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Discover the 5 best walks in Sydney

Explore the 5 best walks in Sydney for backpackers and tourists looking for a coastal adventure. You'll discover Sydney's most iconic coastlines and more.
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Sydney, the bustling city on Australia’s east coast, is not only famous for its iconic landmarks and vibrant city life but also its stunning coastal beauty. With a vast stretch of shoreline, Sydney walking tours offer an array of breathtaking beaches and scenic coastlines that beckon outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers worldwide. From the world-renowned Bondi Beach to hidden gems like Shelly Beach, the city boasts a coastal paradise waiting to be explored.

Our comprehensive guide is your key to unlocking the 5 best walks in Sydney. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual stroller, there’s something for everyone as you venture along the picturesque trails that wind along the sparkling coastline. From dramatic cliff-top vistas to secluded coves and pristine sandy shores, each walk reveals a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural significance.

We will take you through some of Sydney’s most captivating coastal walks, like the famous Spit to Manly walk, Bondi to Coogee coastal walk and many more. You’ll discover the distances and estimated times to complete each walk, allowing you to plan your adventures accordingly. We’ll also provide insights into the highlights, landmarks, and hidden treasures you’ll encounter, ensuring you can experience every awe-inspiring moment on the best walks in Sydney.

Important gear and equipment

When taking on the best walks in Sydney, having the right gear and equipment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience is essential. Here are some items to consider packing:

  • Comfortable walking shoes
    Opt for sturdy, closed-toe shoes with good grip to navigate the coastal trails and uneven terrain. Choose footwear that provides support and protects your feet during long walks.
  • Sun protection
    Sydney’s coastal areas can be exposed to the sun, so it’s crucial to protect yourself. Bring sunscreen with a high SPF, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, breathable clothing to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Water and Snacks
    Stay hydrated throughout your hikes by carrying a reusable water bottle. Packing energy-boosting snacks like granola bars or fruits is also a good idea to keep you fueled during your adventures.
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
    Sydney’s weather can be changeable, so pack layers to accommodate temperature fluctuations. Bring a lightweight waterproof jacket or a poncho in case of unexpected rain.
  • Swimwear and towel
    Many of the coastal destinations in Sydney offer opportunities for swimming, so remember to pack your swimwear and a towel. Consider bringing a dry bag to keep your belongings protected.
  • Camera or mobile phone
    Capture breathtaking views and memorable moments along the way with a camera or smartphone. Remember to pack a portable charger to ensure your devices stay powered up.

Always check weather and trail information before setting off on your hikes. Some trails may require additional equipment, such as a map or compass. Letting someone know about your plans and estimated return time is also a good idea. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into some walks.

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Bondi to Coogee coastal walk

Coogee backpackers - coogee costal walk - sydney coast walks

Approximately 7 kilometres
(4.3 miles)

Time to complete

Around 2-3 hours
(depending on pace and stops)

Start your coastal adventure at the iconic Bondi Beach, a world-famous destination known for its golden sands, vibrant atmosphere, and excellent surf. After enjoying the beach, embark on the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, a picturesque trail that winds along the cliffs, offering stunning ocean views at every turn. Explore hidden beaches, rock pools, and parks along the way, and stop at popular spots like Tamarama Beach and Bronte Beach. The walk concludes at Coogee Beach, where you can relax, swim, or picnic.

Bondi to Coogee coastal walk highlights:

  • Soak up the sun and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Bondi Beach.
  • Marvel at the stunning ocean views and rock formations along the coastal walk.
  • Discover hidden gems like Tamarama Beach and Bronte Beach along the way.

Manly to Spit Bridge coastal walk

Manly to spit bridge - manly costal walk - manly beach backpackers - manly backpackers

Approximately 10 kilometres
(6.2 miles)

Time to complete

Around 3-4 hours
(depending on pace and stops)

Catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly, a charming beachside suburb with a laid-back atmosphere. Spend time exploring the vibrant Manly Beach, known for its excellent surfing conditions. Then, embark on the Manly to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk, a scenic trail that takes you through picturesque bays, hidden beaches, and native bushland. Marvel at panoramic views of the harbour, encounter diverse wildlife and discover historical landmarks. The walk ends at Spit Bridge, where you can catch a bus back to the city.

