5 Beautiful Sydney Hikes To Take On This Weekend
Strap on those runners, throw on your winter warmers and get all up in Sydney’s face this weekend for a session of pura vida.
Come winter, all most of us want is to be snuggled on the couch with our blankets and our Netflix subscriptions. But then there are the weekends when we’ve just got to get amongst it, embrace the wind’s sweet but chilly grasp and see NSW in all its natural glory.
Bondi to Coogee’s been done, so here are five beautiful Sydney hikes to tackle next, two hours or less from the CBD.
#1 Forest Path, Royal National Park
The Royal National Park is filled to the brim with cruisey walks and moderately challenging hikes, and Forest Path is among the best. If you’re unsure about it, this is what we’re dealing with when we talk about the Royal National Park:
Start your trek just south of Bola Creek winding through verdant greenery that’s home to some native delights like eucalyptus and Gymea lilies. Slow down your pace and you’ll be able to spy some local birdlife high in the sky, as well as a few natural swimming holes – you could do the walking track to Karloo pools – along the way (take a dip if you dare). Be sure to take a few deep breaths of that fresh outer city air, it’s bound to do you some good.
#2 Barrenjoey Lighthouse Track, Palm Beach
Everybody loves a lighthouse right? While getting to Barrenjoey takes a bit of guts (it’s pretty high up over Palm Beach, you guys) the view from the top is so very worth it. Take the shorter Smugglers track to get your heart pumping and revel in the picturesque view when you reach the summit.
When you get up top, try your luck scanning the coastline for whales, or watching the tiny people down below. Access to the lighthouse is by tour only, so if you’re not keen on forking out a little dough, take note.
#3 The Jerusalem Bay Track, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Day hikers take note, walking the Jerusalem Bay Track (often known as the Cowan to Brooklyn walking track) will show off the very best that the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park has to offer.
A challenging walk to say the least, this 13.4 kilometre hike is prime bush bashing just an hour from Sydney’s CBD. Starting from Cowan train station, the walk descends steeply through dense bushland towards Cowan Water before a hike up to Brooklyn to end the day. Finish it off with a beer at the pub before catching the train back home. You’ve earned it.
#4 South Head Heritage Trail, Sydney Harbour National Park
Kick off your cruisey Sunday arvo stroll at Camp Cove in Watsons Bay, down the 1870s cobblestone road past Lady Bay Beach.
Take a peak at the iconic red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse as you overlook Sydney’s gobsmackingly beautiful coast.
#5 Fairfax Walk, North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park
You’ve done the South Head, now it’s time for North Head over Manly way. (Also of note, is Middle Head!). The Fairfax Walk is an easy loop that offers views of Sydney Harbour in its entirety. Starting at the end of North Head Scenic Drive, the circuit includes three supreme lookouts, perfect for all those classy Instagram shots of #Sydneylife.
If you’re lucky (and bring your binoculars) you could even see some migratory whales across the bay. Extend your walk into the North Head bush trail for something a little wilder.
Lead image: Manly’s North Head
Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer and editor who believes hiking is like free therapy. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.