15 Great Bush Walks in Sydney

Last updated: August 19, 2020

Keen to head into the Sydney bush to go hiking?
We have listed 15 of the best bushwalks in Sydney, some short and easy, others much more challenging and adventurous!

Sydney is well known because of its beautiful coastline, but Australia’s biggest city is in fact also home to some of the best bushwalking tracks. What’s great is that you don’t actually have to go far away from the city to enjoy some native bushland.

While the Blue Mountains out west and the Royal National Park south of the city do have some fantastic bushwalks, there is also lots of bushland to explore in and around Sydney Harbour.

To help you find inspiration for your next bushwalk, we have shortlisted 15 great bushwalks in and around Sydney, where you can enjoy great natural scenery whilst also getting a good workout in.

15 Best Sydney Bush Walks

Pick your favourite from the following list of 15 great bushwalks in Sydney!

1. Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Walk

The perfect example of a great bushwalk close to the city is the Lane Cove Riverside circuit walk. 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 scenic and very enjoyable 10km circuit bushwalk along both sides of the river makes for an excellent way to explore the natural beauty of this unique national park.

Lane Cove Riverside circuit bushwalk
Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Walk

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 of the national park is home to the Riverside Walking Track and the Lane Cove Valley Walk, which is part of the Great North Walk. These two bushwalking tracks combined from a moderately challenging 10km circuit walk.

Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Walk
Distance:10 km (circuit)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Moderate

2. Grand Canyon Walk

The Blue Mountains is home to a great number of walking tracks, but perhaps the most impressive one is the classic Grand Canyon Walk.

Officially opened in 1907, the 6km long Grand Canyon walking track was the first of its kind and has since been challenged by thousands of bushwalkers each year. The trail meanders through lush rainforest, with several creek crossings and small waterfalls, surrounded by huge sandstone walls.

Grand Canyon Walk
Grand Canyon Walk

While the track does have some very steep sections, the Grand Canyon Walk can be undertaken by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness, but please do bring a large bottle of water with you.

The cooler temperatures in the valley make this trail a pleasant adventure all year round, including the warmer summer months.

Grand Canyon Walk
Distance:6 km (circuit)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Moderate / hard

3. Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay

The challengin bushwalk from Cowan train station all the way to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay through stunningly beautiful scenery is a true bushwalkers delight.

If you do have the time and weather permits, a refreshing swim in Jerusalem Bay is highly recommended. The quiet and peaceful surroundings of the bay make swimming here quite a pleasant experience.

From Cowan train station, you have the option to hike to Brooklyn, which is 13 km, or simply do a short return hike to Jerusalem Bay, which is much shorter.

Cowan to Brooklyn bush walk via Jerusalem Bay bush walk
Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay

The bushwalk between Cowan and Brooklyn is part of the Great North Walk, a monstrous 250km track between Sydney, Hunter Valley and Newcastle. This 13km section is definitely not the easiest, but well worth the effort.

The best way to get to Cowan is to simply use public transport, as the start of the walking track is right opposite the train station. Simply follow the signs for Brooklyn and the Great North Walk to find the start of the track. Once in Brooklyn, you can catch the train back to Cowan.

Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay
Distance:13 km (one-way)
Time:4 – 5 hours
Grade:Moderate / hard

4. Manly Dam Walk

Surrounded by 377 hectares of bushland, Manly Dam Reserve is 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.

The pleasant bushwalking trail around Manly Dam is a 7.3km circuit track, with panoramic views of the dam and the large lake.

Manly Dam Walk
Manly Dam Walk

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

Although the circuit walk is rather long but, it isn’t super difficult at all. However, there are some steeper sections, plus some sections where the surface is rough with lots of loose rocks.

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

5. Katoomba Falls Round Walk

Quietly tucked away between Scenic World and Echo Point in the Blue Mountains, Katoomba Falls is a truly spectacular segmented waterfall.

A short but picturesque circuit walk through lush rainforest, starting at Scenic World, brings you very close to the waterfall, with panoramic views of Jamison Valley.

Katoomba Falls Round Walk
Katoomba Falls Round Walk

Arguably one of the prettiest waterfalls in the Blue Mountains, Katoomba Falls forms part of the Kedumba River, which drops almost 150 meters into the valley.

The start of the Katoomba Falls circuit hike is located between the car park and the main entrance to Scenic World. The walk includes various lookout points, before reaching the waterfall.

Katoomba Falls Round Walk
Distance:2 km (circuit)
Time:1.5 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate

6. Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Walk

Hiking in the Lake Parramatta Reserve offers a great day out, as you walk through 75ha of bushland, around an idyllic lake with a decommissioned dam.

Bushwalking in Lake Parramatta Reserve
Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Walk

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.

The longest one is the full circuit walk that loops around the entire lake. The other two walks are much shorter and easier to do.

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

7. Wattamolla to Eagle Rock

This is both a coastal walk as well as a bushwalk, so you get to enjoy different types of beautiful scenery along this amazing hike in the Royal National Park. It’s actually a small section of the 26km long Coast Track between Bundeena in the north and Otford in the south of Sydney’s oldest national park.

Starting at Wattamolla Beach, this 4km walking track brings you to Eagle Head Rock, an iconic landmark that strongly resembles an eagle’s beak.

