Want to go hiking in Sydney? You’ve found the right guide! We’ve selected the top ten hiking trails in (and around) Sydney, including everything from short trails to hikes that take all day!
Whether you’re looking for city walks, forest loops, or challenging trails that are suitable only for experienced hikers, we’ve got you covered. This guide to the best trails in Sydney covers everything from Blue Mountains National Park to the impressive Bondi Beach! All the trails are exceptionally rewarding, and without a doubt worth the effort to get to the end of the trail.
Read on to see our list of the best hikes in Sydney and the national parks that surround it!
Not all trails are accessible year-round. You should check up on trail conditions and accessibility before you set out on any particular hike. Some trails or trail segments can be closed because of weather or construction work, and that’s quite a common occurrence. Also, summertime in Australia usually means that there’s a fire somewhere, which can temporarily close any bushwalks in the nearby area. So, before you set out on a day-long trek, just make sure that the trail is still open to the general public.
You don’t need a car. Public transportation in Sydney is great, and almost all trails featured here are easily accessible via train or bus. Some of the point-to-point hikes start at one train/bus station and end at another, making it really easy for hikers without a car to get return home. The trickiest part will be getting to national parks, but even then you might have to change busses and walk for 10-15 minutes until you’re at the trailhead. In general, hiking trails in and around Sydney are easily accessible to hikers via public transport.
Seven Bridges Walk is a city hike around Sydney, but it’s by no means a casual walk around the downtown area. This is a 28-kilometer loop that crosses seven of Sydney’s bridges and takes approximately 8 hours to complete.
It’s a moderately difficult trail with a total elevation gain of some 500 meters. For the most part, you’re walking on sidewalks and near roads, but the trail does pass through some parks that can feature muddy terrain. It’s generally an easy walk to do, but people who aren’t that big on hiking will likely struggle to complete the hike. But that’s okay – the city walk mostly stays close to roads, so if you can’t go the distance you can always call a cab or get on the bus.
Additionally, there are plenty of detour opportunities on this trail. You can stop at restaurants, cafes, shops, and parks, allowing you to do the hike at your pace and see as much of Sydney as you can. This is actually one of the best hikes for exploring Sydney – it lets you see parts of the city that the average tourist misses, while you’re walking through 15+ different neighborhoods.
This is a short circuit hike that takes you from Manly to North Head and back. It features wildlife, beaches, lookout points, and beautiful scenic views along the way. The trail mostly follows paved paths and walkways, so it’s suitable for everyone in terms of difficulty and skill level.
Also, the hike passes near several beaches, so there are plenty of opportunities for a relaxing swim. North Head is on a higher altitude than the rest of the trail and it offers some really great views of the city skyline and waterfront. You can even rest at a nice café here and admire those spectacular views with some coffee and food.
The Blue Fish track will take you close to several lookout points, and you can choose which ones to skip. The Fairfax lookout is the one you shouldn’t skip if you’re into panoramic vistas. If you’re hiking in a clockwise direction, you will pass North Fort on your way back, as well as several scenic picnic areas at Coal Warf. If you skipped the café at North Head, this is a great opportunity to relax, recharge, and take in more of those views
Warrimo Track to Bobin Head track combines two shorter trails into one exciting circuit hike. It’s still quite a short loop trail of just 9.7 kilometers, and you should be able to complete it in three hours or less. The total elevation gain over the trail is only about 241 meters, meaning that it’s not a very strenuous or challenging hike.
Some segments of the loop trail are rocky, and that’s why it’s rated as moderate. You’ll need to watch your step and not just because there are roots and rocks on the trail – there’s a lot of wildlife in the area thanks to the lush vegetation. You’re likely to encounter lizards, but not your average cute gecko. The area around Sydney is known for tree goannas, which are massive lizards that can be up to 2 meters long. Yikes.
Some parts of the trail are shaded and others are entirely exposed, so it’s still a good idea to wear a hat and a lot of sunscreen. Also, the varied terrain means it’s best to wear sturdy hiking boots, preferably something with good traction on wet and muddy terrain.
The loop hike features creeks, a river, waterfalls, all sorts of wildlife, and a lot of greenery. With such varied scenery, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular hikes in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
The Two Creeks Track is an out-and-back hiking trail that is suitable for everyone, including total newbies to hiking. The terrain is easy, the elevation gain is minimal, and there are no particular hazards on this trail. Also, it’s a fairly short hike that can be done in under three hours, so it’s great even for hiking beginners.
The track follows two creeks from the trailhead at Northcote Road to the end of the trail at Babbage Road, hence the name. The first half of the trail follows Gordon Creek and the second half follows Moore’s Creek, with several stream crossings along the way. Sometimes there’s a bridge and sometimes there isn’t one, so you should be dressed for wet and muddy terrain.
This trail features a waterfall, creeks, wildlife, wildflowers, and beautiful green scenery. Also, there are several observation decks on the trail, as well as picnic areas where you can stop to rest for a while.
Hornsby to Mt. Kuring-Gai is a demanding 24-kilometer hike that should satisfy the most avid hikers. If you’re looking for a proper challenge in the Greater Sydney Area, this is the best hike for you. The total elevation gain is over 850 meters during the entire point-to-point hike, with several steep ascents that will really challenge you.
The trailhead is at Hornsby train station, which also means that this trail is easily accessible to all hikers who are relying on public transport to get around Sydney. Most of the hike is through Berowra Valley Regional Park, so you should be prepared for a classic Australian bushwalk/forest hike. That means sturdy hiking boots, bug repellant, and being on high alert due to the possible presence of snakes and other wildlife.
