21 of the Best Sydney Walks for 2021

For me, 2020 was a year of walking and discovering new bushwalks and trails throughout spectacular Sydney. Since COVID-19 restrictions came into place on March 20th 2020, I racked up a mighty 3,137km (4,290,111 steps) as at 31st December 2020. That’s more than the distance from Darwin to Cape Jervis at the tip of South Australia (3,070km).

I’m also proud of the fact that I made the effort to walk every single day whether rain or shine, averaging 11km a day. Although most of my daily Sydney walks were in my local neighbourhood early in the morning before I started work, I managed to accomplish plenty of new walks too. Walks near Sydney Harbour are definitely a favourite as are the Sydney coastal walks and Sydney foreshore walks.

If your New Year’s resolution for 2021 is to get outside and walk more, here are 21 of my favourite Sydney walks from 2020 that you can also enjoy in 2021. Happy walking!

1. Manly Scenic Walkway (Spit Bridge to North Head)

Distance: 19.5km

As one of my favourite walks in Sydney, this walk can be conquered as one or split into two shorter coastal walks. Most people attempt the Spit Bridge to Manly section (10km), but you can also add on the 9.5km Manly North Head circuit track for a more challenging walk. I recommend starting the walk early in the morning to give yourself enough time to complete the walk, swim at one of the many beaches and enjoy a picnic lunch en route. Alternatively, enjoy a casual lunch and glass of wine halfway through the walk at one of the many restaurants or cafes in Manly.

Highlights of the Manly Scenic Walkway include Grotto Point Lighthouse, Dobroyd Head Lookouts, Reef Beach and Forty Baskets Beach, North Harbour Reserve, Shelly Beach, The Barracks Precinct, Australia’s Memorial Walk, Fairfax Lookout and North Fort.

I love walking this route during winter and spring when the weather is cooler and the wildflowers are out. If attempting this route in summer, be mindful to apply plenty of sunscreen, wear a hat and sunnies and drink lots of water as it can get hot, particularly at Dobroyd Head where it’s more exposed.

Another favourite of mine when I am seeking a longer walk. This walk also forms part of the 80km Bondi to Manly Walk and offers spectacular Sydney Harbour views throughout, along with quiet, tree-lined residential streets and shady picnic spots.

Again, I recommend setting off early to make a day of it. Highlights include walking over Sydney Harbour Bridge and admiring the pristine pool of the Park Hyatt Sydney, plus this is a prime spot for photos of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Stroll through the leafy streets of Kirribilli and take a sneaky peek at Admiralty House and Kirribilli House. Arrive at Neutral Bay and glimpse May Gibbs’ Nutcote, the museum home of the highly regarded children’s author. If open, why not take a look inside. Continue and walk through pretty Cremorne Reserve and admire the bobbing boats anchored in Mosman Bay. Make sure you continue to Robertson Point Lighthouse, an active lighthouse also known as Cremorne Point Light. Following this, continue past Old Cremorne Wharf where it becomes almost rainforest-like with giant sweeping trees before passing Mosman Rowers and Mosman Bay ferry wharf. Get energised before tackling the Mosman Bay Wharf Steps and steep hill before walking back down past Curraghbeena Park to join the Foreshore Track leading down to Sirius Cove Beach and Reserve. Finally, rejoin the Foreshore Track to walk past Curlew Camp on your right and Taronga Zoo on your left to arrive at Taronga Zoo Wharf.

If spectacular harbour views, history and thickets of trees are what you’re after then this walk won’t disappoint. Plus, this walk is connected by ferry making it easily accessible. After walking across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, walk down the hill past Bradfield Park to admire the grinning face marking the entrance to Luna Park. Continue along the Peter-Kingston Walkway and keep your eyes open for the tiny statues hidden along the walk before heading towards McMahons Point and Sawmillers Reserve. Journey through Waverton Park and explore Carradah Park, home to the old BP site. Spend time here and at Balls Head Reserve where you can enjoy a plethora of hiking paths with spectacular harbour views. Don’t forget to check out The Coal Loader and learn about its history, walk through the coal loading tunnels and discover the Coal Loader Platform, complete with 40 raised garden beds and expansive open public space.

From here, continue to Sugar Works Reserve and Oyster Cove Reserve before arriving at Berry Island Reserve. Climb up through to Gore Cove Reserve before ending your walk at Greenwich Point.


