Sydney Harbour National Park


Sydney Harbour represents one of the most stunning and environmentally diverse attractions in the world. It features cliffs, beaches and inlets of magnificent beauty unique to the region. The walks listed below highlight some of the experiences residents and visitors can enjoy by exploring the beautiful areas of Sydney Harbour.

Don't miss Bradleys Head audio tour. Enjoy this fantastic walk on the northern side of Sydney Harbour National Park and let the audio tour be your guide on this unique harbourside bushwalk with spectacular views to Sydney's icons and more.

Watch Classic walks of Sydney Harbour National Park: view the video.

Walking tracks

Fairfax walk

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area. There are steps down to the northern lookout, making it unsuitable for wheelchairs and strollers, however other lookouts are easily accessible.

The Fairfax walk offers superb views and an enjoyable, gentle walk. This short paved track starts at the end of North Head Scenic Drive and then loops around the top of North Head.

Its circuit connects three lookouts which provide the kinds of views you see on Sydney postcards. Look out over endless ocean or across the harbour to the CBD. 

The Fairfax walk is ideal for families with children and is partially wheelchair accessible. It’s also an exceptional walk for whale watchers during the June–July and August–October migration seasons.

If you’ve still got energy to burn after completing the Fairfax walk, you can continue on through North Head Sanctuary. From there, just wind your way back down to Manly and join the Manly Scenic Walkway or take the Bluefish track to Shelley Beach.

Take a virtual tour of Fairfax walk on Google Street View.

Plant communities: heathlands

Location:  shown on North Head map

Opening hours: Vehicle access to the lookouts at North Head is available from 5am to 10pm every day.

South Head Heritage trail

The short South Head Heritage trail offers something for everyone; incredible beach and harbour views, a glimpse into history and excellent whale watching opportunities.

Starting at Camp Cove in Watsons Bay, this short walk takes you on a stroll along an 1870s cobblestone road past Lady Bay Beach, before reaching historic Hornby Lighthouse with its distinctive red and white stripes. Take some time to explore the gun emplacements and keep your eyes open if you’re there during whale watching season.

The spectacular views of Sydney are sure to astound you, with Sydney Harbour to the west, Middle Head and North Head to the north, and the expansive Pacific Ocean to the east; and leave you wanting to explore more of Sydney Harbour National Park.

Take a virtual tour of South Head Heritage trail on Google Street View.

Plant communities: heathlands

Location:  shown on South Head map

Hermitage Foreshore track

Fire/closure alerts currently apply to this location. See details below.

One of Sydney’s great coastal walks, the easy Hermitage Foreshore track offers up stunning views of Sydney’s harbour, islands and icons.

Be sure to take your camera as there are plenty of photo opportunities along this walk; you’ll be able to see Shark Island, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the grounds of Strickland House along the way.

You can start the walk at either Bayview Hill Road or Nielsen Park and whichever way you walk, a stop at Nielsen Park is a way to spend some time. There’s a family friendly beach to enjoy, lots of grass for spreading out a picnic blanket and the Nielsen Park Café that offers coffee, lunch and snacks.

Take a virtual tour of Hermitage Foreshore track on Google Street View.

Plant communities: grassy woodlands, dry eucalypt forests

Location:  shown on Nielsen Park map

Events, activities and alerts at this location

Alcohol Free zone until 28 February 2015 applies to all the park

Sydney Harbour National Park is an alcohol free zone until the 28th Feb 2015. Milk Beach and the Hermitage Foreshore are part of Sydney Harbour National Park and are therefore included in this alcohol free area. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk

Looking to Sydney city from Bradleys Head on the north side of Sydney Harbour National Park (Image: K McGrath/DECCW)The views along Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk are almost too good to be true. The gentle bush track weaves around the harbour headlands from Taronga Zoo Wharf around Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay and is guaranteed to impress. There is even an app you can download directly to your iPhone or Android device.

You can see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge – Sydney’s most famous icons – in all their glory. Watch the boats glide by from Bradleys Head Amphitheatre or step into the past at Military relics at Bradleys Head. Come face-to-face with wildlife and ancient trees, and stop for a drink at heritage-listed Athol Hall or a Chowder Bay cafe.

The Harbour Bridge to The Spit Bridge walking track continues past Chowder Bay if you feel like a longer walk. Once you’ve explored this exquisite part of Sydney Harbour, you’re sure to want to walk more of Sydney's stunning coastal walking tracks.

Take a virtual tour of Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk on Google Street View.

 Audio tour: You can download an audio tour of the walk to your mp3 player or phone to take with you. This self-guided tour will be your companion on the ferry from Circular Quay to the start of the walk, and will guide you through each section of the track. The tour from Circular Quay to Chowder Bay will take approximately 2 hours.

Extending the walk: From Chowder Bay, you can carry on to Middle Head and Balmoral Beach for a further 3km - see the map on the Mosman Council website (PDF 607KB). You can also continue to The Spit - see notes for the Harbour Bridge to The Spit Walk.

Plant communities: dry eucalypt forests

Location:  shown on Bradleys Head map

Opening hours: Vehicle access to Bradleys Head is available between 6am and 8pm every day.

Manly scenic walkway

What’s the prettiest way to get to Manly? Some say catching the Manly ferry, but those in the know will tell you otherwise – it’s the Manly scenic walkway.

Beginning at Mosman’s Spit Bridge, this classic walk shows you some of the most picturesque parts of Sydney’s Middle and North Harbours and is part of Sydney's coastal walks.

Follow the shoreline to Fisher Bay, Sandy Bay and Clontarf Beach then enter the Sydney Harbour National Park at Castle Rock. Make your way around Dobroyd Head and don't miss the Aboriginal rock engravings at Grotto Point or the amazing views from Arabanoo lookout. Pass by or take a dip at Reef Beach or Forty Baskets on your way to Manly.

Fancy an ice cream at the Manly Corso after all that effort? Go on, you deserve it.

Plant communities: heathlands, grassy woodlands, dry eucalypt forests

Location:  shown on North Head map

Harbour Bridge to The Spit Bridge walking track

This stunning urban foreshore walk begins at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Start at the bridge’s southern end in The Rocks or its northern end at Milsons Point, and then follow its signage around the harbour’s northern shores.

On this superbly scenic route, you’ll tread the paths of history as you pass harbour fortifications and Federation homes. You’ll walk some of the city’s most interesting and exclusive streets and find yourself ensconced in beautiful bushland and rainforest remnants.

Hike east past Taronga Zoo and into Sydney Harbour National Park, home of the incredible Bradleys, Chowder and Middle Heads. Be sure to stop at Athol Hall for a cuppa and a bite to eat, before continuing on to the exquisite Balmoral Beach for a swim. Then press on until you reach The Spit Bridge; you may even get there in time to see it open and rise to allow boats through.

It’s easy to break this walk up into shorter sections by parking partway along the route, catching the bus or the ferry at Mosman or Taronga Zoo wharves.

Plant communities: heathlands, grassy woodlands, dry eucalypt forests

Opening hours: Harbour Bridge to Spit Bridge walking track is always open but may need to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

Walking: events and activities

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