So often training hard at your gym is a weekday thing, before or after work. When it gets to the weekend I find it very hard to want to go inside, back to the gym, this is why I always opt for doing something outdoors. Not only does it get me moving, but feels like I have had a proper weekend!
So here are 5 coastal walks from the north of Sydney all the way to the south. If you live in Sydney, add these to your list to go and do. If you don't live in Syd, add them to your wish list for when you come and visit, not only are they are some of the best spots our city has to offer, but it will keep you fit while traveling.
1. Palm Beach to Barrenjoey lighthouse
Starting at the most north side of Sydney's coast is Palm Beach. It has been made famous from the Australian series Home and Away, so if you are aware of this show you know how beautiful this area is. This walk starts on the Pittwater side of the peninsular - Stations Beach and takes you up to the headland where the light house is situated. The easiest way to find the trail head is to park near the Palm Beach Boat House, walk onto the sandy beach next to the boat house and walk north along the beach until you see a pathway on the right. Following the path into the trees, you have a choice to go up the smooth paved road which winds up the headland (15min, 800m) or the 'smugglers track' (10min, 400m) which goes straight up and consists mainly of stairs. From the top you have amazing panoramic views, to the south you can see palm beach followed by many of the northern beaches that proceed it on the ocean side and inland you get a great view into Pittwater with its many inlets and beaches. To the north you can see the central coast containing Lion Island and Box head. There are also a number of smaller trails that lead out from the lighthouse to the edge of the headland, I highly recommend taking a track and going to find a nice rock away from everyone to sit and enjoy the view from. After returning back to Palm beach, stop into The Boat House for a drink and some food, it has great local produce and more beautiful views to soak up before you head home.
2. Dee Why to Freshwater
This walk starts at the south end of Dee Why beach. The best place to get to the trail head is to get to the car park above Dee Why ocean pool, there you will find a pathway that leads south out to the headland. This trail is unpaved, narrow at points with rocks and steps along the way. As soon as you enter the trail you feel miles away from the busy streets of Dee Why as you follow the winding path along the cliff line with many look out points to stop and take the view in. There is an abundance of wild flowers along this walk and many places to get off the trail and explore a little further. This trail takes you all the way around to Curl Curl beach (4.1km), you can either exit onto Molong st if you prefer to enjoy the streetscape for a section (walk down the street and turn left onto Pitt St, then left onto Griffin St walking alongside Curl Curl beach), or you can stay on the path at the headland which continues around the cliff to North Curl Curl beach where you can then walk along the beautiful sand of Curl Curl beach. Once you have arrived at South Curl Curl pool (either by beach or st) make your way to the car park above the ocean pool. Here you will see where the boardwalk starts and takes you around the cliff line all the way to Freshwater. In spring this boardwalk sees a beautiful covering of colourful wild flowers, it's absolutely stunning.
3. Spit Bridge to Manly
Arguably one of Sydney most loved walks, this trail is a series of short walks all linked together to make the Spit to Manly trail. With a distance of 10km each way it will take about 3 hours at a comfortable pace. There are a multitude of spots to get off the trail, go for a swim, have a break, go to a cafe, etc. The entire walk has stunning views of Sydney's famous harbour with lots of information posts along the way to explain the names and history of the area. The trail head starts on the last street (Fisher bay walk) on the right before the bridge on the north side, the entire walk is well sign posted so you will easily be able to follow the trail all the way to Manly. There are spots where you you may need to get your feet wet as a high tide means parts of the trail can get flooded, this will only ever be up to knee height, and if it's not for you, you can divert back to the closest street and follow the street for that section. Once you arrive in Manly you can put your feet up at a bar or cafe and enjoy the rest of your day. There is plenty to do at Manly and I would highly recommend taking the Ferry back to the city if that is the direction you have come from.
4. Bondi to Bronte
While this may be one of the most well known walks in Sydney for both locals and tourist alike, don't let this deter you - it's popular for a reason! Starting at the famous Bondi beach, make your way to the south end of the beach towards Icebergs to find the trail head. This trail is generally wide and paved/boardwalk, there are some areas where the trail is etched into sandstone and there are several sets of stairs. What makes this walk so great is a number of things, firstly the water colour along this stretch of coastline is such a stunning bright blue that it feels like you are more in the tropics than in Sydney. The vibrancy (not just from the water!) of this walk is also a unique selling point, this is where a lot of Sydney siders flock to on the weekend so there is a real buzz in the air with eclectic groups of people sitting out on the rocks and people getting off the path and finding their own spot for a swim, tan or quiet read. Aside from the people watching you can also get a great view of the million dollar houses that are dotted along the coastline. Along the path you will go through the small and cute Tamarama beach where you can stop for a swim on the beach or go to the cafe. Arriving in Bronte is the perfect end to your walk. Like many of the beaches on the south side of the harbour, Bronte has a big grassy park directly behind the beach, so their is ample room to find a space to sit and enjoy your surroundings. The total walk is 4km one way, allow 1 .5 hours each way.
5. Wattamolla to Eagle rock and Carracurrang falls
Moving further south of Sydney is the Eagle rock hike. The trail head begins within the Royal National park at the end of Wattamolla's most southern car park and is a 7.5km round trip that will take about 3 hours to complete. Unlike the other listed coast walks above, this one is a bush walk, there are no streets, houses or communities, rather it's a peaceful and pristine hike through the natural landscape of Sydney's south coast. The trail begins by following the coastline where you can walk up to the cliff edge is various spots, it then ventures down to a small inlet where you can take a break and go for a swim. From this point is goes a little inland where you are surrounded by the Australian bush land until you reach the Carracurrang falls. The amount of water coming off the cliff into the sea is usually not that much unless it has been raining recently, however with only a hand full of waterfalls that go directly into the ocean in the world, it is something worth seeing. There are a number of water pools leading to the falls which are also great spots to put your feet in or have a swim. Looking back up the coast from the falls you will see Eagle Rock, named after is resemblance of an eagle head. If you are feeling adventurous you can walk over the falls and climb up to the top of eagle rock for some stunning but scary views down! I would highly recommend taking water and some snacks with you on this hike as it's easy to spend more time here than what you planned.
Here are some more photos of these beautiful walks to get you inspired to get out there :) xx AK