North-side Sydney short walks
Tearing your hair out at the end of a wet weekend? Kids suffering from cabin fever? Or do you simply need to get out of the house and into the great outdoors to stretch your legs? The northern beaches offers a stack of Sydney short walks. Here are 5 you and the kids will love.
From boardwalks through wetlands and coastal headlands, to clifftop tracks and Aboriginal rock carvings, Sydney short walks are best experienced on the north side.
Rock Carvings | Garigal
At the end of Bantry Bay Road in Frenchs Forest is Garigal National Park. Offering glimpses of the city from certain vantage points and a walking track that leads all the way down to middle harbour, its a great spot for a walk without the crowds.
On a sunny day, take a few snacks and walk the whole track down to Bantry Bay – it gets quite steep at the end, but there are a few steps cut out in the landscape for people like me with sore knees.
But if it has been raining, you can simply walk the first kilometre or so along the wide fire trail, and check out the Aboriginal rock carvings behind the fence. Please respect the ancient rock art and walk around it rather than over it.
Wetlands | Warriewood
You may think it’s a funny place to build a shopping centre, but Warriewood Square was partially built on top of wetlands.
Thanks to some passionate people however, the rest was saved.
Paths now crisscross the area that is left, including boardwalks and bridges over the wet bits. It’s a particularly pleasant place to escape the madding crowds and see some of the 100+ species of wetland birds and the colony of bats that are now calling this place home.
Fishermans Walk | Curl Curl Headland
Fishermans Walk at south Curl Curl starts just above the ocean pool and hugs the craggy headland to Freshwater Beach ocean pool.
I love this short walk. It provides panoramic views over Curl Curl Beach from the boardwalk and is a favourite spot for joggers, dog walkers and pram pushers.
Park benches along the track provide a place to sit and contemplate – and an excellent viewing platform to watch large swells crash against the rocks below.
North Head | visual feast
There are many Sydney short walks at North Head with sweeping views across Sydney Harbour. From Fairfax Lookout you can take a stroll along level walking tracks that look out across to Watsons Bay on South Head. You will also see plenty of wildflowers and, if you’re not too noisy, birds such as honeyeaters, wattle birds, scrub wrens and lorikeets.
For a longer walk, but equally as fabulous, park at the former School of Artillery where parking is free. Purpose-built tracks and boardwalks meander through bushland, with short extensions to lookout points that offer picturesque views over the harbour. There are also military relics to wander through, and a cemetery with the best view in the world!
Heath Track | Manly Dam
Manly Dam offers several Sydney short walks. Although if it has been raining, you’d be advised to wear gumboots. From the car parks at picnic grounds 1, 3 and 4, you’ll find tracks that head away from the water and meander through scrub and colourful wildflowers.
However, my favourite walk at Manly Dam is the Heath Track, accessed from behind the tennis courts in Churchill Crescent, Allambie Heights. The elevated location offers fabulous views over the dam, Manly Beach and across to Chatswood – and stacks of pretty wildflowers. It also tends to be a bit drier after the rain.