If you’re looking for a coastal hike in Sydney that isn’t that other popular one (Bondi to Coogee), then jump on a ferry to Manly and do the Manly to Spit Bridge walk! Why would you do this hike over that other, far more famous, one? Well, it’s quieter for one. You also won’t see nearly as many wannabe Instagrammers posing for photos. And, let’s be honest, you’ve probably already done that other walk (or are planning to do it). Keep reading for more information (and lots of photos) about the Manly to Spit Bridge Track.
The hike to Spit Bridge starts by the ferry terminal, but it’s worth taking the short detour through town to Manly Beach. There are heaps of eating options close to the beach (as well as the streets leading to it) and it’s just a laid-back place to spend some time. The beach itself is great, especially if you’re a surfer. We ate pies at Hamlets Pies (highly recommended) then hang out close to the beach for an hour or so. We bonded with a couple from Yorkshire over our shared appreciation for sheep and then finally started the Manly to Spit Bridge hike.
The Manly to Spit Bridge Hike
The first part of the coastal track takes you away from the ferry terminal and past expensive houses overlooking the water. Once past Fairlight Beach Reserve you’ll start to leave the suburban feel behind for some quieter spots. There are some beautiful bits of beach on this part of the track, including 40 Baskets Beach and Reef Beach, and it’s a good place to stop if you aren’t doing the whole hike (and just want to hang out on a nice beach). The views do start to get more impressive though, so stay with it if you can!
Before long you’ll start heading uphill, and that obviously means you’ll get some good views! There are various tracks in this section but it’s pretty easy to find your way (assuming you know the general direction). There are some great viewpoints up there, where you can see back towards Manly and various points in Sydney Harbour. There is also some indigenous art to check out and the chance to see wildlife (lizards, birds etc). The track does get a little steep on this section but it’s manageable. Apparently, you might be able to see whales from some of the viewpoints between May and November – let me know if you’ve done this walk during whale season!
The Final Stretch
After seeing more awesome views from the top of the hill you’ll eventually head back down to sea level for the final push towards Spit Bridge. This is another great section of the Manly to Spit Bridge hike because of the beach views below – I think this is the best section of beach on the entire track and it was also pretty quiet. A few boats full of people pulled up to enjoy the late afternoon sun, but it was starting to get dark, so we had to get a move on! We continued on past another great beach which looked perfect for swimming. If you want to swim, especially with kids, I’d say the beaches closer to Spit Bridge would be a good option as they are far more sheltered than the likes of Manly Beach.
We finally made it Spit Bridge after a bit of power walking, just in time to see the last of the light. We asked some locals who said it was better to walk across the bridge and get a bus on the other side, and it worked out well. There’s not a lot to see at Spit Bridge but it’d be a good place to park up and explore the beaches nearby if you don’t want to do the whole walk.
The Manly to Spit Bridge hike is around 10 km and should take three – four hours. It easy for the most part but there are some uphill sections. There are also some exposed sections and it may get really hot if you do this walk in the middle of summer. There aren’t many places to eat and drink along the way so it’s probably a good idea to have a light lunch in Manly and then get going. I recommend taking the ferry to Manly. They leave from Circular Quay and travel through a large portion of Sydney Harbour – the views are awesome! From Spit Bridge it’s easy to find a bus into the city. Make sure to get an Opal Card as this makes using public transport in Sydney so much easier (some buses won’t even let you pay cash!).
Are you planning a trip to Sydney? Will you do the Manly to Spit bridge hike? Let me know in the comments below!
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