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6 wild walks near Sydney

Curracurrong Falls, Royal National ParkCredit: Destination NSW

Falls look spectacular from the Coast Track in the Royal National Park.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

6 wild walks near Sydney

Curracurrong Falls, Royal National Park Credit: Destination NSW

Falls look spectacular from the Coast Track in the Royal National Park.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

Hashtags #lovensw #ilovesydney

As summer dials up the heat, there’s no better time to explore Sydney’s many stunning natural attractions. Embrace a sense of adventure as you follow sublime coastal hiking trails sprinkled with waterfalls and pristine beaches or tackle an invigorating bushwalk through rugged bushland to discover Aboriginal rock art and breathtaking vistas.

Be humbled by the royal treatment

Leave your everyday concerns behind you on the 50-minute drive south from central Sydney to the vast Royal National Park. (Or sit back and relax on a train to Cronulla, then ride the heritage ferry across to Bundeena, a seaside town at the northern end of the national park.)

Whichever way you get there, you’ll immerse in a landscape of heath, wind-swept brush and crashing waves as you follow scenic trails along the rugged coastline of Australia’s oldest national park.

Challenge yourself by tackling sections of the Royal Coast Track, which runs for 26km between Bundeena and Otford, taking in soaring rock formations, serene rockpools, towering waterfalls, dense rainforest, beautiful beaches and stunning ocean views (look for migrating whales between May and October). Make an adventure of your visit and walk the full Royal Coast Track over two days, camping at North Era overnight (bookings essential; check ahead for weather-induced closures).

Feel new in the big blue

Feel spoilt for choice of scenic hiking trails and swoon-worthy vantage points in the Blue Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed wilderness sprawling over 2,700 square kilometres an hour’s drive west of Sydney.

Ease into the mountains mood by following the short, family-friendly Three Sisters Walk on the outskirts of Katoomba, the largest town in the Blue Mountains. Gaze in wonder as the path leads to the spectacular Three Sisters rock formation that, according to a local Aboriginal Dreamtime story, represents three girls turned to stone.

Soak up incomparable views of waterfalls and the dense bushland of the Jamison Valley from more than 20 lookouts on the moderate Prince Henry Cliff Walk, a 7km one-way hike. Or push yourself to discover inner reserves of strength on a guided two-day, 46km walk with Peak Potential Adventures along the Six Foot Track, which was built in the 1800s as a horse and cart track.

Mesmerise the kids

Watch your kids’ faces light up when you tell them you’re all heading out on a glow worm hunt near Lithgow, a 2.5-hour drive west of Sydney just beyond the Blue Mountains. Follow the Glow Worm Tunnel trail in the rugged Wollemi National Park, embracing the challenge of a few steep sections on a 2km-return trail through beautiful bushland. Then plunge into the darkness of a historic 400m-long rail tunnel where thousands of tiny glow worms sparkle on the walls — make sure to pack a torch. Stretch out the adventure, and soak up the knowledge of an expert guide, on a half-day 9km guided walk to the tunnel with Wolgan Valley Eco Tours.

Summer in Sydney Credit: Destination NSW

People enjoying swimming at Wattamolla, Royal National Park Sydney

#feelnewsydney #ilovesydney

Summer in Sydney Credit: Destination NSW

People enjoying swimming at Wattamolla, Royal National Park Sydney

#feelnewsydney #ilovesydney

Sunset, Wollemi National Park Credit: Destination NSW

Sun setting over the Cudgegong River in Wollemi National Park.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Sunset, Wollemi National Park Credit: Destination NSW

Sun setting over the Cudgegong River in Wollemi National Park.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Reconnect with yourself

Follow the footsteps of hardy travellers of yesteryear on the Great North Walk. Surrender to a slower pace and spend more than two weeks completing this epic trail spanning 250km between Sydney and Newcastle, or dip into the track for a day or two to experience its diversity at your own speed. Fill your water bottles and begin the Great North Walk at Macquarie Place in the centre of Sydney city, cross Sydney Harbour by ferry, then pass through a series of national parks and state forests and hike around Lake Macquarie before finishing at Queens Wharf in Newcastle. Be kind to yourself and leave the heavy pack with the support crew each morning when you join a guided three-day hike with Life’s An Adventure.

Elevate your hike

Experience a sense of awe when you treat yourself to some of the state’s most spectacular coastal vistas on the Forest Walk to Sublime Point Track, along the Illawarra Escarpment south of Sydney. Brace yourself for this challenging trail with steep and laddered sections, as you begin at Coalcliff, about an hour by train from Sydney’s Central Station, before meandering through upland swamps and blackbutt forest, taking in panoramic views of Wollongong and beyond. Feel your thighs burning as you hike 16km to be rewarded by the sight of pretty Austinmer, and refresh with a re-energising swim at the village’s patrolled beach before boarding the train back to the city.

Immerse in an ancient Aboriginal landscape

Step back in time in World Heritage-listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, just 40 minutes’ drive north of the city centre, and take in epic views over the Hawkesbury River, Pittwater and Barrenjoey Head from the park’s many bushland trails. Let your imagination roam free as you follow Aboriginal Heritage Walk, a 4.4km loop that takes you to some of the 800-plus sacred Aboriginal art sites found within the park. Let your imagination roam as you gaze upon ancient rock art and engravings at the impressive Red Hands Cave. Gain a meaningful understanding of the original inhabitants of this natural wonderland, including the Guringai Aboriginal people, on a guided walk with Guringai Aboriginal Tours.

Austinmer Beach, Austinmer Credit: Destination NSW

Aerial overlooking Austinmer Beach with views through to Sublime Point.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Austinmer Beach, Austinmer Credit: Destination NSW

Aerial overlooking Austinmer Beach with views through to Sublime Point.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

West Head, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park Credit: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

View from West Head lookout over to Barrenjoey Headland, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

#ilovesydney

West Head, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park Credit: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

View from West Head lookout over to Barrenjoey Headland, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

#ilovesydney

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