A Guide To The Best Walks in Sydney

Damien Bonal Marketing Manager
10 Minutes Mar 19th, 2021
a bridge looking out onto the sea

It is a well known fact that Sydney is located in the middle of a natural paradise. As such, you’d expect to have access to plenty of great walking trails, and you’d be absolutely right! Showing off spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and majestic natural sandstone cliffs, there are a variety of walking tracks appropriate to amblers of all abilities.

We’ve put together this list to cover 6 of the best walks in Sydney that are in close proximity to the CBD, and can be tackled in less than a day. These range from short paved walks that can be completed in under an hour, to longer trails you can spend the whole day exploring at your leisure. If you have a day or even just a half day to spare, any of the nature walks in the list below will give you a glimpse into the abundance of natural beauty right on Sydney’s doorstep.

Glebe Foreshore Walk

The Glebe Foreshore Walk starts at Bicentennial Park, and makes its way along the beautiful coastlines of Rozelle Bay and Blackwater bay, ending at the Sydney Fish Markets. Located in the inner city suburb of Glebe, this walk is a fantastic option for beginners, as well as those looking for a casual walk without leaving the city limits.

Even though this walk is in such close proximity to the city, it still has access to beautiful views, including Sydney’s CBD, Anzac Bridge and Sydney harbour. Along the walk there are several parks and reserves to relax and soak up these picturesque views. This is a great walk to bring along your four-legged friend, who you can let off the leash along the way at Pope Paul VI Reserve.

Locals tips: Don’t eat before you come. Once you arrive at the Sydney Fish Markets at the end of the walk, stop and get some fresh seafood and hot chips. You’ll be thankful you did.

Region: Inner City
Distance: 2.2km
Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy – almost completely flat. Suitable for all fitness levels.
Find out more here

Barangaroo Foreshore Walk

The Barangaroo Foreshore Walk makes up part of the Barangaroo reserve, a 6 hectare multi-level waterfront park. This walk, while having defined start and end points, is best enjoyed as an exploration. Take some time to explore the paths that weave through and interconnect the reserve and enjoy the vast parkland which contains over 75,000 native plants and trees.

The multi-level nature of the park presents amazing views of Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, Luna Park and Goat Island, as well as plenty of quiet shady spots to sit and relax. This is also a great opportunity to get to know Sydney’s trendiest new precinct of Barangaroo, with all of the restaurants, shops and architecture on offer.

The Barangaroo Foreshore walk is very easy and would make a great walk on which to take the family, the dog, or both. This is certainly one of the best nature walks in Sydney, and such a short walk from Sydney’s CBD it’s one not to miss.

Locals tips: Take some time to explore the reserve, and even pack a picnic to enjoy at Stargazer’s Lawn, which has the best views in the park.

Region: Inner City
Distance: 2km
Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy – mostly flat. Suitable for all fitness levels.
Find out more here

Hermitage Foreshore Walk

Following the western coastline of the Sydney Suburb Vaucluse, the Hermitage Foreshore Walk follows a strip of parks along the water, ending at Shark Beach in Neilson Park. It’s true that the Hermitage Foreshore Walk is on the shorter side, but it is best enjoyed with many pit stops where you can enjoy the views.

Along this walk are five of Sydney’s nicest beaches, where you can stop for a swim or picnic and even watch the sunset. The view from here extends all the way to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and with a sunset backdrop this can be the perfect spot to snap that next winning pic for Instagram.

This is a great walk to bring the family, as going is pretty easy, and there are plenty of spots to stop and take it all in while the kids run amok on the beach.

Locals tips: Make sure to check out Milk Beach, which is our favourite stop on this walk. It’s a great place to enjoy a packed dinner and glass of wine at sunset!

Region: Eastern Suburbs
Distance: 1.8km
Time: ~30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy – mostly boardwalks with a few stairs. Suitable for all fitness levels.
Find out more here

Manly to Spit Walk

For a slightly more substantial walk that feels a little less like a city trail, the Manly to Spit walk may be perfect for you! Starting in Manly, this 10km track weaves around the coastline through Sydney Harbour national park and ends at the Spit Bridge.