Wattamolla to Eagle Rock
Wattamolla to Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock is not the only unique sight you get to enjoy at the end of the walk. Right 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
Distance:8 km (return)
Time:3 hours
Grade:Easy

8. 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 greater Blue Mountains region.

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

9. Narrabeen Lagoon Trail

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

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

Bushwalking around Narrabeen Lagoon
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 (return)
Time:2.5 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate

10. 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

11. National Pass in Wentworth Falls

Built with picks, shovels and dynamite in the early 20th century, the National Pass walking track is one of the most famous bushwalks in the greater Blue Mountains region.

Starting at either the Wentworth Falls picnic area or the Conservation Hut, this circuit trail passes several lookouts that offer panoramic views of the famous Wentworth Falls and the Jamison Valley, with sections of the track built into the side of the cliff.

National Pass in Wentworth Falls
National Pass in Wentworth Falls

The National Pass follows an anti-clockwise loop, first heading down into the Valley of the Waters, followed by a long section along the side of the cliff, and eventually climbing up the Grand Stairway to the top of the waterfall.

One of the absolute highlights of the National Pass is the Grand Stairway, a set of hand-carved stone steps that connects the top of the waterfall with the valley below.

Please note that a section of the National Pass is currently closed until further notice, due to a serious rockfall. You can find the latest update here.

National Pass in Wentworth Falls
Distance:5 km (circuit)
Time:3.5 hours
Grade:Hard

12. Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head Loop Track

While Bobbin Head is a beautiful destination in itself, it’s also a starting point for some great bushwalks.

One of these bushwalks is a 10km circuit walk that consists of the Bobbin Head track, the Sphinx track and the Warrimoo track.

Bushwalking in Bobbin Head
Bushwalking in Bobbin Head

The start of this walk is behind the Empire Marina, clearly signposted with Warrimoo and Bobbin Head track. You can choose to go clockwise or anti-clockwise which ultimately doesn’t make much difference.

The Warrimoo track follows the western shoreline of Cowan Creek through thick mangroves with several remnants of Aboriginal middens to be discovered.

Created by a returned soldier in the 1920’s, the Sphinx Memorial along the Sphinx track is a sandstone monument created in memory of lives lost in WWI. It’s an unusual yet fascinating structure in an unlikely spot.

Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head Loop Track
Distance:10 km (circuit)
Time:3.5 – 4.5 hours
Grade:Moderate

13. Hanging Rock Track

While the bushwalk to Hanging Rock may not be super exciting, seeing this iconic landmark from close by against the backdrop of the Grose Valley and surrounding escarpments makes for a rewarding adventure.

If you’ve never heard of Hanging Rock before, it’s a large sandstone object hanging out from a cliff, right above the valley. It’s a spectacular sight, not just this rock itself, but more so the surrounding area.

Bushwalk to Hanging Rock
Hanging Rock

The walking track to the Baltzer Lookout is a very straightforward 4km management trail through bushland. At the end of the track is the Baltzer Lookout, which stands at the very edge of Burramoko Head.

From the Baltzer Lookout, it’s only a short walk to Hanging Rack. Be mindful though that this short section is quite steep with some rock scrambling involved, so good shoes are absolutely essential.

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

14. Winifred Falls Bush Trail

The Winifred Falls trail is a short but scenic bushwalk that takes you to a pretty waterfall on the South West Arm Creek where you can have a picnic and go for a swim if weather permits.

The first part of the trail is an easy 10 minutes flat walk, before it turns into a bushwalk with very steep sections, surrounded by banksia plants and gum trees.

Winifred Falls bush trail
Winifred Falls Bush Trail

You can get the best views and photos of the waterfall if you walk a bit further downstream around the pool. There are several rock platforms right above and around the waterfall where you can relax and take in the beauty of this spot in the Royal National Park.

The trail doesn’t have to end at Winifred Falls. The South West Arm Pool is around 300m further away downstream. This large and deep pool has three boulders on the side and is great for swimming.

You can also continue the Winifred Falls trail into the other direction, going though bushland with a couple of small waterfalls along the way. This 4.4km trail connects with Maianbar Road.

Winifred Falls Bush Trail
Distance:1 km / 4.4 km (one-way)
Time:0.5 / 2.5 hours
Grade:Easy

15. Balls Head Reserve Walk

If you’re looking for a great little bushwalk that is close to the city, Balls Head Reserve is where you need to go. Overlooking Sydney Harbour, this reserve is a true bushland oasis located quite literally right next door to the city.

Boasting 9 hectares of scenic bushland, Balls Head Reserve is home to various bushwalking trails that are all connected. Exploring the reserve is a great little adventure, with great views of Sydney Harbour, the CBD skyline, the Harbour Bridge, Goat Island and peninsulas nearby.

Bushwalking in Balls Head Reserve
Bushwalking in Balls Head Reserve

Along with Berry Island, Balls Head Reserve was declared public parkland almost a century ago. Now managed by North Sydney Council, the Reserve is a truly beautiful place to walk around.

When visiting Balls Head Reserve, you should also visit its neighbour Carradah Park. Overlooking Berrys Bay, this scenic park was once the location of a major oil storage facility, with remnants of this industrial use incorporated into the current parkland design.

Balls Head Reserve Walk
Distance:2 km
Time:1 hour
Grade:Easy
 

Sydney bush walks

 
 
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