Sydney’s best treks
The city’s sprawling coastlines and untouched national parks means there is no shortage of stunning scenery and long, windy walks
And with the weather well and truly heating up, there’s no excuse not to enjoy the glorious sunshine. For the most fervent trekkers and hikers to those favouring much flatter ground, we’ve got options to help you get those calf muscles moving.
Bondi to Coogee
At the top of any list of destinations to run, walk and trek in Sydney is the Eastern Suburbs’ Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. With well-maintained concrete paths from each beach, the walk takes just a couple hours and offers plenty of stops to rejuvenate for those not so quick on their feet. If you’re up for a little more than 14 kilometres, begin at Bondi and make your way south towards Coogee and continue on to Maroubra. To kickstart your coastal trek, Bondi (and Coogee) have some spectacular breakfast and lunch options to choose from.
At Bondi, we recommend the all-organic, diverse menu at Bondi Wholefoods or Porch and Parlour whose brunch menu is available until 3pm. At Coogee Beach, the showstopping Coogee Pavilion is a great place to reward yourself with a thin-crust pizza and an Aperol Spritz while Maloney’s Grocer has a huge variety of top-notch takeaway meals and snacks for a bright an early breakfast or healthy lunch.
Sydney Harbour Bridge to South Head
To get a truly immersive look at Sydney’s far east, this 18km, 8-hour trek is perfect. Kicking off at Sydney Harbour Bridge, the walk weaves through Sydney’s landmarks including Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, the Royal Botanic Garden, Watson’s Bay and Hornby Lighthouse, all the while providing panoramic views of the Harbour and the Sydney skyline. From morning to midday, weave throughout The Rocks, Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay and Double Bay before parking yourself at Rose Bay and enjoying a sun-soaked lunch at one of the Bay’s many cafés.
To reach Hornby Lighthouse, continue along the coast and pass through Hermit Bay to get to Milk Beach, a secluded shoreline alongside the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. Rounding up your day-long adventure is a visit to Watson’s Bay and Hornby Lighthouse – a perfect vantage point for a summer sunset.
The Coast Track
For a true trekking experience, the Coast Track just a short drive south of Sydney. Weaving through the sprawling Royal National Park, this walk is an overnight adventure that kicks off at Bundeena, a Sydney suburb tucked away at the National Park’s northern tip. The Coastal Track always keeps the ocean to your left and stretches southward past dramatic headlands, escarpments, Marley Beach and the famous Wedding Cake rock. Ten kilometres from Bundeena is Wattamolla Beach, a quaint little cove that is home to a sparkling lagoon and waterfall. Just two hours south of Wattamolla is the commanding Garie Beach where you can take an afternoon dip before settling down at North Era campground. To snag a spot at this picturesque site, bookings are essential and can be made at the National Parks’ website.
If you’ve conquered all this on day one, day two will be much easier: all that’s left is a short 8-kilometre trek to Otford. Along the way is the Royal National Park’s stunning yet often treacherous Figure 8 pools which are only accessible at certain times of the day due to changing tides. The Coast Track is often a challenging trek and is best suited for those looking for a unique weekend adventure.
Manly to Spit Bridge
This north shore track is a great way to get a glimpse of the diversity of scenery that Sydney has on offer. The Manly to Spit Bridge walk hugs the Harbour coastline and passes through secluded beaches, headlands, the Grotto Point Lighthouse and Grotto Point’s Aboriginal rock engravings. This walk can begin at either the Bridge or Manly, but we recommend starting at the Spit Bridge and catching a ferry from Manly back home to finish off the 4-hour trek.
Although this walk is spectacular all year round, if you’re walking between May and November, make sure to keep an eye out for migrating whales along the coastline. This trek is comprised of several shorter tracks but there is plenty of signposting to keep you heading in the right direction.
Distance: 800-metre loop
Barangaroo Reserve has quickly become the city’s top spot for avid walkers and runners keen for a bit of salty air and sunshine. The Reserve is a stunning slice of Sydney Harbour and has a huge array of Australian flora which makes the Reserve a natural oasis amongst Sydney’s towering skyline. This walk is ideal for those shopping or working in the city who need a refreshing stroll when the urban jungle becomes overwhelming. With views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney’s roving ferries, Pyrmont Bay, The Rocks and the Barangaroo Towers, the Reserve is a short but sweet walk and is a quiet vantage point to drink in Sydney’s landmarks.
Whale Beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse
Sydney’s northernmost suburbs are attracting more and more city-dwellers each year, so this walk is best done during the quiet seasons or in the week. From Avalon to the Lighthouse, this sliver of paradise is easy to explore, with sprawling beaches and signposted walkways dotting the area. Whale Beach Road will take you from the quiet Whale Beach, past Little Head and will spit you out at Palm Beach Rockpool. Palm Beach will take you up to the stone steps of Barrenjoey Lighthouse where you’ll be rewarded with 100-metre high views stretching from Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in the west, Avalon in the south, Broken Bay in the north and the ocean to the east.
For those with energy still left over, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a short 45-minute drive from Palm Beach and has a variety of 3 to 6-kilometre tracks.
For more tips on where to stretch your legs this summer, visit sydney.com.
(Featured Image: NSW National Parks)