UPDATED MAR 12, 2020
You don't need a premium gym membership to get in a great workout in Sydney. As a city, we have the beautiful natural landscape, weather, and endless length of trails that make it a runner's paradise. Lace 'em up, Sydney — here are the best runs around Sydney.
Centennial Park is a treasure trove of beautiful walking paths and running routes. Puff your way past swan-filled lakes, picturesque picnic spots, and rolling green hills as far as the eye can see. Whether you want to sprint through the park or dawdle alongside the easy-going nature-lovers, you can choose a distance which suits your fitness level and timeframe. The circular loop of the inner park is nearly four kilometres, but you can add in the various hills and connecting through-roads if you're looking for more challenge. Fitt Tip: try an early-morning Saturday parkrun at McKay Sports Ground.
Not for the faint of heart, this 28-kilometre route will see you cross seven of Sydney’s most iconic bridges, spanning Milsons Point, through Pyrmont and Rozelle, and all the way to Wollstonecraft and Lane Cove. Though the route is known as the course for the annual charity fundraiser walk for Cancer Council Australia, its open to the public year-round rain, hail, or shine. It’s an ambitious distance, but it can certainly be split into chunks. Our advice? Make it a month-long project and tackle the whole thing!
This Eastern Beaches' lesser-traversed running trail winds right along the gorgeous Maroubra Beach coastline. While the track itself is only a few kilometres long, it’ll take you right into Malabar Headlands National Park, where you’ll find plenty of open space for further walking, running, or outdoor exercise. And with Maroubra’s vibrant cafe scene right at your fingertips, there’s no shortage of tasty pastries and super-strong, hot coffee to help replenish those burned calories.
Easily accessible from multiple public transport hubs (bordered on each side by St Peters, Erskineville, and Green Square stations, respectively), Sydney Park is the Inner West’s best-kept secret. Multiple picnic areas, off-leash space for dogs, and—you guessed it—a ton of challenging running tracks await. Do hill sprints up to the crest of the Pavilion, or meander your way through the south end’s wetlands and forest. And if you’re looking for a little extra motivation, join your fellow running enthusiasts every Saturday at 8am for the free Sydney Park run, a five-kilometre timed effort around the park’s exterior!
No list of Sydney running routes would be complete without this 10-kilometre wonder. While it features a number of rocky patches and a few steep inclines, the whole route is fairly runner-friendly and not nearly as packed as its Eastern Suburbs equivalent. The whole path is beautiful, scenic, and historical, with ancient Aboriginal rock art along the way. Park your car at the Spit end and take the trail all the way to Manly, where you'll find various public transport options to take you back to your starting point if your legs are spent.
If you’re looking for a lunchtime running route to escape the confines of the office, look no further than Barangaroo Reserve! Best known for its café culture and fabulous outdoor bars, this waterfront park tucked just around the corner from the area’s high-rise offices is one of the CBD’s best running spots, with plenty of trails to choose from and with some leading down to the Walsh Bay or up to Observatory Hill. Our picks is the gravelled track that winds around the coastline, with beautiful sea views out toward Pyrmont and the North Shore. Just make sure you save your strength — you’ll come across a sudden steep incline midway through the route!
There are no shortage of bay runs in Sydney’s East, but this one truly takes the cake. Start at Rose Bay Beach to pet some doggos and prepare for kilometres to add up. This popular route forms part of the popular City2Surf race each year, so why not give Heartbreak Hill a couple of practice runs in preparation? And once you reach the top of the notorious mountain, it’s smooth sailing all the way down to Watsons Bay and its much-loved Boutique Hotel. Just make sure you do clock up enough distance to earn yourself some soft shell crab sliders — the perfect recovery food!
Nothing screams “Sydney” like an early-morning run up the steps of the city’s iconic Opera House. Beginning at the northern tip of popular Rushcutters Bay Park, you'll run over the hill through Kings Cross’s lively main streets, past the naval base, and along Cowper Wharf Road. See if you can spot Russell Crowe’s luxury apartment as you head up the hill to Australia’s most famous building. Or, you know, do everything we said in reverse!
The Iron Cove loop, also known as the Bay Run, is seven kilometres of smooth sailing — a paved path that closely follows the shoreline of the cove. It’s flat, it’s fast, and it’s even home to a namesake race every August. Best in the early mornings, you’ll run by beaches, mangroves, and usually a few cyclists sharing the road with you.
Starting at Chowder Bay, this roughly two-kilometre stretch is the perfect way to see part of the North’s most picturesque beachfronts. If you’re after a short jaunt, run past Headland Park to Georges Head. Or if you're after a longer haul, you’ll find trails extending down to Clifton Gardens and all the way up through Balmoral Beach to Cobblers Beach. As with most of Sydney’s top running spots, the pace and distance of this one is very much up to you.
One of the most famous routes in Sydney, and definitely one of the most beautiful, this track begins at Bondi Beach and spans along a coastal trail the entire 3.5-kilometre distance to Bronte Beach. To be completely honest, it’s a dream — this trail will have you feeling so far removed from the stresses of your everyday life, immersing you completely within the warm morning sun and gentle sounds of the waves as you jog by. Once you’ve reached the final destination, take a quick dip in the protected “Bogey Hole” pool to wrap up the perfect morning workout!
This newly opened 80km trek is actually a collection of existing, well-maintained coastal tracks and trails, but it still feels like a whole new adventure. Along the trail, you’ll pass secluded beaches, rock pools, cliffs, historic sites, breath-taking headlands, and even the famous Taronga Zoo if you want to sightsee. It definitely isn’t a one-day thing, though — it’s best to plan it out, break it up into sections (eight is recommended), and knock off a new one each day until it’s done!
The East’s most underrated beach spot, Little Bay is a haven for both regular runners and occasional athletes. And unlike some of the city’s tracks, Little Bay to La Perouse is all off-road — start at St Michael’s Golf Club, continue you along the Cemetery Firetrail, and end up all the way at Bare Island Fort. No traffic, no danger, just a clear three-kilometre route and uninterrupted, natural bliss.
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