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Sydney = Nature: a Starter Guide to Sydney's Great Outdoors

Featured Guide
Done the Opera House and wandered through Chinatown, but still searching for what's awesome about Down Under's largest city? Here's a hint: Sydney is actually the world's best big-city park, surrounded by with gorgeous beaches, majestic mountains and cool forests. Slap on some sunscreen and go exploring!
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Marley Beach

An absolutely gorgeous and quite untouched stretch of sand fronting a crystal-blue sea, Marley beach in Royal National Park is a gem. It's a 3.6km walk from the car park at Bundeena, ensuring that it gets a small fraction of the park's more accessible beaches, and so remains wild and unspoiled in a way...

Spit to Manly

A lovely, moderate 10k walk from Manly to the Spit Bridge (or vice-versa), this hike closely following the harbour coastline offers gorgeous views out over the middle harbour and a peek into some of the surprisingly unspoiled corners of Australia's largest city. A perfect way to get away from the...

Royal National Park

Only an hour from Sydney, and totally accessible by train from the city's Central railway station, this gem of a national park offers stunning and hugely varied coastal scenery, with unspoiled beaches, lovely grasslands, dense forest, and tons of wildlife. In particular, the two-day, 26-km...

Bondi to Bronte Walk

Too many visitors confine their coastal visits in Sydney to Bondi alone. More's the pity, because the roughly 6km walk south from the city's blockbuster surfing beach to the suburban coast at Coogee gives an overview of what's best in sun-and-sand, with glimpses of what the locals love apart from...

Royal Botanic Gardens

An outstanding bit of real estate bordering Sydney's inner harbour, and adjacent to Circular Quay, the opera house, and the tall buildings of the financial district, the botanical gardens form a perfect frame for the city's greatest natural resource. With endless acres of gorgeous landscaping...

Centennial Park

Beloved as the go-to spot for Sydney's runners, walkers, cyclists and equestrians, you don't have to venture far in from the paved oval that runs around the park perimeter to find a bit of natural beauty. With palm-lined tracks and placid, reed-fringed lakes, it's a gorgeous spot for a wander -- open...

Cockatoo Island

A part of Australia's complex of UNESCO-listed World Heritage convict sites, Cockatoo Island (yes, there are cockatoos, but where in Sydney DOESN'T have them?) makes a cool excursion into Sydney Harbour. Rich in natural beauty and several eras of history, it's a place that both nature lovers and...

Bondi Beach

This is the image many people have of Sydney: a long crescent of golden sand populated by blonde surfer dudes and dudettes, baking beneath the brilliant antipodean sun. Strangely, though, this image is pretty much dead on. With a gentle surf break that's great for beginners, an awesome seaside...

Valley of the Waters Walk

A thoroughly beautiful 2 - 3 hour bushwalk through through gumtrees and across streams and past waterfalls, this track is a great place to spot cockatoos and get away from the crowds that mob the walking paths around the Three Sisters lookout. It's moderately strenuous, so avoid the day's peak heat...

Clovelly Beach

While the concrete apron surrounding this sheltered ocean "pool" may be off-putting at first, this spot is also Sydney's best easily accessible snorkeling location. With giant blue gropers, colorful wrasses and the occasional stingray (plus some neat underwater rockscapes), the breakwall...