A Guide to the Manly to Bondi Walk

Aerial view of Sydney coastline, Australia.

With the new Sydney super walk from Bondi to Manly making headlines this week we set about writing a guide to help you get started on it now. Below is our day by day guide to how you can complete the walk over seven days. 

For those of you who like a challenge, we added two extra days extending the route to La Perouse in the south. 

So let’s go find out how to cover the 80km Sydney walk now! 

The Sydney Expert Do it yourself guide to the Manly to Bondi (or the Bondi to Manly) walk.

Fancy walking the new 80km Sydney Walk now rather than waiting till the official walk is complete? I have done the work and mapped out how you can cover this ground right now.  I believe the official route will go from Bondi to Manly, but I decided to do it the other way around.

  • You can reverse this route or even do it out of order to suit yourself.
  • Do it on consecutive days or one day a week/month. There are no rules – just do it!
  • We have broken it into seven days walking on average 10-12km per day.
  • Each day I will assume a starting point of Circular Quay and provide transport info to and from the Quay for each day.

For those of you who like a challenge, we have extended the walk to La Perouse making our version 9 days in total. Perfect for a two week holiday with some rest days in between.

It also makes ideal training for anybody considering undertaking the Camino De Santiago.

All costs included below assume you are using public transport and have an Opal Card.

I have added an estimated walking time but if you want to explore and photograph the sites along the way you would need to double it.

Day 1.  Manly – North Head – Manly

This walk makes a lovely day out with a combination of beach and cliff top views.

Number of Kilometres: 12km

Manly Wharf with blue sky
Manly Wharf is the starting and ending point on day 1 of the walk.

Once you get off the ferry walk down the Corso and along to Shelly Beach, from here you follow a small track to North Head Lookout and back to Manly Wharf via Collins Flat Beach and Little Manly Beach.

Highlights

North Head walking track
North Head site has several tracks to explore if you want to extend your time here.

Transport to start: Ferry from Circular Quay to Manly
Transport cost: $7.51 each way on the ferry
Expected time to complete: 2hrs 30 min walking time
Return transport: Manly ferry

Collins Beach Manly
Stop for a swim at Collins Flat Beach before you finish for the day back at the wharf.

Day 2. Manly Wharf to Spit Bridge

Number of kilometres: 10.2km

This section is one of the most popular walks on the north side of the harbour.

Middle Harbour with moored yachts. 

Starting again today at Manly Wharf this section is essentially the Manly to Spit Bridge route and is very well signposted. Make sure you pack water and take advantage of toilet stops when they present themselves as they are few and far between.

Highlights

  • Arabanoo lookout at Dobroyd Head
  • Reef Beach
  • Great view of North and South heads
  • Clontarf  Beach
  • Middle Harbour

Transport to start: Ferry from Circular Quay to Manly
Transport cost: $7.51 ferry and $3.66 bus
Expected time to complete: 2hours 20 mins walking time
Return transport: Bus from Spit Bridge to Wynyard

This article by Creative Spirit provides some great background on the Aboriginal tradition and culture of this section of the walk.
There is also a dog-friendly section of this part of the walk.

Middle Harbour from Seaforth

Sydney Coastal Walks has an excellent guide to this section of the walk.

Day 3. Spit Bridge to Athol Wharf (Taronga Zoo) Wharf

Number of kilometres: 8.4km

This section is possibly my absolute favourite part of the walk. Other than the killer stairs just behind Balmoral Beach, it’s a relatively fun day of walking.

Sydney Harbour Cruise Beach Stops
Balmoral has lots of breakfast options if you want to fuel up before you begin.

Today’s walk is a mix of residential streets and trails in the Sydney Harbour National Park.  Start where you got the bus from at Spit Bridge yesterday or you can cheap and begin at Balmoral Beach.  The trail is relatively easy to find once you get to the stairs in the park behind Balmoral Beach.

Highlights

  • Balmoral Beach
  • Headlands Park
  • Chowder Bay
  • Bradleys Head Amphitheatre
Chowder Bay Mosman
Chowder Bay is the halfway point today

Transport to start: Bus to Spit Bridge
Transport cost: $3.66 bus and $6.01 ferry
Expected time to complete: 2hours walking time
Return transport: Ferry from Zoo Wharf

Bradley's Head Amphitheatre
The city view from Bradley’s Head Amphitheatre which is a favourite spot for weddings. 

I have a full detailed guide of this section of the walk here

Day 4. Taronga Zoo Wharf to Milsons Point

Number of kilometres: 12km

While you are walking today just a few kilometres from the hustle and bustle of North Sydney and the city the trail around Cremorne Point will fell a million miles away.

Mosman Bay Walk
Mosman Bay is so peaceful it’s hard to believe the city is so close.

Once you get off the ferry walk to the left and you will find the trail easily. There is a small section where you walk through residential streets but the homes are lovely, and you might even pass the Prime Minister or official guests on their early morning walks.

Highlights

  • Curlew Camp
  • Lex and Ruby Gardens
  • Maccallum Pool
  • Nutcote
  • Kirribilli
Lex and Ruby Graham Garden bed Cremorne
Lex and Ruby Gardens are National Trust listed

Transport to start: Ferry to Taronga Zoo
Transport cost: $6.01 ferry and $2.41 bus
Expected time to complete: 3 hours walking time
Return transport: Train or ferry from Milsons Point

Sydney ferry to Maccallum Pool Mosman
The heritage-listed MacCallum Pool is a perfect photo stop today. 

See my full guide to this section of the walk.

Day 5. Milsons Point to McKell Park Darling

Today’s walk could be renamed exploring Sydney’s Icons because you will hit all the key attractions today.

