The time for excuses is over. With the weather is warming up, it’s time to ditch that beanie, lace up those runners and get outside.
Sydney has so many stunning walks for all fitness levels and spring couldn’t be a better time to get out there and experience them. Not too hot, not too cold, juuuust right.
From coast-hugging boardwalks to bush-bashing trails, these are some of Sydney’s finest.
The Spit to Manly
Length: Almost 10 km.
Difficulty: This is a long walk so you’d need to be at least moderately fit to attempt it. Avoid The Spit to Manly if it’s been raining (unless you love mud) or if it’s super-hot.
Time taken: Two hours at a cracking pace; three to four if you want to take time to smell the lilly pilly.
Why it’s awesome: The Spit to Manly is known as one of Sydney’s most picturesque walks and it’s easy to see why. The trail winds through subtropical rainforest, red gum forest and several delicious swimming spots (you’ll want to bring your bathers).
You can also check out some amazing Aboriginal rock engravings (it’s a small detour to Grotto Point Lighthouse) and, if you’re walking between May and November, you might be lucky enough to spot a whale.
Finally, if you start at The Spit and finish at Manly, you can reward yourself with a drink or a nibble at one of Manly’s many amazing bars and restaurants.
Bondi to Coogee
Difficulty: This is a fairly easy concrete boardwalk, but it’s busy and there are hills.
Time taken: 1-2 hours, taking it easy. More if you include a coffee stop (or two).
Why it’s awesome: There are few landscapes more representative of Australian living than Bondi Beach. This kilometre of white sand offers spectacular ocean set against a backdrop of some of Sydney’s buzziest cafes and bars.
Along the walk, you’ll see rugged cliffs, Aboriginal rock carvings, rock pools, breathtaking ocean views and, if you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of some whales (May to November).
This is a great walk to do with a friend. Use the time to catch up and make sure you plonk yourself at a café along the way to recharge and indulge in some seriously good people watching.
Sydney Harbour Bridge to Coast Head
Difficulty: In terms of commitment, this makes The Spit to Manly look like a walk in the park (see our next entry for an actual walk in the park). This is a looooong walk and will take all day, so if long-distance ain’t your thing, best to break it up using public transport along the way.
Time taken: 8 hours. Told you it was long.
Why it’s awesome: In terms of ticking off some of Sydney’s most iconic sights, this walk pretty much nails it.
Starting off at Sydney Harbour Bridge, you obviously are privy to one of Australia’s most famous views. Wind your way past Mrs. Macquarie Chair onto the picturesque suburbs of Rushcutters Bay, Rose Bay and Vaucluse.
Along the way, make sure you check out some of Sydney’s military and maritime history, including the Lightkeepers Cottage at Watson's Bay.
Ending up at South Head, enjoy the jaw-dropping cliff face views and give yourself a pat on the back -- you’ve just experienced pretty much all the southern half of the Sydney Harbour has to offer.
Length: About 4 km.
Difficulty: Easy peasy -- take your grandma or little'uns with you.
Time taken: About an hour, but it can take up to three if you stop to get acquainted with some of the park’s 15,000 trees. With barbecues available, why not bring some snags and make a day of it?
Why it’s awesome: First up, Centennial Park is a breezy 10 minutes from the city, making it the perfect spot for an impromptu visit. There are heaps of things to do aside from walking -- hire a bike, go for a horse ride or bring a picnic to enjoy with friends.
The park is grassy and mostly flat so this is a great walk to enjoy with the whole family (the kids will love the ducks). Plus, it’s dog friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friends.
Barrenjoey House to Palm Beach
Difficulty: The lighthouse track is steep, rocky and uneven in parts, but the Palm Beach section is flat as a tack.
Time taken: Just over an hour; but it could take up to two if you’re taking it slow. (Keep in mind Palm Beach is about an hour north of Sydney by bus, so even though the walk is quite short, the entire excursion could be more of a day trip.)
Why it’s awesome: This walk reveals the most northern tip of Sydney, with the Pacific Ocean to the east and Pittwater to the west.
Admire the Barrenjoey Lighthouse and its surrounding cottages, and pinch yourself when you realise they’ve been around since the 1800’s. For history lovers, there are guided walks every Sunday starting from 11am (weather permitting).
Finally, get ready to indulge in some property porn as you drool over some of Palm Beach’s multi-million dollar houses, as well as some cracking ocean views.