25 Best Hikes in and Around Sydney

Last updated: November 27, 2020

Looking for new ideas and inspiration to go out hiking in Sydney?
We have listed the 25 best hikes in and around Sydney, from comfortable and scenic coastal walks, to exciting and adventurous bush walks.

Hiking in Sydney is the best way to fully enjoy and appreciate the sheer beauty of this great city. You can walk the beaches, the mountains, the bush, and of course the magnificent Sydney Harbour.

With Sydney’s near perfect climate, you can literally go outside and conquer a scenic walking trail any time of year. And with so many different hikes to choose from, there will always be a new walking track to discover.

We have selected the 25 best hikes in and around Sydney, ranging from exciting and adventurous bushwalks, to short and scenic coastal trails.

Top 25 Sydney Hikes:
WalkDistance
1America Bay Track2 km (return)
2Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk2.2 km (circuit)
3Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Hike4.2 km (circuit)
4Wentworth Pass5 km (circuit)
5Cape Baily Track6 km (return)
6Resolute Beach Circuit Walk6 km (circuit)
7Grand Canyon Hike6 km (circuit)
8Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach Walk6.5 km (one way)
9Prince Henry Cliff Walk7 km (one way)
10Malabar Headland Circuit Walk7 km (circuit)
11Manly Dam Circuit Walk7.3 km (circuit)
12Wattamolla to Eagle Rock Track8 km (return)
13Hanging Rock Track8 km (return)
14Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Walk8 km (one way)
15Bouddi Coastal Walk8 km (one way)
16Narrabeen Lagoon Trail8.4 km (circuit)
17Manly North Head Circuit Hike9.5 km (circuit)
18Spit Bridge to Manly Walk10 km (one way)
19Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Hike10 km (circuit)
20Watsons Bay to Coogee Walk13 km (one way)
21Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay13 km (one way)
22Federal Pass Walking Track13 km (one way)
23Coast Track from Bundeena to Otford26 km (one way)
24Six Foot Track45 km (one way)
25Bondi to Manly Coastal Hike80 km (one way)

Top 25 Sydney Hikes

Pick your favourite from the following list of 25 hikes in Sydney, some short and easy, others much longer and more challenging.

They are ordered based on distance, starting with the shortest one. Note that when a hike’s distance is measured as a return walk, that is because that particular hike can only be completed as a return walk.

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1. America Bay Track

The short but very exciting America Bay Track in the West Head and Basin precincts of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is the perfect hike for the whole family.

It has all the characteristics of a classic Sydney bushwalk, with great scenery to enjoy from start to finish.

America Bay Track
America Bay Track

The highlight of this easy 2km track is the lookout at the very end, which offers beautiful views of America Bay.

But there is a lot more to enjoy before you reach this lookout, such as Aboriginal engravings, a couple of small waterfalls, a few creek crossings, and beautiful natural scenery.

America Bay Track
Distance:2 km (return)
Time:1 hour
Grade:Easy
Check out our list of best walks in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park for more great hikes in this beautiful area north of Sydney.

2. Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk

The hike up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse is a popular walking trail in Barrenjoey Headland, the northernmost part of Palm Beach in Sydney’s Northern Beaches region.

There are actually two walking tracks to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse on top of the hill from where you can enjoy stunning ocean views. It’s best to follow one trail to the top, and use the other trail to head back down to the beach.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk
Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk

The heritage listed sandstone lighthouse, standing tall and proud at 113 metres above sea-level, was built in 1881 and has been an iconic Sydney attraction for many years.

The views from the Barrenjoey Lighthouse are superb, and stretch as far as Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to the west, Broken Bay to the north, and Sydney’s coastline to the east.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk
Distance:2.2 km (circuit)
Time:1.5 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate

3. Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Hike

The Lake Parramatta Reserve is home to a few walking tracks, but the best one is the circuit hike around the lake that is formed by a decommissioned dam.

Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Hike
Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Hike

Lake Parramatta was created as a result of the damming of Hunts Creek in 1856. The lake is now a recreational area with three marked bush walking trails, a large picnic area, and a swimming enclosure.

The two shorter walks are much easier to do than the full circuit walk, so these are great options if you don’t want to do too much bushwalking.

Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Hike
Distance:4.2 km (circuit)
Time:2 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate

4. Wentworth Pass

One of the most popular and most challenging hikes in the Wentworth Falls area of the Blue Mountains is the Wentworth Pass walking track.

It’s a beautiful and adventurous 5km circuit hike that starts and ends at the Conservation Hut, passing through a section of the Valley of the Waters.

Wentworth Pass
Wentworth Pass

The track continues through the valley, before climbing up the Slack Stairs at the actual Wentworth Falls waterfall. From there, the track continues to the top of the waterfall via the Grand Stairway.

You can find more info about the Wentworth Pass and other hikes in the Wentworth Falls area in our Wentworth Falls visitor guide.

Wentworth Pass
Distance:5 km (circuit)
Time:4 hours
Grade:Hard

5. Cape Baily Track

The Cape Baily Track is perhaps one of Sydney’s best kept secrets. It’s a scenic coastal hike starting at the Cape Solander Lookout all the way to the Cape Baily Lighthouse in Kamay Botany Bay National Park, just north of Cronulla.

This very enjoyable track is a 6km return coastal adventure with all the right ingredients. Panoramic ocean views, high sandstone sea cliff walls, a classic lighthouse, the Cape Baily Track really is a magnificant coastal walk.

Cape Baily Track
Cape Baily Track

What’s great about this hike is that it doesn’t attract the big crowds that other popular hikes do, such as the Bondi to Coogee walk, even though the scenery is just as impressive.

The track is 6km in length, but you can extend this amazing walk further around the Kurnell peninsula, and even all the way to Cronulla Beach.

Cape Baily Track
Distance:6 km (return)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Easy

6. Resolute Beach Circuit Walk

Resolute Beach in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is one of those secluded beaches in Sydney that you should visit at least once in your life.

With amazing views of Pittwater and the Barrenjoey Headland, beautiful emerald green water and virtually no tourists around, this is a true hidden gem.

Resolute Beach Circuit Walk
Resolute Beach Circuit Walk

The 6km Resolute circuit hike is an exciting bushwalk that brings visitors to Resolute Beach via the Resolute Picnic Ground.

The trail also includes the West Head Lookout, which offers breathtaking views of Pittwater, Broken Bay, Barrenjoey Headland, Palm Beach and the Central Coast.

Resolute Beach Circuit Walk
Distance:6 km (circuit)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Moderate

7. Grand Canyon Hike

Regarded as one of the most impressive walking tracks in the Blue Mountains, the Grand Canyon Hike will leave a long-lasting impression, as you make your way through lush rainforest with several creek crossings and small waterfalls.

Opened in the beginning of the 20th century, the 6km long Grand Canyon walking track was the first of its kind, and has since been challenged by thousands of hiking enthusiasts each year.

Grand Canyon Hike
Grand Canyon Hike

While the track have some very steep sections, the Grand Canyon hike can be completed by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness, as long as you bring enough water with you.

What’s great is that the cooler temperatures in the valley make this trail a pleasant adventure during the warmer summer months too.

Grand Canyon Hike
Distance:6 km (circuit)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Moderate / hard
Check out our list of best walks in the Blue Mountains for more great hikes in this area west of Sydney.

8. Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach Walk

One of the most enjoyable Sydney Harbour walking tracks is the trail from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach. This 6.5km track meanders through a stunning landscape with secluded beaches, picturesque bays, impressive lookouts and historical sights.

An interesting highlight is Bradleys Head, home to the foremast of HMAS Sydney, a light cruiser that was broken up on Cockatoo Island in 1929.

