Top Sydney Coastal Walks
Whether you’re training for the 30-60 kilometre Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek or simply want to cleanse your lungs and stretch your legs, here is a guide to some spectacular walks.
Each walk is part of the life-changing adventure that is Coastrek, a 30-60 kilometre trekking challenge that thousands of people complete each year in March, to date raising more than $13 million for The Fred Hollows Foundation
We asked inspiring women experts to select the highlights of this event, and came up with ten Sydney coastal walks.
Schedule a weekend date with a friend, pack some snacks and a camera, or plan a rewarding lunch stop in between. Lace up your walking shoes, rub in that sunscreen and let’s go!
Sydney Coastrek 2015
1 Manly to North Head
by Di Westaway (Coastrek Founder)
This 8 kilometre, 3 hour walk is perfect when timed with the sunset. It’s not too difficult, starting with a coastal stroll from Manly Wharf to Shelley Beach, offering fresh salty air and endless ocean views.
I love the lookout at the end of North Head. It’s breathtaking. You’ll be stunned by the views of South, Middle and Dobroyd Heads.
2 Balmoral to Middle Head Forts
by Lisa Marshall (Lisa is the Trek Athlete and Director of Wild Women On Top and Coastrek)
This short walk (30 minutes) is an explorative bush path. You will discover some heritage listed sites, absorb some fantastic headland views and if you’re game … check out some of Sydney’s most beautiful nude beaches.
Start at Balmoral Oval and head up the metal stairs to the top, turn left and down past the Navy Base and enter Middle Head Reserve. Turn right to the old bunkers, then find the bush track that winds to the end of the headland to another bunker and more trails. Coming down to the nude beach if you dare then find the bush track back up to the oval and return beside the road. To extend your walk, follow the trail opposite the top of the metal staircase above Balmoral Oval to Clifton gardens and enjoy a coffee at Bacchinos.
3 Sydney Harbour Bridge to South Head
by Jo Vartanian, Wild Women On Top Coach (In 2014 Jo’s Coastrek team came in second on the Balmoral to Coogee event)
This is one of the best urban walks in Sydney. The trail tightly hugs the iconic harbour while exploring Sydney’s top city suburbs and harbour beaches. Ending at South Head is truly a reward, showcasing Sydney Harbour and the Tasman Sea
This walk treats you to magnificent views of Sydney Harbour at every turn. The Bridge, the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens. You also appreciate secret bush tracks throughout the Sydney Harbour National Park including its secluded beaches and iconic bays. Historic buildings like Strickland House and Vaucluse House and the pretty Parsley Bay Bridge keep your mind engaged on this section of the trail. It’s a secret gem that I never knew about until I trained for Coastrek.
4 Hermitage Foreshore Walk
by Erica Beaton (Erica has completed the 50 kilometre Sydney Coastrek at night, and the inaugural 30 kilometre Melbourne Coastrek)
If you want a short burst of exercise but still want to soak in fantastic views from the south of Sydney Harbour Bridge, this is the walk for you. This trail treats you to one hour of coastal goodness, with postcard views of the Sydney Harbour and even Shark Island.
Stunning Sydney views from a magic part
of North Head by Sydney Coastrek
Just before you head down the trail there is a stunning view of the Harbour Bridge, The track alongside the water at night is like a mystical forest with gnarled tree roots. Wear a head torch and bring company at night.
5 Diamond Bay to Coogee
Christina Graham (Christina has completed Sydney Coastrek twice, and has also volunteered at the event as a Team Leader) This eight kilometre walk boasts cliff top trails, beaches, bays and forest. The ocean views from the cliff tops stretch out wide. Gorgeous houses and parklands line the pathway and lead down to the cafe culture of Bondi and its iconic white sand beach.
I particularly love walking on Sunday mornings when walkers and runners are powering down the boadwalks, tourists sauntering, and families are enjoying time at the beach.
6 North Sydney to Lavender Bay
by Lisa Marshall (Lisa is the Trek Athlete and Director of Coastrek)
This walk is most breathtaking in the late afternoon as a half an hour power walk. Just watch as the city lights up before your eyes. But don’t go too lateas you need a bit of light to explore the secret garden.
Start under the Harbour Bridge at the North Sydney Pool, head long the waterfront passing Luna Park and enjoy the harbour views. At Lavender Bay, don’t miss Wendy’s Secret Garden, a tropical oasis created by Wendy Whiteley, wife of the late Australian artist, Brett Whiteley, set above the railway line and below Watt Park. Continue along to the stairs up to Bayview Street, then cut up and over Milsons Point to Sawmillers Reserve.. Return via Blues Point Reserve and make your way back to Bay Street and Lavender Bay and the Harbour Bridge. This walk takes in iconic views, beautiful gardens, stately homes on the waterfront and some green parks.
7 Resolute Loop Walk, Ku-ring-gai Chase NP
Nicola Moran (Wild Women On Top Coach Nicola was involved in originally testing the Coastrek route, she has also competed and volunteered five times to support the cause)
Despite not being on the Coastrek route, the eight kilometre return loop is one of the most beautiful bushland walks Sydney has to offer, and therefore we encourage Coastrekkers to train along it. The walk takes 2-3 hrs, but you can spend at least half a day looking at the rock art, swimming in secluded pools and simply being out in nature.
I recommend doing it in the anticlockwise direction. The bush in this area has stunning trees, a bit of subtropical forest around the creeks and local wildlife such as goannas, wallabies, and some aboriginal rock art. The beaches are swimmable and beautiful.
Sunrise is when the magic happens. Coogee Coastrekkers head off on their Coastrek journey
8 Dee Why to Curl Curl
by Katherine Rothwell (Katherine has walked Coastrek three times, including supporting Susie O’Neill’s team)
This headland and bush track is a short 3.2 kilometre return, and truly epitomises the beauty of the Northern Beaches with sensational views of Long Reef and South Manly. Bring your swimmers and soak up the waves. It’s one of my favourite walks along the Coastrek route.
9 Mosman Bay to Clifton Gardens
by Jacq Conway (Wild Women On Top Coach)
A 30 minute walk through bushland, looking over bays and striking harbour views is most definitely what we call a micro-adventure. The amphitheatre at Bradleys Head, Mosman, is a major highlight.
Along this fairly easy trail you will pass magnificent groves of towering red gums, stunning city views, a couple of small, secluded beaches, historic Bradleys Head (Sydney Harbour National Park), and a beautiful view of Clifton Gardens as you descend the path towards it. A dip in the clear waters to cool you off is your reward.
10 Palm Beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse
Lisa Marshall (Lisa is the Trek Athlete and Director of Sydney and Melbourne Coastrek) A walk with delicious scenery, rocky terrain and many swimming opportunities The route described below will take you around four hours to complete,according to trek athlete and Coastrek Guru Lisa Marshall.
Start opposite Iluka Road, Palm Beach, at The Stairway to Heaven. Climb up the stairs and follow the trail and signposts for “Ocean Beach” When you reach the main beach, turn left and walk along Palm Beach towards Barrenjoey Headland. If the tide is low or mid, do a two hour rock scramble all the way round the headland and finish on the Pittwater side, returning along the beach and back up and over to the start. If you aren’t up to the rock scramble, take the steep trail up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, sit on the rocks up top, enjoy the views of Lion Island and beyond and return back down the same trail to the beach and back to the start.
The Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek is a 55-100 kilometre team trekking challenge to restore sight. It is held on the Friday of the first weekend in March along Sydney’s stunning coastline. They provide trekkers with a six month training program leading up to the event day to help best prepare them for the challenge.
If you missed this one you can join the Melbourne event in November.