If you’re seeking a walk with spectacular harbour views, flora, fauna and military relics, then the walk between Taronga Zoo and Middle Head is a must. Join Alan from EcoWalks Tours as he leads you through the Sydney Harbour National Park, stopping regularly to point out native plants, flowers and birdlife. You could spot Sunshine Wattle, the pretty pink Fuschia Heath or even the velvety soft Flannel Flower.

Of course, one of the absolute highlights is walking through the ancient Angophora forest, full of towering Sydney Red Gums, set against the glistening Sydney Harbour – photos are a must! However, it’s the history that really stands out with gun emplacements, tunnels and fascinating military fortifications at both Bradleys Head and Middle Head.

Want to learn more? Read my review: Taronga to Georges Head Guided Walking Tour Review.

5. Rose Bay to Coogee

Distance: 26km

If it’s a lengthy coastal walk you’re looking for, then Rose Bay to Coogee is a must. Arrive here early in the morning by ferry before joining the iconic Hermitage Foreshore Walk where you will be blessed with endless views and photo opportunities of the stunning Sydney Harbour.

Enjoy a dip at one of the many beaches en route such as Queens Beach, Hermit Beach or Milk Beach and admire the fascinating house and grounds of 19th-century Strickland House as well as historic Greycliffe House by Shark Beach. Check out the views from Bottle And Glass Point before strolling through the leafy streets of Vaucluse, admiring the million-dollar mansions along the way. Walk across iconic Parsley Bay Bridge, another great place for photos, before shortly arriving at Watsons Bay. Explore Camp Cove, visit Hornby Lighthouse and check out the views and crashing waves from The Gap Lookout.

Follow the track along the clifftops through to Diamond Bay Reserve, with a mixture of boardwalk and grassy tracks with some of the best coastal views in Sydney. Soon arriving at Bondi, feel free to stop here for a bite to eat and a swim before continuing to Coogee.

Situated just over an hour from Sydney CBD, Royal National Park is home to a plethora of walks and one of my favourites has got to be the Wattamolla to Eagle Rock and Curracurrong Falls.

Forming part of the 26km Coast Track, it’s best to arrive here early, particularly on weekends as the car park does get very busy and often closes when full. A very accessible path, formed mainly by the raised boardwalk, admire the jagged rock formations, sandstone cliffs, beautiful flora and fauna.

The highlight, of course, is arriving at Eagle Rock, where the rock does look like an eagle, whilst if it’s been raining the days prior, the Curracurrong Falls might be in full flow. Return to Wattamolla Beach by the same path and enjoy a picnic under a shady tree before cooling off in the sea or calm waters of Wattamolla Lagoon.

Note: You will also need to pay a National Park entrance fee of $12 on arrival which gives you access to the whole Royal National Park for the day.

This easy coastal Sydney walk, situated within the Kamay Botany Bay National Park is ideal for anyone looking for a leisurely walk and is particularly great to do during whale watching season (May to November). Start your walk at Cape Solander Lookout (whale watching spot) and follow the signposted route towards Cape Baily Lighthouse, following the rugged clifftops, mainly along boardwalks. You can trek up to the Cape Baily Lighthouse for spectacular views of the Sydney CBD skyline and ocean.

If you’re looking for a longer route, you can continue on the path which leads to Cronulla. Alternatively, consider exploring other walking routes within the national park to make a full day of it. The visitor centre is also worthwhile exploring.

Note: There is an $8 parking fee per vehicle to access the park.

8. Kiama Coast Walk

Distance: 22km

Often described as one of Australia’s most scenic walks, the Kiama Coast Walk has it all. Ocean views, spectacular beaches, rugged rock formations and of course the iconic Kiama Blowhole. This walk can be completed in one day, but you can also achieve it over two or three days if looking to split the walk into smaller chunks.

Start your walk at Minnamurra River and end in the quaint town of Gerringong. Train stations are situated close to both start and end positions, but it’s worthwhile noting that trains come every two hours on weekends so it’s worth timing your route.

Highlights of the walk include the majestic Cathedral Rocks and basalt columns at Bombo, the Kiama Blowhole and Little Blowhole. However, my favourite section is from Loves Bay to Gerringong with the zig-zagging of coastal pastures, rolling hills, jagged clifftops, rocky bays and boulder beaches before reaching Werri Lagoon and the long stretch of Werri Beach.

Start your walk at the iconic Iron Cove Bridge with views across the Parramatta River, Cockatoo Island and Sydney CBD skyline before following the shoreline through Bridgewater Park. Continue along the residential streets of Balmain (Terry Street) whilst admiring the terrace housing and cute architecture of the homes. Walk past Elkington Park, home to Dawn Fraser Baths, a tidal saltwater pool before continuing to Birchgrove Oval.

