Walks in Sydney – My Top Five

Walking is my favourite exercise and mode of transport. To me it’s a meditative way to get about – as it helps me sink into a rhythm and think (or not) – and I can venture almost anywhere I’d like. One superb place to walk in is Sydney, my home city, given that it has some of the best weather on the planet and lots of pretty nooks and crannies to explore. Here’s my top five walks in Sydney.

1. Cockatoo Island

Walks in Sydney
Cockatoo Island – convict quarters with Sydney Tower in the background

For lovers of history, harbour sparkle and for the plain curious, Cockatoo Island is a wonderful place to explore. The place was once a penal settlement, before becoming a girl’s school, a ship-building hub, an air-raid shelter, X-ray laboratory and finally a naval dockyard. The island was first open to the public in 2007, and wandering through its tunnels, passageways and past its relics is an adventure in itself.

2.  Harbour Bridge to Spit Bridge

Walks in Sydney

Walking this route (7 kilometres) on a sunny day, you’ll see just how spectacular Sydney really is. Starting at Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge, head along the northern shore towards the Spit Bridge and on to Manly, passing bushland, isolated beaches, coves and Taronga Zoo. From the harbour cliff tops you’ll catch angles of Sydney that will leave you speechless. One of the best parts of this walk is that you can return via ferry at sunset.

3. Bondi to Coogee

Walks in Sydney
Bondi Beach at the end (or start) of the walk

I’ve walked this well-known 5 kilometre route near half a dozen times and I’m looking forward to doing it again. I typically start this one in Coogee and end up in Bondi, passing superb beaches such as Gordon’s Bay, Clovelly, Bronte and Tamarama. The walk also passes the scenic Waverly Cemetery, which looks wonderfully atmospheric on an overcast day.

A few times I passed the home of the ‘Bondi caveman‘, which once sat beneath the cliffs en route. The caveman, also known as Peter James, was a poet who survived on donations and his home beneath the Bondi cliffs was demolished in 2009, as it was on Crown Land. There’s also Aboriginal rock carvings to see and whale watching at the right time of year. In all, it’s a brilliant hour-and-half or so’s walk.

4. Otford to Bundeena

Walks in Sydney
View of Era Beach from North Era campground

Best tackled over two days, the Otford to Bundeena walk begins in the Royal National Park in Sydney’s south (Otford) and ends just south of Cronulla (Bundeena). It stretches a little over 23 kilometres and passes stunning headlands, beaches, bushland and waterfalls. I’ve done this walk three times and I’m hankering to do it again. There’s camping at North Era and a kiosk at Wattamolla (where there’s a waterfall). Of course you could do this walk in reverse.

5. Glebe Point Road and Glebe foreshore.

Walks in Sydney
Glebe foreshore

A village-like suburb near the heart of Sydney, Glebe was my home for six years and its main artery, Glebe Point Road, is an interesting place for a stroll. It’s gentrified yet still contains old Victorian houses and a range of pedestrians. It has housing commission and Sydney University at one end and an affluent, leafy section at the other. There’s also lots of interesting shops and the walk along the foreshore is as good as I’ve seen in any city. Summertime there is like a dream.

What about you? Any walks you could recommend in and around Sydney that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear about them!

14 thoughts on “Walks in Sydney – My Top Five”

  1. Thanks for the very useful suggestions. , it’s been a while since I’ve last been to Sydney. I usually do the Bondi Coogee walk but glad to have a few more walks to add to my repertoire.

  2. Sydney: well, don’t you live in a great place of the world! We love walking too – apart from the exercise, you can see and absorb so much more than when driving. That walk from Harbour Bridge to Spit Bridge reminds us of the walk you can do on Lantau Island, Hong Kong, from Discovery Bay over the hill to Mui Wo for a seaside lunch, before catching the ferry back.

    • Hi Sand in My Suitcase,

      I was very fortunate to grow up in Sydney, but I’ve since fled north to the hills of Byron Bay (for a bit). That walk on Lantau Island sounds superb. I’ve still never been to Hong Kong, but I’ll be sure to keep it in mind when I get there!

    • Hi Mette,

      Yeah, I reckon Sydney is a unique city in the sense that stunning beaches, bushland and mountains are all in close proximity or right there. You really should visit if you can.

  3. I spent 7 years locked away in boarding schools in Sydney (1974-1980) whilst my parents were in PNG for 11 years.I got to know the Domain stairs from swimming carnivals and Bondi Beach! I studied at Sydney University and at UTS then taught secondary school for the first 4 years of a 26 year teaching career in Miranda, (living at beautiful Cronulla Beach) Whilst there I took a group of high school students from Bundeena to Otford, which was spectacular! I now view Sydney from a different perspective and vow one day to make the effort to return from Moonee Beach and walk those other walks! Thanks for your inspiration Andy. Do you know if any dog friendly walks?

    • Glad you enjoyed it Linda. I’m from Jannali so I know all those areas too well! Great place to be brought up. And don’t know any dog-friendly walks in Sydney off the top of my head, as rules change so often.

      Best of luck!

  4. Love the walks, do you or anyone know the directions for the Goods Line to Pyrmont walk please. We are a Senior Group.

  5. Hey Andy, I am writing to you from Bonnet Bay, next to your home suburb.
    You suggestion of the Coast Track through the Royal National Park was fantastic!
    This walk is completable in 1 [long] day during daylight savings, however 2 days seems to be the norm.
    Have you had a chance to complete the Spit Bridge-Manly walk?


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