Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk (Sydney)

My top priority for this year is to walk and hike more. The Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk was the first walk I did this year and is definitely one of my most favourite walks in Sydney. All the Sydney coastal walks including this one is a great way to explore the beautiful panoramic landscapes of the harbour and bushlands. The views are breathtaking and provide great opportunities to take amazing photographs. The walk also comes across some historical places including a few aboriginal rock carvings.

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Spit Bridge to Manly Sydney Coastal Walk
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About Spit Bridge to Manly walk

The Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk is a very well known and well-marked coastal walk in Sydney. It was opened in the year 1988 and it passes through the Sydney Harbour National Park, bushlands and local suburbs. The walk is famously known as the Manly Scenic Walkway.

A bit about Spit Bridge

The original Spit Bridge was built in the year 1924 to replace the punt service. The current Spit Bridge was built in the 1950’s, which replaced the old wooden bridge. The bridge is really cool where the middle section can be raised to allow the tall ships or boats to pass through.

The Bridge opening times can be found on the Roads and Maritime website.

Spit bridge to Manly coastal walk (Sydney)
A shop near the Spit Bridge

How to get there?

Public Transport

  • Getting to Spit Bridge – There are frequent buses between Wynyard and Spit Bridge. The fare costs around AUD 3 to 4.
  • Getting from Manly – There are ferries and buses between Manly and Circular Quay.
  • More up-to-date information on public transport can be found on the NSW Transport website.

It is advisable to get an Opal card to travel in Sydney. However, one can pay using the credit or debit cards.

Drive

Even though one can drive to one point of the walk, you still need to take public transport or a taxi as this walk is just one way and is not a loop or a return. The Spit Bridge is about 11 kilometres from the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and there is a parking near Spit Bridge.

Spit bridge to Manly coastal walk (Sydney)
Views of the ocean along the way

Hiking Details

The walk starts at the Spit Bridge. The Spit Bridge is a movable bridge across the Middle Harbour in Sydney city.  The walk passes through some spectacular beaches. The path of the walk is also through the Grotto Point aboriginal engravings. They are protected aboriginal art and they belonged to the Eora group who lived in the Sydney harbour region. The engravings depict kangaroos, fishes, and a whale. They are said to be about 1000 years old. More information can be found on the ATNF website.

The walk gets busy over the weekends with many runners.

Spit Bridge to Manly Sydney Coastal Walk
One of the bush lands on the way

Logistics

Below are the logistics one need to know for the Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk:

  • Starting point: Spit Bridge. (The walk can be done the other way as well i.e. starting from Manly Wharf.)
  • Finishing point: Manly Wharf. (The walk can be done the other way as well i.e. finishing at Spit Bridge.)
  • Distance: 11 kilometres; well-marked coastal walk.
  • Type: One way.
  • Time: ~5 hours.
  • Grade: Easy to Moderate.
  • Path: Spit Bridge > Ellery’s Punt Reserve > Clontarf Reserve > Clonny’s > Castle Rock Beach > Grotto Point Lighthouse > Grotto Point Engravings > Crater Cove Lookout > Arabanoo Lookout > Reef Beach > North Harbour Reserve > Manly Wharf.
Spit bridge to Manly coastal walk (Sydney)
A walking trail

Walking Trail

Spit bridge to Manly coastal walk (Sydney)
Route between Spit Bridge and Manly Wharf; Source: Google Maps

Important Information

  • There are cafes at the Spit Bridge and Manly. There are also a few cafes along the way.
  • Certain sections of the walk go through the Dobroyd Head and dogs are not allowed in that area.
  • There are various swimming points along the way.
  • The path of the walk is through headlands and suburbs (streets). So be careful and look out for vehicles when walking on the streets.
  • There are toilet facilities at various points.
  • There are water facilities along the way where one can refill water.
  • This is a family-friendly walk.
  • This walk is fit for all kinds of hikers and walkers. As it is an easy walk, it is perfect for beginners.
  • Look out for humpback whales during the whale migratory season.
  • This walk is in the city and hence it gets quite busy over the weekends.

General Hiking Information

  • Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes.
  • Carry an extra pair of socks.
  • Keep yourself hydrated along the way.

Whale watching

During the whale migratory season (between the months May and October), whales migrate from the south to north and then back. This is a perfect time to spot some humpback whales. Even though I have not spotted a single whale on this walk, I have been told by my fellow hikers and walkers that some of them have seen whales. So do watch out for them.

But I do feel that it is less likely to spot whales on this walk, it is best to do the walks – La Perouse to Maroubra or Kurnell to Cronulla walks to spot whales.

Ensure to carry a binocular.

Is it safe for solo female travelers?

This walk is definitely very safe for solo female travelers. There are so many people walking over the weekend and hence there is no section where it gets lonely and scary. Help is always there if needed.

However, like any other place, better to be a bit cautious, especially at nights and to trust your instinct.

Spit bridge to Manly coastal walk (Sydney)
A view from the Grotto Point

Conclusion

The Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk is undoubtedly one of the best walks in Sydney. It is an easy relaxed walk over the weekend, where one can enjoy the spectacular views and still get good exercise. Having done this walk many number of times, I vouch for it and I would recommend doing this walk while visiting Sydney.

Also read

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Spit Bridge to Manly Sydney Coastal Walk
PIN for later reference – Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk (Sydney)

21 Comments

  1. Walking and hiking are great activities. They are not only great in terms of physical fitness, but gets you close to nature and also affords a lot of introspection opportunities. The coastal walk seems to be a great experience in awesome settings.

  2. Barbara

    It sounds like a really scenic walk. I will definitely do it when I am in Sydney next time. I think I can walk 10K faster than 5 hours. Walking on the beach for so long must be so refreshing.

  3. consiec2011

    The Sydney Harbour is such a beautiful spot. I still think it makes Sydney one of the more physically beautiful cities in the world. Haven’t heard of this walk though. Thanks!

  4. I enjoyed reading this post and I could almost imagine myself doing this hike in Sydney. It is interesting to know that Spit Bridge is a movable bridge, and hiking Spit Bridge will guarantee you spectacular views and scenery. The tip on going during the week is also great because like you said, the weekend can get busy.

  5. Lisa

    This looks like a such a scenic walk and one I’d like to try. Manly Coast is beautiful and I’d like to spot some whales if I had the chance. The aboriginal engravings sound so interesting too.

  6. We visited Manly Beach by ferry when we were in Sydney. I did not know there was a great walk from the Spit Bridge. Love walks like this that have cafes along the way. We would certainly love to do this walk when there was a chance of seeing migratory whales! One for our return visit to Sydney.

  7. Very informative article! I love hiking, so this hike seems to be perfect for a one day adventure in Sydney. Walking through Spit Bridge to Manly, you have terrific views; it is excellent that is full of greenery. I add this walk to my list to do when I visit Sydney.

  8. I love a good hike and this one sounds delightful. I will definitely keep this in mind if I visit Australia. So awesome, if you can actually spot a whale, although they must look quite small with such a distance.

  9. Sounds like a great day adventure fo those looking to relax.

    I’m an avid hiker and usually go for things with a little higher difficulty but I can definitely see how this route can offer a great time.

  10. This walk seems such a nice one that I would love to do when we visit Australia.Thanks for all the information as it would be very handy for planning our Split bridge Manly walk.The bush lands along the walk gives such a cool feeling and is so enticing..

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