Fairfax Walk and Burragula Lookout on North Head

Last updated: May 23, 2024

The Fairfax Walk on Manly’s North Head is a family-friendly walking trail with two panoramic lookouts offering incredible views of Sydney Harbour, the city skyline, South Head, and the ocean.

The highlight of the walk is the Burragula Lookout, one of the most impressive lookout points in Sydney. It’s also a popular whale-watching spot during the two whale migration seasons.

Fairfax Walk
Distance: 1 km (loop)
Duration: 30 minutes
Grade: Easy
Wheel-friendly: Yes
Dogs: Not allowed
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How to Get There

The Fairfax Walk is very easy to travel to by car. Once you’re in Manly, follow Darley Road to North Head, and then follow North Head Scenic Drive to the end.

There is a well-sized parking area where the walk starts, with ticket machines available to pay for your National Park parking fees. From the car park, make your way to the Fairfax Track signpost, which marks the start of this scenic loop walking trail.

Signpost for the Fairfax Walk
Start of the Fairfax Walk

The Fairfax Walk also forms part of the North Head Walk, a 9.5 km circuit trail that starts and ends at Manly Beach.

So, if you prefer to do a more challenging hike, this circuit trail is highly recommended as one of the greatest hikes in Sydney and a convenient way to include the Fairfax Walk.

In the map below:

P: Parking
1: Burragula Lookout
2: Yiningma Lookout

Map of the Fairfax Walk

Fairfax Walk

The Fairfax Walk was named after John Fairfax, an English-born businessman who, in 1841, founded a media company that would later become Fairfax Media.

The reconstruction of the former Fairfax Lookout was financed in 1981 by “John Fairfax & Sons”, the company’s original name. This was to mark the 150th anniversary of the first publication of the Sydney Herald in 1831 and to commemorate the life of John Fairfax.

In 2023, the Fairfax Walk was redeveloped with two new lookouts to replace the original Fairfax Lookout: the Burragulla Lookout and the Yiningma Lookout.

Fairfax Track walking path
Fairfax Walk

The Fairfax loop walk is about 1 km long and is paved from start to finish.

It’s a very easy and accessible walking trail, with superb 360-degree views of Sydney Harbour and the South Pacific Ocean to enjoy.

Burragula Lookout

When walking in an anti-clockwise manner, the first lookout to visit is the Burragula Lookout, which faces Sydney Harbour and the Sydney CBD skyline.

Burragula Lookout
Burragula Lookout

The platform at the lookout is quite large, with lots of room for visitors to move around and take in the views from different angles.

In the middle of the platform is a well-designed gathering space with seats carved out of solid stone.

Yiningma Lookout

Continuing on the walking path, the next lookout, the Yiningma Lookout, isn’t too far away.

This vantage point is slightly smaller than the Burragula Lookout, but the views of the ocean and the headland cliffs are just as impressive.

Yiningma Lookout
Yiningma Lookout

Both the Burragula and Yiningma lookout points are popular with whale watchers, who come here to spot whales that pass by twice annually.

First during the June-July season when the whales migrate northbound, and again during the August-October season when they return to the Antarctic.

North Head Sanctuary

The Fairfax Walk is one of the highlights of North Head, an area of Sydney Harbour National Park comprising approximately 156 hectares.

Once you’ve completed the Fairfax Walk and have spent enough time at the lookouts, it’s a good idea to explore the North Head Sanctuary.

Bunker along the Fairfax Walk
Old military bunker

North Head has quite a rich history as a quarantine station and military site, and much of that history has been preserved in the sanctuary.

To explore this area further, you can either drive to the North Head Sanctuary Visitor Centre or walk there as it’s not far from the Fairfax Walk car park.

Access to North Head Sanctuary from Fairfax Walk
Access to North Head Sanctuary from Fairfax Walk

If you decide to walk, look out for a walking trail that connects with Australia’s Memorial Walk. This paved pathway links five monuments dedicated to the major conflict periods Australia has been involved in.

This Memorial Walk then connects with the Visitor Centre and the various sights that are part of the North Head Sanctuary.

Keen to spend more time in Manly? Read our guide with things to do in Manly for a comprehensive list of fun activities and attractions.

 

Fairfax Walk and Lookouts on Manly's North Head

 
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