At 2km long The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is one of the shorter walks along Sydney Harbour but nonetheless offers incredible views and is one of the best coastal walks around Sydney. It is located in the prestigious neighbourhood of Vaucluse in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and is fairly flat in comparison to many of the coastal walks around Sydney. This makes for a nice easy walk and is suitable for a variety of fitness levels.
Tucked away behind the busy New South Head Road, The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is an unexpected hidden gem in Sydney’s Harbour. And as it is relatively unknown to tourists, who often favour the more well known Spit to Manly or Bondi to Coogee walks, it means it is never really that busy. There are lots of nice stops along the walk, and often you’ll find the beautiful beaches here deserted. The uninterrupted views of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Shark Island and the harbour from here are absolutely second to none.
Why You Should Do The Hermitage Foreshore Walk
- A short 2km walk
- Fairly easy walk suitable for people of various fitness levels
- Takes just 45 minutes one-way
- Impressive harbour views
- Well maintained track
- Less crowded than many other Sydney Coastal Walks
- Path is very easy to follow with maps located at both ends of the walk.
- Five different secluded beaches to enjoy (plus safe swimming area)
- Lots of places to stop, sit and have a picnic whilst admiring the views
- Plenty shaded areas incase it gets too hot
- There is a cafe and restaurant at the end of the walk (Nielsen Park)
Where does The Hermitage Foreshore Walk start?
Located south of the harbour in one of Sydney’s most expensive suburbs, The Hermitage Foreshore Track is in the neighbourhood of Vaucluse, which is nestled in between Rose Bay and Watson’s Bay. You can start The Hermitage Foreshore Walk from either end: from Nielsen Park (nearer to Watsons Bay) or from the entrance on Bayview Hill Road (nearer to Rose Bay) which is just off New South Head Road, close to the start of Vaucluse Road.
Whilst most people choose to start from the Nielsen Park end (as that is where the car park is), I suggest you start at the Bayview Hill Road end as you are facing the views more, plus you get to finish at the lovely picnic area and buy some food at the cafe and restaurant at the end. I have done the walk from both ends, but I prefer the walk if coming from the Rose Bay direction so this is the way I will describe in this post. If you want to start at Neilsen Park/Shark Beach just follow my instructions from the bottom going upwards.
How to get to Hermitage Foreshore Track
If coming by car:
Drive along New South Head Road past Rose Bay then turn left into Vaucluse Road. Keep heading down Vaucluse Road for 1.4km until you see Greycliffe Avenue on your left. On Greycliffe Avenue you’ll find free street parking on the left next to Nielsen Park.
If coming by public transport:
Take the 325 bus from Kent Street near Wynyard Station in Sydney CBD. The 325 goes from Walsh Bay (just west of Sydney Harbour Bridge) to Watsons Bay, going through Kings Cross, Double Bay and Rose Bay along the way.
If you want to start at the side nearer to Rose Bay, get off the bus at the New South Head Road at Towns Road stop (just before Kincoppal School). Then cross over the road into Bayview Hill Road (the track starts at the end of this road on the right).
If you want to walk in the opposite direction (going towards Rose Bay) then stay on the bus for another 6 stops and get off at the stop on Vaucluse Road that is opposite Nielsen Park. If you click on the Google maps here I have put a marker at both the bus stops to help you.
If coming by ferry:
The most scenic way to reach The Hermitage Foreshore Track is by ferry: get the ferry from Circular Quay to Rose Bay Wharf. From here get onto nearby New South Head Road, turn left and walk along the road for about 1.5km (it is a little bit uphill at the end!) until you get to Bayview Hill Road on your left hand side. Head down here, continue to the end of the road bearing right, then you’ll see the start of the track. Alternatively a more scenic route is to walk along Rose Bay Beach first, then up the stairs near the end of the beach by Dumaresq Reserve that will take you onto New South Head Road.
What is the track like?
The route follows mostly boardwalk, with some stairs and some dirt track but it is very well maintained and not too rough. It is perfectly fine to do the walk in flip-flops/thongs if you don’t fancy wearing trainers.
The track is very easy to follow, with an information sign and map at the start and end of the trail. It pretty much goes along the waters edge the whole way so it is very hard to get lost.
What to do along The Hermitage Foreshore Walk
Whilst the complete walk can be done in around 30-45 minutes, many people like to make several stops along the way. There are five different scenic yet secluded beaches along Hermitage Foreshore where you can enjoy a dip or sunbathe. Do be mindful though that none of these beaches are patrolled and strong currents and rips can sometimes occur so do exercise caution here if you or your children plan to swim.
If you are into photography there are some seriously Instagrammable places to photograph along this walk. You can get some really nice pictures of The Harbour Bridge and Shark Island, especially at sunset. Equally the beaches here are very picturesque.
If you are coming from the Rose Bay direction, Queens Beach is the first beach you will come to – located about 300 metres from the start of the walk at the base of Bayview Hill Road. It should take you 5 minutes or less to reach here. Queens Beach is a small narrow beach, and if you come at high tide the beach might have even disappeared.
Carrying along the track another 250 metres you will come to Hermit Point – a spot that was once popular with Indigenous people who would camp here before Australia was colonised. There are lots of shaded areas here at Hermit Point which make it a great place to sit and relax, whether it be on the grass admiring the view, or on one of the picnic tables here.
