Sydney is a great place to go for a walk, so I highly recommend keeping these best short walks in Sydney in your memory bank because all of them are fantastic!
Here you will find Sydney city walks around the CBD area that will take you through beautiful places like Hyde Park, where you’ll find the Greek God Apollo in a magnificent fountain known as the Archibald Fountain.
Another top destination you must visit when walking in the Sydney CBD is Barrack Street, where you can see a statue of Athena, the Goddess of wisdom. The Mayor of Athens gifted it to the city of Sydney for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Obviously, several great short walks exist closer to Sydney Harbour. One of the best short walks in Sydney would have to be walking from the Sydney Opera House to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
You can’t miss doing this great walk between two iconic Australian structures, especially if it’s your first time in Sydney. It’s also a fantastic short walk in Sydney you can enjoy doing repeatedly.
Short Walks in Sydney
Most of these relatively easy short walks in Sydney only require an hour or so to do. However, several of Sydney’s best short walks will probably require you to catch a bus to get you to the starting point if you don’t have your own vehicle.
For instance, if you plan to do the classic Bondi to Bronte walk, getting to Bondi Beach first is necessary. The same thing applies to a classic short walk in Palm Beach when walking up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse. It will definitely be worth the effort.
All of these short walks in Sydney listed here have something special about them, from brilliant beaches and spectacular coastlines to beautiful gardens. So no matter what kind of short walk you would like to do in Sydney, I’m sure you’ll find it here.
To begin with, let’s take a look at easily one of the best walks in Sydney.
1. Manly to Shelly Beach walk
Walking from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach is an absolute classic walk!
Visiting Manly Beach is one of the best things to do in Sydney, and combining it with a walk to Shelly Beach will make your visit to this seaside suburb extra special.
Get a gelato while you are in Manly Town Square and you are set.
Walk start point: Once you get off the ferry, walk down the paved pedestrian-only mall (Manly Town Square) until you get to Manly Beach. When you first see Manly Beach, you can see Shelly Beach in the distance on the far right.
Manly to Shelly beach walk time: 15-20 minutes
Walk distance: 900m (one way)
As you get closer to Shelly Beach, you will pass by Fairy Bower Ocean Pool.
It seems to be a popular place to go sunbathing. When I went past, more people were sunbathing on the sea pool’s outer walls compared to swimmers in the pool.
As I was walking the pathway with my mother, she noticed a lizard and pointed it out to me. I later learned it was an Eastern Water Dragon.
These creatures live in the area and are protected. There was even a sign stating that anyone harming or taking a Water Dragon from the area faced fines of more than $11,000.
On the way back, I saw the same Eastern Water Dragon again. This time you could see the entire length of the dragon.
Shelly Beach is fabulous, and the water looked very inviting on the day we were there.
At the back of the beach are some stairs. If you climb them and turn left, it will lead you to the national park zone. A pathway can be found that goes around the headland. I didn’t go all the way, maybe 100m past the point shown in the picture below.
Here I am on the other side of Shelly Beach. There was another staircase at this spot as well, allowing you to access the beach and vice versa.
Manly to Shell Beach walk rating: 9/10
2. Bondi to Bronte walk
Walking from Bondi to Bronte is part of the longer Bondi to Coogee walk. The best thing about this walk is that it is much shorter, giving you more time to enjoy three of the best beaches along the way when doing the walk. They include Bondi Beach, Tamarama Beach, and Bronte Beach. The best thing to do is to go for a swim at all three beaches.
You could easily spend a few hours at Bondi Beach. You can go for a swim, relax on the sand, or even on the green grassy area, and your time there will fly by.
Walk start point: Bondi Beach
Bondi to Bronte walk time: 30-60 minutes
Bondi to Bronte distance: 2.5km (one way)
On a beautiful day, Bondi Beach is like nothing else. Before walking from Bondi to Bronte, I highly recommend going for a dip, especially if the weather is as good as it was on this beautiful day.
If you don’t like swimming in the sea, another cool option is to go for a swim at Bondi Icebergs pool. This place is also hugely popular for sunbathing.
Finishing at Bronte Beach is a fantastic end to this very popular walk because Bronte truly is another fabulous beach.
The beach is excellent! You can even dip in a fabulous rock pool for free if you want to.