Georges Heights between Taronga Zoo and Balmoral Beach
Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach Walk

The foremast was erected at Bradleys Head in 1934 and serves as a monument for all Australian ships lost and all Australian sailors killed at war.

The best way to get to Taronga Zoo is by ferry from Circular Quay. The ferry trip crossing Sydney Harbour is a great experience, and on Sundays you can take advantage of the $2.80 cap on all public transport travel.

Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach Walk
Distance:6.5 km (one way)
Time:2.5 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate
Check out our list of best walks in Sydney Harbour National Park for more great hikes in Sydney’s beautiful backyard.

9. Prince Henry Cliff Walk

The Prince Henry Cliff Walk is an adventurous 7km walking trail between Scenic World in Katoomba and Gordon Falls Lookout in Leura.

It follows the cliff edge overlooking Jamison Valley with lots of beautiful lookout points along the way where you can enjoy some of the best views in the Blue Mountains.

Prince Henry Cliff Walk
Prince Henry Cliff Walk

Named in honour of the third son of King George V and Queen Mary, the Prince Henry Cliff Walk was completed in 1936 after several years of construction.

Some of the highlights of this walking track include Katoomba Falls, Katoomba Cascades, the Three Sisters, Leura Cascades and the Olympian Rock lookout point.

Prince Henry Cliff Walk
Distance:7 km (one way)
Time:3.5 hours
Grade:Moderate

10. Malabar Headland Circuit Walk

The 7km circuit trail around the Malabar Headland National Park is one of Sydney’s newest hikes, and perhaps also one of the best hikes you can do in the Sydney area.

What is particularly great about this walk is that it is both a bush walk as well as a coastal walk, with fantastic panoramic views to enjoy from start to finish.

Malabar
Malabar Headland Circuit Walk

The circuit trail consists of the Boora Point walking track that follows the beautiful coastline of the headland, and the Western Escarpment walking track that meanders through native bushland.

It’s certainly not a difficult hike, with a clear walking path and various boardwalks, but it does take a few hours to complete. And with Maroubra Beach just around the corner, there are plenty of options for a good feed and a refreshing drink after completing this hiking adventure.

Malabar Headland Circuit Walk
Distance:7 km (circuit)
Time:2 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate

11. Manly Dam Circuit Walk

The scenic hike around Manly Dam is a 7.3 km circuit bush trail offering panoramic views of the dam and the lake created by it.

Surrounded by 377 hectares of bushland, Manly Dam Reserve is now known as the largest freshwater lake in Sydney. The lake was created as a result of the damming of Curl Curl Creek to create a water supply for the local area.

Manly Dam Circuit Walk
Manly Dam Circuit Walk

Manly Dam Reserve is now a popular recreational area with lots of activities to do in and around the lake, such as swimming, hiking, mountain biking, picnicking and water skiing.

The hike itself is rather long but not super difficult, although there are some steeper sections to conquer, plus some sections where the surface has lots of loose rocks.

Manly Dam Circuit Walk
Distance:7.3 km (circuit)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Moderate

12. Wattamolla to Eagle Rock Track

A scenic coastal walk starting at Wattamolla Beach in the Royal National Park brings hikers to Eagle Rock, an iconic landmark that strongly resembles an eagle’s beak.

This hike is part of the 26km long Coast Track between Bundeena in the north and Otford in the south of Sydney’s oldest national park.

Wattamolla to Eagle Rock Track
Wattamolla to Eagle Rock Track

Eagle Rock is not the only unique sight you get to enjoy at the end of this walking track. Next to Eagle Rock is Curracurrong Falls, one of the very few waterfalls in the world that flows directly into the ocean.

When the winds are strong the water can often be seen being pushed back up, which makes for a pretty spectacular sight!

Wattamolla to Eagle Rock Track
Distance:8 km (return)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate
Check out our list of best walks in the Royal National Park for more great hikes in this area just south of Sydney.

13. Hanging Rock Track

While the hike to Hanging Rock may not be super exciting, seeing this iconic landmark from close by agains the backdrop of the Grose Valley and surrounding escarpments makes for an incredible adventure.

If you had never heard of Hanging Rock before, it’s essentially a large sandstone object hanging out from a cliff, right above the valley. It really is a spectacular sight.

Hanging Rock Track
Hanging Rock Track

The walking track to the Baltzer Lookout is a 4km management trail through bushland with a few viewing points along the way. At the end of the track is The Baltzer Lookout, which stands at the very edge of Burramoko Head, the walled termination of the Burramoko Ridge above Grose Canyon.

From the Baltzer Lookout, it’s only a short stretch to Hanging Rack. Be mindful that this short section is quite steep with a bit of rock scrambling involved, so please make sure you’re wearing good shoes.

Hanging Rock Track
Distance:8 km (return)
Time:3.5 hours
Grade:Moderate

14. Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Walk

The trail between Rose Bay and Watsons Bay is one of the most scenic coastal walking tracks in Sydney Harbour National Park.

The walk takes in secluded beaches, beautiful parks and picturesque bays, with amazing panoramic views of the city and the harbour to enjoy along the way.

Hermit Bay between Rose Bay and Watsons Bay
Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Walk

The beauty of this walk is that you can park your car either at Rose Bay or Watsons Bay, and catch a ferry back to where you started. Ferry services run frequently between Watsons Bay and Rose Bay.

Part of Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk is the popular Hermitage Foreshore walking track, which runs between Bayview Hill Rd (just north of Rose Bay) and Nielsen Park in Vaucluse.

Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Walk
Distance:8 km (one way)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate

15. Bouddi Coastal Walk

Enjoy 8 kilometres of quiet beaches, lookout points, boardwalks, and panoramic ocean views, as you hike from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach along the coast of Bouddi National Park.

Gerrin Point Lookout along the Bouddi Coastal Walk
Bouddi Coastal Walk

Highlights of this classic Central Coast walking track are the Gerrin Point Lookout, Maitland Bay and Bullimah Beach.

If 8km is a bit too much, this walk can easily be divided into three smaller sections: MacMasters Beach to Little Beach, Little Beach to Maitland Bay and Maitland Bay to Putty Beach.

Bouddi Coastal Walk
Distance:8 km (one way)
Time:4 hours
Grade:Moderate
Check out our list of best walks in Bouddi National Park for more great hikes in this beautiful area north of Sydney.

16. Narrabeen Lagoon Trail

The scenic Narrabeen Lagoon Trail is a stunning 8.4km circuit track around Narrabeen Lakes in Sydney’s northern beaches.

Completed in February 2015, this track is now a popular weekend escape for walkers, joggers, cyclists and parents with prams, all enjoying the natural beauty and serenity of this idyllic lake surrounded by thriving bushland.

Narrabeen Lagoon Trail
Narrabeen Lagoon Trail

Narrabeen Lakes is also referred to as Narrabeen Lagoon, because the lake is essentially a coastal lagoon, separated from the sea on the other side of Ocean Street.

The area around the lagoon has been a popular camping and leisure spot since the beginning of the 19th century, when the tram line was extended to Narrabeen, making transport to the area so much easier.

Narrabeen Lagoon Trail
Distance:8.4 km (circuit)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate

17. Manly North Head Circuit Hike

The circuit hike around Manly’s North Head is the second part of the Manly Scenic Walkway, with the Spit to Manly Walk being the first section.

It’s one of the most fascinating hikes in Sydney, because it offers a good mix of beautiful natural scenery, incredible coastal and Harbour views, secluded beaches, as well as a bit of history.

Manly North Head Circuit Hike
Manly North Head Circuit Hike

One of the highlights is the popular Fairfax Lookout, from where you get to enjoy the best views of Sydney Harbour, the ocean, and the city skyline in the far distance.

What’s great about the North Head Walk is that it starts and ends in beautiful Manly, so there will be plenty of options for some great food and a cold drink after completing this hike.

