The 14 best walks in Sydney

From stunning views of Sydney Harbour to mesmerising sandstone cliffs and vibrant culture, a walk is an amazing (and affordable) way to experience the true beauty of Sydney. Take in historic sites, fascinating wildlife, world-famous beaches and lots more with our picks for the best walks in Sydney. 

Spit Bridge to Manly Walk 

Region: Northern Beaches 

For a longer walk with spectacular Sydney Harbour views, this is the track for you. This harbourside trail passes through Sydney Harbour National Park, a mix of subtropical bushland and a series of short tracks crossing between stunning beaches, bays and inlets in North Sydney. Take in historical sites such as the Grotto Point Lighthouse and admire Aboriginal rock engravings of fish, boomerangs and kangaroos. Start at Spit Bridge and end in Manly so that you can explore the beaches, shops, and restaurants for the rest of the day. 

Who’s it for? The walk is long with steep and uneven steps along the way, so it’s not one to take little kids on. Though it’s suitable for people of most fitness levels, you’ll need to be ready to walk for a good few hours. The views are worth it, but you’ll definitely have to work for it. 

Tip: Bring a swimming costume in case you want to stop and swim at one of the secret beaches along the way, and don’t forget to pack water, snacks, a hat and sunscreen. 

  • How long is the walk? 10km one way, just under four hours. 
  • Difficulty? Medium – a few steep stairs and uneven sandstone steps but suitable for most fitness levels. 
  • Great for: Sydney Harbour, ocean and bush views, picnics, experiencing Manly, and seeing historical and Aboriginal sites. 
  • Highlights: Grotto Point Lighthouse, Sydney Harbour National Park, Fairlight Pool, Clontarf Beach, Reef Beach and Crater Cove. 

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views of Sydney Harbour from Dobroyd Head - Balgowlah Heights

Views of Sydney Harbour from Arabanoo lookout Dobroyd Head 

Glebe Foreshore Walk

Region: Inner West 

The Glebe Foreshore walk starts at Bicentennial Park and ends at the Sydney Fish Markets, with 27 hectares of beautiful parkland and reserves to enjoy along the way. The spacious walking path runs alongside Rozelle Bay and Blackwater Bay, making for fantastic views of the bays and the Sydney CBD, Sydney Harbour, and Anzac Bridge. It’s a gorgeous morning walk in particular, or if you’re not much of an early riser, it’s just as lovely during the afternoon or sunset. 

Who’s it for? Anyone looking for a short, peaceful Sydney walk with beautiful bay views and verdant, wide-open parks. It’s also dog-friendly, with sections of the walk and its parks being off-leash, so this is a great walk to enjoy with your furry friend. 

Tip: Come hungry so that you can reward yourself with fresh seafood and hot chips at the Sydney Fish Markets at the end of it. 

  • How long is the walk? 2.2km one way, 30 minutes to one hour. 
  • Difficulty? Easy – a flat walk for all fitness levels. 
  • Great for: Ocean and parkland views, nature, picnics, historical sites and dogs. 
  • Highlights: Rozelle Bay, Blackwattle Bay Park and Sydney Fish Market. 

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Bondi to Coogee Walk

Region: Eastern Suburbs

The quintessential Sydney experience, no list of the best walks in the city is complete without the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. Here you’ll see Sydney’s most iconic attractions, starting at the famous Bondi Beach, passing the ever-Instagrammable Bondi Icebergs swimming club, and following the paved path that leads to the stunning Coogee Beach. You can make a full day of it by stopping at some of the many gorgeous beaches, cliff-tops, natural rock pools, and cafes along the way. If you’re around from late June to early July, it’s also a great opportunity to try to spot some whales.

Who’s it for? Everyone! It’s an ideal walk to enjoy with friends or take a date for the day. Keep in mind that although it can make for an amazing family day out, if you have younger children, you might be better off going part-way (we like Bondi to Bronte), unless you’re willing to do a bit of carrying!

Tip: Stop off at Gordon’s Bay along the way. It’s usually less crowded than the main beaches, and features an underwater nature trail that’s perfect for snorkelling.

  • How long is the walk? 6km, about two to three hours.
  • Difficulty? Medium – mainly paved pathway with occasional steep stairs.
  • Great for: Experiencing Sydney’s most iconic beaches, whale watching, picnics and drinking excellent coffee.
  • Highlights: Bondi Beach, Bondi Icebergs, Coogee Beach, Tamarama BeachBronte Beach and Clovelly Beach.

