Destination / Wish You Were Here

Get outside: our round up of the best coastal walks in Sydney

Fairlight pool Manly

With many gyms and fitness still closed, we need to find new ways to get our exercise. We’ve already shared with you our favourite workouts from home and now we’re sharing our favourites from outside.

According to the experts, if you’re not sick or feeling unwell, then getting some decent exercise outdoors is still a safe thing to do. At this stage, it’s absolutely fine for you and your family (keep it to a small group) to head outside and enjoy some fresh air. Although, this advice could change, so stay up to date with the latest medical advice.

As a Sydney local and regular hiker, I’ve tried out just about every long walking track the city has to offer. And I have a few favourites, I like the longer ones that help you with a serious calorie burn. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, here are the best walks in Sydney that will help you get that heart rate up.

Manly to Spit walk

Some will claim it’s just for tourists but I think this is the most scenic and certainly one of the most iconic walking tracks in Sydney – even if you’re a Sydney local. It’s 10 kilometres, and although some claim it takes four hours, I complete it comfortably in about two and half. Maybe three if I keep stopping for photos. There’s one or two rest stops along the way, one just off Forty Baskets beach and one a little off the track near the dog park in Balgowlah. Wear comfy shoes and bring lots of water.

Burning Palms (Figure 8 Pools)

Figure 8 Pools
Instagram @alexrmcnamara

This one is a little treacherous but worth it. The shortest path down to the beach is about three and half kilometers (so roughly seven return). Even if you’re a fast walker, it will take you about two hours both ways because it’s steep, rocky and you need to be careful where you step. Once you’re on the beach, you’ll need to climb over rocks for roughly 30 minutes to get to the pools. Just remember, they’re only viewable and accessible at low tide. It’s dangerous to go any other time.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk

Barrenjoey Headland

This walk is only two kilometres one way. But it’s uphill the entire time so it feels a bit longer and is a great option to really get your blood pumping. Once you’re at the top, you’ll be rewarded with the most spectacular views of the entire Northern peninsula of Sydney. It takes about an hour or so to get up to the top depending on how well you handle hills and stairs. On the way back down, make sure to pop into the Palm Beach boathouse for the views and the food.

Narrabeen Lake walk

Narrabeen Lake
Instagram cazwood71

The walk around Narrabeen Lake is a nine kilometre loop. It’s fairly flat the whole way, so it’s a good one to choose if you’re more of a jogger or runner. The track hugs the lake the whole way, taking down past the Sydney Academy of Sport and behind Cromer Golf Club. I can tackle this walk in around an hour and a half with a bit of jogging in the mix, but best to allow yourself about two to two and half hours to finish this one. There are a couple of water fountains and rest stops on the way, plus you can start at multiple points. I think the best place to start is at Berry Reserve.

Bondi to Coogee

Bondi to Coogee

This is probably the most iconic coastal walk in Sydney, and for a reason. It hugs the coastline of the East and takes you past Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte and Coogee beaches. The sand along the East is whiter than other parts of Sydney so the waves have a magical, aquamarine appearance. It’s six kilometers one way, so keep that in mind if you plan on walking back. It’s an easy walk with flat paths, but it will take you over three hours to complete return. Good news is that there’s plenty of rest stops and water fountains along the way.

West Head – Mackerel Beach loop

West Head look out

It’s worth coming here just to sneak a peek at the look out. It’s rather spectacular. As for walking tracks, West Head has a lot to choose from but my favourite is the loop track around Mackerel Beach, which takes you past Resolute Beach. It’s not an easy walk, the track takes you uphill and downhill a lot. So definitely wear comfy shoes. It’s about a nine kilometre round-trip and takes about three to four hours depending on your walking speed. Bring lots of water, there’s nowhere to grab it along the way once you’re on the track.

Wedding Cake Rock walk

Wedding Cake Rock
Instagram katealiceharding_

Although you’re no longer allowed to walk out onto the rock formation, the hike down to Wedding Cake Rock is another great one. The full hike is about 26 kilometres long, which I’ve never done in entirety because it takes two days and involves camping. So, I like most others just tackle the hike from Bundeena, which is about seven kilometres return. It’s a little steep in parts but well worth it once you get to the coast. The views are rather special. Expect this one to take you two to three hours depending on your speed.