17 Best Bush Walks in Sydney

Last updated: December 6, 2022

Keen to head into the Sydney bush to go hiking? We have listed 17 of the best bushwalks in Sydney, some short and easy and 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 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 have some fantastic bushwalks, there is also lots of bushland to explore in and around the city and the Harbour.

Read on, as we reveal our top 17 bushwalks in and around Sydney, where you can enjoy beautiful natural scenery while also getting a good workout in.

Top 17 Sydney Bush Walks:

Bush Walk Distance
1 America Bay Track 2 km (return)
2 Bullimah Spur Track 2.4 km (return)
3 Tambourine Bay Park to Warraroon Reserve 3 km (return)
4 Harold Reid Reserve Track 4 km (circuit)
5 Overcliff Undercliff Track 4 km (circuit)
6 Blue Gum Walk 4 km (circuit)
7 Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Walk 4.2 km (circuit)
8 Forest Path 4.5 km (circuit)
9 Seaforth Oval to Bluff Lookout 5.5 km (return)
10 Resolute Beach Circuit Walk 6 km (circuit)
11 Grand Canyon Walk 6 km (circuit)
12 Manly Dam Walk 7.3 km (circuit)
13 Narrabeen Lagoon Trail 8.4 km (circuit)
14 Palm Jungle Loop Track 8.5 km (circuit)
15 Lane Cove Riverside Circuit Walk 10 km (circuit)
16 Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head Loop Track 10 km (circuit)
17 Cowan to Brooklyn via Jerusalem Bay 13 km (one way)

Top 17 Sydney Bush Walks

Ordered by distance from short to long, pick your favourite hike from the following list of the 17 best bushwalks in Sydney.

1. America Bay Track

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

The walk starts with a short detour to a site with well-preserved Aboriginal engravings on a large, flat rocky area.

America Bay Track
America Bay Track

But 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 for a quick and easy bushwalking escape in beautiful natural surroundings, the America Bay Track will not disappoint.

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

2. Bullimah Spur Track

The Bullimah Spur Track is a relatively easy bushwalking trail in Bouddi National Park that leads to a beautiful lookout.

This enjoyable walking track starts from the Maitland Bay Information Centre, with various other walks and lookouts nearby to explore, including the Maitland Bay Track.

Views from the Bullimah Outlook
Views from the Bullimah Outlook

The path through the bush is easy to follow, but it does include sections with uneven surface, and there is also a bit of rock scrambling involved.

The lookout at the end of the walk, Bullimah Outlook, offers fantastic views of Putty Beach, Box Head, Broken Bay, and the Palm Beach peninsula.

Bullimah Spur Track
Distance: 2.4 km (return)
Duration: 1 hour
Grade: Easy / moderate

3. Tambourine Bay Park to Warraroon Reserve

If you’re looking for an easy but adventurous bushwalk close to suburban streets, the trail from Tambourine Bay to Warraroon Reserve is going to be a pleasant surprise.

This easy 3 km return walking trail passes through a pocket of scenic bushland, linking the suburbs of Longueville, Riverview, and Lane Cove.

Warraroon Reserve
Warraroon Reserve

The walk follows Tambourine Creek, which flows into Tambourine Bay, a northern tributary of the Lane Cove River.

The best part of the walking trail is the section through Warraroon Reserve, surrounded by tall trees, mangroves, rock formations, and a variety of wildlife.

Tambourine Bay Park to Warraroon Reserve
Distance: 3 km (return)
Duration: 1 hour
Grade: Easy

4. Harold Reid Reserve Track

The Harold Reid Reserve foreshore track is a family-friendly bushwalking trail in the small suburb of Middle Cove, with lovely Middle Harbour views to enjoy.

The walk explores the Harold Reid Reserve, a pocket of natural waterfront bushland on a Hawkesbury sandstone landform facing the calm waters of Fig Tree Cove.

Foreshore of Harold Reid Reserve
Foreshore of Harold Reid Reserve

This not-so-well-known track is very easy to navigate, but it’s a real bushwalk with an unsealed path and sections with uneven and slippery surfaces, but that’s part of the fun.

