TRAVELS WITH NINA

is the online portfolio and journal of Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski.

Sydney’s Best Hiking Trails: MASTERCARD

Spit Bridge to Manly Beach
Start this three hour trail by traversing the Spit Bridge, checking out the sleek yachts glistening on the water. You’ll weave through bush tracks past idyllic bays and coves, with views over the sparkling ocean to Middle Harbour, moving into subtropical sections of bush dotted with palm trees near Clontarf. When you reach your destination of Manly, grab lunch at your choice of the seaside restaurants including Manly Wharf Hotel and Manly Wine, then travel back into the city like a real local on a green and gold Sydney ferry.


Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach

Kick off one of Sydney’s most impressive hiking trails with a morning visit to Sydney’s famous Taronga Zoo, where you can play with giraffes, elephants, and fur seals, then head off on the historic two hour walk along Sydney’s 10,000-year-old harbour, which came to be when the ice caps melted and flooded an existing gorge. Weave through eucalypt-covered bush paths, past hidden bays scattered along Headland Park, and take in unobstructed views of Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Stop for coffee at Chowder Bay, and when you reach Balmoral, treat yourself to a dip in the beach’s calm waters, and lunch at the bohemian styled Boathouse Cafe.


Bundeena to Otford, Royal National Park

You can either do this hike on Sydney’s southern perimeter over a full day, or take your time over two days, and slip in a night of camping at North Era camp ground, which means you also get to experience a breathtaking sunrise over the ocean. Either way, as you walk the 27 kilometres from Bundeena to Otford in Sydney’s protected Royal National Park, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the sparkling ocean from along the sandstone cliffs, which are interspersed with rugged bush tracks. Cool off with an ocean swim at the secluded beaches along the way.


Coogee Beach to Bondi

Mingle with the beautiful people on a coastal walk that could easily be mistaken for a fashion runway. Starting at Coogee Beach, pick up a fresh juice or coffee at Coogee Pavilion, then make your way to Clovelly Beach, where you can stop for a snorkel with the gropers in the natural rock pool. Head on past Bronte Beach and Tamarama, ending up in Bondi after about an hour. Take a dip in the Icebergs Pool, then head to the north end of the beach for a fresh fish lunch and glass of bubbles at renowned Sydney chef Matt Moran’s North Bondi Fish.


Mount Banks Summit, Blue Mountains
If you’re up for experiencing one of Sydney’s out-of-town hiking trails, take the hour drive to the Blue Mountains to climb Mount Banks. It only takes about an hour to walk from the Mount Banks Picnic Area to the summit, but be prepared to feel the burn during the relatively steep ascent. Once you reach the top you’ll likely drop your hiking poles when you see the awe-inspiring views of the windswept Grose Valley, but pick them up and have an explore, you just might find some hidden caves or even the odd wombat wobbling about. Most peaks in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area are sandstone, but this one has a basalt cap created by volcanoes 20 million years ago, which is home to a unique forest of tall, smooth barked monkey gums.


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