As a local Sydney sider, I am grateful to live here and be able to do multiple hikes and numerous walks. Whether it be the famous well-known trials or secret Sydney walks. Walks and hiking is something I usually do at home and also when I’m traveling to a new place around the world.
You could be an exchange student, traveler, living in Sydney or in between jobs, there are many walks and hikes to do in Sydney that you will enjoy! I have put together the best ones I recommend below.
Best 13 walks in and around Sydney
- Best 13 walks in and around Sydney
- 1. Shelly Headland Upper Lookout
- 2. Blackwattle Bay Walk
- 3. Watsons Bay to Bondi Walk
- 4. Seacliff Bridge Viewpoint Walk
- 5. Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk
- 6. Otford to Bundeena Coastal Walk
- 7. Parsley Bay Suspension Bridge Walk
- 8. Bondi to Coogee coastal walks
- 9. Stunning Blue Mountains Walk
- 10. Federation Cliff Walk
- 11. Harbour Bridge walk
- 12. Sydney Opera House/ Botanical Garden Walk
- 13. Hermitage Foreshore Walk
But first, some walks and hiking tips
- Take plenty of water (reusable water bottles if possible)
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat
- Don’t forget to put on sun protection
- Bring photo ID
- Also a small first aid kit
- If going for long walks, bring your own packed lunch/snacks and picnic rug if you like
- Warm and wet weather gear
- Phone/ Camera if you are into photos
- If you need a ride to the starting point of the hike and using rideshare, use code k7zapn for a $10 off your first Uber ride and use code WT7BSQD2 for a $20 Didi discount which is a rivalry to Uber and way cheaper!
I believe walking is a bit like life. The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other .. again and again, and again. And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the walk, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the end. With that in mind, let’s start this epic list!
1. Shelly Headland Upper Lookout
I am super excited to bring you yet another secret walk/hike in Sydney! (If you are new here, I just added this today on 10/7/2020) Subscribe for blog updates or follow on Instagram to watch me find these places in real-time!
So last weekend, I went for a sunset walk with my mum in Manly and found this amazing short hike that overlooks the entire Manly beach! And as I mentioned on my Instagram post, I also met two afghani hikers who were drinking tea out of their thermos! 😊 It’s not something you see often in Sydney which gave me an impression like I was in a remote place meeting local people even though in real life I was right here in Sydney! Needless to say, the views and sunsets from the top were spectacular.
You can start this walk from Manly Lagoon or Manly Beach. Just keep the beach on your left and road on your right. This coastal track includes towering cliffs, couple cafes, stunning headlands, and historic military sites and is one of Sydney’s most magnificent. If you follow the route you will pass Shelley Beach, climb some stairs, pass car park, viewpoints on the left, and right in front of you is the entrance to this short hike!
It is not a difficult hike, if my 65 years old mum can do it, you can too! The path is pretty obvious but what maybe not be is, there are two viewpoints at the top. One at the front and one at the back. You can easily do both at one go but both offer great sunsets view. We even witness moon rising as it was a full moon on Sunday night! There was a couple with their dog all the way to the top which I thought was pretty cool but you may want to check if that is really allowed.
Stunning Spots: Manly Lagoon, Manly Beach, Shelly Beach, then, of course, this lookout, The Fairfax Walk at North Head, Q Station, North Head Sanctuary, take a tour of North Fort if you like, followed by the Manly Scenic Walkway, or take the Bluefish Track near Bluefish Point back to Shelly Beach.
Tip: Bring your binocular if you got them (it’s whale season right now and you may spot some!)
Getting There: You can get to Circular Quay Station either by train, light rail, bus, or Uber and walk up to Wharf 3 to get on a Ferry to Manly. If you are on a budget, recommend heading there on Sundays because public transport will only cost you $2.50 each way and because of that Sundays are also the busiest day to go out.
Use the Transport NSW site to help plan your trip with public transport.
2. Blackwattle Bay Walk
Blackwattle bay walk used to be my neighborhood walk! It is a pleasant walk that goes from Bicentennial, Federal, Jubilee Park, and Pope Paul VI Reserve in Glebe to the Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont, along Rozelle Bay and Blackwattle Bay.
Recommend to treat yourself to some fresh seafood at the famous Sydney Fish Market when you finish this walking track in Pyrmont on the other side of Blackwattle Bay. There are cafes and restaurants along the way too.
Stunning spots: This walking track offers great views of the Anzac Bridge and the Sydney Harbour. You will come across several parks and reserves along the way to relax and to soak up the peaceful vibe and scenic views of this picturesque part of Sydney.
Getting there: There is a small car park located on Chapman Road next to Bicentennial Park, I suggest to go early as it fills up quickly. Alternatively, you can get to Blackwattle Bay by Bus, Train, or Light rail. These are the lines and routes that have stops nearby – Bus 389, 501 Train: T1, T3, T4, or Light rail that stops in Glebe, Jubilee Park, and Rozelle Bay.
3. Watsons Bay to Bondi Walk
I think it has to be one of the scenic, most accessible and rewarding walks in Sydney. There is a couple of separate edges views points, endless ocean, pretty flowers, and dedicated walking path. On a fast phase, about 1.30 hours otherwise could take over 2 hours to complete this walk. Along the way, you can see some of Sydney’s finest secluded beaches, beautiful parks, stunning views of Sydney Harbour, the city skyline, and picture-perfect bays.
If would like a challenge you can start from the historic Hornby Lighthouse as you can also see North Head. The panoramic views of the city skyline and the Sydney Harbour will make you want to do this walking track more than once. Then when you arrive in Bondi, enjoy a well-deserved lunch at any of the cafes, rest up in Bondi Beach and enjoy the views.
Stunning spots: Camp Cove, Diamond Bay which is considered a secret sydney walks (more on that below)
Train: From Townhall Station, Park Street, Stand G bus number 324 or 324 and 325 departing Circular Quay. You can also catch the ferry to Watsons Bay from Circular Quay which could be a nice opportunity to see even more of Sydney Harbour, the sailing ships, yachts, and not to mention the prestigious waterfront mansions.
4. Seacliff Bridge Viewpoint Walk
I must warn you this is not just a walk, more like a little hike. Be careful as the drop is huge but the view is worth it! I have written a whole post about this special walk. Read how to get to seacliff bridge walk here.
5. Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk
Another one of my favorite Secret sydney walks is the walk from Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay. This stunning bush track weaves its way around the harbor headlands from Taronga Zoo Wharf around Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay. It is a quintessential Sydney walk perfect for soaking up the views of the city, historic sites, harbor views, and heritage-listed buildings.
Chowder Bay offers a couple of great dining options and if you plan on exercising a bit, then I suggest taking a backpack with swimmers, a towel and a picnic is also a perfect option given the view!
Stunning spots: This whole track pretty much offers the Sydney harbor views, historic sites, and heritage-listed buildings.
Getting there: Drive up to Taronga Zoo first and start this walk from there. It is a stunning view from there!
6. Otford to Bundeena Coastal Walk
This is Sydney’s premier coastal walk, taking you through the third oldest national park in the WORLD! The magnificent Royal National Park was established in 1879 and looks as good now as its hay days! You can either do a part of this walk or 2 days hike as the total walking distance is about 29km. There are opportunities for bird-watching, kayaking, whale-watching, and snorkeling along the way. Winding through the forest, up and down headlands and crossing long and elegant beaches all day. If you prefer a day walk, you can also do a section of it and call it a day.
Stunning spots not to miss – Garie beach, Wattamolla Beach, wedding cake rock at Bundeena then Cronulla. It is a semi-hard walk, so fitness is certainly required.
Train: From Central Station Platform 25 to Otford Station. From Otford Station steep climb out of Otford Valley to the RNP entrance, at Otford Lookout.
Read here for weekend getaways from Sydney 0-3 hours away and fun weekend getaways close to sydney 3-6 hours away
7. Parsley Bay Suspension Bridge Walk
Sydney is full of secret hidden wonders and Parsley Bay is one of them! It is located in the Eastern Suburbs at a peaceful harbor, bushland setting.
If you are looking for a secluded harbor side paradise away from the crowds, where you can relax and explore the natural wonderland, Parsley Bay is perfect.
Recommend bringing thongs, or casual activewear. Either walk along or swim at the bay. The walk begins at the western side of Parsley Bay beach by the seawall and finishes on the eastern side of the bay at the wharf.
Stunning spots: The 100-year-old cable suspension footbridge which is surrounded by stunning nooks to swim, fish, or picnic. Parsley Bat itself!
Getting there: There is a small car park at the end of Horler Avenue (a very narrow road) off Parsley Road. Then the pedestrian access starts from The Crescent, Hopetoun Avenue, and Horler Avenue.
8. Bondi to Coogee coastal walks
If the walk between the Watson Bay and Bondi is not enough, you can extend it by doing Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. This walk has six different sections. Each part offers a different experience and stunning views. Just walk south along the coastal path from Bondi and you can see the tiny Tamarama beach, beautiful Bronte beach, chic Clovelly beach, gorgeous Gordon’s Bay, and cute Coogee beach– all within 6 km.
Wander around the rock pools at low tide and watch the sun go up (or down depending on when you want to do the walk, it is open 24 hrs for sunrise and sunsets) with good coffee or excellent fish and chips from across the road. If you are in the right month of the year you can also visit the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. (usually around November) The whole walk usually takes about 2 hours if done in a leisurely fashion.
No visit to Sydney is complete without Bondi to Coogee Walk!
Stunning spots: Bondi beach, Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach, Clovelly Beach, Cemetery, Gordan’s Bay, Coogee Beach
Train: From Central Station to Bondi Junction Station (T4/ Platform 24) then walk 10 mins to Bondi Beach or take the bus no 333 or 380 from Bondi Junction station. Bus: 1 straight bus (333,380) from the city to Bondi beach.
9. Stunning Blue Mountains Walk
The Blue Mountains is a good choice if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You will see magnificent scenery, hidden waterfalls, options for detours, a long set of stairs, and a panoramic view, and more. If you go through the guided tour – there should be an option to meet Australian Ancestors aka Aboriginals who will showcase their history and tradition in a special dance!