From here, head along Wharf Road to arrive at Ballast Point Park and take your time to explore the meandering paths. Admire the ferries swiftly glide through the harbour, view the colourful buildings of the Waterview Wharf Workshops Pty and discover Tank 101, a large steel structure which represents one of the oil tanks used by Caltex during the 20th century.

From here, follow the shoreline to arrive at Mort Bay Park before walking up Church Street to join Darling Street to enjoy some window shopping at the many boutique stores.

Start your walk at Gladesville Bridge, once the longest span concrete bridge in the world measuring 305 metres (1,000 feet) upon its opening in 1964. Cross over the bridge whilst admiring the Sydney CBD skyline views and busy harbour life before arriving on the other side.

Just before the Tarban Creek Bridge, walk down the steps and follow the shady path to lead you to the Riverglade Reserve, nestled by Tarban Creek and Tarban Bay. This is a popular spot for joggers, walkers and families with children, with plenty of space to kick a ball.

Follow the path through Riverglade Reserve and look out for Flying Foxes (bats) hanging upside down from the trees above, before crossing a wooden pedestrian bridge and Manning Road to continue along the path by Tarban Creek. Explore the area before returning along the same path.

Another great Sydney ferry walk is from Abbotsford to Cabarita. Start your walk at Abbotsford ferry wharf before walking through Battersea Park and Quarantine Reserve which once housed the Animal Quarantine Station. You can still see the remains of cattle stalls, horse stalls, dog kennels, a piggery and an incinerator.

Continue following Hen and Chicken Bay before walking through Halliday Park. Other highlights along this walk include passing Barnwell Park Golf Club and Massey Park Golf Club, walking through Bayview Park and enjoying the views of the Parramatta River. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Cabarita Park or go for a swim in the outdoor pool.

Continue your walk through to Breakfast Point, admiring the white-washed houses along the way. Extend your walk by continuing to Wangal Reserve, close to the Mortlake Ferry, before arriving back at Cabarita Wharf to catch the River Cat ferry back towards Circular Quay.

12. Exploring Sydney Olympic Park

Distance: Various routes

Sydney Olympic Park is home to 35km of walking paths, cycling trails and boardwalks, meandering through picturesque parks, wetlands and woodlands. Easily accessible by ferry, train and bus, some of my favourite walks to explore include the River Walk from Sydney Olympic Park Wharf to Blaxland Riverside Park via Newington Armory, following Parramatta River.

Stroll along the Badu Mangrove Boardwalk to discover the largest mangrove forest on the Parramatta River. Explore the Brickpit Ring Walk learning about the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog and observing the remains of the quarry.

Don’t forget to watch for birdlife at the Bird Hide and look for historic shipwrecks at Shipwreck Lookout.

13. The Bay Run

Distance: 7km

The Bay Run, also known as the Bay Walk is a popular circuit route in Sydney’s Inner West and Canada Bay for walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists. Nestled along the foreshore of Iron Cove Bay, Sisters Bay and Half Moon Bay, you can enjoy uninterrupted water views throughout this route.

With plenty of cafes and restaurants, along with parks and playgrounds, this walk is popular with families with children, especially at weekends.

Learn more about the Bay Run in my blogs: Walking the Bay Run, Sydney - What you Need to Know and Parks Along the Bay Run Route.

For picturesque harbour views and a lesson about the history of Sydney’s boat building, take a stroll across Gladesville Bridge and Tarban Creek Bridge (don’t forget to admire the Sydney Harbour views along the way), before walking down the charming streets of Hunters Hill towards Woolwich.

In Woolwich, take a walk through Kellys Bush Park and take in the stunning views of nearby Cockatoo Island and the city skyline. Enjoy a tasty picnic or BBQ at Clarkes Point Reserve whilst you watch local fishermen try to catch a fish. My favourite part of this walk is walking through the historic Woolwich Dockyard along the metal boardwalk. This large sandstone dry dock, built in 1901 was used for ship repairs and is still used for modern craft works today.

Don’t forget to climb the hill through The Goat Paddock and admire the view of the dock from Woolwich Lookout. End your walk at the Woolwich Pier Hotel for a well-deserved beer and pub lunch.

Enjoy a leisurely ferry ride from Circular Quay to Woolwich to begin your walk along one of the best walks in Sydney – the Great North Walk.

