15 Great Bush Walks in Sydney

Last updated: December 4, 2021

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 for its beautiful coastline, but Australia’s biggest city is 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 scenic 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 the city and the Harbour.

We have shortlisted 15 great bushwalks in and around Sydney, where you can enjoy beautiful natural scenery whilst also getting a good workout in.

Top 15 Sydney Bush Walks:

Bush Walk Distance
1 Winifred Falls Bush Trail 2 km (return)
2 Balls Head Reserve Walk 2 km (circuit)
3 America Bay Track 2 km (return)
4 Katoomba Falls Round Walk 2 km (circuit)
5 Blue Gum Walk in Hornsby 4 km (circuit)
6 Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Walk 4.2 km (circuit)
7 Forest Path 4.5 km (circuit)
8 Wentworth Pass 5 km (circuit)
9 Resolute Beach Circuit Walk 6 km (circuit)
10 Grand Canyon Walk 6 km (circuit)
11 Manly Dam Walk 7.3 km (circuit)
12 Narrabeen Lagoon Trail 8.4 km (circuit)
13 Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Walk 10 km (circuit)
14 Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head Loop Track 10 km (circuit)
15 Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay 13 km (one way)

Top 15 Sydney Bush Walks

Ordered by distance from short to long, pick your favourite hike from the following list of the 15 best bushwalks in Sydney.

1. Winifred Falls Bush Trail

The Winifred Falls trail is a short but highly enjoyable bushwalk that leads a pretty waterfall on the South West Arm Creek. The area surrounding the waterfall is great for having a picnic and the creek is great for a swim on warmer days.

The first part of the trail is an easy 10 minutes flat walk, before it turns into a bushwalk with 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 about 300m further away downstream, great for swimming in the summer months. You can also continue the Winifred Falls trail into the other direction, with a couple of small waterfalls to take in.

Winifred Falls Bush Trail
Distance: 2 km (return)
Duration: 1 hour
Grade: Easy

2. 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 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 nearby peninsulas.

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 wander around.

When visiting Balls Head Reserve, it’s recommended to also visit 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 parkland design.

Balls Head Reserve Walk
Distance: 2 km (circuit)
Duration: 1 hour
Grade: Easy

3. America Bay Track

The America Bay Track is a short but highly enjoyable bushwalk in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It’s only 1 km one way, but it sure packs a punch.

America Bay Track
America Bay Track

The highlight of this scenic walk is the lookout facing America Bay at the very end of the track. The views from this lookout are some of the best in the national park.

If you’re looking a quick and easy bushwalking escape in beautiful natural surroundings, the America Bay Track is not going to disappoint.

America Bay Track
Distance: 2 km (return)
Duration: 1 hour
Grade: easy

4. 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 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 round walk is located between the car park and the main entrance to Scenic World. The walk includes various scenic lookout points, before reaching the waterfall.

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

5. Blue Gum Walk in Hornsby

The 4 km long Blue Gum Walk in Hornsby is a bushwalk that explores different landscapes and environments, characterised by high gum trees and beautiful green ferns.

Blue Gum Walk
Blue Gum Walk

This moderately challenging and family-friendly walking track is a true bushwalkers delight, taking in creek crossings, gum forests, valley views, and so much more.

Blue Gum Walk
Distance: 4 km (circuit)
Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
Grade: Moderate

6. Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Walk

Hiking in Lake Parramatta Reserve makes for a great day out, as you walk through 75ha of bushland, around an scenic lake created by a historic dam that is now decommissioned.

Bushwalking in Lake Parramatta Reserve
Bushwalking in Lake Parramatta Reserve

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 of these trails 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 (circuit)
Duration: 2 hours
Grade: Easy / moderate

7. Forest Path

The Forest Path is a scenic and unpretentious bushwalk along Hacking River in Royal National Park.

It’s a relatively easy 4.5 km trail with start and finish on Sir Bertram Stevens Drive in the southern section of the national park.

Forest Path
Forest Path

This walk first opened in 1887 to allow for easy access to the forest trees to accommodate logging in the area.

Public pressure ultimately led to the ban of logging in the 1920’s, and the Forest Path has since been used for recreational purposes only.

Forest Path
Distance: 4.5 km (circuit)
Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
Grade: Easy / moderate

8. Wentworth Pass

One of the most popular and also most challenging walks in the Wentworth Falls area in the Blue Mountains is the Wentworth Pass walking track. It’s a beautiful 5 km circuit walk that starts and ends at the Conservation Hut.

From the Conservation Hut, the Wentworth Pass walking track passes through a section of the Valley of the Waters via Empress Falls.

Wentworth Pass
Wentworth Pass

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

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

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

9. 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 6 km Resolute circuit walk is an exciting bush walking track that leads 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)
Duration: 3 hours
Grade: Moderate

10. Grand Canyon Walk

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

Officially opened in 1907, the 6 km 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 to take in.

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)
Duration: 3 hours
Grade: Moderate / hard

11. 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 7.3 km 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, it certainly isn’t a difficult hike at all. However, there are some steeper sections, plus some areas where the surface is a bit rough with lots of loose rocks.

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

12. Narrabeen Lagoon Trail

The scenic Narrabeen Lagoon circuit trail is a stunning 8.4 km 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 in Narrabeen
Bushwalking in Narrabeen

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)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Grade: Easy / moderate

13. 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.

A scenic and enjoyable 10 km 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 Walk
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 10 km circuit walk.

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

14. 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 in the area.

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

Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head Loop Track
Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head Loop Track

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 explored.

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)
Duration: 4 hours
Grade: Moderate / hard

15. Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay

The challenging bushwalk from Cowan train station to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay through stunningly beautiful scenery is a real bushwalking challenge.

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 easier.

Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay
Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay

The bushwalk between Cowan and Brooklyn is part of the Great North Walk, an iconic 250 km track between Sydney, Hunter Valley and Newcastle. This 13 km 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 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)
Duration: 4 – 5 hours
Grade: Hard
 

15 Best Sydney bush walks

 
 
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