If the weather's fine and you're looking to enjoy a leisurely stroll, there are few better places on the northern beaches to do so than around Grotto Point Reserve.
Located within the Sydney Harbour National Park, the reserve offers the sort of spectacular water views that one would expect. But there is history too: Aboriginal rock engravings and an old lighthouse are all part of the area's charm.
There are a couple of easy ways to soak it up- and one challenging route for those seeking a more strenuous workout.
Grotto Point Walk: This straightforward 3.6 kilometre return journey begins on the northern end of Dobroyd Scenic Drive. After showcasing the scenery (and history) of Arabanoo Lookout, the track leads through the bush and passes some more lookouts, before arriving at the Grotto Point Engravings. From there, it moves on to the Grotto Point Lighthouse, a modest white tower dating back to the early 20th century. The end of the road is reached shortly after, which means retracing one's steps.
Grotto Point Lighthouse Walk: This is an even easier 1.7km return journey that starts at the southern end of Cutler Road. It skips much of the bushwalking and sea views of its longer brother, focussing instead on the engravings and the lighthouse. Once again, the way in is the way out.
Manly Scenic Walkway: This 9.1km one-way route leads from The Spit to Manly, starting from the carpark on Battle Boulevard, Seaforth. It is a very attractive walk, though it can get busy on weekends. Optional detours to the lighthouse and engravings can be found about a third of the way along.