There are two types of people in the world: those who love to run, and those who would prefer to run through this list of Sydney’s finest desserts.
Look, we all know running isn’t for everyone. But for those of us who are chasing the runners high on the regular, finding a great new track to take is a great way to challenge yourself and switch things up with some fresh scenery.
Whether you’re racing other Sydney runners on Strava, or you prefer to smash your goals more quietly on the Nike Run Club app, or even just catch up on your favourite podcast as you hit the pavement—Sydney’s got great running routes and you should absolutely try ‘em all.
Behold, these are seven of Sydney’s very best running tracks.
The Bay Run
This sweet route will take you right around Iron Cove with the Paramatta River sparkling beside you the entire time. You’ll jog past the Leichhardt Rowers club and a series of green parks that line the shores of the bay (like Callan Park, which, as a side note, fronts the super creepy heritage-listed insane asylum, Callan Park Hospital). It’s pretty flat, save for a little rise to set you up onto the spectacular Iron Cove Bridge. Weekends are busy with walkers and families with pups in tow, but if you hit this run at sunset—it’s a little quieter and you’ll catch the bay when it (literally) glows gold and orange.
Further north, the Narrabeen Lagoon route will also have you jogging beside another of Sydney’s picturesque bodies of water. The lagoon is the Northern Beaches' largest, and as of 2015, now features boardwalks and bridges that circle it in its entirety. If cars and roads aren’t your vibe, this could be your new favourite run: you’ll head through lush bushland and natural reserves.
Bondi To Coogee
It’s one of Sydney’s most iconic walking trails, snaking across the cliff tops of Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte and Coogee. But spectacular views come at a cost, and in this case, it’s the crowds. If that’s no issue for you, get set to soak up the salt air with the turquoise ocean by your side for close to 8km of running bliss. As you are moving up and down cliffs, the elevation on this route can be tough. But, being the hub of the Eastern Suburbs, you’ve got water stations, rest stops, cafes and bars at the ready to step in and save you should you need it.
Lane Cove National Park
This leafy road run loops through the centre of Lane Cove National Park. It’s considered one of Sydney’s best kept running secrets, and if you’re up for a scenic route with lots of hills (there’s a pretty hectic one at the 4km mark), Lane Cove is the track for you. Park your car at the Delhi Road bridge side at Chatswood West, and get ready to feel the burn.
Another of Sydney’s best kept urban secrets has to be Sydney Park. As well as its beautiful native gardens, rolling hills, epic picnic spots and secluded creeks—the track that circles the park is a neat, pint-sized run with a few steep hills to get your heart pumping. If you're short on time, this run will sort you out, with a spectacular 360-degree view of the city from the top of its biggest hill. If you have the time, a couple of laps will make for a solid work out.
Spit To Manly
If the idea of running along bush tracks around Middle Harbour sounds like a big adventure to you, make sure you add the Spit to Manly run to your list. As the name implies, it kicks off at the Spit Bridge and then hugs the coastline around Clontarf and Dobroyd Head before arriving at the Manly Ferry Wharf. It’s an undulating dirt track sort of vibe, so make sure your shoes can handle a little gravel slip and slide. If you’ve gone too hard, you’re in luck because you’re a stone’s throw from Manly Wharf Hotel, Queen Chow and Manly’s other best eats, as well as (duh) Manly Beach for a soul-reviving swim.
This sprawling inner-city sanctuary has a lot to offer—wetlands, gardens, off-leash dog spots, horses, ducks and more. It’s also a big-time favourite for runners—with flat loops on pavement and softer grass. Only downside is you will have to mind the (occasionally obnoxious) lycra-loving cyclists that flood Centennial Park most mornings. For an extra kick, make your way over to the mighty Moore Park hill for some challenging hill sprints (find it between the tennis courts and the Eastern Distributor).
While you're here, check out some of Sydney's toughest workouts.
Image credit: Chander R