Manly to Spit Bridge coastal walk highlights:

  • Experience the laid-back vibe of Manly Beach and its excellent surf conditions.
  • Explore secluded beaches, lush bushland, and picturesque bays along the coastal walk.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and encounter diverse wildlife on the trail.

Watsons Bay and South Head Heritage trail

Watsons bay lighthouse - watsons bay walk - watsons bay backpackers

Approximately 4 kilometres
(2.5 miles)

Time to complete

Around 1-2 hours
(depending on pace and stops)

Watsons Bay is a picturesque harborside suburb with panoramic views of the city skyline and entrance to Sydney Harbour. Begin your adventure by exploring the charming beach and enjoying a meal at one of the local waterfront restaurants. Then venture onto the South Head Heritage Trail, a leisurely walk that takes you to the iconic Hornby Lighthouse and panoramic views of the harbour, the Pacific Ocean, and the cliffs of South Head. Take time to soak in this coastal gem’s history and natural beauty.

Watsons Bay and South Head Heritage trail highlights:

  • Admire breathtaking views of the harbour, city skyline, and the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
  • Discover the historic Hornby Lighthouse and learn about the area’s rich maritime heritage.
  • Enjoy a picnic in picturesque Watsons Bay and soak in the serene coastal atmosphere.

Coogee Beach and Maroubra coastal walk

Maroubra backpackers - maroubra beach - maroubra costal walk

Approximately 6 kilometres
(3.7 miles)

Time to complete

Around 2 hours
(depending on pace and stops)

Start your journey at Coogee Beach, a bustling seaside spot loved by locals and visitors. Enjoy the beach, dip in the ocean, or relax on the sand. Then, follow the picturesque coastal walk from Coogee to Maroubra, a scenic route that showcases stunning coastal landscapes, including rock pools, cliffs, and golden beaches. Watch for marine life, such as dolphins and whales, as you walk during their migration season. The walk concludes at Maroubra Beach, where you can unwind and enjoy the coastal atmosphere.

Coogee Beach and Maroubra coastal walk highlights:

  • Relax on the golden sands of Coogee Beach and take a refreshing swim in the ocean.
  • Immerse yourself in stunning coastal landscapes, including rock pools and cliffs.
  • Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales during their migration season.

Shelly Beach and Cabbage Tree Bay coastal walk

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Approximately 2 kilometres
(1.2 miles)

Time to complete

Around 1 hour
(depending on pace and stops)

Explore the enchanting Shelly Beach, a hidden gem located near Manly Beach. With its crystal-clear waters, rocky outcrops, and abundant marine life, Shelly Beach is perfect for snorkelling and swimming. After enjoying the beach, take a stroll along the Cabbage Tree Bay Coastal Walk, a short but scenic track that hugs the coastline. Marvel at the vibrant underwater world of the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve and soak up the serene coastal atmosphere. This walk offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city.

Shelly Beach and Cabbage Tree Bay Coastal walk highlights:

  • Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Shelly Beach and explore its vibrant marine life.
  • Wander along the coastal walk, enjoying panoramic views of the coastline.
  • Discover the diverse underwater world of the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve.

Embrace Sydney’s coastal lifestyle

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Sydney’s coastal beauty is irresistible, offering a wealth of experiences for backpackers seeking sun, sand, and breathtaking views. Whether you choose to explore the iconic Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, venture along the scenic Manly to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk, or discover the hidden gems of Watsons Bay and Shelly Beach, you’ll be captivated by the diversity and natural splendour of Sydney’s coastline. Pack sunscreen, comfortable footwear, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. Get ready to embrace the best walks in Sydney and create unforgettable memories.

For more information and to plan your coastal adventures, visit the following links:

Enjoy your exploration of Sydney’s walking tours!

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