Looking for the best Northern Beaches walks which are a bit more off the beaten track? There are so many amazing Sydney walks you need to know about that you’ll be forever finding new hikes to take on.
Trying to find secluded walks in Sydney can be a bit of a mission, so we’re here to tell you about some of our favourite Northern Beaches walks you need to know about, plus a load of videos to show you some of the hikes as well!
Hopefully this will help any of you looking to find quieter walks in Palm Beach, Ku-ring-gai National Park, Sydney coastal walks and right down to Manly in Sydney.
Most of the walks mentioned in this post are under 1 hour return. Obviously if you’re looking for longer Sydney walks, just combine some of them together.
This list starts from Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, onto Palm Beach and all the way down the coast to Manly.
Table of Contents
1. Great Mackerel Beach To Resolute Beach Walk
One of our favourite Northern Beaches walks and in Sydney for that matter is from Great Mackerel Beach and over to Resolute Beach. We purely found this walk just by looking at Google Maps and it’s brilliant.
Take the ferry service from Palm Beach over to Great Mackerel Beach, then hike 30 minutes by the water over to Resolute Beach to find one of the best secluded beaches in Sydney. Although the map above might say it’s an 11 minute walk, it’s definitely not. Just make sure you leave more than enough time to walk back as you won’t want to miss the ferry.
Wear hiking boots, take enough water and food as there’s nowhere to buy anything once you get on the ferry. Kids ages 12+ should be OK to go on this walk.
2. West Head Lookout to Resolute Beach
Another route to take to get to Resolute Beach is via West Head Lookout. Just be aware that it takes a good 45 minutes to drive from Palm Beach to West Head Lookout.
This should be an easier path to get down to Resolute Beach from West Head Lookout as the path is much more well trodden on.
3. The Basin Trail In Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Whilst there’s quite a few Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park walks to consider, one of the most popular is The Basin Trail because it starts at The Basin Campsite. The 40 minute walk takes you right up the the Aboriginal engravings site which is actually pretty cool.
You could continue on like we did down through the Mackerel Trail onto Great Makerel Beach which takes about an hour one way.
4. Flint & Steel Beach
Flint & Steel Beach is another hidden beach in Sydney you need to know about. The walk down from the car park takes about 20 minutes but it’s down a hill so just be prepared to walk back up!
5. America Bay Walk
America Bay walk is a really easy walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It takes around 20 minutes to get to the amazingly beautiful lookout point.
Bring a picnic and enjoy the serenity. You too will wonder how beautiful a Northern Beaches walk exists right in the middle of Sydney.
Probably one of the most famous Northern Beaches walks is the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk in Palm Beach. Although it might not be as secluded as you might like it to be, it would be a crime if we didn’t include it in this list.
The walk right up to the top looks like it’s much worse than it actually is. We’ve timed it quite a few times and it only took us around 15-20 minutes from the bottom to reach the top.
Bring your camera – you’ll want to take a photo at the top!
Watch our video of our walk to Barrenjoey Lighthouse below!
7. Palm Beach Bible Garden
Although it’s technically not a Northern Beaches walks to explore, go and explore the Bible Garden at Palm Beach if you’re looking for some peace and quiet. It’s a fantastic hidden gem with the best views overlooking Palm Beach and up to the lighthouse.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, this is the place to go.
PLUS – the Bible Garden is the perfect spot to propose in Sydney. We even saw someone propose when we went there!
8. Scotland Island Walk
Get the ferry service over to Scotland Island and go on a walk around the entire island in one of our favourite hidden gems in Sydney and Northern Beaches walks. It takes about 30 minutes but you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from Sydney.
If you have time, we 100% recommend staying at Scotland Island Lodge for the night. The British owners called Rosemary & Colin offer up fantastic accommodation and excellent meals at night. Opt for the room with the spa. You won’t regret it!
Church Point is one of the most underrated places in Sydney and it’s also one of our favourite spots to get away from the crowds, right in the city. The area is so peaceful and looks right over Pittwater and onto the stunning Scotland Island.
Either bring your bike or go for a walk along the water as it has a great path to be discovered.
Pasadena offers up a fantastic fish & chips, plus it’s got an excellent garden out the front, overlooking Scotland Island. It’s perfect for afternoon drinks in the sun. I have to say, it’s one of our favourite outdoor spots and I’m surprised it’s not always packed.
