Forestville sydney hikes

Last year when training for the Camino de Santiago, I spent months hiking in Sydney. I also spent months scoping Sydney for the best hikes, to ensure my time training was enjoyable. 

Although some of the hiking trails in Sydney are difficult: there are also some nice walks. These hiking places have some of the prettiest views of Sydney I have ever seen.

The best thing about Sydney is that it is both a large city with many walking trails, and it is also a coastal city that has many options to explore. So here are (in my opinion) 10 of Sydney’s best walks.

Spit to manly

Things to know about Sydney before you go

Sydney weather averages 18-26 C in summer and 8-17 C in winter, so it means that hiking is okay at any time of the year. There are currently 200 registered National Parks in New South Wales alone, so hiking is plentiful in almost every suburb in Sydney.

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Best hikes in Sydney

Best coastal walk’s Sydney   

Bondi to Maroubra Coastal Walk 

No hiking poles needed for this beautiful coastal walk in Sydney and the hike itself is moderate. You can walk a lot further than this, as the hiking trail in Sydney from Maroubra to Malabar is approximately another 25 minutes. (Note that: You won’t be able to bring your pet along this part of the walk though)

Although this coastal walk in Sydney at times can be congested, especially as the weather warms up, this hike around Sydney is beautiful as it follows the coastal shoreline. The signs arent as well advertised in areas, so you will have to look closely in some places if you have never been here before. But the beach views are worth it! 

Distance – Approximately 2-hour walk one way. 

Recommendations – Pool Cafe – This is a great place to end as they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cool location. I love this cafe and when it is a beautiful day, sitting alfresco is highly recommended.

bondi to maroubra coastal walk

Spit Bridge to Manly 

The Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk is not as busy as the coastal walk I mentioned earlier. So this Manly walk can be more enjoyable as you can more often than not be the only person on the path.

The views along the north beaches walk are spectacular and are uninterrupted. Even though the Manly beach walk has some fantastic views, the entire coastal walk is worth mentioning! Every corner you find yourself in some of the prettiest hiking trails in Sydney. 

Distance – Approximately 3.5 hours via the scenic view

Recommendation – Take the time to view the indigenous carvings in the Sydney Harbour National Park. Indigenous rock art dates back to 5000 years ago.

Spit bridge to manly hike sydney

Cronulla Coastal Walk

Start at Wanda Beach and hug the walkway to Oak Park Beach, this part of Sydney’s coastal walk is gorgeous but can be busy (especially on weekends). There are many great spots along the way, to stop and enjoy the view!

There are many cafes and restaurants along this strip, so you are spoilt for choice. This scenic walk in Sydney can be enjoyed at any time of the year, especially when the sun is shining!

Distance – Approximately 1 hour each way. 

Recommendation – There are many rock pools and beaches along this strip. So there is ample opportunity to take a dip if the walk gets too much.   

shelly beach hike sydney

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk

Palm Beach has always been a great place to visit, and The Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk should be added to the list of things to do when you are in Sydney. The views from the Barrenjoey Lighthouse are amazing from both sides of the peak.

You can walk up the steep steps or wander slowly up the paved sloped path; you can see the fantastic view of the beaches and reservoir, either way, it will just depend on which way you prefer to get to the top of this scenic walk Sydney.

Distance – Approximately 30 minutes each way

Recommendation – If you are lucky you may get to see the film crew there because this is where “Home and Away” is filmed. If not, head down to the Boathouse (which has a great healthy menu and friendly staff).

barrenjoey lighthouse walk

Balmoral to Chinamans Beach

Balmoral has always been one of those beaches that is great for swimming, as it has crystal blue flat water and very few waves. When you are walking from Balmoral to Chinamans Beach and back. Try to stay along the water’s edge because otherwise, you will end up on a busy main street which is not very enjoyable.

You can also park at Chinamans Beach (where there are more parking facilities) and stop at Balmoral for a coffee before heading back to Chinamans Beach; either way is an enjoyable coastal walk in Sydney. 

Distance – Approximately 25 minutes each way

Recommendation – Go for a swim at Chinaman’s beach where it is so much quieter than Balmoral, and the beach itself is less crowded.

Balmoral to chinamans beach coastal walk

Federation Walk (Bondi to Watsons Bay)

This Coastal walk in Sydney is either explored separately or in conjunction with the Bondi to Maroubra (Malabar) Sydney coastal walk. The Bondi to Watsons Bay coastal walk in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is a hidden gem, as most people prefer to walk in the opposite direction.

Here you will find a spectacular view along this Sydney Coast walk, and it is a relatively flat track which makes it an easy walk. For most parts of this scenic walk, you aren’t able to take your pet, so it would be best to leave your pooch at home for this one. 

Distance Approximately 1.5 hours one way.  

Recommendation– Stop at Watsons Bay Hotel for a bite to eat or a well-deserved drink. Who doesn’t love a well deserved delicious seafood meal after a great coastal walk?

bondi icebergs

Bushwalks Sydney  

Centennial Park 

Centennial Park is an excellent location for those who want to see a little bit of paradise in the middle of busy Sydney. Not far from Sydney CBD, this parks loop is approximately 3.7km in distance.

So it is worth doing a couple of circles. The best part about this nature track is that there are many places to stop to eat, picnic or feed the ducks. The park can get busy on weekends, as it fills up with joggers, cyclists and families.

Distance – Approximately 1 hour

Recommendations – Pick up a coffee and walk to the duck pond; it is a great spot to end your walk.

Centennial park hike sydney

Lane Cove National Park

Sydney has so many parks, coastal walks and National Parks to choose from that you will be able to find so many great spots no matter where you are. Sydney is spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor hiking tracks.

The Lane Cove National Park is like a National Park in the middle of a city, although you would never believe it once you step into this oasis. 

