Spit to Manly Coastal Walk

In this house Sunday is a time for family and like it or not, we will be having a family day.

A walk along the coastline

A walk along the coastline

I do get very annoyed when children’s activities are booked in for a Sunday as that interrupts forced family fun.  Alfie has been invited to a birthday party next Sunday and it’s on the other side of Sydney and it’s in the middle of the day and as the party only goes for two hours, there won’t be time for me to drive home so I’ll have to hang around.  That means our forced family fun will be totally interrupted.  He probably won’t be going.

Balgowlah park

Balgowlah park

So on Sundays I’m usually looking for something we can all enjoy doing together and it’s a bonus if that activity is also free.

Beautiful pathways

Beautiful pathways

It doesn’t cost anything to walk.

If you bring your dog there's complimentary bags for its crimes

If you bring your dog there’s complimentary bags for its crimes

Sydney’s coastline is very scenic, extremely beautiful and best seen while on foot.  Local governments have been good at encouraging seeing the coastline on foot by providing lots of well-maintained pathways that are visible and well-signposted.

The scenic coastline

The scenic coastline

Last Sunday I thought it would be a good idea if we did the walk from the Spit Bridge to Manly.  This is a 10km walk that is said to take three hours and that as in parts it is steep, a moderate level of fitness is required.

Turquoise water - great for snorkeling

Turquoise water – great for snorkeling

My plan was that we would set out early to avoid the heat of the day but there were stragglers amongst us who wanted a leisurely breakfast and then didn’t want to rush out the door and then wanted to make sure their sunscreen, keys, hat, sunglasses and water bottle were thrown into someone else’s backpack (mine) to be carried on the back of that someone else during the walk.

So many beach options

So many beach options

Finally I was all loaded up with everyone else’s belongings and we set off for the Spit Bridge.  It was now the middle of the day and quite hot and very windy and as I had 10 arriving for an early dinner that night and had done not a thing in preparation, I was stressed.  I thought the 3-hour walk needed to be condensed and so we drove straight over the Spit Bridge and parked our car at Balgowlah where we started the walk.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

This is a great walk to do.  Who knew there were so many little and pretty beaches along the way that are so ‘off the beaten track’ that you could pack up a picnic and enjoy a day at one of these beaches with no one else around.

The amazing water at Delwood Beach

The amazing water at Delwood Beach

The walk is mostly along concrete paths and there are some sets of stairs involved but it’s not a taxing walk and I would be very surprised if the walk from start to finish did actually take three hours.  We thought we did half the walk and it only took us around an hour.

Fairlight pool and beach

Fairlight pool and beach

Perhaps our hasty pace was driven by the fact that upon reaching our destination we knew there are a lot of good places to sit and enjoy a drink and something to eat.  We went to The Wharf Bar (aptly named as it is a bar on a wharf) where we sat outside and enjoyed the view of Manly Harbour while sipping on a well-earned hydrator.



For those who embark on the walk early, there’s plenty of time to also walk back but for those who get off to a late start and have 10 arriving for an early dinner, another option is a taxi.  We went home by taxi.

The Wharf Bar

The Wharf Bar

Outdoor seating at Wharf Bar

Outdoor seating at Manly Wharf Bar

Verdict:  A walk I will be doing again – earlier.

We've arrived!

Manly – the first of Sydney’s Northern Beaches


  1. Oh I know what you mean Charlie. Hubby and I are pretty good at getting out of the house on time but other rellies are not so good at this! Leave ’em behind I say:)

  2. What a lovely walk! Very relaxing with a nice view :))

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  3. I can’t believe I’ve never done that walk…so beautiful, thanks for sharing Charlie! Hope your dinner for 10 was fun and relaxed in the end 😉

  4. Beautiful walk and blue skies. A perfect day! Did you snorkel?

  5. Fabulous walk, Charlie! Since breaking my foot and the op I had to have on it, I just can’t walk long distances. Very disappointing. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely walk with us!

  6. I know I’m a Melbourne girl but……Sydney sure looks pretty when the sun is shining.

  7. I’ve looked at that coastline from a boat but I’ve never walked it. it looks beautiful from that direction too. John can be slower than Christmas sometimes and he ALWAYS gives me his wallet to carry.

  8. How fortunate to be living near such gorgeous coastline. I am so envious..

  9. Great walk, Charlie. And I like the idea of a taxi back to the car even without a party of 10 to do for. 🙂

  10. I wish I was there right now walking. With temps in the teens F and several inches of snow layering the ground, I would welcome such warmth, water and beaches. Thank you for helping me escape Minnesota if but for a few minutes.

