Sydney is known to be one of the world’s most beautiful cities, with the iconic harbour and dazzling beaches attracting millions of tourists every year. For those that really want to experience what makes Sydney so captivating, the best way to do so is to head out on some of the hundreds of hikes that can be found so close to the CBD.
1) The Coast Track in Royal National Park
The best way to experience the Royal National Park, the third oldest national park in the entire world, is to tackle the stunning 26km-long Coast Track.
A perfect walk over two days, start in the little town of Bundeena in the north of the park and trek 18km on the first day to the gorgeous campground at North Era. The views along the way are outstanding, as you follow the edge of high cliffs with the Pacific Ocean lapping below. You’ll come across a number of pristine, isolated beaches as well, which are perfect for taking a dip to cool off.
After a night spent camping beneath the stars at North Era it’s only a three-hour, 8km hike to the end point at Otford. It’s ideal to do this trek with friends so you can leave a car at either end of the trail, as there aren’t any public transport options in this part of the state.
Our recommendation is to do the hike in the winter, where there is far less people along the trail and you’ll have the opportunity to see humpback whales just off the shore on their migratory journey north.
2) Spit Bridge to Manly Walk
You don’t need to travel far to find some amazing hikes close to Sydney. The Spit Bridge to Manly walk is only a short bus or ferry ride away from the CBD, and really shows why Sydney is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
This 10km trail follows the northern edge of Sydney Harbour and passes through Australian native forests, along crystal clear coves and even has some fascinating Aboriginal rock paintings to admire.
While you can do this track in any direction, we recommend finishing in Manly so you can enjoy a well-earned meal and drink at the end of the hike. A perfect walk for the entire family.
3) The Six Foot Track
The Blue Mountains is home to a number of spectacular hikes, from short jaunts along perfectly-paved trails to epic multi-day missions. If you’re up for the latter, make sure you check out the Six Foot Track.
Running for 44km from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves, this historic horse track cuts through the Bennelong Valley and puts you in the heart of some of New South Wales’ most glorious native bushland. It’s a very challenging and remote 3-day hike, so make sure you have experience with being in the wilderness and bring all of your camping supplies with you.
4) Gloucester Tops Circuit Walk
Almost exactly 3 hours north of Sydney is the expansive Barrington Tops National Park, home to ancient Gondwana rainforests, picturesque waterfalls and excellent opportunities for spotting Australian birds.
One of the best hiking trails in the park is the Gloucester Tops Circuit Walk, an 8km loop that takes you through forests that can be traced back millions of years. There’s a good chance you’ll spot plenty of wallabies and kangaroos along the way as you step through snowgums, subalpine woodlands and finally into towering Antarctic Beech trees.
Keep an eye on the weather on this track, as parts of it can be closed after heavy rain.
5) Jerusalem Bay Hike
One of New South Wales’s most legendary hiking trails is the 250km Great North Walk that goes from Sydney all the way up to Newcastle’s Hunter Valley. But if you’re only looking for one section to try, check out the 11km Jerusalem Bay hike, also known as the Cowan to Brooklyn Bush Walk.
Located in Ku-ring-gai National Park only an hour from the city, this difficult one-way track starts from the Cowan train station and leads you through native bushland and around the edges of the stunning Jerusalem Bay. It finishes in Brooklyn at the Hawesbury River train station, making this a perfect trek for experienced bushwalkers who would prefer to use public transport.
The beginning and end of this trail is quite steep, so make sure you wear proper footwear.