Sydney’s Best Walking Trails

in Australia

When most of us think of Sydney, we think of soaking up the sun or enjoying the surf on the beaches by day and hitting the clubs by night. But this Australian city doesn’t just cater for beach bunnies and party animals. We suggest exploring all this city has to offer on one of its many walking tracks.

The Riverside Walk in Lane Cove National Park takes around three hours, but it’s far from gruelling. The terrain from the Max Allen Drive Bridge to Riverside Drive is very easy to navigate; it’s more like a leisurely stroll than a hike. If your fitness levels are low, or you simply want to take in your bushland surrounds, make sure you take advantage of the many picnic areas you’ll pass.

Governor Phillip Walk is another lengthy path, talking some three hours and 45 minutes to explore. But the track from Ferguson Street in Forestville to Middle Harbour Creek is one worth discovering. Named for Sydney’s founder, this trail will take you out of the suburbs and into the bush of Garigal National Park. The rugged scrublands contrast with some of the best water views you’ll find.

For a real challenge, head to the beachside suburb of Narrabeen and tackle the Narrabeen Lakes to Manly Lagoon bushwalk. It’s not a particularly treacherous path, but at five and a half hours it’s not a walk for the faint-hearted. The vistas will reward your efforts though. When you’re admiring the stretches of sand dunes and tranquil lagoons, it’s easy to forget how far you’ve traveled. A swim at Manly Beach, your final destination, is the perfect way to cool down after your hike.

With 17 different tracks to choose from, you’re spoiled for choice at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. If you’ve only got the time to take one though, we suggest tackling either the Willunga Trig track or the Elvina Bay Aboriginal Engraving Walk. It will take a leisurely 45 minutes to walk the Willunga Trig track, which begins and ends on West Head Road. The sloping trail will test your legs, but you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view across Pittwater once you reach the apex. The Elvina Bay Aboriginal Engraving Walk is a 15-minute feast of indigenous culture. The striking rock engravings you’ll see on the path and the short circuit make it an ideal hike for the kids.

If you’re looking for a hike to suit man and man’s best friend, you’ll find it at Lake Parramatta. Dogs are welcome on its Banksia Trail, a leafy path which will take you on an hour long walk by the water’s edge. The trail is well signposted so you can learn lots about the unique Australian fauna around you. The walk starts at the main parking lot, which is luxuriously appointed with toilet facilities, Aussie barbecues, and picnic tables.

Feet at Royal National Park

Hit the trails at Sydney’s Royal National Park

If the other trails intimidate you, head to Royal National Park near the beachside suburb of Cronulla. The Nasho as the locals call it was established way back in 1879. That makes it one of the oldest national parks in the world. You can admire the ancient trees, the Hacking River, and the striking rock formations as you walk along Bungoona Path. The path was designed to be accessible by wheelchairs, so it’s very easy to take the 20-minute return journey.

So make sure you find room for your hiking boots amongst your swimming costumes and cocktail dresses when you’re packing for your Australian getaway. Spending some time hitting the trails is a great way to discover Sydney’s natural beauty without spending a cent.

[Image Source: Vinni/Flickr]

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