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A Guide to Harbour Walks in Sydney

Sydney Harbour is known worldwide for its beauty but did you know that much of this stunning shoreline is lined with beautiful walking tracks and for your added enjoyment over 30 beaches? Well now you do, so how do you decide which walk to take. You ask an expert, that’s how ;-).

The Best Sydney Harbour Walks

We are fortunate that so much of the Sydney foreshore is accessible to the public. Many of these walks are within Sydney Harbour National Park.

Try to do at least one of these walks as a contrast to the busy coastal tracks.

Walks on the northern side of the harbour

Many of the walks on the lower north shore offer the feeling of being in the bush while only minutes from the centre of the city.

Milsons Point to Lavender Bay

This walk along the harbour foreshore is an easy flat walk suitable for the whole family. You can combine it with a walk over the harbour bridge and a visit to the Pylon Museum for some fantastic harbour views.

North Sydney Harbour views
The Old Lavender Bay Wharf at night, this walk is lovely in the early evening

Starting from Milson’s Point Station make your way straight down to the foreshore. At this point, you will have likely pulled out your camera and start shooting; it’s almost impossible not to 🙂

After you have taken in the harbour views, make your way west to Luna Park. Just before you arrive you will see North Sydney Olympic Pool, which is open to the public should you fancy a swim.

You can either walk through Luna Park or follow the foreshore around Lavender Bay. Next up is Wendy’s Secret Garden and Lavender Bay Parklands. Follow the full walk on this post.

Highlights include:

  • Luna Park
  • North Sydney Pool
  • Wendy’s Secret Gardens
  • Lavender Bay Wharf

Insider tip: Time your visit with the weekend Kirribilli Markets

Length: 2.5km
Public transport rating: Easy
Wheel-friendly: Yes, there are stairs up into Wendy’s Garden.
Dog-friendly: Yes, on leash

Cremorne Point Walk

Cremorne Point Walk is a lovely, gentle circuit walk around Cremorne Point Headland. With beautiful harbourside homes, a lovely free swimming pool and sweeping harbour views.

This view of the city from Cremorne
This view of the city from Cremorne was taken just left of the pools

You can wander down to the point and the tiny white lighthouse if you are brave. Find all the details on our Cremorne Point walk guide.

Highlights:

  • MacCallum Pool
  • Lex and Ruby Graham Gardens
  • Stunning Federation Style Mansions

Local tip: MacCallum Pool is closed regularly for cleaning, check the schedule here.

Length: 3km as a circuit or continue round to Mosman Bay Wharf
Public transport rating: Easy – ferry or bus
Wheel-friendly: yes
Dog-friendly: yes

Dog owners might like to check this list of dog-friendly walks in North Sydney including off-leash and swimming beaches

 

Mosman to Taronga Zoo

This walk from Mosman to the zoo is well shaded and perfect for a warm summer’s day. We often combine it with the Cremorne Point Walk for a long day out. If you intend to begin at Mosman, you can start at either Mosman Bay or South Mosman. If you miss that ferry, you can begin at Taronga and walk in reverse.

Mosman  Harbour Walk view from Sirius Cove
This sculpture at Sirius Cove commemorates the Artist’s Camp

One spot not to miss along this route is Curlew Camp. This area at Sirius Cove was home an artists colony back in the1890s that attracted some of Australia’s finest impressionists, including Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton, two of our countries best-known artists from this period.

Highlights of this harbour walk include:

  • Sirius Cove – a dog-friendly beach
  • Pretty paperbark trees
  • Little Sirius Point
  • Whiting Beach

Local tip: Mosman Art Gallery has produced a guide for this walk you can download to your phone.

Length: 2km
Public transport rating: Easy,
Wheel-friendly: no
Dog-friendly: One of the few dog-friendly beaches in the inner city.

Bradleys Head to Balmoral Beach walk

This walk goes by many names, the Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach, Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay, Middle Head walk, it all depends on where you start and finish. For the best harbour views in Sydney, this one is hard to beat.

Taylor’s Bay along the track from Taronga Wharf to Chowder Bay

We have written a detailed guide to this walk between Taronga Zoo Wharf and Balmoral Beach.

Highlights:

  • Bradley’s Head Amphitheatre
  • Clifton Gardens
  • Sydney Institute of Marine Science
  • Middle Head (Headlands) lookout

Insider tip: Be sure to stop in at the Marine Science Discovery Centre if it is open and try a virtual dive in Sydney Harbour.

Length: 5km
Public transport rating: easy ferry and buses
Wheel-friendly: no
Dog-friendly: no

Spit Bridge to Manly Walk

This walk is also often referred to as the Manly Scenic Walkway; however, the full scenic walkway goes past Manly Wharf and continues to North Head and around to Manly Beach.

Spit Bridge to Manly track is a perfect spot to propose
Sydney Habour looking to North Head from the Spit Bridge track

This walk will take you between 3-4 hours, depending on how fast you move. You could easily split this walk into two days if you are staying in Manly and prefer to spend more time exploring along the way. You can also reverse this and make it a Manly to Spit walk instead.

Highlights:

  • Dobroyd Head Lookout – 270-degree harbour views
  • Grotto Point Lighthouse and Aboriginal engravings
  • Reef Beach

Local tip: Fairlight pool on the home stretch is one of the best harbour pools in the city.