Bondi to Bronte walk rating: 9.5/10
3. Hyde Park to Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Seeing the Apollo sculpture as part of the fantastic Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park is an amazing experience. From there, you can walk to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
This is one of the most beautiful short walks you could hope to do in Sydney.
Apollo and the Archibald fountain is truly a magnificent sight to behold. As part of the Archibald fountain, you will also see Diana (Artemis), who is the twin sister of Apollo, and the Greek hero Theseus. You will also get to see the Minotaur, the incredible half-man, half-bull creature.
Spend at least 15-20 minutes at the Apollo fountain is a must. Then you’ll have enough time to take a few incredible photos and a bit of time to relax at this scenic spot.
Walk start point: Hyde Park
Walk time: 20-30 minutes
W distance: 1.5km (one way)
On the way to Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, walk to the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
I highly recommend going inside as there are some amazing artworks at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, many of which are Greek myth-inspired art.
Once you arrive at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, go for a walk around the beautiful garden. Here’s a serene view of a lovely lotus pond in Sydney’s Botanic Garden.
The sunflowers were in full bloom surrounding the Cupid fountain in late February.
A statue of Venus, the Goddess of love, can also be found in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. I made my mother do a pose similar to Venus. It looks pretty good to me.
Hyde Park to Royal Botanic Garden Sydney walk rating: 10/10
4. Sydney Opera House to Sydney Harbour Bridge
Walking from Sydney Opera House to Sydney Harbour Bridge around the water’s edge at Circular Quay is easily one of the best short walks in Sydney.
Walk start point: Sydney Opera House
Opera House to Sydney Harbour Bridge walk time: 30 minutes
Opera House to Sydney Harbour Bridge distance: 1.8km (one way)
When walking around Circular Quay, you will see the Opera House from different perspectives.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is on the way to Sydney Harbour Bridge, so you might as well go inside for a quick look around.
Once you arrive at Sydney Harbour Bridge, walk under the bridge. Afterward, you can climb the green grass to get some great views of Sydney Harbour. There are cannons higher up as well.
When you walk back later, make sure you go for a wander through Sydney’s older and more historic area known as The Rocks. Numerous signs point the way to The Rocks.
Opera House to Sydney Harbour Bridge walk rating: 8/10
5. Lavender Bay to Kirribilli House walk
On the other side of Sydney Harbour Bridge is Lavender Bay, where Clark Park and Wendy’s Secret Garden can be found. The park and garden are right next to each other.
Walk start point: Clark Park, Lavender Bay
Lavender Bay to Kirribilli House walk time: 60 minutes
Lavender Bay to Kirribilli House distance: 2.5km (one way)
Here is a view from Clark Park. My mother and I arrived here by walking down a few side streets after catching a train that took us over Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Wendy’s Secret Garden is a quiet peaceful place to wander around. The secret garden is situated right between Clark Park and the water in Sydney Harbour.
After you’ve finished walking around Wendy’s secret garden, the next best thing to do is walk down to the water through a passageway tunnel under the unused railway line.
The pathway along the water’s edge will lead you to Sydney Harbour Bridge.
On the way there, you get to walk alongside Luna Park Sydney. You can even go for a walk inside Luna Park if you want, and since it’s free to enter, I highly recommend doing just that.
The area close to Sydney Harbour Bridge is known as Milsons Point. At this point, we were on the other side of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
To make your way to Kirribilli House, walk away from the bridge along the water’s edge. At some point, climb a few stairs and that will take you to Dr. Mary Booth Lookout Reserve.
It’s a beautiful spot with lovely green grass and a long green hedge.
After that, walk down the road closest to the water in Sydney Harbour until you reach Kirribilli House. If you don’t know anything about this place, it’s an official secondary residence for the Prime Minister of Australia.
I was a bit disappointed that this was pretty much the best view of Kirribilli House you could get from the street. But it still felt like you were a VIP being so close to the property.
Lavender Bay to Kirribilli House walk rating: 8/10
6. Darling Harbour and Chinese Garden of Friendship
Darling Harbour is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Sydney. The Greek Festival of Sydney is even held in Darling Harbour. So you need to walk around this place at some point when visiting Sydney. There will be plenty of tourists around the place, that’s for sure.
One of my favorite attractions in Darling Harbour is the Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Wendy’s Secret Garden has the name and prestige, but if you want to walk around a truly beautiful secret garden, you must visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship. There is an entrance fee, which isn’t too expensive and personally, I think it’s totally worth it.
7. Hermitage Foreshore Walk
The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is a shorter part of the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay coastal trail.
Milk Beach is one of the best attractions on the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. Continuing onto Shark Beach is also highly recommended.
Watching this video should be able to convince you it is one of the best short walks in Sydney, even if it is mainly to see Milk Beach on a glorious day.
8. Walk from Katoomba to the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains
Now I’ll give you one walk outside of Sydney to give you a good reason to leave the city.
The Blue Mountains is one of the best attractions within easy reach of Sydney. There are plenty of walks to do in the Blue Mountains, but my strong recommendation when planning a day trip to the Blue Mountains would be to walk from Katoomba’s main town to the Three Sisters.
Walk start point: Katoomba main street
Katoomba to Echo Point walk time: 60-90 minutes
Katoomba to Echo Point distance: 3.5km (one way)
The walk down the main street of Katoomba is easy enough because you’ll be walking downhill.
You will come across plenty of shops on the main street of Katoomba, which could slow you down.
I saw two interesting books about the Blue Mountains on display through a bookshop window in Katoomba. One great-looking book is called Wild: The Blue Mountains Guidebook. The other is called Epic: The Blue Mountains Guidebook.
You can see the Three Sisters from several viewing platforms at Echo Point.
However, don’t just stop here, You should still go for a walk to the Three Sisters and Honeymoon Bridge. The walk is only about 400m from the main area, where most tourists seem to hang about.
I wasn’t at all happy when the bridge was closed, but maybe it will be different for you.
Blue Mountains walk rating: 8/10
9. Sydney CBD
Gong for a short walk around the Sydney CBD is a must. One of the biggest reasons to go on a Sydney CBD walk is to see Athena, the Goddess of wisdom, on Barrack Street.
10. Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk (Palm Beach)
Finally, one of the best short walks in Sydney has to be a popular walk in Palm Beach, where they film the popular Australian television series Home and Away. Yep, the place where actress Ada Nicodemou has spent a lot of time.
My mother didn’t want to climb to the top after seeing the lighthouse from ground level. Barrenjoey Lighthouse looked quite high, so it looked as if it would be a steep hike. But I somehow convinced her to go anyway.
When you’re higher, you will have great views of Palm Beach on the left and Station Beach on the right.
The walk turned out to be much easier than I expected.
When you reach the top of Barrenjoey Lighthouse, fantastic views of the entire surrounding area can be seen.
Below is what the Access Trail looks like to get to the top where the Barrenjoey Lighthouse is located. You can see that the path’s incline is very reasonable. Most walkers can reach the top within 15-20 minutes. Going down is even faster.
In this picture, you can see my mum making her way down.
I should have gone down via the Smugglers Track when returning. The Smugglers Track is made up of steps, so it would have added more variety to the short hike if I had gone down via the steps.
You do have to walk along the beach to get back to the main road. We walked along Station Beach. Later on, I couldn’t believe what I had done. I never realized that I had never stepped foot on Palm Beach, one of the reasons why I wanted to go there in the first place.
Oh well, I suppose there could be another time some day.
How to get to Palm Beach by bus
Getting to Palm Beach isn’t the easiest thing to do in Sydney. This is how we go there. Firstly, we went to Wynyard Station using the train (subway) network. From there, we caught a bus to Mona Vale. We got off at the last stop on the bus route. Then we had to walk a bit further up the road (approx. 50-100m) to the Mona Vale B-Line bus stop.
We waited for bus 199, which is the bus that goes to Palm Beach. Route 199 is an all-day frequent network route, which means that buses come every 10 minutes during the day, seven days a week, and every 20 minutes at night and early morning. We didn’t have to wait long at all for the second bus to come. All up, it took about 90 minutes to get to Palm Beach.
Tip for Palm Beach: Go on the best day you can. We went when the weather was overcast. Luckily it didn’t rain, apart from a few drops, but it would have been so much better if the sun was out, the sea was bright blue, and the weather was great. Also, plan to spend the entire day there. You can also go to Avalon Beach if you want.
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