I’ve gone from obsessing over finding the best wild swimming spots, to the best secluded beaches and more recently the best hikes in and around Sydney, which brings me to this post; I feel it’s time I write about my favourite hikes in Sydney.

In no particular order, here’s my 18 best hikes in Sydney that include a mixture of just plain hikes, hiking and canyoning, wild swimming hikes and hikes to the best beaches.

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1. Mares Forest Creek Canyon & Wombeyan Caves (3 hr return hike/swim/climb)

Although this post is in no particular order, my part hike, swim and sort of canyoning adventure through the Mares Forest Creek Canyon is without a doubt the best thing I have ever done in Sydney, hands down. It’s a 3 hour drive out to Wombeyan Caves. You can stop off at the information office to get some directions but once you’re directed onto the right path, it’s a pretty easy 30 minute walk to the water. You’ll then need to strip off to your swimmers or wetsuit if it’s winter or Spring, then time to embrace the cold water. My friend and I went completely unprepared and I’d advise wearing some sort of shoes for this one as you’ll be walking, swimming and climbing over rocks. The scenery is completely mind blowing. Expect crystal clear, emerald waters and you’ll just want to keep on going as far as you can. It is amazing!

Also, you can sack off Jenolan Caves (even though driving through the cave is a bit of a novelty) because Wombeyan Caves are incredible. We went on a self guided tour to have a massive cave all to ourselves! t was amazing!

There’s a fantastic campsite here that’s worth staying in for the weekend if you didn’t want to drive there and back in one day.

Read More: Mares Forest Creek Canyon

Read More: Overnight stay at Wombeyan Caves

How far away from Sydney? 3 hour drive

Where is it?

 


2. Kanangra-Boyd National Park, (1.30 hr return hike)

The next jaw dropping hike I have been on was a hike through the Kanangra-Boyd National Park. It takes about 3 hours to drive here from Sydney, going past Jenolan Caves, but it’s completely worth it. We honestly felt like we could have been in somewhere like Borneo. It is honestly incredible! There’s also a lovely looking campsite nearby if you wanted to stay the weekend.

Read more: Hike to Kanangra-Boyd National Park

Here’s a video I made of our trek!

How far from Sydney? 3 hour drive

Where is it? 

 


3. Hanging Rock, Blue Mountains (2.20 hr return hike)

Although Hanging Rock is a popular hike in the Blue Mountains, nothing quite prepares you for the views you get when you reach the end. It’s an easy to follow hike which would be impossible to get lost. We were in complete awe of this place. If you have the desire to stand at the very edge of this famous rock, be aware as it’s incredibly dangerous. There’s a big gap in the rock which you have to jump over which was way too scary in my eyes. When I went there, there were loads of people and only one person jumped over the rock. It was also really windy as well and very scary. But this place is without a doubt worth visiting, it’s incredibly beautiful there.

Read more: Hike to Hanging Rock

Here’s a video I made of our trek!

How far from Sydney? 2h 15 min drive

Where is it?

 


4. Maitland Bay, Bouddi National Park (40 minute hike return)

Source: icentralcoast

The best hike to a secluded beach spot was without a doubt Maitland Bay. The 20 minute walk down to the beach was easy, but it was the beach which was incredible. This secluded beach was so incredibly beautiful, we felt like we could have been in the Mediterranean with the calm waters. This place is total paradise.

Read more: Best secret beaches in Sydney

How far from Sydney? 1h 30 min drive

Where is it? 


5. Macquarie Jump Pass (1 hour return hike)

The first ever wild swimming hike I did was to Macquarie Jump Pass and it’s still one of my favourite’s to date. You’ll pass a couple of people along the way but that’s cool, because they can help you guide the way if you’re unsure. What’s waiting for you at the end is the most beautiful, dreamy and magical looking swimming pools. There’s a rope swing and also a natural slide. What else do you need?

Read more: Top Wild Swimming Spots in Sydney

How far from Sydney? 1h 40 mins drive

Where is it?

