what Sydney would have looked like before all the buildings and people. There are quite a few walks along the coast that easy day trips from the city, like Wedding Cake Rock and Figure 8 Pools.

    • I always meant to make it to Royal National Park when I was living in Sydney but my plans kept falling through due to weather etc. It is very high on my list for Sydney though and I will definitely get there at some stage!

  2. Good thing I came across your site. The last time we visited Australia, we never did something like this. Thanks for sharing. I surely try this out in our next travel this year. By the way, if anyone needs a tourist visa to visit this wonderful place, I suggest you apply it here I received the best service everytime we need a visa to Australia.

    • I love Balmain! I haven’t done any walks as such there – just wandered around the streets and a bit of the coast. I never made it to Royal National Park when I was living in Sydney but not without trying. I will definitely try to make it there on a return visit to Sydney as I am not living there anymore

  3. This is a great post! I’ve moved to Sydney from the UK and have done a lot of walking but still many to try out. Thanks for the info.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this. I am planning a visit to East coast Australia late this year taking a road trip up North and absolutely love walking so this will help out so much! Looking forward to seeing the baby wallabies too!

  5. Beautiful pictures! Love that you get to see such a diverse array of wildlife on your walks. Pretty much just see birds and dogs here in England! xo

  6. I’ve never been to Sydney, but these walks look incredible. I’m not much of a hiker so the easier 3-5km sound like a perfect way to spend a few hours and see some scenery.

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