10. North Narrabeen Headland Lookout To Mona Vale Beach
After living in Warriewood whilst we were pet sitting in Sydney, I loved the walking track from Narrabeen Headland Lookout to Mona Vale. The path is absolutely beautiful and there’s hardly anyone on it.
Make sure you check out Turimetta Beach, it’s a proper hidden beach in the Northern Beaches and it’s absolutely beautiful.
Warriewood Beach is also stunning, and a much smaller beach than the nearby Mona Vale Beach – a good one for families or anyone not interested in walking minutes from the car to the beach.
Although the map looks like you have to go onto the road to Mona Vale, you don’t. The walking track takes you right next to the golf course and onto the beach so you’ll always have cracking views of the water to look at.
If you fancy walking on a bit further, walk up to North Mona Vale Headland Reserve for views overlooking the beach.
You’ll also be able to see Bungan Beach as well which again is another hidden beach in Northern Beaches. If you want to visit this beach, there’s no parking at the beach itself so you’ll need to walk down to it and park at Karloo Parade.
It wasn’t until we lived in the nearby suburb of Warriewood that we knew much about Narrabeen Lagoon. This fantastic little gem right in the middle of Sydney is a brilliant getaway from city life.
Either bring your bike or walk/run along the 8km loop track. There’s car parks staggered throughout the walking track do you can pick and choose where to start and stop. Be prepared though as it can be popular amongst families and picnics on the weekend.
5 ESSENTIALS YOU SHOULDN’T GO TO THE BEACH WITHOUT
#1 Beach Tent – If you’ve not invested in a beach tent yet, do yourself a favour and get one asap. Because the sun is so strong, you’ll need to have a good amount of shade to hide under.
#2 Best Books To Buy In 2020 – There’s no better time at the beach than to reconnect with a decent book. Find the best books to buy in 2020 here.
#3 Stainless Steel Water Bottle – Everyone in Australia needs a stainless steel water bottle because they will keep your water cold for up to 24hrs (if not longer). I have no idea what life was like before I bought one, it’s that good!
#5 Beach Chairs – We LOVE our beach chairs which are super light and small enough to carry anywhere. Honestly, invest in one now!
12. Long Reef Headland Walk
I feel like the area of Long Reef is mostly overlooked when exploring the Northern Beaches in Sydney. It’s quite amazing to think that the super quiet Fishermen’s Beach is just next door to Collaroy Beach.
You’ll easily be able to find a parking space at Fisherman’s Beach to start your coastal hike next to the Long Reef Golf Club. The 25 minute loop will give you access to one of the quieter coastal walks in Sydney!
If you’re looking for a nice and easy 20 minute coastal walk in Sydney, check out the Curl Curl to Dee Why Beach walk.
Once you get to Dee Why, stay for the day – especially if you have kids as there’s a couple of excellent rock pools for families here.
Eat at Girdlers – they do a mean acai bowl and decent healthy food 😉
14. Queenscliff To South Curl Curl Walk
Queenscliff to South Curl Curl walk is a great alternative walk to keep away from the crowds at Manly Beach.
There’s some fun things to see and do along the way on this walk. Walk through the wormhole at Queenscliff and check out the memorial for the Hawaiian surfer, Duke Kahanamoku (you can thank him for bringing surfing to Australia).
Then walk on down to the Curl Curl boardwalk and take a dip in the water before you head back.
15. Best Walks In Manly
There’s so many amazing walks in Manly you need to consider, that we wrote a whole dedicated post to it!
Some of our favourites include: Little Manly Beach to Collins Flat Beach, Castle Rock Beach to Grotto Lighthouse (via Washway Beach) and of course the entire Spit to Manly walk.
If you’re looking for a beautiful Manly walk to get away from it all, we recommend going on the Flat Rock Beach walking track. It takes just 30 minutes to walk down to the less discovered Flat Rock Beach in Killarney Heights which also has a little waterfall to enjoy.
If you’re up for completing the entire Manly to Palm Beach walk, you can take on The Bloody Long Walk which is a 35km challenge to raise money for the Mito Foundation. The race usually takes place in June, but you can find out more information about it here.
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