 


6. Sea Cliff Bridge (30 minutes return hike)

A very popular place to visit right now is the Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout thanks to Instagram. If you’re looking to take that perfect insta worthy shot on your hike, it doesn’t get much better than taking here at Sea Cliff Bridge. There’s a lot of confusion about how to find this lookout but I have it all covered complete with a video below. Just make sure you don’t use the track next to the railway lines as you’re looking at a good $400 fine.

Read more: How To Get To Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout

Here’s a video I made of our trek!

How far from Sydney? 1 hour drive

Where is it?

 


7. Resolute Beach (1.30hr return hike)

Another one of my favourite beach hikes to date was to Resolute Beach in Kur-ring-gai National Park. It’s mind blowing to think this is located right over the water from Palm Beach but you’ll honestly feel like you’ve found the most beautiful gem to exist near Sydney. Take the boat from Palm Beach over to Mackerel Beach, then follow the beach all along to your right until you find the track. This will take you right next to the crystal clear waters and over to a pretty much secluded Resolute Beach.

Read more: Top Secret Beaches in Sydney

How far from Sydney? 1 hour drive

Where is it?

 


8. Mermaid Pools (1.30 hour return hike)

A easy 30min-45min hike to Mermaid Pools is a must. When you arrive to the pools, you’ll be in awe of how this was once a sacred spot for Aboriginal women to bathe in. The only thing is, if you want to swim in these pools, you’re going to need to jump from quite a high cliff into them. Be warned, if you do jump, it’s at your own risk as there have been injuries here. Me on the other hand, couldn’t quite face it so I went back up stream to enjoy the water in the most beautiful pools. I really felt like I was immersed in nature here and it was awesome.

Read more: Top Wild Swimming Spots in Sydney

How far from Sydney? 1h 20 min drive

Where is it?

 


9. Top of Gerringong Falls (3hr return hike or 2hr return bike ride)

If you want to discover a pretty much off the beaten hike, then I’d recommend hiking to the top of Gerringong Falls. It’s a long hike, but I’d recommend taking your bikes for a lovely ride as the path is bike friendly and easy to follow. When you reach the end, dump your bikes to the side and follow the stream to the left. You’ll then come to the very top of the falls. Please note, there is no safety restrictions at the top of the falls so don’t get too close. Also, don’t even bother trying to get to the bottom of the falls, it’s way too dangerous (trust me I tried it!).

Read more: How to get to the top of Gerringong Falls

Read more: The dangers of getting to the bottom of Gerringong Falls

How far from Sydney? 2h 20 min drive

Where is it?

 


10. America Bay (40 minute return hike)

If you’re after a really easy quick hike, then I’d recommend America Bay in Kur-ring-gai National Park. We headed up to the West Head Lookout Point over to Palm Beach which is gorgeous then on our way back, we stopped off at the America bay starting point and started on our hike. It’s a very easy 20 minute hike to the beautiful lookout of America Bay. It’s a beautiful spot to bring a picnic and enjoy the quietness on your weekend.

Read more: An easy hike to America Bay

How far from Sydney? 50 min drive

Where is it?

 


11. Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains (2 hours return)

One of my favourite hikes I’ve been on is to Wentworth Falls. It’s a very busy hike to the first stage of the falls which I think most reckon that’s the bottom, but it’s not! The hike is amazingly designed and the path meanders into the cliffs and under cliffs, and the stairs – there’s lots of them.

After you reach the first stage of the falls, continue on and the crowds disappear. You’ll be faced with some questionable staircases but just don’t look down and you’ll be fine! It’s all worth it when you get to the bottom as the falls are incredible. There were only two other couples there at the bottom when we went, we couldn’t believe how empty it was after the masses we saw before.

Read More: Hike To Wentworth Falls

Here’s a video I made of our trek!

How far from Sydney? 1h 30 minutes drive

Where is it?

 


12. Hike up Mount Tomaree (30 minutes return)

If you’re up in the Port Stephens area, then hiking up to the top of Mount Tomaree is a must. It looks pretty daunting from the bottom but I was surprised it only took me 15 minutes at the most to get to the top and that was walking very slowly in my sandals! The views up at the top are incredible, you’ll be blown away that this actually exists near Sydney!

Read More: 13 Things to do in Port Stephens

Here’s a video I made of our trek!

