Probably one of the most popular walking trails in Sydney, the Spit to Manly walk. This walk has some of the most stunning views imaginable: Crystal blue water, secluded bays and beaches, bushland and stunning cliff views. This walk is 10 kilometers long and is not super simple. The track, however, is so stunning that it will entice you to keep going.
This walk has been on my bucket list since last summer. I attempted to do it, but I could not find that start of the walk, so I gave up. My friend the other day told me exactly where to go and what to do, so I did another attempt last weekend. If you follow me on Instagram, then you have already seen some of my pictures of this walk. I had such a good time, bringing me back to the time I lived in the mountains. I was so happy and I wish I had done it sooner.
In today’s blog post I will show you some of the amazing sights that you will see during this beautiful Manly coastal walk.
BASIC INFORMATION | MANLY COASTAL WALK
This amazing coastal and bushwalk is 10 kilometres long (yup she’s a biggie) but it does have some STUNNING views to distract you along the way. It still is quite a long and intense walk though, and not the best walk to do when you don’t have a good fitness level.
It has quite a few stairs, and its made up of a series of smaller trails. There’s no big expressway-type walking path like there is at the Bondi to Coogee walk. The ‘path’ is at varying points made up of pebbles, compressed earth, concrete, sand, steps carved out of rock – it’s full cross country. Therefore it is not wheelchair accessible ( SORRY) Unless you have a 4wd wheelchair! whoah, wouldn’t that be would be amazing!
The route is pretty well signposted, so you know you’re going in the right direction.
Make sure you bring plenty of food and water because restaurants or shops are very scarce along the track (unless you wont to go full Bear Grylls along the way and eat grubs etc.) Also make sure you have enough time, cause it will take you around 3-4 hours to complete it + all the times that you will stop to take pics/ have your breath taken by the views.
I know this is a girl thing, but I always like to know that there are plenty of bathrooms along the way. You just don’t want to walk 10 kilometres with a full blatter. For this walk, the only real chance of finding a bathroom is at the beaches – Clontarf Beach, Reef Beach, Forty Baskets Beach, North Harbour Reserve and Fairlight Beach. So, plan accordingly. It can get messy otherwise… leaves for toilet paper etc hahaha!
You can also encounter some Australian wildlife. From a variety of birds, penguins and heaps of (very large) spiders. So keep your eyes open. (You should keep them open anyway, but further open than normal).
Underneath I will show you some of the sights that you will encounter when walking this pretty amazing route.
SPIT BRIDGE TO MANLY | THE WALK
WHERE TO START MANLY OR SPIT BRIDGE?
If you are starting at spit bridge then the walking trail starts at the east side of the bridge, wedged between Avonia Crescents and Middle Harbour. There are some stairs going down at the end of the bridge.
If you are starting in Manly, then the walk starts at the Warf, just walk West hugging the water. It is about 1 kilometer before the trail kicks-off. If you are unsure, just follow the tourists.
I started at Spit bridge because I thought I would want to hang out at Manly after the walk (Boy I was wrong, I was exhausted, took the first bus back home lol)
Right underneath the spit bridge, you will find stunning blue water, fishermen trying to catch tonight’s dinner and lots and lots of beautiful expensive yachts. Follow the gravel path going up the cliffs.
You will encounter your first cute little beach.
The first beach you will see is a very small beach, but it will give you an idea of what the rest of the walk will look like.
When you keep walking down you will end up at Clontarf reserve. Here you can have a rest (although it is only the start of the walk, so I encourage you to keep going) there is a playground and trees for shade as well as toilet facilities.
When you end up another beach you have to follow the signs. They are doing some remodelling of the walk (August 2018, I don’t know till this is happening, but pay attention) You have to go into the suburb and just follow the road parallel to the ocean. After about 10 minutes you will see a sign pointing toward the beach and you follow that. The route continues on the right, leading up higher onto the cliffs.
STEPS | MANY STEPS COMING UP
This next part is a bit of a pain and will test your fitness levels. But boy is it worth it when you have reached the top of the cliff. Luckily you will have some amazing views to distract you during your climb to the top.
About halfway up I stopped at a pultruding rock to gobble up my lunch (I was very happy that I brought it with me) I rested for about 30 minutes, enjoying the view and catching my breath.
I continued the walk after my rest and kept waling up towards Balgowlah heights.
Wowser this is beautiful and makes your sore legs feel much better.
Situated on a ridge up to 80 meters above North Harbour and Middle Harbour, Balgowlah Heights offers panoramic views of the harbor, Eastern Suburbs, and Spit Bridge.
This is also the point where the walk evens out and after, you will start your descent towards Manly. The walk becomes a whole lot easier after getting to this point.
This amazing little haven is only available during low tide. I guessed by the number of people walking towards this route that is was low tide when I needed to pass it and I was right. I am sure there is a scientific way of finding out. But it’s not that far from the cross point, so it’s worth a look, cause the views are stunning, and the little beach is just too great to miss out.
By the end of the 10 kilometres, it was 2 pm and I was grumpy, seriously starving and super thirsty. All I wanted to do was go home, have a shower and rest. If you still have energy left after this walk (Good on you) then I suggest, you wander into Manly to check out their cute restaurants, cafes, and surf shops.
If you are planning to go to Sydney, then make sure to check out my other blog posts on this amazing city. I have an extensive 2-day and 6-day itinerary, an amazing guide on the famous Bondi to Coogee walk, and lots of handy Sydney travel tips which will give you great ideas on what to see and do.
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