Last updated: November 27, 2020
What makes Sydney such a unique city is the amazing coastline and the Harbour. Beaches, rock pools, parks, sandstone cliffs, Sydney’s coastline has it all.
The magnificent Sydney Harbour is home to secluded beaches, beautiful bays, historic sites and, of course, the iconic headlands.
Sydney’s coastline, from Palm Beach in the north to Cronulla and the Royal National Park in the south, includes some of the most scenic coastal walks.
|1||Hermitage Foreshore Walk||2 km (one way)|
|2||Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk||2.5 km (one way)|
|3||Watsons Bay Circuit Walk||4.5 km (circuit)|
|4||Jibbon Beach Loop Track||5km (circuit)|
|5||Federation Cliff Walk||5 km (one way)|
|6||Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk||6 km (one way)|
|7||Cape Baily Track||6 km (return)|
|8||Cronulla Beach Coastal Walk||6 km (part circuit)|
|9||Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach||6.5 km (one way)|
|10||Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Coastal Walk||8 km (one way)|
|11||Wattamolla to Eagle Rock||8 km (return)|
|12||Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk||10 km (one way)|
|13||Manly Scenic Walkway||19.5 km (one way)|
|14||Royal National Park Coast Track||26 km (one way)|
|15||Bondi to Manly Coastal Walk||80 km (one way)|
Top 15 Sydney Coastal Walks
Ordered from short to long, pick your favourite from the following list of the 15 best coastal walks in Sydney.
Note that when a walking track’s distance is measured as a return walk, that is because that particular walking track can only be completed as a return walk.
1. Hermitage Foreshore Walk
The scenic 2km Hermitage Foreshore Walk follows the shoreline between the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve just north of Rose Bay and Nielsen Park in Vaucluse.
As short as this coastal walk may be, it is a fantastic way to experience the real beauty of Sydney Harbour, with fantastic views to take in from start to finish.
The track is mostly a combination of wooden boardwalks and well maintained bush walking paths, and overall is quite an easy walk.
It takes in several small secluded beaches, such as Queens Beach, Hermit Bay and Milk Beach, and has some excellent vantage points from where you get to enjoy incredible Sydney Harbour views.
|Hermitage Foreshore Walk|
|Distance:||2 km (one way)|
2. Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk
If the hike between Bondi and Coogee is a bit too long, why not cut it short by only doing the section between Bondi and Bronte.
This is a rather easy and short coastal walk, but long enough to give you a great impression of Sydney’s incredibly beautiful coastline.
As you follow the walking track on top of the cliffs, between two of Sydney’s most popular beaches, you will get to enjoy lots of vantage points from where you can soak in the amazing views.
Tamarama Beach is at the halfway mark, and is a great location to have a coffee and perhaps a snack at the cafe in Tamarama Beach Park overlooking the beach.
|Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk|
|Distance:||2.5 km (one way)|
|Time:||1 hour (depending on stops)|
3. Watsons Bay Circuit Walk
The Watsons Bay Walk is a scenic coastal trail around South Head, featuring panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, the city skyline, the Tasman Sea, North Head and the historic Hornby Lighthouse.
The Watsons Bay walk connects with the Federation Cliff Walk at the Gap, and from the southern end of that walk, you can continue hiking to Coogee, and even further south to Maroubra, Malabar and La Perouse, following Sydney’s coastline.
Parking is hard to find in Watsons Bay during weekends, so the best way to travel to this Sydney hot spot is to catch a ferry from Circular Quay.
It’s a very enjoyable Sydney Harbour ferry trip, which gives you the opportunity to see even more of the Harbour, the sailing ships, and not to mention the prestigious waterfront mansions.
|Watsons Bay Circuit Walk|
|Distance:||4.5 km (circuit)|
4. Jibbon Beach Loop Track
The Jibbon Beach loop track is a bit of a hidden gem in the Royal National Park, with panoramic ocean views and well-preserved Aboriginal engravings to soak in.
This coastal walk starts at the Bundeena ferry, and loops around Jibbon Head, Port Hacking Point and Shelley Beach, before going back into Bundeena through scenic bushland.
If you’d like to go for a swim or do a bit of sun-bathing, Jibbon Beach is a beautiful 700 metres long, north-facing strip of sand. Just be mindful that this is an unpatrolled beach.
Once you’ve completed the walk, head into the Bundeena town centre for some great food options and a nice coffee.
|Jibbon Beach Loop Track|
5. Federation Cliff Walk
Not as well-known as the Bondi to Coogee walk but just as spectacular is the Federation Cliff Walk, a 5km walking trail between Watsons Bay and Dover Heights north of Bondi Beach.
This scenic track follows the coastline above high sandstone cliffs, offering panoramic views of the Tasman Sea.
One of the highlights along the Federation Cliff Walk is Diamond Bay Reserve which has a wooden walkway built right on top the cliffs.
The views of the surrounding area from there are absolutely breathtaking. What makes this experience even more enjoyable is that this track north of Bondi never really gets busy.
|Federation Cliff Walk|
|Distance:||5 km (one way)|
6. Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
Tourists and local Sydney-siders alike flock to Sydney’s east coast every day to enjoy Australia’s best beaches, stunning ocean views, beautiful parks, and lots of cafe’s and restaurants on the way from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach.
The first section of Sydney’s most popular coastal trail is the scenic walk from Bondi to Bronte, past Bondi Icebergs, Mackenzies Bay and Tamarama Beach.
