Not much can out-do the simplicity of a good walk. Thankfully, Sydney has many, many brilliant walks, which makes choosing which one to take the hard part. That’s where we come in.
Whether you’re looking for a dog-friendly foreshore walk, an inner-city stroll, Sydney’s most iconic coastal track or even an 18.5-metre high loop to get your sky-high steps in, this list has you covered.
Here are 14 of the best walks in Sydney.
Glebe Foreshore Walk
This route features one of Sydney's most picturesque cityscape sunrises. If you can get up early enough, you'll see the city glow silver as the sun rises behind it. If you’re not an early riser (no judgement there), you'll still get to enjoy the four leafy parks dotted along this walk. And good news, if you’ve got a pup, three of these parks (Federal Park, Bicentennial Park and Blackwattle Bay Park) are completely off-leash.
The Rocks Walk
This cruisy city walk is packed with markets, cobblestone laneways, cool bars and heritage buildings. Kickstart your walk at Circular Quay and follow the foreshore bend past restaurants, the ferry terminal and into the western heart of Sydney Cove, otherwise known as The Rocks. On this path, you’ll find Australia’s oldest pub, The Fortune of War, and near the police station—a series of hidden passages that make up the Nurses Walk (a walkway built in the late 70s to honour the nurses who helped set up hospitals around this area in the 18th and 19th Century).
The Harbour’s newest walk is Barangaroo Reserve and it offers up six glorious hectares of open space and headlands for walking enthusiasts. Though it’s the absolute perfect spot for cycling and picnics, you’ll want to make sure you tick this one off your weekend walks bucket list because it’s usually decorated with markets. There’s also the Wulugul Walk (“wulugul” being the local Indigenous word for kingfish) and Stargazer Lawn to check out, and a little off-road climb that rewards you with terraced native gardens.
Bondi To Bronte
Bondi to Bronte is about as Sydney as you can get. Whether you’re there to get fit or pretend to be fit, you can expect a long cliffside coastal walk full of beautiful people, spectacular views and some of the world's prettiest beaches (hot tip: Tamarama at sunrise is a sure-fire beauty). Start at Bondi then trek your way down to Bronte, stopping at every beach for a dip along the way. If you’re feeling extra energetic, walk all the way to Coogee and reward yourself with a seafood feast at Coogee Pavilion or a well-deserved wine or two at Coogee Wine Room.
Hermitage Foreshore Track
The family-friendly Hermitage Foreshore walk may be simple, but it’s also simply spectacular, and when it comes to the city's prettiest coastal walks, this one truly takes the cake. With the Hermitage Foreshore Track, you can either start at Bayview Hill Road or Nielsen Park (if you’re feeling really nostalgic, nab some Bubble O’Bills at The Nielsen) then stop to snap some shots of the Harbour Bridge, Strickland House and Shark Island along the way.
Jennifer Street Board Walk
Say you're short for time but adamant to get your weekly dose of nature in: Jennifer Street Boardwalk is for you. The beauty of this trail is that you can make this track last for as little as 15 minutes or as long as an hour. Expect an elevated short walk through a whole heap of Banksia scrub, peppermint trees and grey gums. This one also spills out onto the headlands Kamay Bay National Park in La Perouse so brace yourself for 270-degree views of the area.
Western Escarpment Walking Track
Connecting the plains of Malabar and the ridiculously pretty southern headlands of Maroubra is the newly done-up Western Escarpment Walking Track. This open trail (which stretches just over a kilometre) offers up a few sneaky vantage points of Malabar headland, Maroubra Beach, Botany Bay—even the chance to do a little humpback whale and seal spotting during June and July. You’ll find the best way to access this fresh track is through Arthur Byrne Reserve in South Maroubra or Pioneers Park in Malabar.
Manly Beach To Spit Bridge Scenic Walkway
On the other end of the spectrum, a whole 10km for the Manly To Spit Bridge Scenic Walkway sounds long, and arguably, it kind of is, but it’s just so damn pretty you won’t notice. It’ll take about three or four hours to complete (depending on how distracted you get by said beauty) and while you’re in the area, we recommend taking a detour to visit the Aboriginal rock engravings at Grotto Point Lighthouse. There are also some pretty top-notch views both there and at the Arabanoo Lookout.
Fairfax Walk To North Head
This one goes out to the casual exerciser looking for something more akin to a stroll than pavement pounding. The Fairfax Walk is an easy 1km (that’s about 30 minutes) and is rated “gentle”, which translates to “yes, bring a coffee with you”. Those with a bit more fuel in the tank can walk up to North Head and enjoy a panoramic ocean view.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk
Fancy an ocean view with a side of activewear? We've got you. Or rather, the Palm Beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse does. This 2.2km loop will take you anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half, and falls somewhere between easy and moderately difficult. If you can strap on a backpack, we highly recommend stopping off and having a picnic once you reach the top. If you’re walking between May and November, you may even see some whales.
Botany Bay Coastal Walk
There’s no surprise as to why this track makes the top pick for one of Sydney’s best coastal walks. And yes, there’s loads to see in the Shire but this trail is your ticket to sightseeing the most. With a 12.7km track, you’ll have plenty of time to soak up the sunshine, sea breeze and take a casual pause for all the natural beauty at the Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve on the way. The Botany Bay Coastal Walk follows the coastline from the cliff tops near Kurnell, south to said Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve and you’ll find of sling epic rock formations, small sand dunes, hanging swamps and the Cape Bailee Lighthouse.
Woronora River Bridge Walk
For unobstructed bushland and river scenes, try the Woronora River Bridge Walk. This bridge continues for more than half a kilometre from the top of the Sutherland basin to across the river to Bangor. Throughout this track, you’ll pass all the trees and native flowers and since you’re in the area, you’ll also want to check out The Boatshed, a bright blue waterfront kiosk churning out homemade feasts and kayak hire like no one’s business.
Parramatta River Walk
Along the walking track known as the Parramatta River Walk, you’ll spy an extra special 100-year-old shipwreck in Homebush Bay. Specifically, a ship that used to carry coal between Newcastle and Sydney called the SS Ayrfield. These days, however, it's called the "Floating Forest" due to the puffs of broccoli-like foliage that grow on top of the rusty wreckage.
Brick Ring Walk
Sydney Olympic Park
Sydney’s Brick Ring Walk is an absolute must for any early morning or late afternoon walker. The soaring circular walkway casually sits 18.5 metres high so you can get a birds-eye view of the pond below. The path extends to around 550-metres so you can do a number of rounds and get those steps in.
Love weekend walks? You'll also want to suss out Sydney’s brand new 80km coastal walking track.
Image credit: Ben Allen, Simon Bradfield, Leela Kajonkij, Peter Pesta, Yotsakorn Donchai, Chumphoo