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Family enjoying the Bondi to Coogee walk in Sydney East

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, Sydney East

Barangaroo Foreshore & Reserve

Region: City Centre 

The main path starts at the Hickson Road entrance and encircles Barangaroo Reserve before finishing at the Towns Place roundabout on the other side, but there are several paths branching through the Reserve that you can (and should) stop to wander through along the way. The Reserve itself is a stunning, multi-level park with over 75,000 native plants and trees within its lush gardens. It provides views of Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, Luna Park and Goat Island, as well as plenty of quiet, shady spots to sit and relax. The walk is also a great chance to get familiar with Sydney’s trendiest new precinct and all of the modern restaurants, shops and architecture it has to offer. 

Who’s it for? Everybody. A family and dog-friendly stroll suitable for people of all fitness levels, you can make it an all-day picnic or just stop by to see it the next time you’re in the city. It’s also ideal for solo walkers who want a relaxing stroll with quiet spots to sit and enjoy the scenery. 

Tip: You’ll make the most of it if you stop to explore the park and take in the incredible views of Sydney Harbour – head up to Stargazer’s Lawn for a great viewpoint. 

  • How long is the walk? 2km one way, one to two hours. 
  • Difficulty? Easy – mostly flat for all fitness levels. 
  • Great for: Sydney Harbour, ocean and parkland views, nature, picnics, historical sites, cycling. 
  • Highlights: Darling Harbour, Harbour Bridge, Barangaroo Reserve, Stargazer’s Lawn and The Cutaway. 

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Men running through by Nawi Cove, Barangaroo Reserve, Barangaroo, Sydney City

Barangaroo Reserve, Barangaroo

Hermitage Foreshore Walk

Region: Eastern Suburbs 

If you’re after a well-shaded coastal walk packed with family-friendly beaches and historical sites, try this one. Start at Nielsen Park and finish up at Bayview Hill Road in Rose Bay. This trail includes five beaches where you can have a swim, picnic, take a pit stop, or watch the sunset. Not to mention views of multi-million dollar mansions, including the famous historic Strickland House, and the beautiful Shark Island. By the time you’re finished with this walk, your photo storage will be completely full. 

Who’s it for? This is a great walk if you’re visiting during the hot summers and are travelling in a group. If you’re after something that’s relatively relaxed but still helps you get in some steps, this is perfect for you. 

Tip:Milk Beach is our pick for the best beach along the walk for a quick stop, but we encourage you to try them all out and decide for yourself! 

  • How long is the walk? 1.8km one way, about 45 minutes to one hour. 
  • Difficulty? Easy – mostly boardwalk with a few stairs. 
  • Great for: Family walks, picnicking, Sydney Harbour views, hot day activity, and seeing Sydney’s beaches and historical sites. 
  • Highlights: Nielsen Park, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Shark Island, Strickland House, Queens Beach, Hermit Beach, Tingira Beach, Shark Beach and Milk Beach. 

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Friends on the Hermitage Foreshore Track, Vaucluse

Hermitage Foreshore Track section of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to South Head Walk 

Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock

Region: Sydney’s South 

If you want to witness the spectacular views of The Coast Track, but aren’t quite ready for the entire 26km hike, this trail is an ideal option. Start at Beachcomber Avenue in Bundeena and make your way to Wedding Cake Rock. Picture mesmerising sandstone cliffs, coastal lookouts, and seasonal flowers that will lead you to this treasured Sydney beauty. Come during late June or early July and you might be able to spot some whales! 

Who’s it for? We’d recommend tackling this walk if you have at least a moderate level of fitness. It’s not too long, but the track gets steep and rocky, and it crosses through coastal heathland and bushes, so it can be demanding for the less experienced. 

Tip: There’s limited phone reception here, and it’s best to bring water and snacks with you and use the toilet before you set. Also please remember that Wedding Cake Rock is highly unstable, so stay behind the fence – the risk is definitely not worth the photo. 

  • How long is the walk? 3.5km one way, about 2.5 hours. 
  • Difficulty? Medium/difficult – walking through the bush, some steep sandstone stairs and up hills. 
  • Great for: A decent workout, sightseeing, bird watching, bush walking, wildflowers and whale watching. 
  • Highlights: Wedding Cake Rock, The Balconies and Heart Rock. 

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People walking the Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock coastal walk, Royal National Park

Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock walk, Royal National Park - Credit: DPE

Cape Baily Walking Track 

Region: Southeast Sydney 

If you love exploring cliff tops, rock formations, and ocean views but you’ve already tried most of the harbour and beach walks, try the Cape Baily Walking Track. Start at Cape Solander in the Kurnell area of Kamay Botany National Park, and enjoy spectacular views of the ocean from the dramatic sandstone cliffs, before reaching Cape Baily Lighthouse. Afterwards, head to Cronulla to refuel at one of its many cafes and restaurants, or take a swim at the beach. 

Who’s it for? Those who have ticked off the more famous Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk and Spit Bridge to Manly Walk, and want to try a new hike with just as impressive panoramic views of the ocean. 

