Manly to Spit walk
Known internationally as the Harbour City, Sydney is certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to natural beauty. With beautiful weather, gorgeous beaches and a laid back atmosphere, Sydney has it all. There can be no doubt, however, that it is the harbour that is the main attraction.
Although you could be forgiven for thinking that the harbour starts and ends at Circular Quay given the double attractions of the Bridge and Opera House, the harbour is in fact one of the world’s largest.
With a foreshore that stretches over 240 km, or 150 miles, the terrain changes effortlessly from steep cliffs and natural bush to manicured parklands, secret beaches and vibrant urban centres.
Top of the list, however, is undoubtedly the Manly to Spit (Bridge) walk. Able to be walked in either direction, the Manly to Spit walk showcases the best the harbour has to offer.
Attractions on Manly to Spit Walking Trail
Weaving through lush natural bushland and well planned pathways, you’ll find your way across secret beaches, see 1,000 year old Indigenous rock carvings and enjoy some million dollar views across the harbour.
The best way to begin is with a ferry ride from Circular Quay to Manly. Have a quick coffee at a choice of excellent Corso cafes, then head west along Little Manly beach towards Federation Point to start your walk.
Take some lunch, and plan to eat it at Dobroyd Head - the halfway point of the journey. The highest point on the walk, panoramic views stretch through the Heads to the distant horizon, so it is the perfect place to rest and reward yourself.
Descend to the Clontarf Track and take your time enjoying the views across Middle Harbour as you walk, then head to Clontarf Reserve for a burger at Clonny’s On The Beach. Dip your toes into the water at Sandy Beach, then finish up the sightseeing at Shelly Bay’s Indigenous Cave Shelter.
Then put your feet up (metaphorically - you’re not allowed to put them on the seats!) and catch a bus back into town from the Spit Bridge. Alternatively, you could do the walk in the opposite direction. Time it to arrive at meal time so you can enjoy a lunch or dinner at one of Manly’s famed seafood restaurants, before catching a ferry back to Circular Quay.
Manly to Spit - distance and time
Part of the Manly Scenic Walkway, the Manly to Spit walking trail is one of Sydney’s finest walks, and at 10 km one way with a moderate grade, it’s the perfect way to spend 3 - 4 hours revelling in the natural beauty of the harbour city.
Suitable for most ages and fitness levels, the slow 80m ascent to the top of Dobroyd Head is perhaps the most taxing part of the walk.
Are dogs allowed on the Manly to Spit walking trail?
Yes and no. Those with canine friends will be disappointed to hear that dogs are not allowed on the central section of the walk, but they are welcome elsewhere.
As Dobroyd Head is part of the Sydney Harbour National Park, dogs aren’t allowed here, but you can take them on a separate dog-friendly trail that cuts inland from Forty Baskets Beach to Castle Rock, via Tania Park.
Are prams or strollers allowed on the Manly to Spit walking trail?
The majority of the walk is not suitable for prams or strollers.
What should I bring on the Manly to Spit walk?
Regardless of the time of year, it is important to understand that even in Sydney weather conditions can change rapidly. A southerly storm in summer could see torrential rain and a drop of up to 20c within minutes, while winter temperatures can get close to freezing once the sun goes down. In other words, it’s important to know the forecast, and plan accordingly.
On the Manly to Spit walk it is vital to have sunscreen, a hat (preferably with a full brim), ample water, and sturdy shoes with good grip. We also suggest a small day pack with some food (like muesli bars, sandwiches or fruit) and a raincoat.
What should I wear on the Manly to Spit walk?
No matter what the season, a hat, sturdy shoes and sunscreen is essential. Long sleeves and long pants (light in summer, thicker in winter) are also recommended if in the actual bush, as they will provide protection from the sun, insects and branches, as well as warmth in the cooler months. Shorts and dresses are fine in summer, though be sure to apply sunscreen regularly.
In summer, be sure to take your togs for a chance to swim in a choice of beaches, including Forty Baskets beach, Reef beach or secluded Castle Rock. Fairlight beach has a secluded rock pool that is perfect for snorkelers and families.
A fantastic walk for all seasons, the Manly to Spit walk is rightfully known as one of the world’s finest harbour excursions.
Did you know you can earn Qantas Points doing all kinds of activities. Simply download the app, keep your phone or wearable device on you - and get moving.
You can also earn points with your Qantas Health Insurance.
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