Tyler Australia Leave a Comment

The Spit to Manly walk is one of the most famous walks in the Sydney area. This 10 km (6.2 mile) adventure is filled with a variety of breathtaking lookouts and beaches. The trail begins at the Spit Bridge, which is located about 10 km north of Sydney’s CBD (Central Business District) and ends directly east, at the quaint beach suburb of Manly.

From the Spit Bridge, you’ll walk past a variety of small beaches and bays, as well as a handful of Aboriginal sites. The trail has sections of boardwalks, rocky paths, and sandy shores. You’ll find a lot of people on the trail with you, as this walk can be completed by those of most ages and levels of fitness. There are also public water fountains and toilets along your path.

Spit to Manly Walk Statistics

Distance: 10 km (6.25 miles) point-to-point
Total Ascent: 280 meters (920 feet)
Total Descent: 310 meters (1,020 feet)
Lowest Elevation: Sea level
Highest Elevation: 95 meters (310 feet)
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 3 to 4 hours

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

Spit to Manly Trail Guide

Getting to Spit

To get to Spit, we took a 15-minute Uber ride from the Rocks neighborhood to the Spit Bridge. The town of Spit is small but has a pleasant charm. With an emphasis on harbor life, you’ll find a yacht club, marina, and several waterfront restaurants. The Spit Bridge itself really didn’t have much to offer other than being the starting point of the walk, although the bridge does have the ability to open in order to allow boats through.

View from Spit Bridge | Spit to Manly Walk

View from Spit Bridge

Spit to Clontarf Beach

The true path begins at the northern end of the bridge. The beginning of the path was very rocky and hard on our ankles, but don’t get discouraged, the rocks disappear after about 5 minutes of walking and the rest of the trail is fairly smooth. Early on into your hike, you’ll be treated to great views looking back at Spit’s harbor.

Spit to Manly Walk Sign

The first third of the walk is mostly through wooded areas that passes between various harbors with the occasional neighborhood and park intersecting our path.

A mile into your journey you’ll reach Clontarf Beach and Clontarf Marina. Here you’ll find a wide beachfront-park full of families enjoying a warm day in the sun. There are several cafes here to enjoy, as well as restrooms if needed.

Clontarf Marina | Spit to Manly Walk

Clontarf Marina


Path to Clontarf Beach

Clontarf Beach

Clontarf Beach


Clontarf Beach

Clontarf Beach to Grotto Point

From Clontarf Beach, the well-defined trail you’ve been following disappears. No need to worry. Simply follow the beach south past the park, keeping the water on your right. There are signs throughout your walk that indicate the trail, which are a useful tool in case you get lost. The trail is also visible on Google Maps, which is what we used to check our location.

You’ll soon pass in front of a small strip of luxury beachfront homes. One thing we found really entertaining was just admiring these glorious beach mansions as we passed them and imagining living in the multi-million-dollar properties one day.

Shortly after, the trail will reconverge as you climb back into the woods. Here you’ll walk along a rocky track that’s shaded by tree cover and offers occasional views out over the harbor and beaches below.

We also stopped at some of the tiny, secluded beaches along the path to admire the tranquil scenery and cool ourselves off in the crystal-clear blue water. There are short spur trails that take you down to many of these hidden beaches.

Secluded Beach Spit to Manly

View after Clontarf Beach

We were back under the shade of the forest for the next third of our trek. This section of the path became a bit more rugged as our smooth dirt path transformed into a rocky climb up to Grotto Point. This is your one and only major climb of the walk, where you’ll ascend roughly 100 meters (330 ft).

At 4km (2.5 miles), you’ll reach Grotto Point as well as a spur trail that takes you to ancient Aboriginal rock engravings. Here we were provided with some of the most spectacular views of the trip.

Grotto Point View

Grotto Point Spit to Manly

The view from Grotto Point

Grotto Point to Manly

The descent from Grotto Point was filled with more great views and many rock staircases and boardwalks, which were a nice break from the long ascent up. For the next kilometer, enjoy passing by several small beaches along Sydney’s North Harbour. You’ll begin to see Manly off in the distance, just north across the harbor.

Sydney North Beaches

Manly Sydney

Sydney North Beaches Photo

Nearing the end of our walk, we entered the lovely Balgowlah neighborhood. After turning a corner, we unknowingly stumbled upon a large block party hosted by the residents, satirically celebrating the coronation of Charles III. With a live band and great vibes, we refueled our empty stomachs with some Aussie hot dogs and lemonade before continuing through more luxurious residential areas with stunning beaches to match.

After a bit over 3 hours since the start of our expedition, we reached the town of Manly. The walk officially ends at the Manly Wharf, but spend some time wandering the city streets and visit Manly Beach (500 meters from the Wharf).


Manly Wharf Sydney | Spit to Manly Walk

Manly Wharf

We decided to treat ourselves with some fun desserts from a unique bakery called Little Shop of Waffles. Afterwards we wandered the main streets, full of street performers and vendor stalls, before ending at Manly Beach.

