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Published April 28th 2016
Sydney's coastal walks (by "Mike
Sydney's coastline and spectacular landmarks make us smile every time we return from interstate or abroad on a plane. It's featured as the clock strikes midnight on January 1 as our celebratory fireworks are watched by billions throughout the world.
From the northern glow of Barrenjoey Lighthouse to the southern blue waters of Cronulla in 'God's Country' and out west amongst the deafening cheers of the Red and Black Block at Parramatta, Sydney can be explored on foot using some of our best walking tracks.
Sydney's coastal walks (by Cookaa / CC-BY-SA-3.0)
On a coastal walk in Sydney, you'll explore cliffs, beaches, pools, creeks, native plants and animals, innovative architecture and aboriginal and colonial history. On your journey, you'll encounter cafes, restaurants, child-friendly parks, leisure centres, boats to hire, fishing spots and friendly locals repeating walks they've enjoyed for decades. Regardless of where you live in Sydney, each of these walks is easily accessed with convenient public transport. Often, you'll enjoy a ferry ride to begin or end your adventure. Each of these walks should be experienced at least once in your lifetime of weekends, but could you choose a single favourite with so many inspiring choices?
Whichever walk you choose, you'll enjoy it but safety is a top priority.
Ensure you've prepared with supplies – water, snacks, appropriate clothing (hat, long-sleeve shirt, jumper, rainjacket, sunglasses, sturdy walking shoes), mobile phone, camera, backpack. Let a friend know where you're going and when you'll finish. These walks are signposted – watch for shared paths to avoid accidents with cyclists.
Sydney's coastal walks (by Adam.J.W.C. / CC BY 3.0)
Each of these walks offers specific highlights, with seasonal festivals and art displays making them popular with millions of locals and tourists:
South - Clovelly to Cronulla. From C to C, you can enjoy one of Australia's most popular beaches before taking the leisurely ferry ride into Bundeena to enter the Royal National Park. You can explore Captain Cook's Landing Site at Kurnell or the sandhills at Wanda (watch for Cronulla Sharks players sweating through fitness drills). Try walking from the Captain's historic site to Cape Baily lighthouse. Click here for more details.
South - Cook Park Trail. From Sydenham, walk south under the giant aircraft on final approach to Sydney Airport. Onto Brighton-Le-Sands, continue along the beach, pausing as needed for fish and chips, gelato, a swim or a picnic. In Sans Souci, feel the peace of a suburb meaning 'without care' in French. In the distance, forge onto Captain Cook Bridge to check for a pot of gold at the end in Taren Point. Click here for more details.
West - Gladesville Bridge to Ryde Bridge. Cross Parramatta River and pause at the Kokoda Track Memorial before staring at the alien-like industrial sites, now converted to housing estates with ever-increasing land values. While you're near Lane Cove, take the Riverside Walk in the local National Park. Click here for more details.
West - Ryde Bridge to Parramatta. The west is history – old and new. Be captivated by the stories told at some of our oldest colonial buildings in Parramatta before continuing to Olympic Park to relive those Golden moments in 2000 when Australians hosted the world's best athletes in the best Olympic Games of All Time (I might be slightly biased though). Walk the Parramatta River. Click here for more details.
City / East - Harbour Bridge to South Head and Clovelly. The city's east, including Bondi and Watsons Bay are features on the 30 kilometres of the main trail leading from the Harbour Bridge. Dozens of shorter walks allow bite-sized treats requiring only a few hours. Click here for more details.
City - Harbour Circle Walk. Follow the tourist circuit as you share our most iconic landmarks with thousands of overseas visitors. Enjoy their happy reactions with romantic foreign accents as you explore Darling Harbour, the Rocks, Millers Point and Observatory Hill. Try the Hermitage Walk for a pleasurable weekend afternoon or the Iron Cove Bay Run (running optional beneath the atmospheric bridge). Click here for more details.
City / North - Harbour to Spit Walks. From our Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Manly's Spit Bridge and beyond, you'll need days to enjoy all the highlights. With ferries and buses passing many of the area's landmarks, you can focus on specific features, including Taronga Zoo, Kirribilli, Cremorne and Balmoral. Compare the southward option to the Spit Bridge, try the Manly Dam walk, Taronga Zoo to Chowder Bay or take a detour into Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and into the Red Hands Cave.
North - Manly Lagoon to North Head & The Spit. You won't need a vaccination to explore the former Quarantine Station in Manly or enjoy the beach views or peaceful bushland surrounding Manly Dam. Click here for more details.
Visit the cockpit for an aerial view before you start walking (skip to the 5-minute mark as the approach over Sydney begins):
Once the sun rises on another picturesque Sydney weekend, which coastal walk do you enjoy most?
With so many options, we'd love to hear your comments.