Local trails can often be overlooked if you live in the area or if you are visiting a City and you don’t always think about checking the them out, usually you just do the tourist thing and visit the popular sites. Well Urban Walks can be rewarding and give you a great insight to an area you never had expected. On this Urban Walks we are discovering the capital city of New South Wales in Australia, Sydney!
You mention Australia to people overseas and they always say ‘oh yes Sydney’, ‘The Harbour Bridge’ or the ‘Opera House’, maybe even ‘Bondi Beach’, but there is so much more to this incredible city and surrounding areas that are there to be explored. In this post we will share the walk trails we were fortunate enough to discover while on a recent trip to Sydney, though believe me there are so many more and when we get back over to Sydney we will be going out discovering them. Click on this link if you would like to read about our trip Discovering NSW .
Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach-
Overview This is a fabulous walk with views of the Harbour, the Bridge and Opera House as well as views over Port Jackson. Majority of this walk will take you through the Sydney Harbour National Park with its Aboriginal Heritage, War History, the quiet isolated beaches and and cliff tops. you walk amongst native plants and animals at one point it feels very tropical. There is so much to this walk to experience so we warn you expect to take longer than you imagined and enjoy a full day.
The walk takes you from the Taronga Zoo Wharf and around Bradleys Head along to Taylor Bay, you then will continue around Chowder Head and down into Chowder Bay. Great place for that refreshment is at Bacino Kiosk or a quick swim before you then head up the stairs to Bungaree’s Walkway, or take a longer alternative loop route out to Middle Head. The Bungaree’s Walkway will take you up to Georges Head with the amazing 270° views over the entrance of Sydney Harbour.
From here you will continue and take the many stairs on the walkway down to Balmoral Park then into Balmoral Beach at Hunters Bay. Here you can stop and have lunch, a swim and explore. We can highly recommend the fish and chips at the ‘Bottom of the Harbour’ Fish and Chips shop, so good!
If you feel like still walking you can continue on around to Manly Beach which is approximately another 12 km’s or save it for another day and another adventure.
Length Approx 6.7 km’s one way. This trail is in sections relatively hard as there are some points where there are a number of steps and can be quite steep.
Trail Markers There are trail markers along the way from the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Services. These give you distances to go to points of interest along the way, you will however find the trail easy to navigate as it is a clear walkway the whole way. No need for that compass and map on this one.
Accessibility This trail is considered to be hard as you will come across many sections with steps and quite steep ones too. so not pram or wheel chair friendly.
Public Transport If you choose to walk this trail from Taronga Zoo Wharf then just catch to ferry across and start walking, once at Balmoral there are plenty of public buses that run so no problem in transport. More information http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au and use the Transport Info Trip Planner.
Watsons Bay to Bondi Beach- Coastal Cliff Walk
Overview This trail will give you a real feel of the ruggedness and drama that the sandstone cliffs of Sydney have. Starting this walk in Watsons Bay, this is the oldest Australian fishing village, you stand in awe with the spectacular views that are laid out in front of you at The Gap. You can start this walk by exploring around Watsons Bay, here you can walk out to Green Point and admire the views of Sydney harbour then continue up to Lady Bay and South Head where you see historic Hornby Lighthouse before heading back down to The Gap.
On a sad note The Gap is also known for it’s past tragedy of the 1857 ship wreck, The Dunbar, where all but one of the 122 people on board perished when it crashed during a storm into the rocks below the Gap, and the loss of many lives from suicide that still happens today, this is very evident as the place has lots of signs around as well as a helpline phone. You can’t help but stand and wonder about the grief and sadness that is very much thick in the air. Do not however let this prevent you from visiting and exploring the area as the walk along the coast is also dramatic in a good way.
From The Gap you head south around Dunbar Head and toward Macquarie Lighthouse, this is Australia’s oldest and still working lighthouse, then onto Diamond Bay. Here you take the board-walk path up around the cliffs, a great spot to stop and watch all the birds dart in and out of the cliff side. We were fortunate enough to see a pod of dolphins and between May and November if lucky you could even spot a whale or two.