Unfortunately, the water was too cold to take a short swim (we did this in May), but the beach was just as beautiful as we expected. We then took the ferry back to the heart of Sydney at Circular Quay and were accompanied by some more amazing views, this time of Sydney’s skyline during sunset.

Manly Beach | Spit to Manly Walk

Manly Beach


Manly Beach Surfboards | Spit to Manly Walk

Surfboards on Manly Beach

Which Direction Should I Complete the Walk?

We strongly encourage you to begin your walk at the Spit Bridge and finish in Manly. Not only are the views best in this direction, but transportation to and from downtown Sydney becomes much easier.

The only way to reach the Spit Bridge is via public bus or a car. Buses run every 10 minutes during the day and are less frequent at night. A bus ride from Circular Quay will take roughly 35 minutes. If you decide to drive to the Spit Bridge, you have the added issue of returning to Spit to reach your car. For this reason, we recommend taking an Uber from Sydney to the Spit Bridge. An Uber will cost roughly AUD $20.

By starting at the Spit Bridge, you’ll have greater freedoms when finishing in Manly. The area is much larger than Spit and offers more to do post-walk. Enjoy a swim at the nearby Manly Beach (500 meters away) as a nice reward for finishing the walk. Sit down to a meal at one of many high-end restaurants.

The biggest reward for finishing in Manly, however, is riding the Manly Ferry back to downtown Sydney. This 20-minute ride will travel past the various bays and beaches that compose the outer reaches of Sydney Harbour, and is beautiful any time of day (we recommend sunset). Additionally, the ferry is much more reliable than an Uber or the bus system, so it acts as the perfect “last leg” of your trip.

Spit to Manly or Coogee to Bondi?

Both the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk and Spit to Manly are some of the best trails in the Sydney area. Both offer extraordinary views and feature some of the most famous beaches not only in Sydney, but in the world. So how do I pick which one to do?

Firstly, if you have the time, walk them both! Both are fantastic and well-worth your time, and you can decide for yourself which you like more. Spit to Manly is the longer of the two, but also the most scenic and diverse. You’ll walk past many hidden beaches, through vibrant neighborhoods, and along the shores of several beautiful, panoramic bays. Plus, you can ride the Manly Ferry on your return trip into Sydney.

Coogee to Bondi is a great walk if you want something that’s less time-consuming but still have great views. Just expect to see larger crowds. Plus, you’ll end the walk at Bondi Beach.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to walk from Spit to Manly?

The walk from Spit to Manly is 10 km (6.25 miles) and takes 3 to 4 hours.

Does the Spit to Manly walk cost money?

The walk itself is free to access, however the ferry and/or Uber ride associated with your trip will include a fee. The ferry from Manly to Circular Quay (Sydney Harbour) is roughly AUD $10 one way. An Uber could range from $20 to $30, depending on your start and end locations.

What should I pack for the Spit to Manly Walk?

We suggest bringing comfortable shoes, plenty of water, a snack, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a camera. If you’d like to take a dip in the beaches along the way, or at Manly Beach, bring a swimsuit as well.

How hard is the Spit to Manly walk?

The walk itself takes a few hours to complete, but the trail is of easy difficulty. Be prepared for occasional ups and downs and a somewhat rocky trail at times, but nothing too strenuous. On this walk, we saw individuals of all ages.

Is the Spit to Manly walk worth it?

Yes. The Spit to Manly walk is definitely worth it. Along the way you’ll have some of the best views in the Sydney area. Manly is also a great town with a fantastic beach, the perfect place to end your day.

If you have any questions about the Spit to Manly walk, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Australia

SYDNEY: Get started with our Sydney Bucket List, which contains 40 of the best things to do in Sydney. We also have a guide to 20 great restaurants and bars in Sydney, the best beaches in Sydney, the Sydney Bridge Climb, the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk, and where to stay in Sydney.

SYDNEY ITINERARIES: Learn how to plan your time with our One Day in Sydney itinerary, 2 Days in Sydney Itinerary, and our 3 Days in Sydney Itinerary.

BLUE MOUNTAINS: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains and learn how to spend one day in the Blue Mountains. We also have a guide on how to visit Scenic World, how to hike the Wentworth Falls Track Loop, and a detailed trail guide for the Grand Canyon Track.

THINGS TO DO IN AUSTRALIA: Visit the cities of Melbourne and Sydney, hike Kings Canyon, visit Tasmania, go on a road trip on the Great Ocean Road, and explore the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions.

EXPLORE NEARBY NEW ZEALAND: There are many wonderful things to do in New Zealand, such as visiting the Milford Sound, bungy jumping and jet boat riding in Queenstown, touring the Marlborough wine region, spending some time in Wanaka, visiting Aoraki/Mt. Cook, and hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Read all of our articles about Australia in our Australia Travel Guide.


Spit to Manly Walk Sydney Australia


All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *