Sydney is unique among other international cities in that the ruggedness of nature is right there on its doorstep. Whether it be dense bush, stunning sandstone or sweeping ocean views, Sydney offers ample opportunity to escape the excitement and bustle of city life and embrace the tranquility of nature.
The spectacular range of coastal walks around the region is among the best ways to experience all this. From Palm Beach in the city’s north to the Royal National Park in the south, Sydney’s coastal strolls make for a wonderful weekend activity, whether you’re a local or holiday-goer.
Best of all, there are plenty of online guides, such as www.walking.sydney, specifically targeted to local audiences. These resources offer a wealth of information about which walks suit your tastes best, according to scenery, physical fitness, and ease of transport.
Here are five of the best to get you started.
Bondi to Coogee
The Bondi to Coogee trail is an iconic Sydney walk that hugs the coastline of the city’s swanky Eastern Suburbs. Extending approximately six kilometres, the walk begins at Bondi Beach, easily accessible from the CBD via train and bus. The stroll passes some of Sydney’s best small beaches—including Bronte, Tamarama and Clovelly—with great swimming to be had at each stop. Top it all off with hugely picturesque Gordon’s Bay (with excellent snorkelling and diving) and the historic Waverly Cemetery.
This walk is regarded as medium in difficulty—the terrain is smooth, yet there are a few steep sections. Anyone looking for an even longer walk should consider going beyond Coogee to the bigger beach at Maroubra. Buses can be caught back to the city from both locations.
Bundeena to Marley Head
This option is a spectacular hike that demands a full day to be properly experienced. Bundeena is a tiny town in the Royal National Park and can be reached by ferry from Cronulla. The walk, which is just under 11 kilometres round trip, takes you across lush scenes and bushland. Once you’ve weaved through these areas, you’ll find expansive sandstone platforms overlooking the Pacific, with particularly astounding views to be had from Marley Head itself.
The Bundeena to Marley Head walk is recommended for semi-experienced bushwalkers and features the occasional steep incline.
Handy tip: Keep a safe distance from the cliff, as some edges and rock platforms are unstable.
Spit to Manly
The Spit to Manly walk is another Sydney adventure that allows you to visit some beautiful and secluded beaches. This 10-kilometre trail begins on the north side of the Spit Bridge, which can be reached via bus from the CBD. From there, the trail snakes around the water’s edge, taking you to Clontarf Reserve and Castle Rock Beach.
Other small beaches to spend time at include Reef and Forty Baskets Beaches. But what really takes the cake is the where the walk ends, the infamous Manly Beach.
Handy tip: For more information on the many delights on offer in Manly, head to www.hellomanly.sydney.
Rose Bay to Watsons Bay
One of the best things about the adventure between Rose Bay and Watsons Bay is the view looking back at the city, with the CBD’s famous skyline, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge all visible.
The walk begins at Rose Bay ferry wharf, and comes in at a fairly easy hike of 8 kilometres. Highlights include the low-key hotspots of Tingara and Milk Beaches, and the slightly busier Shark Beach. There is also a slice of history to be enjoyed with the imposing heritage-listed building Strickland House, a must-see as you pass through Vaucluse.
For many though, the jewel of this walk is the Hermitage Foreshore Track. This fantastic route offers lovely views of clifftops, heathland, and even sections of rainforest. For added adventure, good fishing spots can be found in the hidden coves around the area.
Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay
This easy, relatively short (2.7-kilometre) walk begins near Taronga Zoo and finishes at Chowder Bay. This walk features sweeping, panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, dense bushland, and the chance to enjoy Clifton Gardens on the way, a historic picnic spot that also has a swimming enclosure.
The undemanding nature of this walk means kids can enjoy it too, while half the fun is getting to the start of the walk via ferry from Circular Quay.