The city of Sydney and its surrounding environs is truly blessed by nature. A stunning seafront combined with steep, rocky geography means that many parts of the city enjoy great, sweeping vistas.
There are numerous established public paths and trails that allow residents and visitors alike to enjoy strolling and hiking. And over the last decade the municipal authorities have also been designating some surrounding areas as places of outstanding natural beauty, where development is carefully controlled. As a result, there are a huge variety of beautiful walks available for those of all ages and abilities. And – as an additional bonus – the majority of them are absolutely free.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse Track
Approx. time to complete: 1.5hrs
To start your walk, a road trip to the northern end of Palm Beach is required. From there it’s a steep ascent to the Lighthouse itself, but boy is it worth it. You will be rewarded by incredible views of the central coast, Palm Beach and the South Pacific Ocean. There are also remnants of other historic lighthouses along the way.
Berowra Waters to Cowan Station
Approx. time to complete: 3hrs 30mins
This is the easier part of a challenging ‘Great North Walk’ that runs between Sydney and Newcastle. This section follows the ridges and valleys around Berowra Waters, with its cute ferry in easy sight. There are wonderful vistas along the way, as well as fascinating rock formations and gushing creeks to splash around in.
Bondi to Bronte
Approx. time to complete: 1hr 30mins
Strolling from Bondi to Bronte is a weekend activity beloved by both city-dwellers and tourists. The seafront path, initiated in the 1930s and which links the two beaches, also takes in the lovely crescent-shaped Tamarama Beach as well.
There are lots of opportunities to stop for refreshments and take a dip in the ocean along the way, with plenty of seafront kiosks, picnic areas and the occasional restaurant.
Distance: Half way up the 141m bridge
Approx. time to complete: 3.5hrs
A truly steep walk! While plenty of hikes allow you to take in views of Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge, this is the only one that enables you to look down on the city from the structure itself. Definitely only for those with a head for heights. Make enquires at 3 Cumberland St, The Rocks.
Bundeena to Otford
Approx. time to complete: 2 days
Difficulty: Good level of fitness required
This walk is more of an adventure, including an overnight camping experience. This hike through the Royal National Park offers not only great views but also the opportunity, depending on the time of the year, to undertake some serious bird and whale watching. For the latter, May and August are the best months.
There are also some excellent rock formations and cliffs to check out around the Bundeena area.
Approx. time to complete: 1hr
This is one of Sydney’s great coastal walks. Start at Bayview Hill Road or Nielsen Park, and take in the views of Shark Island and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Why not stop off and enjoy the grounds of Strickland House on the way?
Manly to Spit Bridge
Approx. time to complete: 3-4hrs
Begin your journey on the ferry across to Manly. From the Wharf there, this well-marked trail first passes Dobroyd Head, one of its most scenic spots with a great view of the harbour. From there, continue through the National Park along the shorelines of Clontarf Beach, Sandy Beach and Fisher Bay.
There are plenty of opportunities to stop and take a dip at one of the pristine beaches along the way. Between May and November, you may be able to spot whales migrating along the coast.
However much – or little – time you have, and whatever your fitness level, with so many wonderful walks available throughout the city and its surrounding area, there’s no excuse not to enjoy what Sydney has to offer.