Sydney Harbour Walk
Experience | Urbanwalk | Sydney | New South Wales

Sydney Harbour Walk

Reclaimed dockyards transformed

by Susie Baber  |  15 May 2021

Barangaroo to Lavender Bay | Approx. 9.5km | 2.5 Hours | Moderate (Stairs)

It has been a while since I played tourist in Sydney and things have changed a bit around Darling Harbour since I last visited, so we decided to go for an explore. I’m sure I’m not the last Sydney-sider that hasn’t been to Barangaroo, but there probably aren’t too many of us left.

Getting of the train at Town Hall allowed for a quick window shop at the QVB before we walked down towards the water and King Street Wharf. The Wulugul Walk boardwalk runs along the waterside of Barangaroo past a vast selection of eateries and crowds of people waiting to board party boats. The boardwalk follows the curve of Watermans Cove and then around Nawi Cove where there is an arts, performance and festival space underneath the headland called The Cuttaway.

Wulugul Walk
Stargazers lawn
Finger Wharves, Walsh Bay

The walking path continues around the water’s edge, but we opted for the stairs to the top of the headland and on to Stargazers Lawn. Barangaroo reserve is 6 hectares of open space on what was once one of Sydneys oldest industrial sites, and offers a fabulous open area with million dollar views.

Back down to the boardwalk around Walsh Bay there are more cafes if you need refuelling. The finger wharves along Walsh Bay were once crowded with wool for export but have since been transformed to become theatres, restaurants and bars. From here we continue along the foreshore of Dawes Point under the Harbour Bridge and around to the The Rocks for spectacular views of Sydney harbour and The Opera House. Most days (and certainly on weekends) you will see brides and grooms having their photos taken in front of this iconic Sydney backdrop.

The bridge stairs
View of the city from the stairs
Pedestrian walkway

Head up Hickson Road and check out the The Rocks Markets in George Street if you fancy a little retail therapy. There is so much to explore in the Rocks area, it really deserves a day of it’s own, so we set off in search of the stairs up onto the Harbour Bridge. These are found on Cumberland Street near the Australian Hotel and while we opt for the old fashioned way, there are now lifts at both ends of the bridge to improve access to this fabulous walk. The 1.5km path along the purpose-built pedestrian walkway on the eastern side of the bridge, and can be very noisy from the passing traffic, but this is more than compensated for by panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, Circular Quay, the Opera House, and Kirribilli.

At Milsons Point we descend the stairs and head back down toward the water under the bridge. To the right is North Sydney Pool and the welcoming face of Luna Park. Alongside is a boardwalk taking you around Lavender Bay to Lavender Bay Jetty. Directly behind the jetty there is a stone staircase leading up towards North Sydney and as you go up the stairs on the right is a hidden surprise in the form of Wendy Whitleys Secret Garden.

From Milsons Point
Harbour glimpses
Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden

These gardens were built by the wife of artist Brett Whiteley after his death. Constructed on public land behind their house Wendy transformed what was once a waste land into a beautiful garden oasis. Read more about these gardens here https://www.wendyssecretgarden.org.au/

Although the walk up to the train station is all uphill it is not long and there are many old homes and nice gardens to admire, not to mention glimpses of fabulous harbour views. If you wanted to extend this walk a little further, Waverton Station is the next stop on the train line and only another 1.4km via some very cute backstreets.

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