Easy Bushwalks in Sydney for Families

If you are looking for some easy bushwalks in Sydney to get you out and about after being confined indoors for a little too long, you have come to the right place. Below we share our favourite short walking tracks suitable for beginners, kids or those whose fitness might need a little more work before they hit the harder hiking trails.

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Short Bushwalks in Sydney for beginners

Narrabeen Lakes

The Narrabeen Lagoon Trail at Narrabeen Lake is an 8km long flat pram friendly path you can also cycle around. Along the track are four reserves, each with BBQs, picnic tables and parking areas. This allows you to start and finish the walk at various spots. If you arrive and find a parking area full, just head to another one.

Narrabeen Lake attracts abundant bird life, and there are always ducks in the lake. This is a popular ummer walk with plenty of shade and opportunities for swimming. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboats at Berry Reserve.

Narrabeen Lake is one of the easy bushwalks in Sydney for families
Aerial view of Narrabeen Lake and its islands

The Boatshed Cafe, about 500m from Berry Reserve, has a lovely outlook over the lagoon and an extensive menu with something to please everyone.

The track is suitable for bikes, prams and wheelchairs. Families will want to include a stop at Bilarong Reserve Playground.

Time: 2-3 hours
Distance: 8.6km if you cover the complete walk.
Location: Lakeshore Dr, Narrabeen 2101
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Manly Dam Nature Walk and Wildflower Walk

I had not visited Manly Dam until I watched a British mini-series, Banished about the first few weeks of settlement in Sydney and discovered they had filmed it at Manly Dam. It seemed hard to believe this gorgeous, pristine bushland was so close to the city.

Home to Sydney’s largest freshwater lake, the Nature and Wildflower walks are part of a longer Manly Dam Circuit Walk. These are flat, easy trails suitable for even the most unfit walkers. In summer a swim in the damn or picnic makes a lovely day out.

You will only find wildflowers in spring, flannel flowers are a favourite, but this is still a pleasant walk year-round with over 300 plant species in the park.

If you prefer a longer walk, the full Manly Dam Circuit walk is 7.3km and takes about 3 hours.

Time: 55 minutes
Distance: 1.8km
Highlights: goannas, wildflowers in spring, and scenic views.
Location: 112 King St, Manly Vale
Save the Google map reference Related: Check out our list of things to see in Manly for more ideas

Kalkari Discovery trail

This easy walk in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park is one of the best chances you will have to see kangaroos outside of a zoo in Sydney. At the rear of the visitors’ centre is an extensive enclosed area where a mob of kangaroos live.

The Kalkari Bush Discovery Track leaves from behind the visitors’ centre. Along the track, you will see gorgeous red gums, banksias and in spring lots of wildflowers. There is also lots of wildlife to spot.

The highlight of the walk for me is the Kalkari Lookout, which gives impressive views of Bobbin Head and Cowan Creek. When you have finished your walk, drive down to Bobbin Head where you will find a licenced cafe or more walks to tackle.

Time: 1 hour to walk and explore
Distance: 800m
Things to look out for: Eastern grey kangaroos, emus, lyrebirds, kookaburras, and goannas
Location: 402 Ku-Ring-Gai Chase Rd, Mount Colah
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Red Hands Cave to West Head

Another Ku-Ring-Gai walk, the Red Hand Caves to West Head track ticks so many boxes; ancient Aboriginal art, one of the very best lookouts in Sydney and a secluded beach.

Technically, this walk begins at the Resolute Picnic area from here just follow the signs to Red Hands Cave, an easy walk reward with 2000-year-old ochre rock paintings.

West Head Lookout Ku-ring-gai National Park
Views over Broken Bay from West Head in Ku-Ring-Gai National Park

From the cave, head along the track to West Head Lookout, one of the most impressive lookouts outside of Sydney Harbour.

If you fancy a swim, continue south along the path from the lookout until you come to a turnoff for West Head Beach.

Time: 30 minutes without the beach detour
Distance: 2.8km if you include West Head Beach
Location: West Head Rd, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase
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Berry Island Reserve

Berry Island is a lovely patch of bushland on the waterfront at Wollstonecraft. Once an island, the causeway was filled in over 100 years ago, but the island name stuck.

The Gadyan Track is a peaceful walk around the point of the peninsular that contains several signs explaining the way the local Cammeraygal people used this land.

The name Gadyan means cockle, and there are old middens that suggest that this a very popular fishing spot for the local tribes.

