If you're seeking a unique nature-based way to experience the history of Sydney Harbour, this 3.4 km return walk is for you. Beginning at Bradley's Head, you will be rewarded with untainted views of both the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The newly upgraded track then winds through the north shore bush land of Sydney Harbour National Park.
This small peninsula juts right out into Sydney Harbour, making it the logical location for Bradley's Head Lighthouse, which has remained active since 1905. The point is also recognizable for it's mast of HMAS Sydney, which proudly served the Royal Australian Navy during World War One.
The walking track passes a picnic shelter before plunging into shady Eucalypt forests, with informative signage along the way explaining facts about each section you are entering. With glimpses of the blue harbour through the trees, the track leads you through dry scrub, past million dollar mansions, over magical waterfalls and around idyllic inlets, such as Taylor's Bay (where you might want a quick swim by now if it's a hot day). The track eventually crosses Chowder Head where steps lead you down to Clifton Gardens and Chowder Bay.
Parts of the track have been upgraded, incorporating user friendly sandstone steps.
If you're walking with children, there is an excellent park and perfect beach for digging here. There is also a convenient netted swimming enclosure if you need to cool off. Alternatively, you may have worked up an appetite by now and Chowder Bay has two dining options for you - Bacino Kiosk or the more up-market, Ripples at Chowder Bay.
We could not go past Bacino Kiosk's stripey deck chairs, a talented Sunday afternoon busker and the smell of brewing coffee. Bacino Kiosk is housed in an old ammunition shed which was part of the Submarine Miner's Depot and later a military barracks. They serve great food and are perfectly located with views across Clifton Gardens.
When you're ready, trace your steps back towards Bradley's Head or follow the track on towards Middle Head. The walk is easy (even for children), educational and rewarding, with many places to begin or extend the walk along the route. You could catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo and begin the walk there or park (which costs $7 for the day) at Athol Hall, a highly recommended venue for morning or afternoon tea.
If you can tear yourself away from Chowder Bay, the harbourside track continues a further 2 kms around Headland Park to Balmoral Beach. This is definitely worth the effort, but probably too far if you're travelling with children.