Although this scenic bushwalk has many hiking trails to choose, the circuit itself is about 10kms. This picturesque Sydney walking path is amongst my favourite because you can walk it any time of the year and it is enjoyable. It is an excellent way to see some wildlife in the middle of a busy Sydney suburb.

Distance – Approximately 3 hours, depending on the path you take.

Recommendation – In summer you can hire paddle boats and kayaks, which is a great reason to spend the entire day there if you have the time. 

Lane cove national park hiking trail

Queenscliff Beach to North Head

Although this is technically a Sydney Coastal Walk, it is set among a national park so can also be classed as a bushwalk. It is a Sydney trail that is one of the Northern beaches hidden gems.

Although most people have walked along some scenic northern beaches walks, the walk to North Head finds you with breathtaking views and little surprises along the way. Explore this part of the Northern Beaches and stop to enjoy small pieces of history. The walking trail is secure, and there are no walking poles needed!

Distance – Approximately 1 hour each way

Recommendation – Stop by the Aboriginal artwork set among some of Sydney’s most spectacular views or head towards the quarantine station and graveyards set among the coastline.

Queenscliff to Manly hike

Hikes Around Sydney

The Royal Botanical Gardens 

The best part about the Royal Botanical Gardens is not just the view (which is fantastic by the way) but the many guided tours on offer. If you start at the Domain Carpark walk down to Lady Macquarie’s chair and then around to The Sydney Opera House, there is much to see.

This Sydney landmark has a spectacular view of Sydney Harbour and is one of my favourite places in Sydney to walk. Early morning hikes around Sydney are always high on my priority list as it gives you the rest of the day to either explore more places in Sydney or spend the day here enjoying some of Sydney’s city walks.

Distance – Approximately 1 hour, depending on if you choose to walk back up to The Domain Carpark or not. 

Recommendation – Stop by the Terrace Eatery for a cup of takeaway coffee and sit by the water’s edge and enjoy the view, on a sunny day the view is spectacular.  

royal botanical gardens

McMahons Point to Balls Head Reserve 

This walk has spectacular views of The Sydney Harbour Bridge, and is worth starting at McMahons Point and walking to Balls Head Reserve and Back.

There are so many photo opportunities along the way, and each turn comes to a better view. McMahons Point is by far, one of my favourite Sydney Harbour walks, and it is pretty isolated. There are many hikes around Sydney, especially this part of Sydney, but nothing beats this view of Sydney Harbour! 

Distance – Approximately 40 minutes each way

Recommendation – Catch a ferry to McMahons Point and start your walk here, the view on the ferry and when you arrive is breathtaking.

Mcmahons point to balls head hike sydney

The Bay Run

The Bay Run is a well-known walk around Rozelle, Leichardt area; it is approximately 7kms loop around Iron Cove. The circuit is entirely around the water’s edge, but it is quite popular and can sometimes be crowded (especially on weekends).

This Sydney walk also has a bike track so you will have to share the hiking trail in many areas. The pathway has many places to stop and have coffee if you choose to walk the loop a couple of times. 

Distance – Approximately 1 hour

Recommendation – Walk a little further down the track to Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet where you can pick up a bargain, or try walking a bit further around to Drummoyne ferry pier and catch a ferry back to Circular Quay, the trip is worth it. 

The Bay run

Kurnell to Greenhills Beach

This little hiking trail in Sydney has been a hidden gem for years, as the locals here have loved the isolation that Kurnell brings. However, until recently, most people would not have ventured further than Cronulla unless they were on a mission to discover one of Sydney’s landmark (Captain Cooks landing spot and whale watching).

Recently, this has become a great hiking spot in Sydney, as Kurnell has created many reasons to come and view this beautiful part of Sydney. 

Distance – Approximately 2 hours one way.

Recommendation – Start at Captain Cooks landing spot and enjoy the many new bronzed sculptures along the way. This hiking trail is now a hot tourist spot, so be ready for it to be busy during the weekend.

Kurnell to greenhill beach

Circular Quay to the Spit Bridge

You can combine the Spit Bridge to Circular Quay walk with this lesser-known Circular Quay to Spit Bridge Walk and spend an entire day hiking Sydney harbour front. Start early and enjoy Sydney Landmarks, coastal views and beautiful landscape.

You will want to take many photos along this spectacular hiking trail in Sydney, as each bend brings something a little different and an even more breathtaking. 

Distance – Approximately 2 hours

Recommendation – Walk a little further (approximately 20 minutes and enjoy a bite to eat at Clontarf and enjoy a relaxing meal at the Sandy Bear Cafe   


Things to remember when hiking in Sydney


  • Always bring water!!! Some hikes won’t see you fill up for some time on the tracks, so it is best to bring along water to ensure you keep hydrated. Also, bring snacks! 
  • If you are hiking for 2-3 hours without a shop in sight, it is a good idea to be prepared. 
  • Always tell someone where you are going before you leave for your hike! Especially if you decide to explore some Sydney hikes alone. 
  • Ensure your battery on your mobile phone is charged! You never know when you may need it. It is also a great navigation tool if you get lost in areas like National Parks. 
  • Wear comfortable hiking boots are walking shoes (depending on the Sydney hike you choose), as be the reason you enjoy your Sydney Walk or loathe it. 

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best hikes in sydney

4 thoughts on “BEST HIKES IN SYDNEY”

  1. I have been looking for some healthy and enjoyable things to do on my weekends over the last few weeks. These hiking ideas are fantastic! I have lived in Sydney most of my life and never knew that some of these existed. Thank you!

    1. Paula Barreca Barnes

      Thanks, Jayde, Glad to hear that you are out and about again in Sydney! Enjoy those hiking spots.

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