The Chowder Bay to Bradley’s Head walk is an amazing short coast walk that offers incredible Sydney Harbour views, secluded beaches and a sense of bushwalking, even though you are pretty much in the city.
The walk takes you through some of the best bits in Sydney Harbour National Park. Including past some interesting World War II stations, past impressive mansions and lots of typical Aussie wildlife.
In this post, I will show you what amazing sights you could encounter if you would do this walk. I will give you some additional information on how to get to either Bradley’s Head or Chowder Bay, and show the nice beaches to stop at and possibly take a quick dip. Let’s dive in…
The Walk | Basic Information
This amazing coastal and bushwalk is about 4 kilometres long and offers some stunning city and harbour views along the way. Additionally, it will take you along some pretty secluded beaches, and will give you a bit of a bushwalking vibe. The walk is medium-difficult. There are some climbs and stairs making you huff and puff a little, but all in all, it is definitely not horrible. The walk is, not wheelchair accessible. There are too many steps, and the route is mostly on sand pats.
There are also not a whole lot of places to buy food or drinks along the way. So make sure you are stocked up and bring some food, water, and snacks. There are some public toilets available along this track, they can be found at the following places:
- Bradley’s Head Amphitheatre
- Clifton Gardens
- Chowder Bay
You can also encounter some Australian wildlife. From a variety of birds, snakes and heaps of (very large) spiders. So keep your eyes open. Especially those pesky spiderwebs come out of nowhere, and that is not fun walking into one of those with a spider phobia.
Chowder Bay to Bradley’s Head or Bradley’s Head Chowder Bay?
It doesn’t really matter if you walk from Chowder Bay to Bradley’s Head or the other way around. For most people, it will be easier to start at Taronga Zoo and make your way down to Bradley’s Head. From Taronga Zoo Wharf it is about an 18-minute walk to Bradley’s head where the walk officially starts.
However, because I live in North Sydney so it was easier for me to start at Chowder Bay and walk to Bradley’s Head instead. Additionally, I wanted to reach Bradley’s Head around sunset time, to snap some cool shots for my Instagram account.
To make life a bit easier for me, I will write out this post in the way that I have walked it. If you are planning to start at Bradley’s Head then you will see the same sights, just the other way around then what I did.
Chowder Bay to Bradley’s Head Walk
Underneath you will see the best places to stop, take photo’s and take a breather during the walk.
Chowder Bay | Cliftons Gardens
This is a quiet and tranquil beach where you will find lot’s of families chilling. The ocean has lovely shades of blue, making it is a lovely beach to explore. Wander over the pier, where lots of people trying to catch some of the fishies below.
There is a section covered with shark nets so it is a safe beach to swim at. It also has some amenities, like showers and toilets.
Follow the footpath at the end of the beach, this is the start of the walk. The start will be tough, as there are some steps to climb. It will take you past some imposing mansions (Including one that burned down a couple of years ago) and slowly turns into a more rural setting. On your left-hand side, you will see some stunning turquoise water, make sure to look back towards Clifton beach and enjoy the views.
The bus stop at Chowder Bay
If you are doing the walk the other way around, then this is your last stop for this walk. The bus stop can be found by the cafes. Take the stairs up and you will find it.
The perfect little beach to take a quick dip during the walk… If it is warm enough.
With stunning blue water, and quiet cobbling water it is a great place to relax and cool down. When the tide is high you might have to brave some ankle-deep water to get to the beach.
If you go exploring here, you may be able to find some Aboriginal engravings of kangaroos near a small stream.
This beautiful bay has a fascinating history; it is the site where 3 Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour during WW2 and fired a torpedo at HMAS Kuttabul killing 21 sailors. One of three subs was blown up by its crew when it became caught in the netting that was installed to protect the harbour from submarine attack. The other two submarines escaped.
Just before you reach Bradley Head, you will see on the left-hand side some steps going down. These steps will take you to a ‘little beach’. There was no name listed anywhere, and even when looking on Google maps, the beach is not listed. I, therefore, named this beach Little Beach.
On this little beach, you will find some reminiscence for and old boat jetty as well as parts of a bunker that was used in WWII to protect Sydney from intruders. There is not much left, unfortunately, but it is still cool to know.
