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Fairfax Lookout

Home > Sydney > Day Trips | Escape the City | Lookouts | Outdoor | Walks
by Lucy Y.Y. L (subscribe)
Somewhat skilled photographer. Full time tea drinker, reader and part-time napper. Follow adventures at
Published December 19th 2015
Lookout capturing the true essence of the ocean
fairfax lookout, manly
Seat at Fairfax Lookout

Now the days of runny noses and sneezes are gone, it's time for golden tans and the feel of extra creamy sunscreen on our bodies. The beach suburb of Manly offers versatile and adventurous activities for all people who enjoy the outdoors. Whether it's reading by the bays and beaches or venturing out on a tough hike, the city will deliver. With a preference for coastal walks, I grabbed one of my friends and headed out for a hike from Manly to Fairfax Lookout.

Essentials for hike
Essentials for Hike

Hopping off our nearly 20 minute ferry ride at Manly Wharf, we began our 50 minute trek to Fairfax Lookout and as usual, we were met with a steep street which took most of our energy. Passing East Manly Cove Beach and Manly Hospital, we entered North Head Scenic Drive which was quite deserted, only filled with the sounds of insects, the lonely road and a few cars.

East Manly Cove Beach
East Manly Cove Beach

Reaching the Park Hill Recreation Reserve archway, we continued our hike and after passing civilisation, the trek became flat and was much easier to walk. Finally passing Quarantine Station, we come to a luscious, grass covered area. Much to our surprise, we had reached the opening to North Head where the scene overlooks the harbour and Sydney skyline. The clifftop reveals an unending ocean view, a breathtaking sight to enjoy whilst the sea breeze flows over you. Taking a worthwhile break which seemed to physically and mentally fill our body with serenity, we soon departed North Head and resumed the hike to our desired outlook.

North Head, Manly
North Head, Manly

Reaching North Head indicated we were very close to Fairfax Lookout and soon we had reached it. Undoubtedly, we were stunned by the scenery which held a higher altitude than North Head. A peaceful destination for all, Fairfax Lookout offered a seat for passersby and railing for tourists/locals to observe the sea. With the lookout enriched with wildlife and a perfect view of the ocean, it was a terrific place for photographs and observation. Although the day was slightly hazy, the lookout nevertheless offered a terrific view of the ocean.

Fairfax Lookout, Manly
Fairfax Lookout, Manly

I recommend the hike for those who love scenic ocean views and those who are not irritated by the endless path of road and dirt. In addition, if you are travelling by car or on the path, be aware of the animals and do not disturb the wildlife in Sydney Harbour National Park. The bandicoot population has decreased, becoming endangered, and consequently the city has positioned warnings and signs to inform you of the wildlife.

Sign of endangered bandicoot
Endangered Bandicoot, North Head

If you are travelling to North Head by car, try Bradleys Head carpark which costs $8 per day (pay machines accept cards and coins, no change can be given) or Chowder Bay carpark which offers $3 per hour from Mon-Fri and $4 per hour on the weekends. Fairfax Lookout by bus (usually Bus 135) is also accessible from Stand J from Manly to North Forth Museum (6 stops) and then the trek amounts to a 12 minute walk to Fairfax Lookout.

Map from Manly to Fairfax Lookout
Map of Manly to Fairfax Lookout

Overall, the journey from Manly to Fairfax Lookout was definitely a lengthy trek but the place offered such a beautiful view that it was indeed rewarding. It is such an underrated place to overlook the ocean and Sydney's skyline; a terrific day out for family andfriends.

Fairfax Lookout, Manly
View back to Manly

ALTERNATIVES: Take a hike on the Manly Scenic Walkway for Aboriginal sites and sub-tropical rainforest views, take the Ghost Tour at Quarantine Station or check it out here

TIPS: Try to avoid a sweltering hot day, bring extra bottles of water and tissues to brush off the salt crystals that will form on your arms once you reach Fairfax Lookout. If you are searching for a restaurant/cafe, Bella Vista Cafe is situated adjacently to the lookout at North Head.
The whole day resulted in approximately 20k steps

When I researched Manly and Fairfax Lookout, I discovered that the suburbs surrounding Manly offered an array of enriching historical and cultural influences. North Head was the location of the earliest contacts of the Aboriginal people with the British invaders and Quarantine Station was one of the major ports for incoming migrants to be quarantined before entering Sydney. Also, North Head embodies a rich military history where artillery constructions were built during the first and second world wars for the purpose of protecting Sydney. For extensive information, click here to discover more of Manly's history.
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Why? To escape the chaos of the city
Where: Fairfax Lookout, Fairfax Walking Track, Manly NSW
Your Comment
I really enjoyed your approach to this article. Great pics too
by Rota (score: 2|717) 1678 days ago
Good one lucy&Co. The walk makes me tired just reading about it.How's er I think k that your narrative and des Ripton of the trek was commendable as well as helpful.thx &happy trekking.
by philo (score: 0|2) 1686 days ago
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