Manly North Head Circuit Hike
Distance:9.5 km (circuit)
Time:4 hours
Grade:Moderate

18. Spit Bridge to Manly Walk

The hike from the Spit Bridge to Manly Beach is a beautiful 10km coastal trail, past secluded inner harbour beaches, through native bushland and around picturesque bays, offering panoramic Sydney Harbour views.

As mentioned, this hike forms part of the 19.5km Manly Scenic Walkway, one of the most exciting coastal walks in Sydney and New South Wales.

Reef Beach along the Spit to Manly Walk
Reef Beach along the Spit to Manly Walk

One of the highlights along the Spit to Manly Walk is Clontarf Reserve, a scenic park area with excellent picnic and BBQ facilities, and a swim-friendly beach.

For the best views along the track, head to the Crater Cove and Arabanoo lookout points at Dobroyd Head. Both these lookouts offer incredible views of Sydney Harbour, North Head and South Head.

Spit Bridge to Manly Walk
Distance:10 km (one way)
Time:4 hours
Grade:Moderate

19. Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Hike

Located only 20 minutes north-west of the Sydney CBD, Lane Cove National Park is a large pocket of scenic bushland surrounding the banks of the Lane Cove River which flows into Sydney Harbour.

A picturesque 10km circuit walk along both sides of the river makes for an excellent way to explore the natural beauty of this national park.

Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Hike
Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Hike

Popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists, Sydney’s metropolitan Lane Cove National Park extends from Pennant Hills in the north to East Ryde in the south.

This central part is home to the Riverside Walking Track and the Lane Cove Valley Walk (part of the Great North Walk) that together from a moderately challenging yet pleasant 10km circuit trail.

Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Hike
Distance:10 km (circuit)
Time:4 hours
Grade:Moderate

20. Watsons Bay to Coogee Walk

The 13 km coastal hike between Watsons Bay and Coogee Beach consists of two sections.

The first part is the walk between Watsons Bay and Bondi (also known as the Federation Cliff Walk), and the second part is the popular Bondi to Coogee walk.

Bondi Beach between Watsons Bay and Coogee
Bondi Beach between Watsons Bay and Coogee

Both of these coastal walks are relatively easy, so combining the two makes for a fantastic coastal hike with great public transport options at both ends.

This particular hike encapsulates the unique beauty of Sydney’s coastline, with lots of great beaches and beautiful coastal views to enjoy from start to finish.

Watsons Bay to Coogee Walk
Distance:13 km (one way)
Time:5 hours
Grade:Moderate

21. Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay

The challenging bushwalk from Cowan train station to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay is a true bushwalkers delight, as the track meanders through beautiful bushland scenery.

What’s great about this hike is that both Cowan and Brooklyn have a train station on the same line, so you can start this walk at either end and catch the train back to where you started.

Jerusalem Bay between Cowan and Brooklyn
Jerusalem Bay between Cowan and Brooklyn

One of the highlights along this walk is Jerusalem Bay, not too far away from the Cowan train station. It’s a very scenic bay, part of the Cowan Creek, that makes for a great swimming and picnic spot.

If this 13 km hike is perhaps a bit too challenging, you can also just do the return hike to Jerusalem Bay, which is much shorter and you still get to enjoy a good bushwalk.

Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay
Distance:13 km (one way)
Time:5 hours
Grade:Hard

22. Federal Pass Walking Track

Another classic hiking adventure that deserves a spot in our list of best Sydney hikes, is the historic Federal Pass in the Blue Mountains, between Leura Cascades and the Ruined Castle in Katoomba.

The Federal Pass walking track is 13km in length, and follows the base of the cliffs, passing through dense forests with a few picnic spots along the way.

Federal Pass Walking Track
Federal Pass Walking Track

If this hike is a bit too long, rest assured, because there are some entry and exit points that allow you to complete the hike over multiple days. Each entry and exit point though involves a steep climb out of, or descent into, the valley.

