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Don’t let the heat of the summer sun stop you getting your steps up this year.

We’ve found these cool spots to take a shady summer walks on the Northern Beaches.

Stony Range

Shady Summer walks

Stony Range Botanic Garden is a haven of bushland situated in the heart of Dee Why, just a short bus ride from Manly. There are a number of different walks to choose from, ranging from easy to moderate. A great place for the less mobile to enjoy the bush as the walk follows a very well-defined flat pathway making it perfect for prams and wheelchairs.

Pack a picnic for this walk, because you may never want to leave this cool, serene sanctuary. If you’re a keen or budding botanist, you’ll appreciate that most plants are labelled and there is plenty of background information about the plants and animals of the area.

Grade Easy to moderate, depending on choice of path

Walk Type Two way or circuit

Distance Varies – up to 2km

Walk Time Up to 35 minutes

Potential Hazards Steeper inclines toward the top of the garden, mossy paths in shaded areas

Allenby Park

Summer Walks on the Northern Beaches

Discover one of our area’s best-kept secrets. Tucked between Beacon Hill, Allambie Heights and Brookvale, Allenby Park covers 42 hectares. You’ll forget you’re in Sydney as you slip into this tranquil stunning pocket of natural bush. Picturesque waterfalls, mossy boulders and panoramic views of the coast await! The Park is full of steps and narrow dirt paths, so this isn’t one that you can take the pram along to. Take the bus to Warringah Mall and walk through Brookvale to Clearview Place where you will join the trail and escape from the city to serenity.

Grade: Medium

Distance: 2.5km of various trails

Time: 30 mins – 1 hour

Path: Formed track, steep hills, some obstacles, steps

Manly Dam (Manly-Warringah War Memorial Park)

Manly Dam Walk

This extensive, tranquil bushland valley contains Sydney’s largest freshwater lake created by the damming of Curl Curl creek in 1892. The park and bushland here offers many different options, from heritage, wildflower or Aboriginal themed walks, as well as long and short walks.

On a hot day, choose one of the bushland tracks that snakes through the dense trees and stick close to the water. There are a handful of spots to swim if you want that freshwater experience.

Buses won’t take you right to the dam, you can jump off at Manly Vale and walk about 30 minutes to the gates, or if you are taking a car, enter from King St, Manly Vale.

Grade: Medium

Distance: Various – Park Circuit Track is 7.3km

Time: Various – Park Circuit Track is 3 hours

Path: Formed track, some obstacles, some steep sections, many steps, sections of the track are shared with mountain bikers

Warriewood Wetlands 

Summer walks

If you’re willing to travel a little further up our beautiful Northern Beaches, catch a bus to Warriewood Wetlands, the largest remaining sandplain wetland in Sydney. The long boardwalks provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the natural attributes of the largest remaining wetland in Sydney without getting your feet wet!  Ducks, birds, frogs, turtles inhabit this area which is particularly enjoyed by birdwatchers looking out for the powerful owl, the endangered regent honeyeater and the goshawk. Over 80 species of birds have been logged in this relatively small area.

Grade: Easy

Distance: 2.4km

Time: 45 mins – an hour

Path: Boardwalk, formed track, some footpaths, some steps

Irrawong Reserve and Waterfall

Waterfalls on the Northern Beaches

Not far from the Wetlands, this track to a gorgeous waterfall is accessible from Garden Street or the end of Irrawong Road (corner of Epworth Avenue) in Warriewood. Catch the 185 bus or limited parking is available on Garden Street, or along Irrawong Road.

It takes about 20 minutes from the Garden Street entrance and is relatively manageable by most fitness levels as much of the walk is quite flat, along cleared paths or wooden boardwalks. However, there are steps in sections, so it is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers.

This rainforest walk is the perfect walk for a hot summer’s day! You will be surrounded by swamp mahogany forest with wet sclerophyll, cabbage tree palms and ferns. If you are lucky, you will spot local wildlife, many birds and maybe even a lyrebird!

The waterfall clearing is a popular picnic spot, but the size of the clearing (and the 6m waterfall flow) depends on recent rainfall. It can also be a little muddy so please be careful. There are tracks beyond the waterfall but the track is steep and has many steps.

Grade: Easy

Distance: 1km

Time: 20 mins

Path: Boardwalk, formed track, some footpaths, some steps

Potential hazards: mud and slippery conditions