From Bronte Beach, follow the track south that leads to Waverley past Calga Reserve, which marks the start of a popular boardwalk that swings around the historic Waverley Cemetery.
The boardwalk feeds into Clovelly, a vibrant and charming beach-side suburb with a lawn bowls club, a swim-friendly beach and bay, and a large parking area. From there, the trail continues past Gordons Bay all the way to Coogee Beach.
|Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk|
|Distance:||6 km (one way)|
7. Cape Baily Track
One of Sydney’s best kept secrets is the scenic coastal walk from the Cape Solander Lookout to the Cape Baily Lighthouse in Kamay Botany Bay National Park just north of Cronulla.
The Cape Baily Track is a 6km return coastal adventure with all the right ingredients. Incredible ocean views, huge sandstone sea cliff walls, a classic lighthouse, this hike really is a superb Sydney coastal walk.
What’s great about this hike is that it doesn’t attract the crowds that other popular coastal walks in Sydney 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 actually extend this amazing walk around the Kurnell peninsula all the way to Cronulla Beach.
|Cape Baily Track|
|Distance:||6 km (return)|
8. Cronulla Beach Coastal Walk
While most visitors to Cronulla go the one of the various because or otherwise to its lively town centre, this beachside suburb is also home to one of Sydney’s finest coastal walks.
The coastal walking track following the shoreline of the Cronulla Peninsula is an absolute delight. Almost just as pretty as the much more popular Bondi to Coogee walk, but without the crowds.
Starting at Wanda Beach, the track heads south past North Cronulla Beach and Soutch Cronulla Beach, followed by The Esplanade all the way to the southernmost tip of the peninsula.
From there, the track heads back north and into town via Darook Park, Gunnamatta Bay and the Cronulla Sailing Club.
|Cronulla Beach Coastal Walk|
|Distance:||6 km (part circuit)|
|Time:||2 hours (including stops)|
9. Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach
One of the most enjoyable Sydney Harbour walking tracks is the trail between Taronga Zoo and Balmoral Beach. This 6.5km track meanders past 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.
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 travel cap on all public transport travel.
|Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach|
|Distance:||6.5 km (one way)|
|Grade:||Easy / moderate|
10. Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Coastal Walk
The walking track from Rose Bay to Watsons Bay is one of the most scenic coastal walks 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.
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 aforementioned Hermitage Foreshore track, between Rose Bay and Nielsen Park in Vaucluse.
|Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Coastal Walk|
|Distance:||8 km (one way)|
|Grade:||Easy / moderate|
11. Wattamolla to Eagle Rock
This is both a coastal walk as well as a bushwalk, so you get to enjoy different types of scenery along this amazing hike in the Royal National Park.
Starting at Wattamolla Beach, this 4km walking track navigates to Eagle Head Rock, an iconic landmark that strongly resembles an eagle’s beak.
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)|
|Grade:||Easy / moderate|
12. Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk
The Spit to Manly coastal walk is a beautiful 10km walking trail, past secluded inner harbour beaches, through native bushland and around picturesque bays, offering panoramic Sydney Harbour views.
The track forms part of the iconic 20km Manly Scenic Walkway which goes from the Spit Bridge to Manly Beach followed by the Manly North Head circuit walk.
One of the highlights 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 Coastal Walk|
|Distance:||10 km (one way)|
13. Manly Scenic Walkway
The Manly Scenic Walkway is a stunning 19.5 km coastal walk that takes you from the Spit Bridge to Manly, followed by a 9.5 km circuit trail around North Head.
In other words, this is a combination of two of Sydney’s best coastal walks; the Spit to Manly coastal walk (as listed above) and the North Head circuit walk.
The Manly North Head circuit walk meanders through a beautiful landscape with a very diverse wildlife and flora, while also experiencing the rich military history of this unique area in Sydney.
One of the highlights is the Fairfax Lookout, which can be accessed via a short detour. The Harbour, ocean and city views from this lookout are absolutely phenomonal.
|Manly Scenic Walkway|
|Distance:||19.5 km (one way)|
|Grade:||Moderate / hard|
14. Royal National Park Coast Track
The iconic Coast Track between Bundeena and Otford in Royal National Park is one of those once in a lifetime hiking experiences. It is perhaps the most iconic coastal trail in New South Wales, but with a 26 km distance, it’s not for everyone.
From scenic lookout points and waterfalls, to swimming holes and isolated beaches, the Coast Track includes everything we’d expect from a Sydney coastal walk.
The Coast Track can be commenced from either Bundeena in the north as well as 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. Just be mindful that this camping hot spot is booked out quite quickly well in advance.
|Royal National Park Coast Track|
|Distance:||26 km (one way)|
15. Bondi to Manly Coastal Walk
Let’s finish this list of the best Sydney coastal walks with the longest, the most iconic, the most challenging, the ultimate Sydney coastal walk, which is, of course, the Bondi to Manly walk.
Not less than 80km of pure Sydney coastal goodness is what awaits you when you put on your hiking boots and head to Bondi Beach to start this monumental walking track all the way to Manly Beach north of the Harbour Bridge.
You will get to explore the best beaches, the prettiest bays, and the most secluded strips of sand you can find in the greater Sydney region when you conquer the 80km between Bondi and Manly.
But don’t worry, there’s no need to do this track in one go. Check out our guide to the Bondi to Manly walking track and see how you can divide this hiking adventure into smaller sections.
|Bondi to Manly Coastal Walk|
|Time:||2 – 6 days|
|Grade:||Hard (because of distance)|