Some of the highlights you get to enjoy along this hike are Leura Forest, Katoomba Falls, the Landslide, and the Ruined Castle.

Federal Pass Walking Track
Distance:13 km (one way)
Time:6 hours
Grade:Hard

23. Coast Track from Bundeena to Otford

The incredible Coast Track between Bundeena and Otford in Royal National Park is a true once-in-a-lifetime hiking experience. It is perhaps the most iconic coastal trail in New South Wales, but with a 26 km distance, it does require some preparation.

From scenic lookout points and waterfalls, to natural swimming holes and isolated beaches, the Coast Track takes in all of the good things we would expect from an iconic coastal walk.

Coast Track from Bundeena to Otford
Coast Track from Bundeena to Otford

The Coast Track can be started from either Bundeena in the north or from Otford in the south of Royal National Park. Because of its distance, the best way to get there is by using public transport.

And while some hikers can certainly complete this walk in one day, it’s a good idea to combine this hike with an overnight stay at the North Era campground.

Coast Track from Bundeena to Otford
Distance:26 km (one way)
Time:1-2 days
Grade:Hard

24. Six Foot Track

If you’re a passionate hiker and a fan of camping overnight in the bush, the Six Foot Track in Sydney’s Blue Mountains should be on top of your list of adventures.

The historic 45km long Six Foot Track follows an historic 19th century bridle trail between the Explorers Tree in Katoomba and the Jenolan Caves, crossing the Megalong Valley and the Coxs River.

Six Foot Track
Six Foot Track

Most hikers will need three days to complete this epic trail, but it can also be completed in two days, or even in one day if you’re up for it. There are various free camping sites along the way, where you can safely set up your tent.

One of the landmarks on this hike is the Coxs River Suspension Bridge, otherwise known as the Bowtells Swing Bridge. This amazing piece of engineering was built in 1992 as an alternative crossing for when the river is overflown.

Six Foot Track
Distance:45 km (one way)
Time:2-3 days
Grade:Hard

25. Bondi to Manly Coastal Hike

With such an amazing and unique coastline, Sydney certainly has no shortage of exciting coastal hikes. The 80km hike between Bondi Beach and Manly Beach is essentially an uninterrupted chain of several shorter coastal hikes.

The Bondi to Manly walking trail was officially opened in December 2019, with lots of signage along the way to make sure you won’t get sidetracked.

Bondi to Manly Coastal Hike
Bondi to Manly Coastal Hike

Because this hike is so long, most people will want to complete it in stages. In our guide to the Bondi to Manly Walk we have divided this hike in six smaller sections that can all be easily completed in one day.

Conquering this incredible and unique coastal adventure can take anywhere between two and six days, depending on your fitness levels. But one thing is for sure, you will be experiencing the absolute best of Sydney Harbour!

Bondi to Manly Coastal Hike
Distance:80 km (one way)
Time:2-6 days
Grade:Hard (due to distance)
 

Best Sydney hikes

 
 
4 Comments
  1. National Pass is closed until further notice, but as an alternative do Wentworth Pass (slightly longer) and finish with the Valley of the Waters track. It’s a stunning walk with metal ladders to descend, waterfalls galore, and jaw dropping scenery.

    Follow the National Pass track until you hit the boarded up section and then split off from there to Wentworth Pass (it’s all signposted).

    Reply
  2. So I like walking along the embankment. Sydney is a very beautiful city, I like to come there sometimes on weekends, I live nearby. I really like Narrabeen Lagoon Trail, it is very beautiful and calm there. Nice camping site, I enjoy spending time there with my family. Hope we can come there soon. I haven’t even heard of some of the hikes and places on this list, it’s interesting to visit them too. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, glad you like this list. There are so many great hikes in Sydney, so it’s hard to pick the best ones, but hopefully the above 25 hikes are a good reflection of what Sydney has to offer.

      Reply
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