How far from Sydney?  2 hour drive

Where is it?

 


13. Olympic Pool (2.5 hour return)

If you’ve heard of Karloo Pools, these tend to be pretty busy because it’s easy to get to from using public transport (Heathcote train station), it’s just a half an hour hike. When you get to the pools, walk over the rocks on the left and continue on for about another hour and you’ll come to the massive Olympic Pools. We attempted to find this pool twice because we just couldn’t find the track from Karloo Pools. Just keep to the left hand side of the pools and you’ll find it.

When we got to the pool, it was the first ever wild swimming spot we found with not one other person in sight. To be honest, we didn’t actually swim here because we were unsure whether it was safe, but of course it is! My friend Alan from Sydney Wild Swimming Adventures, has since been a few times and loves swimming here!

Read More: Top wild swimming hikes in Sydney

How far from Sydney? 45 minute drive

Where is it? The map is to Karloo Pools, then you’ll have to follow the stream from there. 

 


14. Bundeena –  Big Marley Beach (2.5 hour return)

Although this was a very busy hike because you can get public transport to here (boat from Cronulla), I really loved the final section of the hike from Wedding Cake Rock and onto Big Marley Beach. It’s funny how everyone headed over to the non-exciting Wedding Cake Rock, but once I continued on for the last 1.3KM it was pure bliss. There wasn’t really anyone else around and once the track opened up onto Big Marley beach, it made me heart sing. What a sight! And big marley is also one of my favourite beaches near Sydney!

Read more: Bundeena to Big Marley Beach hike

How far from Sydney? 1 hour drive

Where is it?

 


15. White Sands coastal walk (2 hour return hike)

When I went down to Jervis Bay, I tried to research any hikes to do in the area and all I could find was the White Sands Coastal Walk, but I’m glad I found this walk because it was stunning! This coastal hike will introduce you to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see in Australia. That’s right, I’ve called it, some of the most beautiful beaches not only near Sydney but in Australia! The water is green and the sand is white, that you’ll find the whitest sand beach in the world on this hike. Finish the hike with breakfast or lunch at the gorgeous Hyams Beach Cafe.

Read More: The ultimate guide to Jervis Bay

How far from Sydney? 3 hour drive

Where is it?

 


16. Garie Coastal Walk

One of my favourite hikes in the world’s second oldest national park, The Royal National Park is the hike from the Garie Beach. The Garie is actually another one of my favourite beaches but it will be hard to find another coastal walk where the path is literally on the beach. You’ll pass through some incredible homes that are competely cut off from the world. How do they get supplies there if there are no roads? We spoke to a local and they all pay for a helicopter to fly in supplies every so often. It’s mind blowing to think this is just an hour from Sydney. We were in complete envy of living in a secluded environment like this. Shame about all the hikers passing through, but the views are stunning!

Read more: Best secret beaches in Sydney

How far from Sydney? 1 hour drive

Where is it? 

 


17. Figure 8 Pools

The Figure 8 Pools became so popular during 2016 that it’s been told over a thousand people were believed to do this hike in just one day. But, as I went last year, the crowds had died down. What I hadn’t read before is how beautiful this hike actually is. You can get here via train or car. Make sure you plan your hike to low tide. Read more below.

Read more: 8 things you need to know before visit the Figure 8 Pools

Watch my video of our hike here!

How far from Sydney? 1 hour drive

Where is it?

 


18. Bondi Diamond Bay

Hiking in Sydney wouldn’t be complete without an actual hike in the city itself. Although Bondi is renowned for its famous Bondi-Coogee hike which in itself is an amazing hike, have you ever done the hike from North Bondi – Watsons Bay? When I did this hike, I couldn’t believe how empty the path was. You’ll get some knockout views but without the crowds. How amazing is that??

Read more: 2 coastal walks in Bondi with hidden gems

How far from Sydney? It’s right in the middle of Sydney at Bondi!

Where is it? 

 


One of the famous hikes I haven’t done near Sydney is the Grand Canyon walk in Blue Mountains which is supposed to be spectacular. What’s your favourite hike near Sydney? Let us know in the comments below!

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18 Best Hikes In Sydney
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