The point-to-point hike features creeks, lookout points, and lush vegetation. There are several camping grounds and picnic areas along the way, so there are ample opportunities for rest. The trail ends at Mount Kuring-Gai train station, and it should be easy to return home from there.
Lake Parramatta Loop is a short circuit hike in Lake Parramatta Reserve. This moderately difficult trail can be done in a little over an hour, so even hiking newbies should be able to complete it. The main reason why it’s rated as moderate is the terrain – it can be wet and muddy at times, with several stream crossings that require good hiking boots. But if you take your time and stay attentive, you shouldn’t have any issues completing the loop hike.
Lake Parramatta is popular for swimming and boating, while the actual trail attracts quite a few bird-watching enthusiasts. You might encounter other wildlife along the way, like some of those massive Australian lizards. Also, some sections of the track are rocky, and there are roots jutting out of the ground, but nothing you shouldn’t be able to avoid if you keep your eyes on the trail.
The trailhead is near Lake Parramatta café, and the closest bus stop is just a short walk away. This hike is easily accessible to everyone, the total elevation gain is only 66 meters over the 4 kilometers, and it features beautiful lake views with lots of rest areas. That’s why it’s a good hike for everyone, regardless of their hiking experience and physical fitness.
Caleyi Trail is a moderately difficult hike in Garigal National Park. It features scenic views, bridges, lush vegetation, and creeks. This is an out-and-back 10-kilometer hike that can be completed in about 3 hours. Although it’s rated as moderately difficult, beginner hikers should be able to complete it – they just need to dress appropriately and watch their step.
The trail is more difficult in wet weather – it becomes muddy and slippery, and fallen trees are a common occurrence. Also, you’ll need to follow a map while doing this hike, to avoid getting lost. It’s not very well marked, and it’s easy to follow a wrong path and end up at an overgrown trail that you can’t pass without a machete.
Stream crossings can be challenging, but it’s nothing too strenuous if you’re wearing sturdy hiking boots. The first 2.5 kilometers of the trail are pretty much just an easy walk – the trickiest part is near the 2.6-kilometer marker, where you come across a rather steep ascent. The total elevation gain on this hike is around 200 meters, and almost all of that is ascended at the 2.6-kilometer marker.
Spit Bridge to Manly is one of the most popular hiking trails not just in Sydney, but in all of New South Wales. The moderately difficult hike features spectacular views of the coast, with plenty of opportunities to stop at a sandy beach and go for a swim. The point-to-point trail is about 10 kilometers long, and it can be completed in about 3 hours.
You can do this hike in either direction, but most people opt to begin at Spit Bridge. From there, you head south and pass by some spectacular beaches, and making a short detour to Grotto Point. That’s the easiest section of the hike – the path back to the main trail features a gradual ascent that gets steeper until you pass Tania Park. Overall, the trail has quite a few ascents and descents – it stays on higher ground for the most part, and only descends for beach walks.
This is a coastal hike, which means you’ll need to set out on the trail early to avoid being in the sun too much. And even if you’re at the trailhead at 5 AM, it’s still recommended to wear a lot of sunscreen, bring a hat, and pack more water than you think you need. The hike will take you through North Harbor Reserve, ending near the bus stops in Manly.
Since it’s a point-to-point hike, you can just get on the bus if you’re ready to head back home. Or you can continue hiking since you are finishing the hike at the trailhead of the North Head via the Blue Fish Track trail.
Red Hands Cave is a historic site in Blue Mountains National Park, and several trails will take you to the cave. The best option is the Campfire Creek loop trail that follows the Campfire Creek to the cave. The trailhead to this track is at the Red Hands Cave car park near the entrance into the NP, and you’ll have to pay $8 for parking per vehicle.
This is a moderately difficult hike in the Australian bush forest. The terrain is quite easy, the elevation change is not drastic, and the ascent is gradual. However, sections of the track are overgrown, there are a lot of cobwebs along the way, and the trail can be wet and muddy, particularly in the sections that are close to the creek.
The circuit hike to Red Hands Cave is child-friendly, so I don’t doubt that beginners to hiking can also complete this trail, as long as they’re prepared and adequately dressed.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that there’s another car park on the other side of the cave, which is at the trailhead of a much shorter track. Red Hands Firetrail is best for people who want to see the caves without hiking for a couple of hours. But where’s the fun in that?
Narrabeen Lagoon loop is a great trail for people who don’t have a lot of hiking experience, but still want to enjoy the spectacular nature around Sydney. It’s a circuit walk around the Narrabeen Lagoon in Bilarong Reserve, with minimal elevation gain over the 8.7-kilometer trail.
It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete to loop hike, but it will take longer if you stop to rest or to enjoy some of the designated picnic areas. This is a stroller-friendly hiking trail that is suitable for children, dogs, and total hiking newbies, so it really is great for everyone. It features lake views, wildflowers, and some truly spectacular scenery.
A good chunk of the trail is paved, and the rest is a dirt path. There’s gravel on the path on some sections of the hike, but not exposed roots or massive rocks that protrude from the ground.
Narrabeen Lagoon is popular for fishing, canoeing, SUPing, and bird watching. If you’re looking for a place to spend a day out in nature with children, this is the perfect spot near Sydney for you. And what makes it even better is that it’s easily accessible by public transport, with multiple bus stops on either side of the reserve, just a short walk away from the lagoon.