Conquer the Manly Scenic Walkway

Last updated: November 27, 2020

The Manly Scenic Walkway is a stunning 19.5 km coastal walk that takes you from the Spit Bridge to Manly, followed by the Manly North Head walk.

Pack your gear and be mesmerised by sweeping Sydney Harbour and ocean views, picturesque bays, and secluded inner harbour beaches, as you’re going to conquer one of Sydney’s finest coastal walks.

Manly Scenic Walkway
Distance:19.5 km (one way)
Time:6-10 hours
Grade:Hard (due to length)
Dogs:Not allowed on some sections

How to Get There

It’s recommended to use public transport when doing (parts of) the Manly Scenic Walkway. Especially on Sundays, when you can use unlimited public transport for $2.80 with your Opal Card.

Public Transport

It’s easy to catch a bus from the city to the Spit Bridge. In Manly, once you’ve finished the North Head section, you can catch a bus or a ferry back to the city.

Manly ferry wharf
Manly ferry wharf

The ferry trip between Manly and Circular Quay is an experience in itself with great views of Sydney Harbour. Check the bus and ferry timetables on the NSW Transport Info website.

Car

There is (limited) parking available north of the Spit Bridge at Battle Boulevard. Alternatively you can try parking south of the bridge at the Spit Bridge Reserve.

You can also choose to skip the first part of the hike and park your car at Clontarf Reserve (expensive). Otherwise, Tania Park (free) at Dobroyd Head has a large parking area.

From Manly you can catch a ferry or bus to the city, and then another bus back to the Spit Bridge. Another option is to grab a taxi or an Uber to get you back to your starting point.

About the Manly Scenic Walkway

The Manly Scenic Walkway is rarely done in one go, as hiking 19.5 kilometres is quite a bit of a challenge. Most people do the popular Manly to Spit walk, not knowing that the track actually continues all around North Head and back into Manly.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that the Manly Scenic Walkway consisted only of the Spit to Manly section, which is why lots of websites still use both these names as being one and the same.

The 10km Spit to Manly walking trail was opened in 1988, and the 9.5km Manly North Head circuit track was added many years later.

Reef Beach along the Manly Scenic Walkway
Reef Beach along the Manly Scenic Walkway

This second part of the Manly Scenic Walkway starts and finishes at Manly Wharf, right where the Spit to Manly walk ends. If 19.5 km is just a bit too much, you can of course also just do the two sections on different days.

Note that the Manly Scenic Walkway is now also part of the recently opened Bondi to Manly walk, an 80km long coastal adventure between Bondi Beach and Manly Beach.

The Route

The below two maps reflect the first section and the second section of the Manly Scenic Walkway.

The first section is the Spit to Manly Walk, the second section is the Manly North Head Walk, and the two combined form a stunning 19.5 km coastal walk.

You can download the complete map from the Northern Beaches Council website.

Section 1: Spit to Manly Walk

Manly Scenic Walkway map of section 1

Section 2: Manly North Head Walk

Manly Scenic Walkway map of section 2

1. Spit Bridge to Manly Walk

Check out our guide to the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk for more details about this section, with an outline of all the highlights and lots of pictures.

The 10km walking trail between the Spit Bridge and Manly is one of the most popular urban coastal walks in Sydney, rivaling the Bondi to Coogee walk in the eastern suburbs, south of the Harbour Bridge.

Spit Bridge to Manly Walk
Spit Bridge to Manly Walk

These are some of the highlights along the Spit to Manly walking track:

  1. The Spit Bridge
  2. Clontarf Reserve
  3. Castle Rock Beach
  4. Grotto Point Lighthouse
  5. Washaway Beach
  6. Dobroyd Head Lookouts
  7. Reef Beach and Forty Baskets Beach
  8. North Harbour Reserve
  9. Fairlight Walk
  10. Manly Wharf and The Corso

Here is a map with these highlights marked:

Map and highlights of the Spit to Manly Walk

Spit to Manly Walk
Distance:10 km
Time:3-5 hours
Grade:Moderate

2. North Head Walk

Check out our guide to the North Head Walk for more details about this section, with an outline of all the highlights and lots of pictures.

The 9.5km North Head Walk in Manly is one of Sydney’s most fascinating hikes, with lots of history, panoramic views, and scenic beaches to enjoy from start to finish.

North Head Walk
North Head Walk

These are some of the highlights along the North Head walking track:

  1. Shelly Beach
  2. Shelly Headland Lookouts
  3. Bluefish Track
  4. The Barracks Precinct
  5. Hanging Swamp
  6. Gun Emplacements
  7. Australia’s Memorial Walk
  8. Fairfax Lookout
  9. North Fort
  10. Third Quarantine Cemetery
  11. Collins Beach
  12. Little Manly Beach

Here is a map with these highlights marked:

Map and highlights of the North Head Walk

North Head Walk
Distance:9.5 km (part circuit)
Time:3-5 hours
Grade:Moderate
 

Manly Scenic Walkway

 
 
Leave a Comment