Number of Kilometres: 10.1km

View of the Sydney from the Harbour Bridge
Today’s walk takes you across the Harbour Bridge footpath

Once you exit Milsons Point Station, you can either head straight up onto the Harbour Bridge or take a detour to Lavender Bay, and Wendy’s not so secret garden. Doing this will add a km or two to your days total but it is lovely, and there are lots of good photo opportunities.

Highlights

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge walk
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
  • Rushcutters Bay
This is possibly my favourite seat in the Botanic Garden, that view hey! In summer there is a pop-up bar just near here that is worth checking out.

Transport to start: Train to Milsons Point
Transport cost: $2.41 bus and $6.01 ferry
Expected time to complete: 2 hours 15 mins walking time
Return transport: Ferry from Darling Point

 

Day 6. McKell Park to Watsons Bay

Number of Kilometres: 12km

This walk takes in harbour vistas and million dollar harbour homes and lots of lovely bays to swim in.

Murray Rose Pool
Murray Rose Pool has a lovely coffee shop

Darling Point and Point Piper are home to some of the most expensive real estate in the world and while you will get glimpses of some of the gardens most of the houses and their occupants are well hidden. Once you reach the Hermitage Walk, you escape the traffic and feel like you have been transported hours from the city.

Highlights

  • Duff Park
  • Murray Rose Pool
  • Hermitage Foreshore Walk
  • Milk Beach
  • Vaucluse House
  • Parsley Bay
Milk Beach View
Milk Beach offers one of the most beautiful views in the city.

Transport to start: Ferry to Darling Point (or bus from Elizabeth Street)
Transport cost: $6.01 each way on ferry
Expected time to complete: 2 hours 40  mins walking time
Return transport: Ferry from Watson’s Bay

Check out my photo guide to the Hermitage Foreshore section of the walk.

Day 7. Watsons Bay to Bondi

Number of Kilometres: 10.8km

Lots of variety today from lighthouses to the Iconic Bondi Beach, waterfront mansions and rugged cliffs.

Looking over Watson Bay and the Pacific

Water everywhere you turn today.  When you get off the ferry, you will walk north past little harbour beaches until you reach the Hornby Lighthouse on South Head. Then you double back to The Gap lookout so you can check out the Pacific Ocean cliffs. You then follow the coast all the way along to Bondi Beach.  Keep a lookout for the stone staircase at Diamond Head, it offers a great view.

Highlights

  • Hornby lighthouse
  • The Gap
  • Macquarie Lighthouse
  • Dudley Page Reserve
  • Diamond Bay
  • Bondi Grafit Wall
  • Bondi Beach
  • Icebergs
The Gap Lookout looking south Watson's Bay
The infamous lookout at the Gap offers dramatic coastal views.

Transport to start: Ferry to Watsons Bay
Transport cost: $6.01 ferry and $3.66 bus
Number of Kilometres: 10.8km
Expected time to complete: 2 hours 30 mins walking time
Return transport: Bus from Bondi Beach

Macquarie Lighthouse
Macquarie Lighthouse is one of two lighthouses in Watson’s Bay.


This is the end of the Official Bondi to Manly 80km walk.  But if you want more…… 

Day 8. South Bondi to Maroubra Beach

Number of Kilometres: 9.6km

This is the Bondi to Coogee walk extended all the way to Maroubra Beach. Once you get past Coogee, you will find you often have the trail to yourself.

Bondi Beach from the South
Even in the middle of winter Bondi looks good.

The famous Bondi to Coogee walk has many highlights, but the old swimming baths just past Coogee are pretty unique in my book and worth a stop. Today’s walk takes in no less than five beaches and at least 10 inviting swimming spots!

Highlights

  • Bronte Baths
  • Waverley Cemetery
  • Gordon’s Bay
  • Wylie’s Baths
  • Mahon Pool

Transport to start: Bus 333 to Bondi Beach
Transport cost: $3.66 bus and$4.71 bus
Expected time to complete: 2 hours 50 mins walking time
Return transport: Bus L94 from Maroubra Beach to city

Mahon Pool Maroubra Sydney
I challenge you not to want to take a dip in Mahon Pool between Coogee and Maroubra. 

 

Day 9. Maroubra Beach to Bare Island

Number of Kilometres: 12 km

The highlight today is the historic site at La Perouse – Bare Island. If it looks familiar, it was where they shot some scenes from Mission Impossible 2.

Bare Island La Perouse view
Bare Island Fort is open for tours on Sundays.

This walk while not official is equally as beautiful and takes you from the popular local beach Maroubra, into the new Malabar Headland Park and over to Botany Bay, the site that was supposed to be the location of the first settlement.

Highlights

  • Maroubra Rubix Cube
  • Malabar Headland National Park
  • Little Bay
  • Cape Banks Lookout
  • La Perouse Museum
  • Bare Island Fort
Yarra Bay Sydney
Sheltered Yarra Bay is a perfect swimming spot for families.

Transport to start: Bus L94 to Maroubra Beach
Transport cost: $4.71 each way on the bus
Expected time to complete: 2 hours 30 mins walking time
Return transport: Bus L94  from La Perouse to the city

 

So there you have it – no longer the 80km Sydney walk but now the 101.6 walk

 

Got questions about the walk? Join our Sydney Expert Facebook Group where you can ask questions, stay up to date with what’s happening in Sydney and meet a bunch of friendly locals happy to offer their advice!

 

There is a new work on the way for Sydney, an 80km trek that takes in the cities very best views but why wait for the official route to open when you can do a version of it right now! It is the best thing to do in Sydney and each day can be completed stand alone.

2 Comments

  1. What a wonderful walk! You’ve made me want to hop on a plane and come over right now and do it before it gets too hot! Will share this on SM and bookmark for future reference 🙂

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