Top 9 Sydney Walks To Explore The City From The Coast To The Bush

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In our Australia Hiking Guide, we showed you our favorite places to hike around this gorgeous country. But if you’re visiting Sydney and unable to venture elsewhere, you still have a vast number of trails to explore. We spent over a month in Sydney on our Australia road trip and spent most of our time hiking around the city. 

Sydney is an unbelievably diverse city, and its natural scenery competes with any place we’ve visited. The best Sydney walks take you to white-sand beaches, verdant forests, sandstone cliffs, and more. And you can see the most iconic Sydney attractions while you’re hiking. 

While you’re hiking around Sydney, the sun is brutal, so never hike without packing water, snacks, sunscreen, and a hat. Once you’re packed, we have 9 awesome Sydney walks that showcase the beauty of this metropolis. 

Best Sydney Walks

From bush hikes to coastal walks, Sydney entices nature lovers with all sorts of beautiful trails. Some treks require a slight venture into the suburbs or nearby parks, but others are right in the city. Whether you’re looking for something close by or wish to get away from everyone, you’ll find it in Sydney.

1. Sydney City Walk 

  • Distance – 6.3 miles (10.1 km)
  • Time – 3 to 4 hours 
  • Region – Sydney City
  • Highlights – Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Hyde Park

The Sydney City Walk is one of the best Sydney walks to explore some of Australia’s most famous attractions. The loop lets you start from several locations and traverses through green spaces to avoid the urban hustle. With spectacular views of iconic sights, like the Sydney Opera House, this Sydney Walk offers a proper introduction to the city. 

Start at the bustling Circular Quay with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge before walking towards the Sydney Opera House. For the best views of the Opera House, cross the bridge for an epic snapshot. Stay alongside the deep-blue coves and pass the Royal Botanic Gardens before strolling to Hyde Park. 

At 16 hectares, Hyde Park is Australia’s oldest park and boasts a peaceful green space of trees, fountains, and gardens. Turn back towards the water and stroll past the Sydney Aquarium and through Barangaroo. The collection of wharves form one of Sydney’s premier waterfront locations and presents stunning views of Sydney Harbour.

2. Royal Botanic Gardens 

  • Distance – 2.4 miles (3.9 km)
  • Time – 1 to 2 hours
  • Region – Sydney City
  • Highlights – Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge

For a shorter Sydney City walk with equally fantastic harbour views, stroll through the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens. The gardens rest on the Sydney Harbour shoreline and offer a relaxed environment to see Sydney’s most famous attractions. Start the walk beside the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and meander to Farm Cove. 

As you stroll beside the water, you have breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge poking through the foliage. Follow the concrete pathway down The Domain along Woolloomooloo Bay and explore the vibrant green space. Don’t be surprised to see joggers, football games, open-air concerts, or public events. 

As you complete the loop, spend time exploring the inner sections of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Some scenic places to have a picnic or enjoy the fresh air include the Sydney Fernery, Palace Rose Garden, and the Folly for Mrs. Macquarie.

3. Shipwreck Route 

  • Distance – 14.8 miles (23.8 km)
  • Time – 8 to 10 hours
  • Region – Parramatta/Outer West
  • Highlights – Shipwrecks, Waterbird Refuge, Sydney Olympic Park

Around 18 km (11.2 miles) from the Sydney CBD, Homebush Bay holds one of the city’s most intriguing secrets. The shallow waters are home to five shipwrecks near Sydney Olympic Park. Follow the loop to the waterfront around the park to find the shipwrecks scattered amongst mangroves and coastal marshlands. 

From the Badu Mangroves and Waterbird Refuge, it’s a puzzling sight to find these rusty ships engulfed by vegetation. The wetlands around the Parramatta River have a thriving ecosystem of flora and wildlife, and the vessels almost blend right into the environment. 

As the boardwalk courses through mangroves, you’ll see the HMAS Karangi covered in a jungle. Look closely to find the nearby SS Heroic tugboat hidden behind vegetation. Further along the peninsula, the SS Ayrfield saw action in WWII but now rests underneath foliage. After viewing the shipwrecks, continue on the route to see more of Sydney Olympic Park and city parks around the Parramatta River.  

4. Mount Hay Summit

  • Distance – 3.2 miles (5.1 km)
  • Time – 2 to 3 hours
  • Region – Blue Mountains
  • Highlights – Blue Mountains National Park, Mount Hay, Grose Valley

Around a 1-hour drive from Sydney, Blue Mountains National Park has tons of thrilling day hikes. A short but intense trek that offers dramatic vistas is the steep ascent to the Mount Hay Summit. From the Butterbox Canyon parking lot on Mt Hay Road, you start a fierce climb to the 944-meter (3,097 ft) summit. 

The rugged terrain of this Sydney walk tests your wit and endurance, and we recommend bringing a quality daypack with water, sunscreen, a map, a personal locator beacon, and other gear you need. In just a few miles, you’ll trek through heathlands, marshlands, and thick forests. 

While ascending the ridgeline, you get a perfect vantage of Grose Valley and the sharp cliffs rising above the landscape. From the rocky summit, you have a bird’s eye view of the forested valley and can search for blooming wildflowers. 

5. Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

  • Distance – 7.5 miles (12.1 km)
  • Time – 5 to 6 hours
  • Region – Bondi Beach
  • Highlights – Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach, Clovelly Beach

The hike from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach is the premier Sydney coastal walk. With its glistening white sands, surfable waves, and chill lifestyle, Bondi is among the world’s most famous beaches. Sandstone rocks and trendy cafés wrap around the sandy crescent, and a winding pathway follows the shoreline. 

The concrete trail uses several steep staircases and weaves around rocky cliffs and pristine beaches to seaside parks. Marks Park sits atop a craggy headland, while Bronte Park provides beach access for a refreshing swim. Perched in a narrow bay, Clovelly Beach is another popular spot for a dip in the water. 

Coogee Beach is another famous Sydney beach with its crystal-clear water, calm surf, and adjacent Grant Reserve. A popular backpacker hub, Coogee has a vibrant atmosphere to hang out before heading back to Bondi.  

6. Spit Bridge to Manly Walk 

  • Distance – 6.3 miles (10.1 km)
  • Time – 4 to 5 hours
  • Region – The Northern Beaches
  • Highlights – Sydney Harbour National Park, Castle Rock Beach, Ancient Aboriginal Sites

Also known as the Manly Scenic Walkway, this Sydney coastal walk lets you explore the city’s quieter regions. Starting at Mosman’s Spit Bridge, the seaside track follows the shoreline and presents beautiful harbour views. The path hugs the serene Fisher and Sandy Bays before passing the shallow waters of Clontarf Beach. 

As you approach Sydney Harbour National Park, you’ll arrive at one of Sydney’s best hidden gems, Castle Rock Beach. Enclosed by jungle-like forests and rocky headlands, this paradise feels miles from civilization. Make a steady ascent to Dobroyd Head for spectacular views of vessels sailing around the harbour. 

For a glimpse into the past, don’t miss the 1,000-year old Aboriginal rock engravings at Grotto Point. Before reaching Manly, enjoy the coastal vistas from Arabanoo Lookout, swim in the turquoise waters of Reef Beach, or have a picnic at the North Harbour Reserve.  

7. Botany Bay Coastal Walk

  • Distance – 4.0 miles (6.4 km)
  • Time – 2 to 3 hours
  • Region – The Southern Beaches 
  • Highlights – Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Cape Solander Whale Observation Platform, Cape Baily Lighthouse

Botany Bay National Park combines sandy beaches and rocky cliffs as you hear the mesmerizing sounds of the sea. Starting from the parking lot near Cape Solander, this Sydney coastal walk treats you to amazing ocean views. From Cape Solander, check out the whale observation platform to spot the Humpback whale migration. But if whale watching is high on your must-see list, visit between May-October. 

The trail is relatively flat and follows sand dunes and clifftops with the waves crashing below. Near the path, you’ll find heathlands and hanging swamps that nurture a thriving population of flora and wildlife. The sandy trail climbs a hill to the Cape Baily Lighthouse, which presents stunning ocean vistas. If you feel tacking on extra distance, you can also start the hike at the nearby Discovery Centre.

8. Cowan to Berowra via Berowra Waters

  • Distance – 8.1 miles (13.0 km)
  • Time – 6 to 7 hours 
  • Region – North Sydney 
  • Highlights – Berowra Waters, Berowra Valley Regional Park, Naa Badu Lookout

Berowra Heights lies on the northern outskirts of Sydney but feels more connected to nature than other suburbs. The Berowra to Cowan trail is part of the Great North Walk, the 260 km (161.5 miles) bushwalk linking Australia to Newcastle. With its tough climbs and stellar lookouts, it’s one of the best hiking destinations in our Brisbane to Sydney route guide

After a series of hills, take a moment to appreciate the views at Naa Badu Lookout. Forested hills rise above Berowra Creek, and picnic tables at the viewpoint make it a convenient place for lunch. The creek snakes through the lush valleys, and the trail offers several gorgeous vantage points. For a while, the path follows the shoreline and shows boats sailing on the tranquil waterway. 

You’ll later trek deep into the bush, and the dense vegetation may lead to encounters with wildlife. As you ascend and descend the lush forests, the trail crosses creeks and passes rocky outcrops before arriving at Berowra. 

9. Two Valley Trail

  • Distance – 6.6 miles (10.6 km)
  • Time – 4 to 5 hours
  • Region – Sydney Airport 
  • Highlights – Wolli Creek, Gough Whitlam Park, Turella Reserve

You won’t have to go far from the airport to find this beautiful patch of bushland in Sydney. Right from the Tempe Railway Station, the confluence of Wolli Creek and the Cooks River leads to a surreal spot of vegetation and wildlife. Follow Wolli Creek to wander into the Turrella Reserve and witness the immense ecological diversity of the area. 

The preserved bushland is home to insects, birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and many plant species. After hiking the riverside trail of this Sydney walk, Girahween Park has several picnic tables surrounded by trees for a quiet lunch. Despite several train stations opposite of the dense vegetation, this cherished piece of bushland provides an instant nature escape. 

Are you ready to explore more of Australia? Check out our Australia page to read all our tips, tricks and things to do in Australia.

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