Once you are ready, head up the stairs to continue the walk. Don’t forget to look back once you are at the top of the stairs and enjoy the gorgeous view over Hermit Bay. To your right perched above you you’ll see houses that comes with a phenomenally expensive price tag, selling for tens of millions!!
Keep going on the walk for another couple hundred metres and you’ll notice the view gets a tiny bit obstructed by trees. Look down to your left though and you’ll see a beautiful deserted beach below you called Tingara Beach. I only spotted it as I saw a couple of fishermen there. You’ll notice at the start of the beach there is a little dirt path that leads down just a couple of metres to the beach – this is how you can reach Tingara Beach. Walk across the rocks (be careful if wet!) until you get to the sandy part of the beach and enjoy being the only people here! Then when you are ready to leave, continue around the corner, scrambling over a couple of rocks, and you will come to some giant rocks that make for some really impressive photos!
Milk Beach is regarded as one of Sydney’s best kept secret beaches. It offers perfect views of The Harbour Bridge, Shark Island and Sydney Harbour. And at 50 metres wide there is plenty space to relax, whether it is on the sand, on the grass or on the rocky outcrop on the far end of the beach. It’s a great place to watch the Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks, but you’ll need to get a ticket – available a couple of months before.
Directly above Milk Beach is Strickland House. When Strickland House was constructed in 1850 it was the home of the second Mayor of Sydney.
Keep following the path for about a kilometre in total to get to Shark Beach. Along the way you’ll see a few rocky areas on you left by the water that make the perfect spot to sit and watch the sunset.
As you follow the path, it briefly ends and joins on to Steele Point Road for a few metres. Keep following the road to Shark Beach, keeping the water on your left. The road bends around to the right at the entrance of Shark Beach, so head down Steele Point steps just at the bend in the road and walk along the beach. If you carry straight on it will just lead to a dead end and you’ll be able to see the degaussing range (that de-magnetises metal ships as the enter the harbour) and circular pit that held the Steele Point Gun Emplacement. It was built in 1874 and was used to protect the harbour from invasion.
Shark Beach is located next to Nielsen Park and makes the perfect place to go for a swim after the walk as it has a swimming net enclosure (shark net) surrounding it. It doesn’t face The Harbour Bridge – it faces north across the harbour towards Middle Head. There is plenty space to spread out here, either on the sandy beach or the surrounding grassy area of Nielsen Park. Plus there are public toilets, changing rooms and showers here too, so it makes for a great place to freshen up before heading home.
If you want to get a nice view over Shark Beach, walk up the path that goes around the toilets (Bottle and Glass Road) for about 40 metres or so. Then on your left you’ll see a grassy opening and here you can see an aerial view of Shark Beach that makes for a really nice Instagrammable spot, although there are no railings here so please be careful.
The path running adjacent to Shark Beach then bends to the right and takes you to the exit on Promenade Road. This will take you up to Greycliffe Avenue – where there is plenty car parking, or walk to the end and cross over Vaucluse Road to get the bus back.
Where to eat along The Hermitage Foreshore Walk
The Nielsen is located on Shark Beach and is the perfect place to stop and enjoy food with a view. There is a restaurant and a kiosk here, so whether you just want to grab a coffee or you want to enjoy a nice sit down meal you can do so, all whilst enjoying a stunning harbour view. The restaurant is a casual Italian restaurant and the kiosk has several al fresco tables for you to sit down at and feast on their delicious fish and chips! The Nielsen is set in a great location and has open free Wifi. The reception is quite good as you can pick it up whilst still being on the footpath.
How to get back from The Hermitage Foreshore Walk
As mentioned earlier, The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is 1.8km one-way and should take around 45 minutes to complete. So if you came with a car you will need to walk back along the route to get back to your car. Alternatively if you don’t want to walk back on yourself you can take the 325 bus from New South Head Road, near the end of the walk, back to your car at Nielsen Park.
If coming back by bus, just head back onto the road (see instructions above), cross over and wait at the bus stop which will take you back into the city.
If you want to return to Circular Quay by ferry, instead of doubling back on yourself and taking the ferry from Rose Bay, you can walk 35 minutes (2.7km) up to Watsons Bay wharf and take the ferry back from here. You’ll go past Kutti Beach and Parsley Bay Beach which are also really beautiful beaches. This is perfect if you would like to make a day of it and do a longer walk. If you have more energy you can even walk around to South Head and the beautiful Hornby Lighthouse and back from Watsons Bay.
What to bring on The Hermitage Foreshore Walk
- swimming costume and towel if you wish to bathe in the water
- reusable water bottle
- suncream and sun hat
- if you are bringing food for a picnic you should also try and bring a carrier bag as no bins are provided on the route so you are expected to take all rubbish with you.
When is The Hermitage Foreshore Track open?
The Hermitage Foreshore Walking Track is open from 5am until 10pm officially.
Are dogs allowed along The Hermitage Foreshore Track?
The Hermitage Foreshore Track is located within the Sydney Harbour National Park, therefore no dogs are permitted. There is a nearby off leash dog beach at Rose Bay however if you wish to take your dog there. Click here for all the best dog beaches in Sydney!
Other Sydney Harbour Walks:
If you wish to explore more Sydney Harbour walks here are a few suggestions of the best walks:
These walks are all located on the north of Sydney Harbour and all form part of the Bondi to Manly Walk – an 80km walk that links all of Sydney Harbour coastal walks.
If you are looking for more Sydney inspiration and itineraries, check out my articles on: