Fitness

10 Of The Best Coastal Walks In NSW

By Tim Piccione
8th Feb 2022

Scenic coastal views from Bouddi National Park on the coastal walk, Bouddi.

There’s no doubt in our minds that NSW is home to some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. From famous Sydney beaches to hidden gems worth road-tripping for, the best way to explore the water’s edge is via coastal walking trails.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely morning walk or a five-day hike, the NSW coastal tracks will take you through all kinds of incredible terrain and treat you to beach stops, wildlife, and breathtaking views along the way.

Here are 10 of the best coastal walks in NSW.

Bundeena To Otford

Known as "the coast track", Bundeena to Otford is the ultimate way to take in Sydney’s Royal National Park. But this grade five, 26km hike isn’t your run-of-the-mill afternoon walk and needs a couple of days to complete. This challenging trek will reward you with beaches, coastal lookouts, rainforest, water holes, and picnic areas. Make sure you book a spot to set up for the night at North Era campground.

Bouddi Coastal Walk

You’ll find Bouddi National Park just 90-minutes north of Sydney on the NSW Central Coast. A great option for a day trip away from the city, the national park is home to long and short walks, ideal picnic spots, and some of our state’s most beautiful hidden beaches. Just 15 minutes out of nearby Avoca Beach is the Bouddi coastal walk, an 8km hike that takes you from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach through rainforest and breathtaking views. Make sure to stop at Gerrin Point lookout and leave some time to swim at secluded Maitland Beach, where you’re a chance of being completely alone.

Yuraygir Coastal Walk

Listen up if you’re a serious hiker because this one’s for you. You’ll want to do plenty of planning for the 65km one-way Yuraygir coastal walk because it takes about five days to complete. This multi-day trek starts in the coastal village of Angourie, about seven hours north of Sydney, not far from Yamba, and ends up in Red Rock. Weaving up the NSW north coast, the walk explores national park, wet and dry heathlands, rivers, beautiful sandstone rock platforms, littoral rainforest, cliffs, and beaches. You might even spot a few whales if you keep an eye on the ocean as you walk.

Spit Bridge To Manly

The ferry is a lovely way to get to Manly Beach. But if you’re looking to build up a sweat to earn your cool-down swim at one of Sydney’s most popular beaches, take the Spit Bridge to Manly walk—AKA the "Manly scenic walkway". Beginning in Mosman, this 10km walk should only take about 3.5 hours to complete, but that all depends on how many times you stop for a swim or to take in the Northern Beaches views. You’ll pass sights like Clontarf Reserve, Castle Rock Beach, Fairlight Beach, and the Grotto Beach Aboriginal engraving site with sandstone carvings believed to be 1,000+ years old. Take a minute to enjoy the Arabanoo lookout at Dobroyd Head.

Kiama Coast Walk

The Kiama Coast walk might just be the ideal option if you’re looking for a full-day walk for all fitness levels. A 90-minute drive south of Sydney, the 20km walk should take you about 6-7 hours all up, or you can take on one of the three sections the track is broken up into. You’ll encounter sights like the Minnamurra Rover, Cathedral Rocks, the Bombo headland, the Kiama blowhole, Werri lagoon, Werri Beach and plenty of good whale watching spots.

Coogee To Bondi

If you live in or around the Eastern Suburbs, you’re no doubt familiar with Sydney’s famous Coogee to Bondi walk. It’s an absolute favourite of activewear-clad folk and especially popular during Sydney’s Sculpture By The Sea exhibition. As the name suggests, the 6km coastal hike follows the beautiful coastline between Coogee and Bondi, passing by endless sea views, rock pools, parks, cafes, and beaches (either for looking at or swimming in) like Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, and Gordons Bay.

Light To Light Walk

About 6.5 hours south of Sydney, just past Merimbula, is a 2-3 day hike absolutely worth adding to your far south coast itinerary. The scenic Light to Light walk in Ben Boyd National park connects the Green Cape lighthouse with Boyds Tower in Boydtown. Along the 30km track, expect the Sapphire Coast to shine with heathland, rainforest, groves, plenty of beaches for swimming, spots for fishing, and lookouts to spot seals and migrating humpback whales. Look into staying a night in the historic Green Cape Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages.

Mount Gower Walk

In between your days of relaxing on Lord Howe Island’s incredible beaches, consider taking on the hike up Mount Gower. Expect to work up a sweat making your way up the 875-metre-tall mountain, with rope-assisted sections and plenty of steep and rugged terrain to navigate. Of course, you’ll be treated to some amazing 360-degree views of the island once you reach the summit. The return walk should take you about eight hours to finish, after which you’ll definitely be needing an ocean swim. Keep in mind that the Mount Gower walk needs to be done with a guide. 

Bradleys Head To Chowder Bay

Back in Sydney, check out the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk for an easy and picturesque 4km trek that boasts epic views of Sydney Harbour. The bush track weaves around the harbour coastline, kicking off at Taronga Zoo Wharf within prime sight of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Make your way through native bushland and along harbour bays. The trail is part of the longer Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach walk if you feel like extending your trek and ending up on the pristine white sands of Balmoral.

Little Bay To Smoky Cape

Near South West Rocks, about a five-hour drive north of Sydney, is the Little Bay to Smoky Cape walk. The 10km hike kicks off at Overshot Dam, taking you through the luscious rainforest and heathland of Hat Head National Park. After a roughly four-hour journey, not including beach stops along the way for much-needed swims, check out Captain Cook’s lookout and tour the lighthouse.

Staying in Sydney? Here's our guide to Sydney's best coastal walks

Image credit: Destination NSW

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