NSW has 2,137 km of coastline paired with a stunning temperate climate. This makes it a haven for sun-drenched clifftop and beachside hiking where you’ll find some of the best walks in NSW! From multi-day hikes to must-walk day hikes, we’ve chosen the 10 best coastal walks in NSW so you can saunter on the sand.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
1. Bundeena to Otford (The Coast Track)
Distance: 26km one way
Time: 2 days
Location: Sydney’s Royal National Park
Bundeena to Otford, or The Coast Track, is the jewel in the crown of Royal National Park. It’s an overnight coastal walk for all but the fittest keensters, with pre-booked camping available at the popular North Era Campground.
The stunning walk along the coast of the world’s second-oldest National Park is stuffed with wild swim spots, clifftop lookouts, rock pools and wildflowers. What’s more, you can access the walk from Sydney via public transport, just catch the train to Cronulla, ferry over to Bundeena and train back to Sydney via Otford.
2. Bouddi Coastal Walk
Distance: 8.5km one way
Time: 4.5 hours
Location: NSW Central Coast
A classic beach to beach walk, the Bouddi Coastal Walk links a bunch of shorter clifftop tracks and boardwalks into an epic full-day coastal adventure. From May to October, spot migrating whales from the stunning lookouts or pack your swimmers for refreshing ocean dips along the way.
Incredibly, Bouddi National Park is accessible from Sydney via public transport. Take the bus to Palm Beach then ferry to Wagstaffe Wharf and walk to the start of the hike. You can enter midway with a train to Gosford and a bus to Killcare Heights, or start at the other end with a train to Woy Woy and bus to MacMasters Beach.
Have you hiked the Bouddi Coastal Walk before? Tell us about it!
3. Nadgee Wilderness Walk
Distance: 55km one way
Time: 3-4 days
Location: NSW South Coast
The Nadgee Wilderness Walk is an absolute must for coastal trekking fiends. This coastal hike winds through pockets of rainforest and woodland, occasionally coming across pristine beaches, in the deep south of NSW. Eventually you’ll cross the state border but don’t worry, the rolling dunes and Victoria’s largest freshwater lake are sure to keep you satisfied.
Check NSW National Parks website for current updates on the Nadgee Wilderness Walk as it was affected by the of bushfires in 2019/2020.
4. Manly Scenic Walkway (Spit Bridge to Manly)
Distance: 10km one way
Time: 3.5 – 4.5 hours
Situated right in the heart of Sydney, this mind-blowing coastal day hike from the Spit Bridge to Manly is quite possibly the best way to experience Sydney Harbour. Passing through the Sydney Harbour National Park, this coastal walk links hidden bays and secluded beaches (Castle Rock is a winner for a swim) before heading up onto the cliffs for panoramic views of the heads.
Take a side trip to the Grotto Point Aboriginal engravings and you’ll realise that people have been appreciating this area for thousands of years.
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
5. Light to Light Walk
Time: 2-3 days
Location: NSW South Coast
The Light to Light walk through Ben Boyd National Park on the NSW South Coast runs along the coastline between two historic towers: Boyds Tower (a failed lighthouse) and Green Cape Lightstation (a real one).
It’s a tough and wild multi-day hike, so you’ll need strong navigational skills and the ability to carry large amounts of water (as it’s often hard to find on the track). The reward? Beachfront campgrounds and secluded bays, jaw-dropping cliffsides, hell, you might even spot see a seal!
6. Tomaree Head Summit Walk
Time: 2 hours
Location: Port Stephens, NSW
This punchy little summit walk takes you from the sand of Shoal Bay to a lofty viewpoint above Port Stephens. The pointy peak offers panoramic views of Port Stephens, the coastline to the north and south and the multiple islands off the coast. It’s a steep and often slippery track so grippy shoes are a must!
7. Mount Gower
Distance: 14km return
Time: 8 hours
Location: Lord Howe Island
As soon as you see Mount Gower you’ll want to climb it. The 875m tall peak is the tallest mountain on Lord Howe Island and reputably one of the best day walks in NSW, if not Australia. It’s not hard to see why, the route includes endemic flora and fauna, views out to the incredible Ball’s Pyramid and sections so steep that you need to hold onto a rope.
Regulations mean you’ll have to swallow your pride and go with a guide but don’t think of it as a sign of weakness. Even hardened bushwalkers recommend the guided experience for a chance to soak up some knowledge about the unique island habitat.
8. Binji Dreaming Track
Time: 6 hours
Location: NSW South Coast
For the Aboriginal people, the ocean was rich in food and provided a comfortable climate compared to the hot interior. Evidence of their presence can be seen all down the NSW coastline, but if you’re looking for a truly culturally engaging hike on Yuin country, walking the Bingi Dreaming Track is a must.
Pack your swimmers! Like all good coastal hikes, this one is loaded with opportunities for wild swimming in the pristine waters of Eurobodalla National Park.
9. Solitary Islands Coastal Walk
Time: 3-4 days
Location: NSW Coffs Coast
Do you like pina coladas and long walks on the beach? Like really, really, long walks on the beach? Then check out the Solitary Island Coastal Walk on the Coffs Coast.
Benefits of hiking the North Coast of NSW include: warmer water, rainforests that run up to the sand, heaps of campsites, and bulk amounts of everyone’s favourite marine mammal: mutha-flippin’ dolphins.
Seriously, the tripadvisor page for this hike is just a series of people gushing about the beauty of this coastal hike. Go and see what they’re on about.
10. Yuraygir Coastal Walk
Time: 4-5 days
Location: NSW North Coast
Don’t get scared by that 65km total length! While Yuraygir Coastal Walk can be done as a multi-day backpacking odyssey, many of the seven beachside campgrounds can be accessed by car, allowing you to pick and choose your way up the coast.
Explore sea caves and rock pools, swim at private beaches and soak up ocean views from ochre cliffs. This section of the NSW North Coast, traditionally the lands of the Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl people, defines the Australian coastal hiking experience. If you’re feeling brave, this walk links up with the 60km Solitary Islands Coastal Walk. Get sandy.
Feature photo by @etchd