This is a guest post from Sydney based blogger and expat AJ. AJ is the chief editor at Best Sydney Walks, an online guide to the best walking tracks and other outdoor activities in and around Sydney. AJ moved to Sydney from Europe in 2007 and has since spent countless weekends exploring this beautiful city. To motivate others to go outdoors and discover all the good things Sydney has to offer, AJ decided to document his Sydney adventures online, and so Best Sydney Walks was born.
Here are five not-so-famous but beautiful walks in and around Sydney that every newcomer to the city should do.
Sydney and New South Wales have thousands of walking trails to choose from, some very short and easy, others ridiculously long and adventurous. You can walk the beaches, the bush, the mountains and of course the unique Sydney Harbour.
Most newcomers to Sydney are familiar with popular walking tracks such as the Bondi to Coogee walk and the Spit to Manly walk, but there are so many other walks you can do that are perhaps not so well-known but are just as beautiful.
1. Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay
- Distance: 2.7 km (one way)
- Time: 1 hour
- Getting there: Paid parking is available at Bradleys Head (via Bradleys Head Road). You can also catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo from Circular Quay and walk up to Bradleys Head.
The relatively short walking trail between Bradleys Head and Chowder Bay will not only take your breath away, but it will also teach you a little bit about Sydney’s military history.
Bradleys Head is the permanent home of the HMAS Sydney, a light cruiser that was used in the First World War to battle against Germany. The mast was erected at Bradleys Head in 1934 and serves as a monument for all Australian ships lost and all Australian sailors killed at war. You can also visit the 19th century Bradleys Head Fortification Complex which was used to protect New South Wales from invaders. Remains of convict-built artillery batteries are still visible.
The walking track takes you past beautiful bays with panoramic views across Sydney Harbour, so make sure you bring your camera along with you.
2. The Resolute Beach Loop Trail
- Distance: 6 km (loop)
- Time: 2-3 hours
- Getting there: Follow West Head Road to the West Head lookout in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Parking is available at the Resolute Picnic Ground ($12 entrance fee to the national park).
Sydney is home to hundreds of beaches, some very busy and others a bit more secluded. Resolute Beach is one of those secluded beaches with beautiful emerald green water and hardly any tourists around. How to get there? Follow the Resolute Loop Trail!
This trail officially starts at the Resolute Picnic Ground, located just before the West Head Lookout. Simply follow the signs, and you’ll soon end up at one of Sydney’s finest beaches. To get back to the car park, keep following the trail towards the West Head Lookout where you can enjoy the most amazing views across Pittwater, Broken Bay, Barrenjoey Headland, Palm Beach and the Central Coast.
3. Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Walk
- Distance: 8 km (one way)
- Time: 3 hours
- Getting there: Rose Bay has a few parking areas and also street parking close by. Ferry services run between Circular Quay, Rose Bay, and Watsons Bay. Rose Bay also has a bus stop.
One of the most scenic coastal walking trails in the Sydney metro area is The Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk. This walking trail treats you to several secluded beaches, beautiful parks, natural bushland and historic mansions while enjoying panoramic views of the Sydney harbour.
If you feel that 8km is a bit too long, don’t worry, you can also just do the 2 km Hermitage Foreshore Track, which is part of the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk and covers the best parts.
4. Narrabeen Lagoon Trail
- Distance: 8.4 km (loop)
- Time: 3 hours
- Getting there: Several paid parking areas are available around Narrabeen Lakes (limited street parking). Buses travel from the city to Pittwater road (Berry Reserve) next to Narrabeen Lakes.
The picturesque 8km walking trail around Narrabeen Lakes has long been a popular weekend escape for hikers, joggers, and cyclists. The trail became an uninterrupted loop in 2015 when a boardwalk and a few steel bridges were installed.
What’s great about the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail is that not only can you enjoy the serenity of an idyllic lake with natural bushland around it, you’ll also find that the trail has a very family-friendly atmosphere.
5. Federation Cliff Walk
- Distance: 5 km (one way)
- Time: 2 hours
- Getting there: Catch a bus or a ferry to Watsons Bay from Circular Quay. Parking is available in Watsons Bay (very busy during weekends) or on Old South Head Rd.
Not as well-known but perhaps even more beautiful than the Bondi to Bronte walk, the Federation Cliff walk from Watsons Bay to Dover Heights (north of Bondi) is a great walking trail for the whole family with stunning sandstone cliffs and amazing ocean views.
One of the highlights of this walk is a wooden walkway with viewing platforms that was built by Waverley Council to provide a scenic route around the cliffs. Starting at Diamond Bay Reserve, this walkway makes you feel like you’re right on top of the ocean.