Highlights of the walk include exploring the historic Woolwich Dock and following the Lane Cove River through Boronia Park Reserve, Buffalo Creek Reserve and Sugarloaf Point. This track ventures through the bush, with plenty of opportunities to admire the wildflowers in season and enjoy the water views.

The Lane Cove Mangrove Walkway is another highlight – be sure to take your time through here and watch for critters, fish and birdlife amongst the mangroves.

Start your walk at Huntleys Point ferry wharf, walking through Gladesville Reserve. Highlights of this walk include Henley Baths, walking through the historic grounds of Gladesville Hospital (once known as Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum, which actually gave me chills) and exploring Banjo Patterson Park and Bedlam Point.

If you ever get the chance, dine at Banjo Patterson for lunch or dinner, a quaint sandstone house built in the 1830s which serves Modern Australian dishes (bookings recommended).

Admire the architecture along this scenic walk as modern towering skyscrapers meet historic houses. Walk via Barangaroo Reserve, complete with many lush green spaces, set across different levels and popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists. Pass the piers at Walsh Bay before walking underneath the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Continue along the wooden boardwalk by Campbells Cove before walking past the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Take some time to explore The Rocks, and if here at the weekend, stroll through The Rocks Markets for souvenirs and handmade gifts, before a cake and coffee at one of the many casual cafes.

Continue through Circular Quay to arrive at Sydney Opera House for photo opportunities before strolling through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Meander along any of its winding paths to explore its diverse trees and plants. Particular highlights include the Rose Garden Beds, The Calyx, The Sydney Fernery, Lotus Pond, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and the Succulent Garden. Once finished, head out of the gardens to arrive at Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf, renowned for its fine dining restaurants including China Doll and Otto Ristorante. You can learn about the history of the wharf inside before ending at Harry’s Café de Wheels for a well-deserved famous pie.

18. Le Perouse

Distance: 9km

This Eastern Sydney suburb has plenty to explore and makes a great weekend walk. Start at Le Perouse Point and explore Bare Island Fort. If you want to learn more about the history there are guided tours that run (check the website for details).

From here, join the Congwong Walking Track which will lead you to Little Congwong Beach for a swim before walking along the Henry Head Walking Track to arrive at Henry Head Lighthouse. You can also admire the historic World War II battlements. Along this route, you can enjoy stunning views across Botany Bay and the Pacific Ocean whilst spotting birdlife and reptiles including skinks, blue-tongue lizards and water dragons.

Follow the track towards Cruwee Cove Beach to explore the headland at Cape Banks before heading back passing the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Base, Sydney Pistol Club and St Michael’s Golf Club.

Another popular track within the Royal National Park, arrive early at Wattamolla Beach to ensure you secure a parking spot (particularly on weekends). This walk forms part of the 26km Coast Track where you can enjoy spectacular ocean views and more secluded beaches.

Take a detour to visit Deer Pool, which comprises a pretty waterfall flowing into a small pool which is perfect to take a dip in during summer. Alternatively, enjoy a swim at Little Marley Beach which is often less crowded than nearby Wattamolla Beach; however, watch for waves as it is usually pretty choppy.

The small pool at Wattamolla Dam is also a great spot to rest and dip your legs in the water on the return walk.

Situated near Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, this bush track has it all. Cascading waterfalls and creeks, lush native vegetation and a lot of steps!

Walkers have trodden this path since 1907 and it’s a particularly good walk to do in summer due to being well shaded and cool in the valley. Pass by ferns and golden wattles, listen to the birdlife and trickling of water and admire the rock overhangs and huge sandstone walls.

Don’t forget to bring water and snacks with you. I recommend starting at Evans Lookout and walking in a clockwise direction to finish up at Neates Glen Car Park.

Continuing along part of The Great North Walk, this bushwalk follows the Lane Cove River and can be walked in a circuit. Start your walk at Epping Road and follow the trail which will take you through the historic Fairyland Pleasure Grounds.

Originally developed as market gardens on the Lane Cove River, these were turned into picnic grounds during the 1920s to early 1970s, complete with a wharf, dance hall and playgrounds. Boats carrying up to 70 people would transport families and friends here for parties, picnics or an evening dance. Today, you can view the signs that pinpoint the history.

Arrive at Lane Cove National Park for additional walking trails, a lunch stop at the café or boating, before continuing back along the other side of the river, passing Chatswood Golf Course, Mowbray Park and Rotary Athletics Field.

Learn more about this route in my blog: Lane Cove National Park Fairyland Loop Track.