Hikes around Sydney: Six of the best scenic walks

Ready to walk it all off? It's time to look beyond your favourite trails and take a walk on the wild side. Discover a different perspective when you take a hike along one of these memorable Sydney tracks.

BLUE GUM WALK, HORNSBY

THE ROUTE

Start and finish at Rosemead Road Picnic Area

DISTANCE 4km loop

Don't be fooled by the quiet suburban streets you pass through on your way to this walk: this is a remarkable big-city bush experience, and includes the largest remaining blue gum forest in Sydney. Allow up to two hours to finish the loop, which will take you along creeks, past sandstone caves and the Fishponds waterhole and through a fern-filled valley before you arrive back in suburbia just down the road from your starting point.

NEED TO KNOW

Don't have a car? Hornsby Station is only about a kilometre from the track's starting point.

FOLLOW THE LIGHT: THE CAPE BAILY TRACK

Aerial overlooking Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Kurnell in Sydney's south. Image supplied by Destination NSW
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Photo: Tom Park/Destination NSW

THE ROUTE

Cape Solander to Cape Baily

DISTANCE 6km return

Sydney has some fine coastal tracks, from the Spit to Manly walk to the Bondi to Coogee walk. The magnificent ocean views of the two-hour Cape Baily Track – part of Kurnell's Kamay Botany Bay National Park – easily equal those found on the better-known trails. Other attractions along the walk include extensive heathland and a solar-powered lighthouse, not to mention a refreshing lack of crowds.

NEED TO KNOW

This walk is a great for whale watching during winter.

BUSH BREAK: ROYAL NATIONAL PARK

THE ROUTE

Bundeena to Wattamolla

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DISTANCE 10km

There are 100 kilometres of trails criss-crossing the Royal National Park but this route – part of the two-day Coast Track - is among the most scenic. Getting there is half the fun, with a scenic ferry trip from Cronulla to the seaside village of Bundeena. From there, walk through scribbly gum and angophora forests and boronia-studded scrubland, drinking in ocean views the whole way. You'll be more than ready for a dip by the time you reach Wattamolla.

NEED TO KNOW

If you don't feel like tackling the round trip, the Royal National Park Bus Service takes you back to Bundeena Wharf or Sutherland train station.

BEACH BREAK: BOUDDI COASTAL WALK

Sydney Walks. Photo shows the Bouddi Coastal Walk which links MacMasters Beach to Putty Beach. Photo by Tourism NSW.

Photo: Destination NSW

THE ROUTE

MacMasters Beach to Putty Beach

DISTANCE 8km

An hour north of Sydney, this easy beach-to-beach hike is a good mix of clifftop tracks and boardwalks through the bush, with plenty of opportunities to stop for a swim along the way - Maitland Beach is one of the nicest swim spots. You can do the walk in either direction but if you finish at Putty Beach, you can pick up refreshments from the surf lifesaving club at Killcare Beach, which adjoins Putty Beach.

NEED TO KNOW

At Maitland Beach, the wreck of the SS Maitland, a paddle steamer which sank here in 1898, can be seen at low tide off the rocks at Bouddi Point.

DOWN BY THE RIVER: BOB TURNERS TRACK

THE ROUTE

Putty Road to Colo River

DISTANCE 6km loop

Keep your eyes peeled or you'll miss the turn-off to this bush track around 500 metres past the service station on the Putty Road at Colo Heights. The walk, part of the Wollemi Wilderness Area, is one of the few tracks to offer access to the Colo River. Allow between three and four hours for the walk which crosses four gullies as it drops steeply to the river, where a natural beach gives you the opportunity to refresh yourself with a swim.

NEED TO KNOW

This walk follows the pack horse track originally laid out by surveyor George Townsend as part of the planning of the railway through the Blue Mountains.

INTO THE WILD: MOUNT KU-RING-GAI TO BEROWRA

THE ROUTE

Mount Ku-Ring-Gai station to Berowra station

DISTANCE 10km

Looking for a day out that you can do on public transport? This hike through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a beauty, winding through wonderfully rugged bush valleys. There are creeks and mangroves and mossy boulders which have footholds carved into them to make it easier. Indigenous middens are scattered around: look for them near the water line or under overhangs.

NEED TO KNOW

Keep an eye peeled for lyrebirds: they are regularly spotted along this track.

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