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If you’re looking for a beautiful walk in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the short but uphill Bangalley Head walk in Avalon Beach is one of my absolute favourites.
As well as birdlife and bushland, you’ll get to enjoy glimpses of Pittwater and a gorgeous picnic spot up on the cliffs in Bangalley Reserve. Since the headland is the highest point on the peninsula, you’ll see unbeatable, sweeping views all the way from the Central Coast down to Sydney CBD.
I was lucky enough to live right by this track for a few months in 2020, and it never failed to disappoint. Here’s all you need to know about hiking Bangalley Headland.
Bangalley Head Walk: Route, Distance & Details
- The Bangalley Head walking track is just over 1km each way (shown in yellow on the map below);
- The return walk takes around 45 minutes (either returning via the track or road);
- The track involves a fair amount of steps and rocky, uneven surfaces, but it’s not too difficult, as long as you have moderate fitness;
- There are many open cliffs with no barrier, so it’s not a great walk for small children, and dogs are not allowed;
- There are some lovely, flat viewpoints, such as Careel Headland Reserve, so allow longer if you want to sit and enjoy the stunning scenery for a while. I used to see whales here regularly in the winter.
Hotels Near Bangalley Head Walk
If you want to make a weekend of it on the Northern Beaches, here are some accommodation options.
Jonah’s, Whale Beach – 5* accommodation with a well-known restaurant overlooking beautiful Whale Beach.
Palm Beach Bed & Breakfast – a traditional B&B with water views and rooms with balconies.
Metro Mirage Hotel, Newport – a 4* hotel on the shores of Pittwater with a large outdoor pool and spa.
NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park – a holiday park next to Narrabeen Lagoon with cabins and villas.
How to Get to Bangalley Head Walk
You can get to the Bangalley Headland walk via the tree-lined walkway to the left of 97 Marine Parade in North Avalon, which leads straight to Bangalley Park on the cliffs. There’s unrestricted parking on the road, but you may need to park around the corner on Watkins Road or North Avalon Road if it’s busy.
You can also start the walk at the northern end, to the left of 79 Whale Beach Road, which takes you up some steep steps towards the coastal path.
For the most scenic option, I would recommend starting at the southern end on Marine Parade and retrace your journey back once the track heads inland and starts to descend towards Whale Beach Road. There’s little point climbing down the stairs unless you want to walk back along the roads (or want to climb back up for the extra exercise)!
Marine Parade & Bangalley Park
Starting at Marine Parade, follow the path through to Bangalley Park, where you’ll see enviously positioned seaside homes facing out onto the water.
This is a great spot for a picnic, as you’re rewarded with amazing ocean views and the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs below. Just be careful of the sheer drop if you go beyond the little fence.
Since the ocean is to the east of you, this is a perfect spot to watch the sunrise. It’s also popular at sunset time.
Walk left through Bangalley Park, then follow the steep steps up into the bush. Make sure you keep looking back as you climb, as you’ll get better and better views across the Northern Beaches peninsula, eventually all the way to the city.
You’ll catch a few glimpses of Pittwater and Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park to your left as you climb. Then after another set of steps you’ll get a great view facing west that’s spectacular at sunset.
Central Coast Views
About 15 minutes into the walk, the path flattens and forks. Veer right to stay on the coastal side.
Careel Headland Reserve Lookout
The walking track becomes sandy, at this point, and descends deeper into the bush.
If you fancy a break, duck under the branches to your right, where you’ll find a nice, flat rocky area to sit on with fantastic views. Or continue slightly further to Careel Headland Reserve Lookout.
After the lookouts, you can either turn left to continue towards Whale Beach Road, or go back the way you came to return to Marine Parade.
I hope you enjoy this beautiful walk in Sydney’s Northern Beaches! It’s one of my absolute favourites! For ideas on more hikes in Sydney, check out the following posts. Happy hiking!
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Lisa Bull, founder of Dreaming of Down Under, has been living in Australia as a British expat since 2015. After travelling to every state and territory in Australia and living in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, Lisa knows from first-hand experience the best destinations to visit in Australia and the best budget travel tips. Her guides on this blog have been read by over 700k readers and helped thousands of people achieve their dream of living in or travelling Australia.