Even though it is small in stature, the beach is quite lovely. It has massive rocks, where the waves crash in, it is littered with cute shells and has some amazing harbour views. Sit down and watch many boats, ferries and even cruise ships sail by at this cute little beach.
Because we did that walk the other way around, we ended up at Bradley’s Head just around sunset. Sydney is known to throw some spectacular sunset, and we got lucky and the sunset put on quite a show for us.
At Bradley’s Head watch the boats glide by from Bradleys Head Amphitheatre or step into the past at Military relics.
Bradleys Head Amphitheatre is an exceptionally popular lookout in Sydney Harbour National Park. Travel bloggers, Instagrammers and tourist head to this lookout point to inhale its breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Fort Denison.
There are a couple of cool military relics at Bradleys Head, it was built after four American warships arrived in Sydney Harbour undetected in 1839. Sydneysiders were feeling uneasy so a circular parapet was later installed to enhance Sydney’s protection. Today, the mast of HMAS Sydney towers the lookout, as a striking monument to the WWI warship.
Additional | Bradley’s Head to Taronga Zoo Wharf
For the rest of the sunset, we made our way to Taronga Zoo Wharf. This takes about 20 minutes, but because the conditions where a bit rough (it got dark very quickly and the path was covered in puddles) it took us a bit longer to get to Taronga Wharf. Along the route, you will see some amazing city views though, so it was worth our ‘struggles’
From the path to Taronga, you will see the city’s skyline on your left-hand side. Throughout the walk, there are opening where you can see some incredible views (We got so lucky that it was an amazing sunset).
If the sunset is still in full swing, make sure to hang around at Taronga Zoo Wharf, it offers a cool vantage point for sunset spotting.
Chowder Bay to Bradley’s Head Walk
How to get there?
Underneath how to get to the start of the walk.
Starting at Bradley’s Head
You can get to Taronga Zoo by any major modes of transportation: Car, Bus, Train, or Ferry. The best mode of transportation to the zoo is by Ferry. It is only a 15-minute ride from Circular Quay and gives you beautiful views of the harbour and Sydney City. From the zoo, you can easily walk to Bradley’s Head.
It’s about a 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay to Taronga and Opal Cards are accepted on it. From Wynyard station, you can also hop on a direct bus (M30). This takes about 40 minutes and it drops you off at the top entrance.
For those driving, you can enter the zoo’s car park off Bradleys Head Road. (Cost $18,-) Your best bet is getting here by public transport.
Starting at Chowders Bay
When you reach Chowder Bay you can either turn around and walk back to the zoo or take a bus from there back to Sydney (30min). Note that this bus doesn’t come super often so plan ahead!
Looking for more amazing Sydney walks?
Sydney has some incredible walks! From incredible coastal walks to bush walks to easy walks to hard walks! Underneath I have listed a couple of other cool walks that you could do:
- Bondi to Coogee | Probably one of the most famous coastal walks in Sydney! this incredible walk goes from Bondi Beach to Coogee beach, passing many incredible other beaches along the way. this 6-kilometre long walk is a must-do!
- Spit to Manly | This 10-kilometre long walk offers a nice mixture of bushland and harbourside trails, taking you from Spit Bridge to Manly in the North Shore.
- Watson Bay to Rose Bay | This amazing coastal walk is eight kilometres long, but since you have stunning views to distract you, it doesn’t feel like it is that long. The walk is filled with amazing secluded beaches, and ridiculously beautiful city and harbour views, then I think you will like this walk as well.
- Cremorne Point Walk | Cremorne Point is one of the loveliest of the harbour’s peninsulas, and the walk around its forested foreshore gives you some of the most amazing cities views there is. Million-dollar mansions, green parks, stunning yachts, the chirping of birds….and hundreds of spiders
- Two Creeks Walk | This long walk circles East Lindfield, descending beside Gordon Creek to Middle Harbour and continuing along Middle Harbour to Roseville Bridge.
- Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk | The Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk is a short bush walk with big rewards, amazing views over Palm Beach and whale watching in Winter and early Spring.
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