  11. Oh, I do love this part of Sydney – love your pics – brings back lots of memories.

  12. LOL…we had an early snow last night and it is bitterly cold with the wind. How I wish I could be teleported to Sydney! We have a slow poke in our house, too…the youngest member of the household. He spends more time on his hair than I do :/

  13. Such stunning pictures, Charlie! Wish I were there 🙂 What a fun and relaxing day!

  14. Gorgeous beach views and very almost summery looking down there! I wouldn’t have been able to leave the house at all if I had 10 coming for dinner, prepped or not! 😉

  15. Charlie – that methinks is one of the loveliest, most relaxing, healthiest and most fun walks on a fine day anywhere in the world! Had northside active gfs so have done most many times! Well not with ten for dinner that night 🙂 ! Hmm: ‘The Wharf Bar’ – where did that one enter the equation ?

  16. You’re so lucky to have such beautiful walks so close by. I love the idea of forced family fun. Will remember it for later!

  17. What a beautiful place to live Charlie, I miss our forced family fun as mine are all grown now!

  18. What a nice way to spend family time Charlie. This looks like a gorgeous walk, I wouldn’t like to do this on a hot day though 🙂 xox

  19. The beach and sea looks like a dream!! I would be happily enjoying a Sunday afternoon there if I could. I haven’t been to the beach in ages, it’s maybe because things here are different… You are so lucky!

  20. I like your forced family fun concept 🙂 I also love the look of this walk – it reminds me of some of Perth’s coastal walks too. Definitely better with more time (and perhaps fewer belongings from other people on your back) but it sounds like a great outing nonetheless.

  21. I have done The Spit to Manly when I lived in Sydney years ago, and thought it was a lovely walk. These photos bring back some memories.

  22. We used to do a lot more walks when we lived North side as there are so many pretty ones out there! 🙂

  23. Sounds like a good idea. Don’t you just hate carrying other peoples stuff! Especially when they want to get something every 10 minutes and need to get into the bag!! An early start is essential though.

  24. I would love a walk like this – I would be there early to join you if I could Charlie.
    Have an awesome day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  25. The coastline is just beautiful and what a gorgeous day! I hope to see it in person some day. 🙂

  26. ha..love forced family fun days! Mine will no longer go along with it, but occassionally I can guilt my daughter into it. Your pics are beautiful, they do have the same feel as where I live, though we are always crowded and not so remote of a feel as this looks. Lovely, lovely day!

  27. If we had a beautiful place like this nearby, we’d be there every Sunday with our snorkeling gear. So very lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  28. How lovely. I definately want to this or the bondi to coggee walk in the break!

  29. So how was dinner? You are very brave.
    There is no way I could handle both on one day.It looks very pretty. I reckon your taxi idea was a good one.

  30. We have forced family Sundays also. It’s a must!

  31. Charlie – Sydney’s coastline is GORGEOUS! What a lovely walk y’all had – such amazing views!

  32. One can never have enough Forced Family Fun! You should trademark that. 😉 Sounds like a fun day. I’m usually the one in our house who’s ready to go, and have to wait. I won’t say for whom. 🙂

  33. Lovely Walk!
    I want to be there…
    we are covered w/ SNOW))
    ((SIGH)) x

  34. I couldn’t be any more supportive of your thoughts about Sunday being a family day–forced or not! 🙂 it seems so hard to find even one day a week without an appointment or obligation. I do love the idea of a walk along such a gorgeous coastline, Charlie. A lot of accumulated stress can be shed with a day like this!

  35. I was just discussing today with a fellow Canberran how freakin fantastic our town would be if we had a beach, I would seriously never need to leave. LOL! I reckon you are so lucky having access to real beaches. Looks like an awesome way to spend some quality forced family time. 🙂

  36. I love this walk Charlie, I’ve only done it twince in the past 10 years, mind you. My cousin who was over visiting and I went in July or was it August this year, we saw a whale frolicking near the pier in Manly from way up high above somewhere around Balgowlah – stunning.

  37. Dear Charlie,

    I use to fish under the Spit bridge in winter nights whenever there’s a tailor run.

    It’s been years since I did this walk and the reward is that icy cold beer or three at one of the bars in Manly.

  38. I love that you reserve Sunday’s for family time … it’s so important and you’re creating wonderful memories for your kids (and yourself) when they’re older … and what a gorgeous walk x

  39. I agree that Sundays should be left for Family and kids parties should be scheduled on the Saturday to give kids more time to recover and prepare for school again on Monday.
    Great idea to go to Manly for a work, I love going there on the ferry 🙂 Sighhh need to make a trip to Sydney again soon!

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