Now you continue from Diamond Bay south towards Dover Heights where you do weave a bit in the suburban streets as some of the private houses on the cliff top go to the edge. What an amazing place to have a house with views like that. At Rodney Reserve you are back on the cliff edge for a short while then another little detour before you reach Hugh Bramford Reserve, past the Bondi Golf Club then walk down to the famous Bondi Beach where there are plenty of cafes, shops. If you feel like walking more you can continue this walk down another 6 km’s to Coogee Beach.
Length Approx 8 km’s and we would consider this trail to be a moderate walk with a few steps along the way but nothing too hard. This is not pram or Wheelchair friendly. The time on this one would be around 3.5 hrs, though saying this you can easily take longer if you choose to just explore or sit and ponder awhile.
Trail-markers at the beginning a few though not so many along the way. If you keep the coast on your left you will have no problems.
Public Transport You can catch a Ferry to Watsons Bay and there are plenty buses in Bondi. More information www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au and use the Transport Info Trip Planner.
This is a fantastic new redevelopment in Sydney Harbour that has put life back in an area that for more than 100 years of not being used. The land was originally used by the Cadigal Aborigines as an important hunting and fishing area, later when the settlers came it was Sydney’s first major Port until the development of Port Botany and after that it became obsolete and just laid idol. Barangaroo was named after a powerful Cammeraygal woman who was a key figure in the Aboriginal community.
Overview This is a 22 hectare site that is still currently under construction and should be complete by 2024 though the new 6 hectare Harbour site of Barangaroo Reserve is open to enjoy. The reserve is beautifully landscaped with sandstone garden terraces and more than 75,000 native trees and shrubs. The pathways wind around the headland with the man-made hill and Stargazer Lawn area in the centre.
Wulugul Walk is the main walk to follow and gives you a new look at the Harbour Bridge, then it takes you around Dawes Point to Sydney Cove, The Rocks and Circular Quay. Great walk for all and we would recommend doing this one in the late afternoon and end with drinks and dinner at The Rocks or Circular Quay.
Length The length of this walk at the moment is only approx 2 km. This is an easy walk and is Pram and Wheelchair friendly in fact you can even ride your bike and the kiddies can scooter.
Trail-markers There are signs marking this trail but honestly not needed it’s very obvious.
Public transport Train or walk from the CBD. By train get off at the Wynyard Station and follow the signs to Barangaroo Reserve. More info www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au and use the Transport Info Trip Planner.
Sydney Royal Botanical Garden-
This is not a trail as such but it is such a beautiful garden to spend the day walking around we had to include it and tell you it is worth the visit.
Overview This is 30 hectares of gardens in the very heart of Sydney! Sits on the edge of Farm Cove, Sydney Harbour, and gives glorious views of the Bridge, Opera House and across the Harbour. The gardens have been established since 1816 and showcases a great range of plants from Australia and across the world including rare and threatened plants.
You could easily spend a day here just walking around and enjoying the peace of this park while still being in a major city. Take time to not only slow down and smell the roses in the rose garden but sit and people watch, read a book or (like us) take a snooze under the shade of a tree. When you get hungry or thirsty there is a cafe as well as a restaurant. If the kiddies are tired of walking they can hop on the trackless train that tours around the park. There is even a bit of magic to be found at the wishing tree! Walk around it 3 times forward and 3 times backward or by simply touching it. This is apparently how the saying ‘touch wood’ came about from wishing trees.
There are free guided tours daily from 10.30 am from the garden shop. For more info on the park and the tours go to www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.
Length As long as you want it to be.
Trail-markers Not necessary
Public Transport Catch train to Circular Quay and walk there.
Other Urban Walks to explore
- Centennial Park Federation Track as well as other trails for walking, cycling even horse riding, go to www.centennialparklands.com.au for more info on this park as there is so much to see and do.
- Glebe Foreshore walk 4 km return, easy walking, Great views of the city skyline and Anzac Bridge, go to one of the worlds biggest fish markets- Sydney Fish Market.
- Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk One of the most famous walks in Sydney, we did not attempt this this time but hopefully next visit. This will take around 3.5 hrs to complete and what a way to view Sydney, the Opera House and the Harbour! More info www.bridgeclimb.com.
- 7 Bridges Walk This is 27 km’s and is also Cancer Councils annual fundraiser trail. The bridges are- Sydney Harbour, Fig tree, Tarban Creek, Gladsville, Iron Cove, Anzac and Pyrmont Bridges.
♥ Happy Trails