Every time I am on the Manly to Spit Bridge walk, I am amazed by having stunning, accessible nature so close to a major city. Sydney offers a few beautiful walks easily accessible. And the Manly to Spit Bridge walk is one of the best – if not the best walk near Sydney CBD. Still hesitating? Here’s why I like it so much and my tips to maximise your experience.
Why I love the Manly to Spit Bridge walk
1. Transport to get there is part of the stunning experience
You can start the walk from Manly Wharf. The best way to get there is to catch a ferry from Circular Quay. As you leave the City behind with the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, the boat trip offers splendid views of the stunning cliffs where you will hike later on. There’s no better introduction to the hike. It’s one of the reasons why I prefer going to Manly rather than Bondi.
2. The track is well maintained but still fun
I love a bit of challenge when hiking. The Manly to Spit Bridge walk doesn’t meet this criterion – most people can do this walk without big difficulties. The track is well maintained and quite easy. Still, it’s never flat and the terrain changes often which doesn’t make it too easy and boring. It’s an enjoyable walk you can do with beginners and kids.
It took us just under four hours – with many long breaks for snacks and photos – to walk from Manly to Spit Bridge, including a detour to Crater Cove (not well maintained and more challenging – read below), Grotto Point Engravings and Arabanoo Lookout.
3. The landscape changes
It’s incredible to find various landscapes in such a short hike close to a major city. While walking from Manly to Spit Bridge, you will pass beautiful beaches with inviting swimming pools, view rocky headlands and beaches and walk through a forest with stunning rock formations.
4. You’ll find short side trips to historical and cultural sites
As if the main track wasn’t beautiful enough, you can also add a side trip down to Crater Cove. Near the intersection to exit the path to reach Beatty Street, there’s another path going closer to the water. It’s a bit more challenging than the well-maintained Manly Scenic Walkway, but it’s worth the effort. The views from the fishing houses on the edge of the cliffs and down near the water are really nice. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the place by yourself for a little while.
The Fisherman Huts at Crater Cove are a historic site. If you want to learn more about it, do your research before the walk as there’s no information available at the site. You may find this article from the Daily Mail interesting.
Back on the main path, a bit further, you can make a very short and easy detour to the Grotto Point Engravings.
5. There are many opportunities to cool down on the Manly to Spit Bridge walk
The Manly to Spit Bridge Scenic Walkway is even nice to do on a warm day. Sure, it will be hard as you have to go up and down along the coast. But you will have many opportunities to cool down along the way, should it be at a lovely beach or in the forest.
6. It’s easy and quick to go back to Sydney CBD
Once your reach Spit Bridge, you can catch a bus to take you back to the CBD. You don’t need to retrace your steps at all.
My tips for the Manly to Spit Bridge walk
Don’t under-estimate it and allow enough time
It’s easy to think you can do 8km in a couple of hours. But if it’s your first time on the Manly to Spit Bridge Walk, you’ll want to allow more time than that.
First, you will want to stop and enjoy the views, many times. You may be tempted by a few side walks to get closer to the water or a beach break.
Second, the walk is often busy and you may need to slow down if you encounter a few big groups.
Take enough water
You can top up your water bottle at the start in Manly and then on the last beach before you arrive at Spit Bridge. In between, there isn’t any opportunity to get water.
Where is the Manly to Spit Bridge coastal walk?
The Manly to Spit Bridge Walk goes along the coast between Manly Wharf and Spit Bridge. It’s one of New South Wales and Australia‘s most popular hikes. This walk is just one of the many things to do in Manly for nature lovers.