Sydney Hiking Trails
Hiking, or bush walking as it is more commonly known in Australia, is the perfect way to experience the natural beauty that Sydney is renowned for. With 22 national parks or reserves with over 1 million hectares of protected land within 150km of the Sydney CBD, you don’t have to go very far to find a hiking trail that suits your abilities best.
So wherever you choose to go on your Sydney hike, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines to ensure that your time spent hiking is as safe and enjoyable as possible.
What should I bring on a hike?
Whatever the distance you’re planning on hiking or the terrain, it is vital to have sunscreen, a hat (preferably with a full brim), ample water, and sturdy shoes with good grip. If it’s longer than an hour or two, then a small day pack with some food (like muesli bars, sandwiches or fruit) and a raincoat is also advisable.
What should I pack for a multi day hike?
Should you be looking to walk overnight or for a few days, then a tent, season-appropriate sleeping bag, wet weather gear and enough food for each meal is necessary. Matches, a torch, camping stove, maps, compass, space blanket and a first aid kit are also essential if you are planning on hiking anywhere outside Sydney’s greater urban area. However in keeping with the old saying that you can never be too prepared, having a torch, a map and basic first aid essentials is always a good idea, even with the city limits.
Be aware, however, that any fires or stoves are not to be lit or used during total fire bans. Be sure to contact the local police station, fire station or National Parks and Wildlife Service office or website [insert link] for the latest information on fire bans before you set out on your hike. You can also download the National Parks and Wildlife Service app [here] or visit the Rural Fire Service [here] online to get the latest information before you set out.
In the more remote areas such as the Blue Mountains, an emergency personal locator beacon (PLB) is highly recommended. You can hire them for free from either the NPWS or many local police stations. To be used as a last resort, these beacons help locate over a hundred lost hikers every year.
Can I hike alone?
Yes you can hike alone, however it is suggested that only experienced hikers do this on the more remote and difficult hikes.
While single day hiking and shorter in Sydney’s greater urban area is fairly safe and straightforward for the sole hiker, multi-day hiking in areas such as the Royal National Park, Blue Mountains or Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park is a different story.
With limited or no phone coverage, hazardous terrain, unmarked paths and rapidly changing local weather patterns, it is possible to get into serious difficulty within minutes if you are unprepared.
If you do wish to hike, either alone or in a group, then it is important to remember the acronym TREK.
T - Take adequate supplies of food, water, navigation and first aid equipment.
R - Register your planned route and tell friends and family when you expect to return.
E - Emergency beacon (PLB's) are available free of charge from NSW Police Force and NPWS.
K - Keep to your planned route and follow the map and walking trails
What do you wear on a hike?
No matter what the season, a hat, sturdy shoes/boots and sunscreen is essential. Long sleeves and long pants (light in summer, thicker in winter) are also recommended, as they will provide protection from the sun, insects and branches in the bush, as well as warmth in the cooler months. A decent raincoat is a must, as it can protect from the cold and wind as well as the rain.
Popular hiking trails
Even though it’s a thriving metropolis of almost 5 million people, you don’t have to go far to find a wide variety of Sydney hiking trails that offer serenity, solitude and natural beauty.
Here’s a selection of some of the finest:
Mount Solitary, Blue Mountains National Park
A difficult 3 day hike recommended only for very experienced hikers, this stunning walk takes you deep into the Jamison Valley from Katoomba in a 34km loop around Mount Solitary. Travel through rainforest, high cliff heath and tall eucalypt forest whilst enjoying some of the finest views in the world.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Situated an hour south of Sydney’s CBD and stretching along the coast to the industrial city of Wollongong, The Royal National Park is the second oldest national park in the world after the US’s Yellowstone.
An impressive 2 day, 26km one way hike, the path will take you along deserted beaches and iconic headlands. As many of the beaches in this park are unpatrolled and potentially dangerous in certain conditions, be careful to only swim when and where conditions are suitable.
Lane Cove National Park Circuit Walk
Just 20 minutes from the CBD, the Lane Cove National Park section of the 250km long Great North Walk is a scenic 8 hour, moderate grade 20 km hike. Feeling less adventurous? Take the shorter 10 km, 3 hour circuit instead.
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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