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20 Great Dog Walks around Sydney and Central Coast

There are few things more satisfying than watching - with your dog of course - the South Pacific Ocean roll and crash against the line of coves and beaches extending south from Bondi to La Perouse on to the entrance to Botany Bay.

#1. Bondi to Bronte Coast Walk 

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 6km return
Grade: Easy

Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk - Photo Credit: Florian Groehn
There are many incredible vantage points and photo opps along the way, the most popular being the sandstone lookout at Hunter Park, about halfway from Bondi to Bronte. The path is mostly sealed, and with the exception of some rocky patches, and a steep set of stairs, is a very leisurely stroll. 

Dogs may enter the Coast Walk on a lead only. They may not enter the parks, beaches or Waverley cemetery, and may use the beach promenades only after 6pm in winter and 8pm in summer. For more information, visit the Waverley Council website

#2. Clovelly to Maroubra

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 7km one way
Grade: Easy

One of Sydney‘s most popular walks, covering a 7km section of the Sydney Coastal Walkway, the track from Clovelly to Maroubra starts south of Waverley Cemetery, on the south side of Clovelly Beach. While there are a few sections of the path that leave the water’s edge the walk generally follows the shoreline, alternating from concrete to boardwalk to beach sand.

For more details, visit the Weekend Notes website

#3. The Bay Run Iron Cove

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 7km return
Grade: Easy

Iron Cove near King George Park

One of the most popular harbourside tracks in Sydney, the Iron Cove “Bay Run” is a social, family-friendly walk in the inner-west. Following the entire natural course of the cove, and never deviating more than 20 metres from the water, this flat, well-maintained walk is also bicycle, pram and dog friendly, with lanes for walkers and cyclists clearly marked where possible.

For more details, visit the Leichhardt Council website

#4. Narrabeen Lagoon Bush Trail

The Narrabeen Lagoon trail is a stunning 8.4km circuit track around Narrabeen Lakes on the Northern Beaches. 
Completed in February 2015, the trail has since become a very popular week-end escape for dog walkers, joggers and cyclists, enjoying the natural beauty and serenity of bushland around an idyllic lake.

The Narrabeen Lagoon trail is divided into 5 different sections so you can simply pick one or more of the 5 sections and explore the rest on another day.

Access: enter from either James Wheeler Parade, Wheeler Heights, South Creek or from the Middle Creek carpark, off Wakehurst Parkway.

Bidjigal Reserve
One of our personal favourites, the Bidjigal Reserve is located within the Hills Shire Council, northwest of Sydney.

#5. Murri – Yanna Track 

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 8km
Grade: Intermediate

An 8km track leading from Whitbred Place North Rocks to Heidi Place, West Pennant Hills. Staying close to Darling Mills Creek for most of its length, it provides the best access to rainforest and river flat areas.

#6. Burraga Track

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 4km loop
Grade: Intermediate

A 4km loop track, accessed from various points; it passes through some of the healthiest weed free bushland, in areas away from creeks and boundaries. Burraga is the Darug name for the Bandicoot.

#7. Platypus Track

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 1.7km loop
Grade: Easy

You will find this track at the end of Excelsior Avenue, Castle Hill. Drive all the way to the end of the road and you will be able to park at Eric Mobbs Reserve. 

The entrance is a little hard to spot as it is not signed. The track begins at the left of the entrance to the sporting ground. Generally an easy walk though some sections can be narrow and steep (slippery after rains).

Platypus were regularly seen along this section of Excelsior Creek until the mid 1970’s. The track passes the once popular swimming and picnicking spot at Loch Bruce. 

For more information visit the Bidjigal Reserve website

Lake Parramatta
Lake Parramatta Reserve is a 75ha bushland reserve within 2km of the Parramatta CBD, 30km west of the Sydney CBD.

#8. She-Oak Track

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 1.5km
Grade: Easy

Easy walk along the lake edge that loops back along the bitumen road through She-Oaks, majestic Sydney Red Gum and Blackbutt.

#9. Banksia Track

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 2.5km
Grade: Easy

Moderate walk (uneven surfaces). This trail wanders along the eastern edge taking in views of the lake. Highlights include Old Man and Hairpin Banksias under a canopy of Red Bloodwood and Grey Gum.

#10. Lake Circuit

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 4.2km
Grade: Easy

The Lake Circuit goes all around the lake and incorporates (parts of) the shorter She-Oak and Banksia trails. If you are doing the full lake circuit, it’s best to start east of the parking area, looping around the lake anti-clockwise. This way you will start the loop with the She-Oak Track.

Moderate walk (uneven surfaces). Displays of wildflowers abound from Autumn to Spring. A small rainforest remnant can be enjoyed at the rear of the lake, and, encounters with native birds and animals are assured, such as rosellas, cockatoos, kookaburras, frogs and lizards.

For more details visit the Parramatta City Council website

Central Coast - Strickland State Forest

North west of Gosford on the NSW central coast, Strickland State Forest is less than an hour's drive from Sydney. Strickland has extensive walking tracks through varying forest types - past waterfalls, under cabbage tree palms and along creeks.

#11. Arboretum Loop Trail 

Activity: Hiking 
Distance: 2.3km loop 
Grade: Easy

This walk takes you along some of the rainforest-clad creeks of Strickland State Forest, before crossing a small suspension bridge and looping through the arboretum with its stands of huge Hoop Pines, Bunya Pines and others.

#12. Bellbird Trail

Activity: Hiking

Distance: 3.3km loop 
Grade: Easy

A great walk, passing through plenty of the Strickland rainforest, and among the tall tress of the arboretum. You are likely to have the sound of Bellbirds adding to the atmosphere along parts of this walk. There are a number of picturesque creek crossings along the way, one with a small suspension bridge.

#13. Cabbage Tree Trail

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 1.7km loop
Grade: Easy

This walk starts in the dry eucalypt forest, typical of the hilltops in the area, and descends to areas of lush forest, filled with cabbage tree palms and ferns. Some interesting boulder outcrops and the great variety of vegetation just add to the scenery on this excellent walk.

#14. Strickland Falls

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 1.7km return
Grade: Easy

This walk from the Banksia picnic area, to the Strickland Falls, includes a fantastic variety of forest scenery. The falls themselves are often just a trickle, although the scenery in the area makes the walk well worthwhile. The cliff lines and boulders around the falls are interesting and there are pockets of rainforest in the shaded valleys, dominated by cabbage palm trees. 

For more information, visit the Wild Walks website

Central Coast - Heaton State Forest

Heaton State Forest, part of the Watagan Mountains, is a beautiful forest encompassing with spectacular lookouts, showcasing views over the Hunter and Lake Macquarie regions.

#15. Hunter Lookout and Great North Walk Loop

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 5.6km loop
Grade: Hard

This loop track starts from the Hunter Lookout picnic area and follows the Great North Walk around the edge of the ridge via the Macleans Lookout, Rocky Creek gully and the cliffs around the eastern edge of the ridge. This walk provides great views across the valley and much of the Hunter to the north. On the return, the walk takes a leisurely stroll along the dirt roads, passing the pines plantation area and the rocky creek camping area.

#16. Heaton Lookout to Heaton Gap

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 4.3km one way
Grade: Hard

This section of the Great North Walk start from grand views at Heaton Lookout in Heaton state forest and leads to the picnic area and motel at Heaton Gap.

#17. Watagan Headquarters to Heaton Lookout

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 8.1km one way
Grade: Hard

This scenic walk includes dramatic lookouts and time spent in moist cool forest. The walk initially travels on dirt road past Hunter and MacLean’s Lookout, before descending into the Wallis Creek catchment. Here the walk traverses underneath many cliffs before crossing Wallis Creek and arriving at Heaton Lookout.

For more information visit the Wild Walks website

Central Coast - Olney State Forest

Olney State Forest is a popular recreation area. Located west of Lake Macquarie (120km North of Sydney or a 3-hour drive), Olney is bordered by Wyong State Forest, Watagan State Forest and Watagans National Park.

Part of the walking trail at the Pines
#18. Pines Circuit Walk

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 1.7km loop
Grade: Easy

This short walk takes you into the moist forest around Dora Creek and is highly recommended. The walk visits a small waterfall and dammed pool then travels through forest, visiting the large open Pines picnic area before returning to the starting point.

#19. Abbotts Falls Walking Track

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 7.3km loop
Grade: Hard

This circuit takes you through both dry and moist forest, using a combination of walking trails and wider tracks. The side trip to the dammed pool is recommended, to see the deep Aboriginal carved grooves by the pool. This walk travels through open forest with wild flowers (in season) to descend into a moist rainforest environment near Abbotts Falls.

#20. Cedar Brush to Basin Campsite

Activity: Hiking
Distance: 9.7km one way
Grade: Hard

This section of the Great North Walk makes a good walk to a comfortable campsite, with the section along the Lyrebird Trail by the Wollombi Brook being particularly recommended. From the Cedar Brush track head, the walk winds up into the Olney State Forest through bushland (crossing over two moist gullies). Once most of your height is gained, this walk follows unsealed road before dropping down into the Wollombi Brook gully. From here, the walk follows bush tracks along Lyrebird Trail and to the Basin Campsite.

For more information visit the Wild Walks website

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