Gadyan Bush Track signage
Several information panels give background on the site

They welcomed dogs on a leash, harbour walks with dogs are hard to find in Sydney so this is a bonus.

The park offers excellent facilities including a modern playground, toilets and BBQs. You do not need a car to reach this walk, Wollstonecraft train station is a short walk away.

Gadyan Track Berry Island
Along the Gadyan Track

Related: Check out our visit to Berry Island’s Gadyan Track

Time: 30 minutes
Distance: 750m
Things to look out for: Aboriginal shell middens, rock carvings and interpretive signage.
Location: 10 Shirley Rd, Wollstonecraft NSW
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Lake Parramatta Foreshore Walks

Until 1910 this lake, Sydney’s first dam, provided the water supply for the Parramatta region. Today it is a popular area for picnicking, kayaking and soaking up the sunshine.

Lake Parramatta
Lake Parramatta

My favourite thing about this walk is the large variety of gum trees, some of them 400-years old. You will spot blackbutt, blue gums, grey gums and turpentines. The trees are home to plenty of birdlife, especially kookaburras and cockatoos.

The Burramattagal People – the original landholders, were members of the Darug Aboriginal group. Be sure to check out the Arrunga Bardo Bush Food Garden; you can grab a brochure that gives some background on the plants here.

Arrunga Bardo Bush Food Garden
Arrunga Bardo Bush Food Garden

There are three walks to choose from, two shorter options: She-oak Track (1.5km return) and the Banksia Track (2.4km return) or the full 4.2km circuit.

Other than the walking track, the lake is popular for swimming and Kayaking. The Eastern Fire Trail is suitable for cycling. There are also BBQs, a playground and picnic tables.

Dogs are permitted here, provided they are on a leash.

Time: 1hr 45mins
Distance: 4.2km circuit
Things to look out for: Lizard statue
Location: Illawong Drive, North Parramatta NSW
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Check out our list of things to do in Parramatta while you are here.

Hermitage Foreshore Walk

This walk, hidden in plain view, on the eastern foreshore of Sydney Harbour, is a beauty. Few Sydneysiders outside those who live nearby have discovered it, but it has been a local favourite since the 1980s when it was officially added to Sydney Harbour National Park.

Milk Beach Vaucluse
Milk Beach – Hermitage Foreshore Walk

With a mix of boardwalk, sand and uneven paths, this trail is not pram or wheelchair friendly, but it is suitable for older kids and most abilities. There are five small harbour beaches along the way and several spots that are perfect for a picnic lunch.

Related: Photo guide of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk

Much of the walk is shaded, making this a good summer pick when you need to escape the sun for a while.

Hermitage Foreshore Walking Track Rose Bay Sydney
There is a small section of the boardwalk near the beginning of the track.

Time: 45 minutes
Distance: 1.8km one-way
Things to look out for: City views from Milk Beach, Strickland House
Location: Bayview Hill Rd, Vaucluse NSW
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Jibbon Point Loop Track Bundeena

Bundeena is a small community at the northern boundary of the Royal National Park, home to about 2000 residents. A mix of locals, many artists, and holidaymakers make up the population here. It makes a great day trip but is also a lovely spot for a weekend away and only 50km from the city’s centre.

Originally this was Dharawal land. There is significant evidence of their history here with engravings, shell middens and a re-creation of a campsite with information panels to give plenty of background. The site almost at Jibbon Head is a key feature of this walk.

The walk to Jibbon Head is part of the Royal National Park Coast Walk. We suggest you begin at the ferry wharf. If you want to grab some snacks, you can pop into the small IGA supermarket here as there are no shops or cafes along the way. It would be best if you walked along Loftus Street to reach Jibbon Beach, where the walk officially begins.

Jibbon Beach Bundeena
Jibbon Beach Bundeena

The beach is safe for swimming but with a rapid drop off to deep water so keep a close eye on children. The southern end of the beach is also a popular snorkelling spot. A dip here on the way home makes a nice way to end the walk in summer.

If it’s not warm enough to swim, it’s a top spot for collecting shells.

At the end of the beach, make your way up the stairs and follow signage to the Jibbon Head Aboriginal Engravings, one of the best-preserved rock art sites in Sydney and one that attracts relatively few visitors.

Bundeena Rock art site
A walkway and barriers have been erected in recent years to protect this site from damage.

