Hikes in Sydney

  • Preschoolers

They say the best way to explore a city is on foot, and lucky for us, we've got two of them! There's no denying that Sydney is a stunning city, but sometimes you just feel like trading in the city views for nature views, am I right?

The best hikes in Sydney are (if I'm being totally biased) some of the best in the country, so strap on those walking shoes, grab your water bottle and get ready to see your favourite city from a different view.

The Best Hikes in Sydney

1. The Cascades Track

Cascades Trail
If you haven't hiked in the Garigal National Park yet, you're in for a treat.

Length: 3.5 kilometres return

You don't need to travel too far to find one of the best hikes in Sydney. 

The spectacular Garigal National Park's Cascades Track is nestled in Sydney's North Shore and offers a truly breathtaking expanse of natural bushland to explore.

The 3.5-kilometre looped track holds true to its namesake and rewards hikers with rock pools and cascades thanks to Middle Harbour Creek. The walk down to the cascades declines at a steep pace, so remember what you're up against on the walk back! The tranquil waterways at the climax of the hike are definitely worth it, though.

Location: Access to the Cascades Track is towards the end of Douglas Street in St Ives. 

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2. Karloo Walking Track

Karloo Walking Track
A refreshing dip in Karloo Pools awaits.

Length: 10 kilometres return

A scenic hike with waterfalls and fresh wildflowers is on offer on the Karloo Walking Track.

Nestled in the Royal National Park, the Karloo Walking track is a longer one at 10 kilometres return, so keep this in mind if hiking with the littlies.

The track is well signposted from Heathcote Station and delves into the thick bushland of the Royal National Park before culminating at the glorious Karloo Pools, and yes, you can go for a refreshing dip!

You can choose to return back to the start of the Karloo Walking Track or continue on to check out the waterfalls at Uloola Falls, or even stay overnight at Uloola Falls Campground - don't forget to book ahead.

Location: 126 Wilson Parade, Heathcote

3. Mt Ku-ring-gai Track

The best hikes in Sydney
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Length: 10 kilometres one way

If you're up for a bit of a challenge, the Mt Kuring-Gai Track to Berowra Station delivers one of the best hikes in Sydney.

Traversing the whole 20-kilometre track will take you roughly three to four hours but will reward you with breathtaking views, historic sites, Aboriginal middens, and some extra calf muscles to brag about.

The Aboriginal middens dotted throughout the Mt Kuring-Gai Track are remains of Aboriginal civilisation in Mt Kuring-Gai and the reason why this is one of the most historic hikes in Sydney.

Location: Access to the track is from Harwood Ave in Mount Kuring-Gai. 

4. North Head Sanctuary Loop

North Head Sanctuary Loop
Expansive views of North Head are on offer.

Length: 9.5 kilometres return

If you're looking for hikes in Sydney that offer city, harbour, and ocean views, head north to the North Head Sanctuary Loop.

Striking bushland, exquisite harbour views, and even some military history make the North Head Sanctuary Loop one of the most popular hikes in Sydney. 

For the best photo opportunity, head to the Fairfax Lookout.

Location: North Head Scenic Dr, Manly 

5. The Bondi to Manly Walk

Bondi to Manly Walk
The bridge over Parsley Bay Reserve.

Length: 80 kilometres

Ok, ok, the Bondi to Manly Walk isn't a hike, but the great walk (spanning 80 kilometres!) offers some spectacular views of Sydney.

The 80-kilometre Bondi to Manly Walk is a pretty long one, to say the least. The multi-day walk has so many different sites to offer Sydney families and walkers, including historic sites, Aboriginal monuments, beaches, coastal coves, and even the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Location: you can start the walk from Bondi Beach or Manly Wharf - use the Bondi to Manly Walk Map to plan your route.

A Little Further Afield...

6. Mares Forest Creek Canyon

Mare Forest Creek Canyon
If you've ever wanted to swim in a natural canyon, Mares Forest Creek Canyon will give you the chance.

Length: 3.2 kilometres return

If you are keen to travel to get away from it all, Mares Forest Creek Canyon in the Wombeyan Karst Conservation Area will transport you to a different world for the day.

Roughly three hours from Sydney, the Wombeyan Caves are in the Southern Highlands and a marvel of natural beauty.

The Mare Forest Creek Canyon track is touted as one of the best hikes in Sydney because it rewards you with a refreshing dip in one of the most breathtaking natural canyons in NSW.

Don't forget to bring some aqua shoes to protect your feet from the rocks. 

Location: 38 Ross Street, Oberon

7. The Grand Canyon Walking Track

Best hikes in Sydney
Grand Canyon Walking Track

Length: 6.3-kilometre loop

Did you know that NSW has not one but two Grand Canyons?

The first is actually the second largest Grand Canyon in the world, next to the Grand Canyon in the US, and the second is the famous Grand Canyon Walking Track in the Blue Mountains.

The Grand Canyon Walking Track has been wowing hikers since 1907 and is an illuminating hike by day and night. The deeper you walk into the canyon along the Grand Canyon Walking Track, the more you'll feel like you're descending into a magical rainforest with so much overhanging greenery you won't be able to put the camera away. 

Location: Blue Mountains National Park, Evans Lookout Rd, Blackheath

8. Bouddi Coastal Walk

The best hikes in Sydney
Take in the glorious Central Coast coastline on the Bouddi Coastal Walk.

Length: 8.5 kilometres one way

For one of the best hikes in Sydney in one of the best national parks in Sydney, the Bouddi Coastal Walk is calling your name and your hiking boots. 

Located in the Bouddi National Park, the Bouddi Coastal Walk traverses beaches, boardwalks and birdlife for just over eight kilometres and is a relatively easy hike for families with kids.

The track starts from Putty Beach and finishes at MacMasters Beach, but if you think the nearly nine kilometres will be too long for the kids, you can break your walk at one of the many bays and beaches dotted along the coast.

Location: The hike runs from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach.

9. Brisbane Water National Park

Another fabulous hiking destination can be found in the Brisbane Water National Park near Gosford on the Central Coast.

There are plenty of great hikes in the National Park, including the Patonga to Pearl Beach walking track (offering incredible views!), the Girrakool Loop Track and, if you're up for an adventure over a few days, the 38-kilometre Great North Walk!

Hero image: The Patonga to Pearl Beach Walking Track

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