Length: Manly to Spit 10km – The full Manly adds another 9.5km
Public transport rating: easy buses drop you at the start of the walk on the Spit Bridge, Ferries will take you back to the city.
Wheel-friendly: no
Dog-friendly: no
More info: on NSW National Parks website

 

North Head Walk

This 8km walk begins at Shelly Beach and makes its way up onto North Head and into the Sanctuary. The views of Sydney Harbour are impossible to beat and plenty of history to be uncovered.

The view from the walking track at North Head Sanctuary

Highlights of a walk at North Head

  • North Head Visitors Centre
  • Fairfax Lookout
  • Bella Vista Cafe
  • The Quarantine Cemeteries
  • Australian Memorial Walk,

Insider tip: Go on a Sunday so you can join the North Fort tunnel tours.

Length: The full walk is 8km, but you can choose shorter sections, like the Fairfax walk if you begin at the Visitor’s Centre.
Public transport rating: Easy, the 135 bus service runs from Manly Wharf.
Wheel-friendly: Partially, the visitor’s centre is accessible and can advise on the best routes to take
Dog-friendly: no
More: Check our full guide to North Head before you head off.

Walks on the south side of the harbour

Let’s start at South Head and make our way around the harbour.

Watsons Bay Walk

Officially called the South Head Heritage Trail, this is a short harbour walk with big rewards. We think it’s one of the best short walks in the city so if you are short of time put this one on your list. The trip over from Circular Quay combined with the clifftop views, and pretty Camp Cove beach make this a top day out.

Watsons Bay Hornby Lighthouse
Hornby Lighthouse at the tip of South Head

Check out our complete guide to walking in Watson’s Bay

Highlights of the Watsons Bay :

  • Candy-striped Hornby Lighthouse
  • Lady Bay (nude) Beach
  • Camp Cove Beach
  • Old military cannon
  • The Gap clifftop views

Insider tip: If you are short on time, there is a fast ferry that connects Watson’s Bay to Manly and only costs a few dollars more than the public one.

The Fast Ferry allows you to visit both sides of the harbour without going back to the Quay in between.

Length: 3.6km
Public transport rating: Easy
Wheel-friendly: only in some parts, not out to the head itself; however, there is a wheelchair equipped pool here.
Dog-friendly: No, not in the National Park.

 

Watsons Bay to Nielson Park

Ok so this is not an official walk, but there are enough interesting spots to visit along the way that it’s worth making your way using Google maps as your guide.

Parsley Bay Sydney
Walk across the Parsley Bay Suspension Bridge

You will pass some of the most expensive houses in the country. Sadly access to the foreshore here is limited between Kutti Beach and Neilson Park so you will be walking along the street in some sections. The architecture and people watching can make this quite interesting though.

Highlights:

  • Kutti Beach
  • Parsley Bay Suspension Bridge
  • Vaucluse House
  • Shark Beach

Local tip: Take a detour to Vaucluse House for high tea

Length: 3km
Public transport rating: Easy
Wheel-friendly: Mostly
Dog-friendly: only outside the National Park

Hermitage Foreshore walk

The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is a bit of a hidden gem. I rarely pass anyone else when I am on this track. Beginning at Rose Bay to taking around the harbour to the gorgeous Neilson Park the route can also be extended, so this walk becomes the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk.

Milk Beach Sydney Harbour Walks Rose Bay
Milk Beach is one of the hidden gems on this stunning and relatively quiet harbour walk.

Highlights:

  • Milk Beach
  • Strickland House
  • Shark Beach and Nielson Park

Insider tip: Head off the track for a visit to Vaucluse House and order some treats in the tearoom.

Length: 5km
Public transport rating: easy bus access
Wheel-friendly: no
Dog-friendly: no
More info: We have a photoguide to this harbour walk you can follow along.

 

Rushcutters Bay to Rose Bay

This walk is not a peaceful track, much of the walk takes you along suburban streets, but these are pretty streets with plenty of parkland and beaches along the way.

Murray Rose Pool is one of the gems along this harbour walk.

There are also some great cafes and shops and if you get tired of walking the 325 bus will take you to either Watson’s Bay or Barangaroo.

Highlights:

  • Seven Shillings Beach
  • Murray Rose Pool
  • Seaplanes at Rose Bay
  • Rushcutters Bay Park

Local tip: Take a swim at Murray Rose Pool

Length: 4.1km
Public transport rating: Buses all along the route
Wheel-friendly: yes
Dog-friendly: yes

Want more Sydney walks?

You might want to read these pages for ideas:

Pin this guide to the best harbour walks in Sydney for later

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7 thoughts on “A Guide to Harbour Walks in Sydney”

  1. What a fantastic resource just in time to answer the inevitable question “what are we doing this weekend?”. My brother lives in Cremorne so we’ll sneak a visit in for refreshments after the Cremorne Point Walk 😉

  2. An old boss was from Sydney and he always talked about how walkable it is! These harbour walks look lovely and I will certainly keep them in mind for our future trip there!

  3. Such an iconic destination. We’ve never considered Australia although after 4 years exploring Europe fulltime, we are ready to spread our wings.

  4. What wonderful ways to really experience the beauty of Sydney. You have reminded me an extended stay there is long overdue. I can just picture myself lazing the day away at Milk beach.

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