Once you’ve completed the walking track, it’s worth driving to the picnic and BBQ area higher up in the reserve, where you will also find a scenic lookout.

Harold Reid Reserve Track
Distance: 4 km (circuit)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Grade: Easy

5. Overcliff Undercliff Track

One of the most popular walks in the Wentworth Falls area in the Blue Mountains is the Overcliff Undercliff walking track. It’s a beautiful 4 km circuit walk through a variety of landscapes.

This walk can be started from the old Conservation Hut or from the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area on Sir H Burrell Drive.

Undercliff Track
Undercliff Track

While this walk doesn’t get very close to the actual waterfall, the beautiful scenery and fantastic valley views sure make up for it.

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

Overcliff Undercliff Track
Distance: 4 km (circuit)
Duration: 2 hours
Grade: Easy / moderate

6. Blue Gum Walk

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.

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

Blue Gum Walk
Blue Gum Walk

One of the highlights along this walk is the Fishponds, a series of scenic waterholes on Berowra Creek.

Since the Blue Gum Walk is a loop walk, there are multiple entry and exit points. However, the most logical starting point of this walking track is at the Rosemead Road picnic area in Hornsby.

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

7. Lake Parramatta Reserve Circuit Walk

Hiking in Lake Parramatta Reserve makes for a great day out, as you make your way through 75ha of bushland surrounding a lake created by a historic decommissioned dam.

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.

Bushwalking in Lake Parramatta Reserve
Bushwalking in Lake Parramatta Reserve

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.

The circuit trail around the lake is moderately challenging but can be completed by anyone with a reasonable fitness level.

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

8. Forest Path

The Forest Path is a scenic and unpretentious bushwalk along the 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 on logging in the 1920s, 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

9. Seaforth Oval to Bluff Lookout

The 5.5 km return walk to the Bluff Lookout from Seaforth Oval in Garigal National Park is a challenging bushwalking adventure with panoramic views of Bantry Bay.

The first part of the trail is an easy descent towards the bay, followed by a scenic walk along the shoreline.

The Bluff Lookout
The Bluff Lookout

The track then soon makes a steep ascent towards the Bluff Lookout, from where you can enjoy fantastic views of the bay, Middle Harbour, and Sydney’s skyline.

Even though this walking track is relatively short, it is pretty challenging because of the climbs and sections with a rough surface, but overall it’s a highly enjoyable bush walk.

Seaforth Oval to Bluff Lookout
Distance: 5.5 km (return)
Duration: 3 hours
Grade: Moderate / hard

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.

This is a true hidden gem with amazing views of Pittwater and the Barrenjoey Headland, beautiful emerald green water, and usually very few tourists.

Resolute Beach
Resolute Beach

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

11. 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 has some very steep sections, the Grand Canyon Walk can be undertaken by anyone with a reasonable fitness level, but bring a 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

12. Manly Dam Walk

Surrounded by 377 hectares of bushland, Manly Dam Reserve is the largest freshwater lake in Sydney. The lake was created due to 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 many activities in and around the lake, such as hiking, mountain biking, swimming, picnicking, and water skiing.

Although the circuit walk is rather long, it isn’t a difficult hike. However, there are some steeper sections and some areas where the surface is rough with lots of loose rocks.

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

13. 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, 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

14. Palm Jungle Loop Track

The second bushwalk in the Royal National Park on this list is the moderately challenging, 8.5 km long Palm Jungle Loop Track.

This bushwalking track is particularly exciting because it passes through various types of landscapes and sceneries.

Palm Jungle in Royal National Park
Palm Jungle in Royal National Park

The trail takes in thriving rainforests, beautiful coastal views, and scenic cliff tops, with a quick visit to Burning Palms Beach as a bonus on a warm day.

The path is well-maintained and easy to follow from start to finish, with sections with metal boardwalks and a few steep sections with steps.

Palm Jungle Loop Track
Distance: 8.5 km (circuit)
Duration: 3 hours
Grade: Moderate

15. 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

16. 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 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 1920s, 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

17. 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 only do the 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 very challenging but well worth the effort.

The best way to get to Cowan is to use public transport, as the start of the walking track is opposite the train station. 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
 

17 Best Sydney bush walks

 

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