One of the best ways to experience a place is by walking every inch of it. Sydney is a great walking city, but unlike other cities, Sydney is surrounded by a sparkling coast and dense bushland, which makes it a hiker’s dream and city dwellers escape.
Whether you have an hour or four, Sydney’s hikes vary in distance and difficulty. Some start at the beach and end atop a dizzying cliff with ocean views. Other trails will take you through lush valleys, up sandstone stairs, and across small creeks. They all come with stunning views, wildlife encounters, and well, the many benefits of exercise.
Lace-up your hiking boots, pack a bag, and get walking.
Be sure to check the NSW National Parks alerts and warnings along with the NSW COVID-19 restrictions and advice before you head out.
Sydney The Bondi to Manly walk is the godfather of all walks. Stretching 80km from one iconic beach to the other, this walk weaves through public land, with well-maintained tracks, along wharves, across bridges, and by some of Sydney’s hidden vantage points. The entire walk can be completed in 15-hours, but a more realistic goal would be to break it up over four or five days, which is seven hours of walking a day. Let’s be honest, no one has the time, but you can complete a section at a time. Some highlight spots include Mr’s Macquarie’s Chair, Bradley’s Head, Watson’s Bay Wharf, Rose Bay, and Mary Booth Lookout. Along the way, you can stop at restaurants and bars, or soldier on to complete the track.
Royal National Park This rewarding walk is an 8km loop through the Royal National Park and passes by freshwater pools, bushland and has scenic beach views. The walk starts at Bundeena Drive which you can park at, then takes you through coastal terrain, with occasional steps and gentle hills. Along the way keep eyes peeled for the golden arc of sand at Little Marley Beach. If you have time, make a day of it and have an oceanside picnic, before retracing your steps to Bundeena Drive.
Royal National Park This easy one hour stroll takes you to one of the best views of the ocean and to an Instagram famous sandstone cliff, dubbed Wedding Cake Rock. Here, many have jumped to the water’s edge for a snap, but the fence is there to protect people as there is a high risk of collapse. Other than that, the walk takes you through stunning scenery, from flowers and wildlife to bush and ocean views. This track connects to a much larger 26km Coast Track that runs along the sandstone cliffs of the Royal National Park.
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park The views along Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk will make you feel like you’re in Hawaii. It’s only an hour from the CBD, but this slice of paradise is set 91-metres above sea level and overlooks the infamous Palm Beach, also known as Summer Bay to fans of Home and Away. It’s a 30 minutes walk, but it is a steep track to the top, but once you reach the summit the pain subsides and sheer astonishment takes over. This walk is part of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, which has the Smuggler’s Track, a harder workout if you’re keen.
Watsons Bay Explore the tip of Sydney’s South Head on this 1km loop that combines leafy green nature with water views. The trip starts at Camp Cove, along a cobbled sandstone path, which reveals historical cannon and gun emplacements dating back to the 1800s. Continue down to Lady Bay Beach, a nudist beach with views of the harbour and city skyline. Next stop is the candy-striped lighthouse, which offers 180-degree views of Sydney. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Botany Bay This 12.7km walk takes you through the southern coastlines of Sydney, exploring the hanging swamps, native plants, wildlife, and ocean views along the way. Start at Polo Street and work your way down to Cronulla for a dip into one of its beautiful ocean pools. Keep an eye out for Cape Baily Lighthouse, a structure built in the 1950s and continues to guide northbound ships to this day. It takes around four hours to complete and the terrain is difficult as some sections are unmarked and rugged.
Mosman This pleasant coastal walk is 4km, but it’s an easy stroll by the ocean on boardwalks and designated paths. You can start at Taronga Zoo Wharf and wade your way up Bradley’s Head which is dotted with its own secret little beaches, not to mention epic views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It weaves around the headland to unveil Chowder Bay, a small beach with a netted swimming enclosure. Here, stop for a picnic or head to a cafe to fuel up before the walk back.
Rosebay/Vaucluse Vaucluse and Rose Bay are known for their rich residents, but they’re also home to some of Sydney’s best secret beaches. This one hour walk takes you to some of them, and a few spectacular lookouts along with views of Italianate style mansions and heritage-listed homes. The path is mostly covered by a flat boardwalk with some stairs, so it is a fairly easy walk. Highlights include Milk Beach, Queens Beach, and Shark Bay, which contrary to its name is a safe swimming area. Stop by Steele Point and Ralph Newboult Lookout for a new perspective.
