Sydney is a runner’s paradise, from the famed Bay Run and the Bondi to Coogee Walk to the Pool to Pool Run that takes you past some of the city’s most renowned heritage sights and natural wonders. Here are running tracks that will invigorate your soul and inspire your feet to get moving.
The Bay Run
Just a 10-minute drive from the city centre, this 7km loop around the shores of Iron Cove Bay links the inner-west suburbs of Drummoyne, Russell Lea, Rodd Point, Haberfield, Leichhardt, Rozelle and Balmain. — download the official map here. It’s one of the most popular harbourside running tracks in Sydney, traversing the natural course of the cove and never more than 20 metres away from the water. The predominantly flat, well-maintained track is a local favourite, regularly frequented by cyclists, dog walkers and pram pushers, with lanes for walkers and cyclists clearly marked. Start or finish your run at green spaces Leichhardt Park, Callan Park and King George Park. A recently added 500-metre extension for cyclists and pedestrians has just been opened to offer more space for everyone.
The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
One of Sydney’s most iconic tracks, this 6km run starts at the southern end of Bondi Beach and follows the coastline to Coogee via Tamarama and Bronte. Though the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is not particularly long, you’ll encounter stairs, hills and narrow parts along the path, as well as plenty of locals who take a more leisurely pace, taking two hours or so to complete their walk. You can choose to tackle portions of the track, then reward yourself with a dip in the water at one of the beaches and pools along the way including Clovelly, Gordons Bay, McIvers Baths, Wylies Baths and Giles Baths. For those looking for a further challenge, continue onwards from Coogee to Maroubra, another 5km stretch, and go beyond that through the Eastern Beaches Coastal Walkway at low tide.
The Manly to North Head Walk
On the Northern Beaches, a string of sandy beaches stretching north from Sydney, start the 10km Manly to North Head Walk at the lagoon near Queenscliff, then head towards Manly Beach and Shelly Beach, admiring the cliff faces standing proud against the Pacific. From the path at the Shelly Beach carpark, you can begin your ascent to North Head — this run is a little more challenging due to the steep incline. To make your efforts worth it though, you’ll pass the bushland of Sydney Harbour National Park and reach the Fairfax Walk at North Head for spectacular views across Sydney Harbour Heads. This paved track, ideal for a run, starts at the end of the North Head Scenic Drive and circles around the top of North Head, encompassing three lookouts. One of those lookouts is the Fairfax Lookout, where runners can enjoy postcard-perfect views across the harbour. From this point, you can choose to continue through to North Head Sanctuary.
The Pool to Pool Run
A perfect way to start a Sydney summer’s day, this invigorating run will have you sweating then swimming to cool right off. You’ll also pass some of the city’s most beloved charms. Starting at the pretty-as-a-picture North Sydney Olympic Pool at Milsons Point, this run will take you over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, along the Cahill Expressway passing Circular Quay. (Note that North Sydney Olympic Pool is closed for refurbishment for up to two years from the end of February 2021.) Here, you can jog past the Sydney Opera House and then sprint into Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, finishing at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and Andrew Boy Charlton Pool in a pocket alongside the garden for a recovery splash in the striking outdoor pool.