From here, you head towards to coast and the headland. There is no fencing on this part of the walk, and the cliff edge is close to the track, so careful to watch out for kids or yourself if you are snapping away at the view!

Rock pools at Jibbon Head
Rockpools at Shelly Beach on Jibbon Head

This is a great day out, and if you don’t have a car, you can take the train to Cronulla and board this tiny Tom Thumb ferry for the ride across Port Hacking. Car owners might like to leave their vehicles at the wharf, too. The trip over is quite fun.

Art Lovers should combine their walk with the Bundeena Art Trail

Get more details on this walk from our friends at Sydney Coast Walks here. We did this walk with them a few years ago, and it was excellent. While they no longer run guided walks, they have really detailed information on their site and sell maps.

Time: 2.5 hours
Distance: 4km (7km if you do the longer Jibbon Track and not the loop)
Things to look out for: excellent aboriginal carving site, middens and cliff views
Location: Loftus St, Bundeena NSW
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Royal National Park Forest Path

The Forest Path is one of the oldest tracks in the Royal National Park. Since 1886 keen bushwalkers have been visiting to stroll through the forest of cabbage tree palms and Gymea lily. This walk is very family-friendly, and while there are no stunning vistas at the end, the track is great for getting kids ready for longer walks.

If you want more, there is a turnoff to a track leading to Palona Cave and Waterfall. This detour will add a 1.6km return to the main trail. Keep an eye out for a sign saying ‘Limestone Cave’ and turn there.

Ghost Gum trees in Royal National Park

No car? You can start the walk at Waterfall station, adding an extra five km.

Time: 90 minutes
Distance: 4.5km
Things to look out for: In winter the Gymea lilies are spectacular. There are sometimes leeches after rain.
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Bungoona Lookout and Path

This easy, short walk in The Royal National Park is great for families and is also pram and wheelchair friendly. The reward for completing the walk is a lovely view of the Port Hacking River. The Banksias attract plenty of bird life, particularly rosellas and cockatoos.

Wheelchair-accessible Bungoona path and lookout offers fantastic scenic views of Hacking River, with picnicking and birdwatching. It’s a great family day trip south of Sydney.

Time: 30 minutes
Distance: almost 1km
Things to look out for: bird life, water views
Location: Florence Parade Trail, Royal National Park
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Banks-Solander track and Burrawang Walk

These two walks on the southern shore of Botany Bay in Kamay Botany Bay National Park combine a leisurely stroll in the great outdoors with a glimpse into Sydney’s past. Think history lesson meets bushwalk!

Both walks are suitable for all the family and prams and wheelchair friendly for the most part. The park has a small kiosk and plenty of space for picnics. There is a $7 entry fee for cars.

The Banks-Solander Track is named after the two botanists who collected flora samples on Captain Cook’s expedition. The highlight of this short bushwalk is the information panels that highlight the most important plants of the region.

Burranwang walk La Perouse National park

The Burranwang walk will take you past the landing place of Captain Cook’s Endeavour. Along the way, a trail of interpretive signs highlights the stories of the indigenous, Gweagal and Dharawal peoples, and the colonial arrivals. Begins that the “Meeting Place” a sandstone wall with engravings that represent Living, Plenty, Journey and Remembering.

Kurnell Kamay National Park sign
Part of an artwork in Kamay National Park

Cape Solander is an excellent spot for whale watching between June-Oct.

Time: 60 minutes is generally enough to cover both tracks
Distance: 700m (Banks) 1.2km (Burrawang)
Things to look out for: The Welcome Wall, the Meeting Place, Soundscape installation, native flowers and Captain Cook’s Landing Place.
Location: 21 Cape Solander Dr, Kurnell NSW
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We hope you have found a new and easy bushwalk to encourage you to get out and enjoy Sydney and its green landscapes.

Check out some more walks in Sydney and beyond

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7 thoughts on “Easy Bushwalks in Sydney for Families”

  1. Wow, some great walks mentioned in this post. I’m looking forward to doing some next time I’m in Sydney.

  2. Sydney is one of my favourite places! I only spent three days there so I didn’t get a chance to see much beyond the main attractions, but definitely want to go back one day! Saving this for when I do, thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. i want to improve my fitness but am not really a suburbs walker so these are perfect thanks for sharing

  4. Berry Island is our favourite pet-friendly walk on this list. Lake Parramatta and Narrabeen Lake and Manly Dam are also dog friendly (with the exception of the picnic area at Manly Dam). Dogs are not allowed in any National Parks.

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