The Best Hikes In & Around Sydney to Tackle this Spring
Put on your walking shoes, Sydneysiders! These are the best day in Sydney you need to road test yourself.
If you're looking for something to do this weekend that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle a new week, a good old hike is it! Sydney is blessed with year-round mild weather and incredible natural environments, so you really have no excuses.
Most of these trails will blow you away with their beauty and have you back home in a few hours. So, pack some snacks (or one of Sydney's best sandwiches) and water, and decide whether you want to hug the coast or head inland. These are some of the best hikes in and around Sydney.
The Best Hikes In & Around Sydney: Northern Sydney
Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach
Work your way through Sydney’s most iconic sights! This walk shows off the city and is a solid workout. It starts at the Taronga Zoo ferry wharf, which has views stretching across the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and winds its way through Chowder Bay, Georges Heights Lookout, and Middle Head. It’s quite steep in some parts, so take your time. The beginning of the walk features a stretch of some of Syndey's most beautiful, winding angophora trees. Keep your eye out for plenty of Sydney Eastern Water Dragons sunning themselves along the path. Wanting to soak up more of this beautiful part of Sydney? Keep going to Spit Bridge for the most scenic walk to Manly.
Sitchu Tip: Once you reach Balmoral Beach, treat yourself to some takeaway and a house made lemonade by the beach from The Boat House.
Time: 2.5-3.5 hours
Manly to Spit Bridge
To soak up the scenery north side of the Bridge, set off on this 10km walk. It follows the coastline of Middle Harbour and North Harbour, and takes in the tranquil waters of Clontarf Reserve and Reef Bay before cutting into the rugged bushland of Sydney National Park. When you reach Spit Bridge, hop on the ferry back to Manly. Extend the walk by continuing towards Balmoral or Taronga Zoo via Chinamans Beach.
Time: 3-4 hours
Narrabeen Lagoon Trail
Ideal for all fitness levels, this loop is as scenic as it gets, passing wildlife, cascading waterfalls, and bushland. There are a few starting points to choose from, but we like Jamieson Park and Berry Reserve for one reason: the ample parking! If you’re not planning to power walk, grab a coffee at one of the three cafes dotted around the lake, and sip as you stroll.
Time: 2-3 hours
Sitchu Tip: Keen for a lengthier hike in the Northern Beaches? Tackle part of the epic, 25-km Bicentennial Coastal Walk. The Narrabeen Lakes to Manly Lagoon portion is our pick. The 10km trail works its way through Collaroy, Long Reef, Dee Why, Curl Curl, Freshwater, Queenscliff and Manly.
North Head Sanctuary Loop
This loop hints at Aboriginal and Australian history, and is beautiful to boot. Starting at North Head Sanctuary, it passes the former North Head Army Barracks and makes its way into bushland, where you’ll spot native plants aplenty, as well as birds and echidnas. For the best photo opp, stop when you get to Fairfax Walk, and then finish with a dip at Manly Beach. Want to really make a day of it, combine the Manly to Spit Bridge walk with this loop.
Time: 2-3 hours
The Best Hikes In & Around Sydney: Sydney South
Whatever the time of year, this track is an absolute delight. Start at Cape Solander lookout where you'll find parking and viewing platforms. The Cape Bailey Track hugs the coast dipping in and out with the curves of the sandstone cliffs. You can expect wildflowers in spring and some of the best whale-watching ops in Sydney come winter. Be sure to pack a picnic to enjoy at any one of the plentiful scenic stops along the way.
Length: 7.4km return
Time: 2-3 hours
If you’re keen to keep out of the sun come summer, this rainforest walk is a top pick. Kick off your walk at the stone gates which you’ll find along Sir Bertram Stevens Drive. Take a leisurely stroll through cabbage tree palms and Gymea lilies whilst trailing the serene Bola Creek. You’ll meander through a range of native plant species with some strong Jurassic Park vibes present throughout. It's a fairly cruisey walk so be sure to take your time and soak up your lush surrounds.
Time: 1 - 1.5 hours
Wedding Cake Rock Walk
Forming part of The Coast Track, many opt to just walk the section from Bundeena to the iconic Wedding Cake Rock – a pure white rock formation that stands out against the coastal cliffs' sandstone. What gives it its name is the sharp edges and deep cracks, perched high above the ocean. It's a perfect vantage point for whale watching, and the views up and down the coastline are spectacular. Feeling energetic? Head a little further south to Marley Beach.
Distance: 6km return
Time: 2 hours
The Best Hikes In & Around Sydney: Blue Mountains
Grand Canyon Track
This trail is challenging and spectacularly beautiful. Starting from Evans Lookout (near Blackheath), the track is lined with lush greenery, flowing waterfalls, creeks and sandstone cliffs. As you descend down to the canyon floor, you’ll see native ferns, wattle, and even a sandy beach. The trail is pretty wet, so you’ll want to wear proper hiking boots!
Time: 3-4 hours
Ruined Castle Walking Track
Bushwalkers, you’ll love this five-hour trek in Katoomba. It begins at the Golden Stairway, and goes deep down into the Jamison Valley until it reaches the rainforest. There, you’ll spot wildlife and old miners cottages. Then, you can climb the Ruined Castle – a rock formation – and be treated to stunning views stretching as far as Wentworth Falls.
Time: 4-5 hours
The Best Hikes In & Around Sydney: Central Coast
Berowra to Cowan
Another part of the Great North Walk, this trail explores the ridges and valleys around Berowra Waters. There are a few steep climbs along the way, but the views are stunning – be sure to stop at the Naa Badu Lookout. When you reach the halfway point (Berowra Waters), you can keep going or detour by taking a ferry across the river for lunch or ice-cream.
Time: 6 hours
Bouddi National Park Coastal Walk
Road trip! Hop in the car and drive to Bouddi National Park in the Central Coast. Running from Putty Beach to Macmasters Beach, this rugged, eight-kilometre trail is known for its beaches, boardwalks and birdlife. Pack a picnic lunch, and enjoy it at Maitland Bay or Gerrin Point Lookout, where you might be joined by migrating whales.
Time: 3.5-4.5 hours
The Best Hikes In & Around Sydney: Eastern Suburbs
Rose Bay to Watsons Bay
This picturesque track begins at the Rose Bay Ferry Wharf, and follows the foreshore, taking in Sydney sights such as Strickland House, Nielsen Park, and Hornby Lighthouse. As you approach Watsons Bay, you can divert to the bush (you’ll be rewarded with a waterfall), or continue walking to Gap Park. Feeling energetic? Keep going till Camp Cove, where Governor Phillip first landed in 1788.
Time: 4 hours
Malabar Headland Walk
This relatively easy circuit walk will deliver some of the best coastal views in Sydney with rugged native bushland and dramatic sandstone cliffs aplenty. There are ample spots to stop for a picnic with a view, as well as whale watching opportunities during winter. Begin the trail at the car park located behind Maroubra Beach before heading to Malabar Beach, Boora Point and back to Maroubra.
Distance: 6km circuit
Time: 2 hours