Tip: There’s no shade cover, so on hot summer days you’ll feel the full force of the sun. Bring plenty of drinking water, as there is no where to fill up along the way. 

  • How long is the walk?  Depending on how much time you’ve got, either do the shorter 4km one-way walk finishing at Potter Point, or the 8km return walk, which takes about three hours. 
  • Difficulty? Easy/medium – this peaceful walk is great for most visitors, especially those who love the great outdoors.  
  • Great for: Ocean views, and unique scenery such as rock formations. 
  • Highlights: Cape Baily Lighthouse. 

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Cascades Trail 

Region: North Shore 

Looking to avoid the crowds or try something a little different to your usual oceanside walk? Start from Acron Oval in St Ives and traverse dense bushland through Garigal National Park. You’ll pass an abundance of native Australian trees and flowers on your way to the rocky cascades, a beautiful set of small waterfalls and rock pools. Look out for some of the park’s wildlife, such as burrowing frogs, Rosenberg’s goannas and kookaburras. There are also plenty of sites with Aboriginal cave art and rock engravings for you to marvel at. 

Who’s it for? Nature lovers who are looking to do some bushwalking in the wilderness, away from the crowds. It’s not very long and can be undertaken by people of most fitness levels without any bushwalking experience, but it’s still considered a moderately challenging walk. 

Tip: Bungaroo Pool used to be a public swimming hole. While we wouldn’t suggest swimming there now, you should keep an eye out for the inscription of ‘Ladies’ in the rock to mark the old ladies’ changing area from the early 1900s. 

  • How long is the walk? 3.2km return, one hour. 
  • Difficulty? Medium – bush walking along a fire trail, hilly. 
  • Great for: Bushwalking, nature, wildlife and birdwatching – and getting away from the crowds. 
  • Highlights: The beautiful little waterfalls, rock platforms and rockpools at the junction of Middle Harbour creek and French’s creek (and the reason for the name of the walk). 

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Stepping Stone Crossing to Cascades Trail. Image Credit: Shaun Sursok

Cascades Trail, Sydney North - Credit: Shaun Sursok

Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk

Region: North Shore 

Lace up your runners for a trail with a stunning view of the city and the Sydney Opera House. Start at Taronga Zoo Wharf and make your way around the coast to Chowder Bay. You’ll walk through an old angophora forest filled with wildlife and ancient trees, and then find yourself on a track that eventually opens up to the Clifton Gardens Reserve and Chowder Bay. While walking, you’ll have extraordinary views of the harbour and Sydney Opera House, as well as South Head, Rose Bay, Shark Island and Bradleys Head

Who’s it for? City walkers who are looking for a mid-length stroll around Sydney. There are some stairs, but it’s a fairly easy walk with many places to stop along the way, so it’s suitable for people of all fitness levels. 

Tip: There’s not much parking at Bradley’s Head, so if you’re driving then definitely start from the Taronga Zoo end. This way, you can also stop for lunch at Ripples Chowder Bay to break up the return trip. 

  • How long is the walk? 4km one way, about two to three hours. 
  • Difficulty? Easy/medium – clear pathways with a few stairs. 
  • Great for: Stunning views of the city, experiencing Australian wildlife, picnics, finding hidden beaches and a waterside seafood lunch. 
  • Highlights: Sydney Opera House, Chowder Bay, Clifton Gardens Reserve, South Head, Rose Bay, Shark Island and Bradleys Head. 

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South Head Heritage Trail 

Region: Eastern Suburbs 

Pick this walk if you’re curious about Sydney’s rich history and want to soak up some ocean views while you’re at it. Beginning at Watsons Bay ferry terminal, you’ll follow a sidewalk along the beach until you pass through beautiful Camp Cove. From there, take the cobblestone pathways that will lead you to the historic Hornby Lighthouse. You’ll also stumble across a lightkeeper’s cottage, old military cannons and sandstone gun emplacements. While at the lighthouse, you’ll be able to see stunning views of Sydney Harbour, Middle Head and North Head, and you may also see some whales if you’re lucky! 

Who’s it for? Another easier walk that’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels, with a paved walkway and some stairs. 

Tip: Linger around Watsons Bay for a while before you depart and try one of its amazing restaurants – such as Doyles or Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel – or lounge around the park. 

  • How long is the walk? 2.8km, just over one hour. 
  • Difficulty? Easy/medium – mainly paved walkway, some soft sand walking along Camp Cove beach and a few sections with stairs. 
  • Great for: Historical sightseeing, whale watching, ocean views and seafood. 
  • Highlights: Camp Cove, Hornby Lighthouse, Lady Bay Beach and Sydney Harbour. 

