Launch of inaugural Sydney Harbour and Coast Walk

Environment Minister Rob Stokes today officially started and farewelled the first group of walkers who will spend four weeks tracing the 315 km route as part of the inaugural Sydney Harbour & Coast Walk.

North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park

The walk begins from Palm Beach, and traces around Sydney Harbour before heading west to Parramatta, back to South Head and down the coast to the Royal National Park.

The route was developed and mapped over eight years by The Walking Volunteers in partnership with government agencies and local councils. It takes in places of scenic beauty and historic interest and can be done in small or large sections. It’s ideal for leisure walkers, families, for the health conscious and for visitors.

Mr Stokes said the initiative would give the community a chance to engage with Sydney’s environmental and historic treasures.

“This walk is a terrific way to enjoy the spectacular natural beauty across Sydney, which can so often be overlooked in the hectic pace of life,” Mr Stokes said.

“This initiative promotes healthy outdoor fun while opening up a host of valuable tourism opportunities that our environmental and heritage assets have to offer.”

Pittwater Mayor Jacqui Townsend said Pittwater Council was delighted to be the location for the start of this magnificent walk, taking in iconic sights such as Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

“If the walkers are lucky, at this time of year they may even catch sight of migrating whales off the coast,” Mayor Townsend said.

The walk will take place from August 16 to September 14 (with five rest days). It will highlight the full breadth of Sydney’s history, and emphasise the tourism, recreational, health, environmental and economic benefits that the walk can bring.

The committee organising the walk includes representatives from The Walking Volunteers, National Parks Association of NSW, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Department of Premier & Cabinet, Department of Planning & Environment, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Department of Health, Destination NSW, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Heart Foundation, Walk21, Wildwalks and Land’s Edge.

Phil Jenkyn, of The Walking Volunteers said a lot of “blood, sweat and tears” had gone into making this dream walk a reality. But the effort had been well worth it.

“What other city in the world has such a fantastic and expansive harbour and river system, bordered with natural bushland, historic areas, maritime remnants and a modern city - all there to be experienced for free!

“We want people to use this foreshore walk, to enjoy it, to share it with visitors and friends, and to value and preserve this amazing treasure.”