Walking is my favourite exercise and mode of transport. To me it’s a meditative way to get about – as it helps me sink into a rhythm and think (or not) – and I can venture almost anywhere I’d like. One superb place to walk in is Sydney, my home city, given that it has some of the best weather on the planet and lots of pretty nooks and crannies to explore. Here’s my top five walks in Sydney.
1. Cockatoo Island
For lovers of history, harbour sparkle and for the plain curious, Cockatoo Island is a wonderful place to explore. The place was once a penal settlement, before becoming a girl’s school, a ship-building hub, an air-raid shelter, X-ray laboratory and finally a naval dockyard. The island was first open to the public in 2007, and wandering through its tunnels, passageways and past its relics is an adventure in itself.
2. Harbour Bridge to Spit Bridge
Walking this route (7 kilometres) on a sunny day, you’ll see just how spectacular Sydney really is. Starting at Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge, head along the northern shore towards the Spit Bridge and on to Manly, passing bushland, isolated beaches, coves and Taronga Zoo. From the harbour cliff tops you’ll catch angles of Sydney that will leave you speechless. One of the best parts of this walk is that you can return via ferry at sunset.
3. Bondi to Coogee
I’ve walked this well-known 5 kilometre route near half a dozen times and I’m looking forward to doing it again. I typically start this one in Coogee and end up in Bondi, passing superb beaches such as Gordon’s Bay, Clovelly, Bronte and Tamarama. The walk also passes the scenic Waverly Cemetery, which looks wonderfully atmospheric on an overcast day.
A few times I passed the home of the ‘Bondi caveman‘, which once sat beneath the cliffs en route. The caveman, also known as Peter James, was a poet who survived on donations and his home beneath the Bondi cliffs was demolished in 2009, as it was on Crown Land. There’s also Aboriginal rock carvings to see and whale watching at the right time of year. In all, it’s a brilliant hour-and-half or so’s walk.
4. Otford to Bundeena
Best tackled over two days, the Otford to Bundeena walk begins in the Royal National Park in Sydney’s south (Otford) and ends just south of Cronulla (Bundeena). It stretches a little over 23 kilometres and passes stunning headlands, beaches, bushland and waterfalls. I’ve done this walk three times and I’m hankering to do it again. There’s camping at North Era and a kiosk at Wattamolla (where there’s a waterfall). Of course you could do this walk in reverse.
5. Glebe Point Road and Glebe foreshore.
A village-like suburb near the heart of Sydney, Glebe was my home for six years and its main artery, Glebe Point Road, is an interesting place for a stroll. It’s gentrified yet still contains old Victorian houses and a range of pedestrians. It has housing commission and Sydney University at one end and an affluent, leafy section at the other. There’s also lots of interesting shops and the walk along the foreshore is as good as I’ve seen in any city. Summertime there is like a dream.
What about you? Any walks you could recommend in and around Sydney that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear about them!