The Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk is without a doubt one of Sydney’s premier walking tracks and when you hike it yourself, it won’t be hard to see why. Walk through stunning native bushland, across secret beaches and up to eye-boggling vantage points of Sydney Harbour.

Highlights
  • Incredible 10km walk accessible by public transport
  • Access the quiet inner beaches of Sydney Harbour
  • Castle Rock Beach, only accessible on foot
  • Panoramic sea and coastal views
  • Stunning native bushland

Starting Off From Spit Bridge

North end of spit bridge →  Ellery’s Punt Reserve → Fisher Bay → Sandy Bay → Clontarf Reserve

So it’s the weekend again and it’s time to get outdoors to dust off the cobwebs. Make your way to the northern end of the Spit Bridge by your preferred mode of vehicular transport, park and head to Ellery’s Punt Reserve.  Follow the path snaking around Fisher Bay and eventually over to Sandy Bay.

The doggos love Sandy Bay and you’re sure to see a couple of canines splashing through the saltwater. It’d be rude not to stop for a pat. Clontarf Reserve is just around the corner and is a great spot to grab brekkie or caffeine hit. 

Photo by Olivia Burton

The Second Leg

Castle Rock Beach → Grotto’s Point Lighthouse → Crater Cove → Dobroyd Head

After passing through Clontarf Reserve, up ahead is one of the secret beaches, Castle Rock Beach. Only accessible on foot, this secluded Sydney Harbour number is perfect for those looking to skip the crowds, with a side of a salty submersion. After a bit of rain it even has its own little waterfall.

Photo by Olivia Burton

Weave down the trail until you reach the turn off to Grotto Point Lighthouse Track, one of the ten lighthouses that call the Harbour home. From the lighthouse gate, you can detour down to Washaway Beach. When you’ve hit Grotto Point Lighthouse, find the little rock ledge just a little further down, which provides a perfect vantage point for sweeping views across Sydney Harbour. 

Double back to the main track towards Manly, and soon you’ll see a small detour to the Grotto Point Aboriginal Engraving Site. This site contains engravings of boomerangs, sharks, fish, and a giant kangaroo. These engravings aided with the passing down of knowledge surrounding sourcing food from the local environment, from one generation to the next.

Photo by Olivia Burton

Continue up the stairs and soon the path levels out and opens up over Crater Cove. If you’re keen to head down to Crater Cove for a dip, there’s a small track a little further along. Keep your eyes peeled for the Heritage-listed fishing huts that look over the cove and were constructed during the Great Depression. Head back to the main track and continue to the lookout at Dobroyd Head.

The Home Stretch to Manly Wharf

Reef Beach → Forty Baskets Beach → North Harbour Reserve → Fairlight Beach → Manly Wharf

Stomp on and you’ll soon hit Reef Beach, another secluded beach that’ll have you donning your bathers for another swim, as you take in the sight of Manly Cove off in the distance. Head another 10 minutes down the track and you’ll hit Forty Baskets Beach. Named after a fisherman who brought forty full baskets of seafood home way back in 1885. 

Here's All The Ocean Pools In Sydney's Northern Beaches, Jonathan Tan, photo by Tim Ashelford, Fairlight Rock Pool, beach, pool, ocean, headlands

Photo by Tim Ashelford

Circle around North Harbour Reserve and onto Fairlight Beach, where you’ll be greeted with a beautiful ocean rock pool for one final splash. (If you like rock pools you might want to check out these on the Northern Beaches.) Finish up at Manly Wharf and, oh would you look at the time? It’s beer o’clock! Time to reward yourself with some well-deserved carbs and a cheeky brewski. 

Essential Gear
  • Boots that are made for walking (or a good pair of trainers)
  • Bathers and sunscreen
  • Water bottle – you can refill your bottles at Clontarf Reserve or Forty Baskets Beach.
  • Camera
  • A can-do attitude

 

How To Get There

Grab a bus to Spit Bridge in Mosman to start and a ferry/bus home from Manly Wharf. You can do the hike in reverse order, but finishing in Manly is the perfect way to put a cherry on top of the day.

Activities
  • A swim at a plethora of secluded beaches in Sydney’s north
  • A delicious day hike
  • Secluded picnic locations

 

Skill Level

Beginner

Distance Covered / Time Taken

10km / 3-4 hours