You are spoiled for choice in Blue mountain as it offers many walks and hikes. For example: if you are taking the train and getting off at Katoomba station. You can do The ‘classic’ walk at Scenic World, walk along the cliff top to Echo Point & 3 Sisters – down Giant Stairway – right through rainforest valley – up the scenic railway. Remember to be careful with the Giant Stairway!
If you get off on Leura, you can do Sublime Point Lookout, Leura Cascades /Leura Forest/Fern Bower Circuit, and many others. I suggest picking one walk for the day and do that. Most paths are interconnecting with numerous descent ascent points too so, a map is handy!
Then, there are other walks which would be easier with a car than public transport as the starting point are a little far from the train station. Like the hanging rock at Blackheath, my personal favorite! Please check the blue Mountain Australia website for details in regards to all the walks, their difficulty level, and estimate time here.
Optional: If you are adventurous like me, you can also try rock climbing, abseiling or canyoning here. With the view that good, chances are you might get obsessed with it. You are tied to a rope the whole time but if you miss one lope, there is nothing behind you beside a big black hole of emptiness and trees. I had an amazing experience and most thrilling than skydiving if I may say so! Skydiving was fun too but thrilling for only a few seconds when you are free-falling but rock climbing in blue mountains is on another level!
Train: From Central Station to Leura Station (the Blue Mountains Line/ Platform 6) Same train goes to Katoomba and Blackheath too.
10. Federation Cliff Walk
This is another secret sydney walks not many people know of! The walk sweeps around the coastline on a walking path and timber boardwalk. The clear highlight is the rugged eastern cliffs at Diamond Bay which you will want to stop and take in.
Recommend doing this walk first thing in the morning to enjoy the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean to really appreciate it at its best. Please note, this particular place is dangerous and exercises extreme caution.
Getting there: This stunning coastal walk starts at Raleigh Reserve in Dover Heights and ends at Christison Park, Vaucluse. As long as you can manage the 4km, there is a delicious Grumpy Baker treat waiting for you at the other end!
11. Harbour Bridge walk
If you are wondering Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the tallest steel arch bridges in the world. It links the northern suburbs of Sydney with the city center and connecting more than 200,000 cars across the bridge in a single day! And clearly this is not Secret sydney walks but the opposite because it is well known around the world.
There are two options to walk on this bridge. 1. The pedestrian footpath crossing the bridge (20 mins from one end to another). The second image is the view from the harbor bridge.
Buy the bride climb ticket on the official Harbour Bridge website and do the bridge walk that way! Either way, I think it is an iconic walk that you should experience when in Sydney. With enough facilities such as toilets and cafe’s along the way, this walk is perfect for all outdoor enthusiasts, from solo travelers to groups.
Train: From Circular Quay Station 3 mins walk to the bridge
12. Sydney Opera House/ Botanical Garden Walk
This is the famous touristy thing to do but this walk is so gorgeous not to consider. Have you ever walked around the Sydney Opera House and the botanical garden especially during the sunrise or sunsets?
Though it is in the city, during early hours of the morning the area is usually quiet with rare noise pollution. You can see joggers, walkers, and photographers who appreciate nature and are enjoying and minding their own business. There are also plenty of seats along the way. There is so much to see here like I saw bats for the first time in my life!
Not to miss gorgeous gardens, the Calyx experience, birds, and magnetic harbor. Such a laid-back walk, perfect for any age. 1-2 hours for the slow walk.
Note: It also offers one of the best sunset views from Mrs. Macquire Chair and one of my fav Sydney walking.
Train: From Central Station 20-30 minutes or from Circular Quay Station 5 mins walk. There is so much to explore out there. Just put on a pair of good shoes, a bottle of water, some snacks, and go. Watch as the world unfolds in front of you.
13. Hermitage Foreshore Walk
This can be a quick walk but there are many scenic stops along the way perfect for picnics, photo ops, and swimming at scenic beaches overlooking the harbor. The walking path is made of both paved and timber boardwalk, which makes it relatively easy going (though there are steps along the way).
Stop by the Milk Beach, the historic Strickland House, and enjoy the panoramic views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera house, Shark Island, beautiful dense bushland, and home of the rich and wealthy along the water. The walk finishes at the turquoise waters of Shark Beach. It is not as scary as the name suggests though and there is a shark net if that makes you feel a little better. There is also a good cafe nearby, a grassed area to relax and toilets if needed. Consider it a hidden gem compared to Bondi-Coogee walks or Opera House- Botanical Gardens walks.
Train: Use the T4 train line to get to Bondi Junction then switch to the bus 386 towards Vaucluse.
Drive: You can park the car at Bayview Hill Road or Nielsen Park and go for a return trip to make the most of it.
The following walks also come highly recommended. Such as – Barrenjoey lighthouse walk, Balls head reserve, west head lookout, palm beach, and manly walk to spit bridge walk. Feel free to add me on Instagram as I cover these coast track and beach walk on the weekly.
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