Bondi/Coogee This iconic walk is a popular trail, but it takes you to the best of the city’s beaches and clifftops with ocean views. The 6km one-way walk is an easy, but long stroll that starts at Bondi Icebergs and continues along the coastline past Tamarama Beach, Bronte, Clovelly Beach, and Gordon’s Bay. Whichever way you look, there are beautiful scenic views. Stop at the clifftop to take in the fresh air and view or head down to one of the many beaches for a swim.
Katoomba The Blue Mountains, only an hour from the CBD offers some pretty impressive, vertigo-inducing views. This short but iconic walk takes you to a lookout where three large rock formations, dubbed the Three Sisters stand. The walk starts at a stone archway at Echo Point and continues through a well-maintained path, that gets tricky once you reach Giant Stairway. The trip takes around 45 minutes, return, and offers atmospheric views of the mountains.
Blackheath Take advantage of the two most impressive lookouts in the Blue Mountains. This 3km clifftop walking track follows a cliff edge, boasting valley views the whole way around. It’s a moderate walk, that can start at either Govetts Leap Lookout or Evans Lookout. The views show the iconic cliff faces of the Blue Mountains, its lush greenery, and the horizon, which makes it a romantic walk, particularly during sunset or if you’re game enough, sunrise. The walking track connects to the famous Grand Canyon Walk, where you will meet a series of waterfalls, creeks, and of course, epic cliff views.
Katoomba This grueling five-hour hike in Katoomba is 6.6km long and goes deep into the Jamison Valley. You start at the Golden Stairway and from there, head into the rainforest, where wildlife and old miner’s cottages await. You can climb the ruined castle, one of the most recognisable rock formations in the valley. Once at the top, the view encompasses Katoomba and Wentworth Falls. It’s recommended you have bushwalking experience, as there are limited signage along this track and some rough and steep terrain.
There’s plenty to celebrate this year, from new menus to restaurants throwing parties, bottomless brunches, and more.
Here, we have the latest on Sydney’s food news, from chefs taking over restaurants to limited-edition menus and feasts for all your friends to enjoy.
To celebrate World Gin Day, and for one week only, gin and food lovers can try nagashi-sōmen—translating to ‘flowing noodles’— which sees noodles sent down a bamboo chute for diners to collect with chopsticks. The one-off experience will be hosted at Kid Kyoto, where guests can enjoy their flowing noodles alongside a menu paired with delicious KI NO BI Gin cocktails. Purchase tickets here.
Tuck into a Fireball Burger
Feeling the cold? Fireball Whisky and Bar Luca have teamed up for the ultimate firey menu. Offered for a limited time only, head down to Bar Luca for $6 Fireball shots all day, a Fireball shot and cocktail on arrival, and an all-you-can-eat bites of the full “Blame Fireball” menu on Saturday, July 1. Book a spot here.
For two nights only, on Tuesday the 20th and Tuesday 27th of June, Graeme Hunt, Head Chef of Sydney’s trending late-night bar and dining venue at Zaffi, will be stepping up to the kitchen at award-winning bar PS40. Pop-up guests can expect a mosaic of colourful Lebanese-inspired bar snacks paired with exclusive midweek sips made by the mastermind behind the experimental bar, Michael Chiem.
Fan of Cinderella? The Great Hall is transforming into The Royal Palace for an enchanting high tea from July 1-2. There will be dancing and fun, and then Cinderella will run out of the venue leaving behind her glass slipper—the search for the missing beauty will begin. Tickets for the Cinderella High Tea costs $80-85 and you can purchase them here.
Grill’d has dropped two new burgers, and they’re beyond anything we could have imagined. Taking inspiration from Mexico, Grilld’s two new burgers are a Zesty Mexi and Luxe Nacho Burger. The Zesty Mexi features a black bean pattie with corn chips, tasty cheese, slaw, jalapenos, and chipotle mayo mixed with green tomatillo lime salsa. For meat lovers, the Luxe Nacho Burger is the same as the Zesty Mexi, but with a premium Wagyu pattie.