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Hornby Lighthouse, South Head of Sydney Harbour

Hornby Lighthouse, South Head - Credit: Kevin McGrath, DPIE

Fairfax Walk  

Region: Northern Beaches 

If you’re looking for a walk that’s short and sweet but still delivers top-notch views, give Fairfax Walk at North Head a try. This walk starts at the end of North Head Scenic Drive and then circles around the top of North Head. You’ll get stunning ocean views as well as a glimpse into the hustle and bustle happening at the CBD. This is another one for the late June-July and August-October whale watching aficionados. 

Who’s it for? The walk is short and relaxed, so it’s suitable for everyone. It’s a particularly great choice if you’re travelling with children or need wheelchair accessibility. 

Tip: Finished the walk but don’t feel ready to call it a day? The track connects to the Manly Scenic Walkway where you can continue walking to your heart’s content. 

  • How long is the walk? 1km loop, about 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • Difficulty? Easy – paved walkway, gentle walk and wheelchair accessible. 
  • Great for: Travelling with children, whale watching, a short walk and ocean views. 
  • Highlights:  Yiningma lookout and Burragula lookout – two lookouts which provide the kinds of views you see on Sydney postcards. 

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Burragula Lookout, City View North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park

Burragula Lookout, Sydney Harbour National Park - Credit: John Spencer/DCCEEW

Western Escarpment Walking Track

Region: Eastern Suburbs 

To explore Sydney’s lush bushlands, follow the Western Escarpment Track. Start your journey at Pioneers Park in Malabar where you’ll make your way through an island of preserved bushland that will lead you to 360-degree views over Malabar Headland National Park, Maroubra Beach and Botany Bay. Along the way, there are plenty of lookouts and seating for you to soak up the views. You’ll also encounter some of Sydney’s beautiful wildlife, such as red wattlebirds, new holland honeyeaters and blue fairy-wrens. 

Who’s it for? People who want both the coastal and bushwalking experience in one short, sweet walk. However, it’s not ideal for parents with prams, since the track is a bit rough. 

Tip: Look up and, if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of sea eagles or kestrels circling above. 

  • How long is the walk? 1km one way, about 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • Difficulty? Easy/medium – short well-formed track, short steep hills and occasional steps. 
  • Great for: Nature lovers, bird watching, ocean views, whale watching and those after a short walk. 
  • Highlights: Malabar Headland National Park, Maroubra Beach and Malabar Beach

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A person on the Malabar walking track, Malabar Headland National Park

Malabar walking track at Malabar Headland National Park, Malabar - Credit: John Spencer/DCCEEW

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk 

Region: Northern Beaches 

The views along Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk are so unbelievable, it’s hard to fathom that you’re only an hour away from Sydney’s CBD. Barrenjoey Lighthouse is set 91m above sea level at Sydney’s famous Palm Beach, which also happens to be where they film Home and Away. It's no wonder they chose this spot with its unforgettable views of Broken Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Parkand the Central Coast

It’s a short but steep walk to the very top but what awaits you at the end is well worth it. The walk starts at the carpark on Station Beach and you can either take the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk to the top or, if you’re after a harder workout, try the Smuggler’s Track (or tackle one track on the way up, the other on the way down). 

  • How long is the walk? 1km one way, about 30 minutes each direction, on the Barrenjoey track. 
  • Difficulty: Moderate – Barrenjoey track is relatively easy and picturesque. Smugglers track offers a steeper and shorter trek up to the lighthouse, but it's well worth the effort. 
  • Great for: Panoramic views, whale watching and a historic lighthouse. 
  • Highlights: There’s no doubt the scenery at the top of this walk is the cherry on top. The views of the peninsula are nothing short of spectacular. 

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Couple enjoying a scenic coastal hike on the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk in Palm Beach, Sydney

Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Palm Beach

Aboriginal Heritage Walk 

Region: North Shore 

This walk through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is arguably the best in Sydney for getting out in nature while also learning more about the stories and heritage of the local Aboriginal people. Start from the Resolute picnic area at the end of West Head Road, close to the edge of the peninsula. Follow the looping trail past the sacred Red Hands Cave to the breathtaking West Head Lookout and then the secluded Resolute Beach for a truly magical walking experience. Along the way you can get a closer look at traditional Aboriginal engravings, artworks and even a historic occupation shelter. 

Who’s it for? When you’re looking for a stunning nature walk, but also want to know more about the rich Aboriginal culture and history of the area. It can be difficult, so it’s best for people with at least a moderate level of fitness or some bushwalking experience. Bring sun protection, swimmers, food and plenty of water. 

Tip: Just try this one. Really. 

  • How long is the walk? 4.4km loop, three hours. 
  • Difficulty? Moderately difficult – bush walk on a rough track with many obstacles, steep gradient and many steps. 
  • Great for: Bushwalking, nature, Aboriginal culture and history, beaches and picnicking. 
  • Highlights: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, West Head Lookout, Red Hands Cave and Resolute Beach. 

> Get directions