For those who are keen to get their steps in but also do not want to travel too far from Sydney, the Manly to Spit walk is a perfect choice. A 40 minute drive, or 20 minute ferry ride (which we would recommend) from the CBD will see you in Manly ready to go. This walk navigates a paradise of subtropical bushland, in amongst which you’ll find several hidden beaches. It’s a great idea to bring along your bathers and a towel, as you’ll get access to the otherwise hard to reach Castle Rock Beach. Keep an eye out for the Grotto Lighthouse along the way, where you’ll encounter ancient Aboriginal rock engravings of fish, kangaroos and a Boomerang.

If you fancy getting a bite to eat at the end of your walk, a good idea is to start at The Spit. This way your walk will end in Manly, and you can go and find a restaurant for a feed and a cold beer (or other beverage of your choosing, of course).

Locals tips: Make sure you’re prepared with plenty of water, some snacks and a hat as there’s not much shade along the way!

Region: Northern Beaches
Distance: 10km
Time: 3-4 Hours
Difficulty: Medium – some steep stairs and uneven sandstone steps. Appropriate for most fitness levels.
Find out more here

Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock

The Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock track is a small slice of the amazing Coast Track – a two-day, 26 km hike that follows the coastline of the Royal National Park in Sydney’s south. Lucky for you, the Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock walk allows you to see the main attraction of the Coast Walk, Wedding Cake Rock, without having to commit to the whole 26 km!

The walk cuts through the bushland from the coastal suburb of Bundeena and hugs the coastline for the last part of the walk as you approach Wedding Cake Rock. You can see how this natural marvel got its name, with the layers of pure white sandstone resembling a slice of wedding cake. Beware, as the rock is unstable; as tempting as the photo opportunity is, we highly recommend you stay safely behind the barriers.

The lookouts along this walk present some of the best whale watching spots in Sydney. If you come during the whales’ migration times between June and October and are willing to exercise a bit of patience, you may be rewarded with an extraordinary view of these majestic creatures along with a photo opportunity that’s hard to beat.

Locals tips: There’s limited phone reception and amenities there, so make sure to pack some food and water and use the bathroom before you set off.

Region: Royal National Park
Distance: 6.8km return
Time: 2 Hours
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult – some steep sandstone stairs and hills, and walking through the bush. Best suited for walkers with some experience.
Find out more here

Bondi to Coogee Walk

For a quintessentially Sydney experience, The Bondi to Coogee walk is not to be missed. This is one of the most popular walks in Sydney, with good reason, as it boasts spectacular coastline views from start to end.

This walk is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels, as it’s pretty easy going. Furthermore, the walk is quite urban which means you could easily just do a smaller section of the total walk, or even stop to hydrate (and caffeinate) at a local café along the way. Since it’s so easily accessible, it’s one you could definitely do on a whim, but know that if it’s a nice day many others will probably have the same idea!

The full walk will take you past plenty of beautiful beaches, with the often quiet Gordons Bay being our top pick for swimming and even snorkelling (keep an eye out for the underwater nature trail!) However, if swimming in the ocean is not your thing, you could also stop at the famous Bronte Pool for a dip.

Locals tips: There’s no need to rush on this one, make a day of it. Give yourself time to stop for a bite to eat or a swim at one of the beaches.

Region: Eastern Suburbs
Distance: 6km
Time: 2.5 Hours
Difficulty: Medium – mainly paved pathway and boardwalks, with some stairs. Appropriate for most fitness levels.
Find out more here

Whether you’re an active wear clad go-getter, or a young family looking for a nice spot to push the stroller around for the afternoon, one of the walks in our list is bound to perfectly meet your needs. If you’re unsure which to pick, the great news is that whether you choose the easiest or most challenging, you’ll be equally rewarded with amazing coastline or harbour views, and maybe even with a spot to swim or stop and get a feed along the way.
Whether you’re a Sydney local, or an out-of-towner staying at a hotel in Sydney’s CBD, you obviously have a keen interest in nature, and want to explore all Sydney has to offer. Whichever walk you choose, make sure to be sun smart and take plenty of water with you. Most of all, have fun (…and don’t forget to get a shot for the gram).