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Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk: The Epic Extended Version

Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk: The Epic Extended Version

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk, with an extension to Georges Head and Middle Head, is a sensational harbourside trail option in Sydney. It all starts at Bradleys Head Amphitheatre and initially follows the Bradleys Head Walking Track. From there, you’ll enjoy gorgeous harbourside views, hidden bays, epic lookouts and historical fortifications during the walk to Chowder Bay and beyond. So there’s something in it for everyone – keen hikers, history buffs and nature-seeking enthusiasts.

Being located in the busy Sydney Harbour National Park means it can get pretty rammed on the weekend. So make sure to hit the Bradleys Head Walking Track early with your hiking buddies for maximal enjoyment. There’s many an opportunity for a swim along the way, so pack those budgy smugglers in with any other of your usual hiking gear.

Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk: The Extended Version

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk is a sensational Sydney harbourside walk in its own right. But, if you want to explore and walk more of the area, we recommend extending the walk beyond Chowder Bay. In this guide, we’ll talk about the extended version of the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk, which also takes in Georges Head, Middle Head and Obelisk Beach.

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk takes place in Sydney Harbour National Park, which has some surprisingly beautiful and abundant bushland. Despite the busy suburban life that’s not too far away, the extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk does provide a sense of refuge. At times, you’ll be completely immersed in nature and forget that a busy city is just a stone’s throw away!

Alongside the Blue Mountains and Royal National Park, the Sydney Harbour National Park is one of the most highly visited parks in New South Wales. This isn’t by coincidence. Yes, it’s conveniently located and easily accessible for Sydneysiders. But the national park has a fascinating mix of the natural world and a world-class city skyline, best views from Bradleys Head Amphitheatre. This uniqueness certainly makes it worth the visit.

If you’re after complete remoteness and a total natural sanctuary, then this won’t be the hike for you. But, it’s certainly a great trail to mix things up if you usually choose a more wild scene. Additionally, given its populous location, this walk itself is not as well-known or well-walked as you’d think! So it might even be quieter than you’d expect

Let’s look at the Bradleys Head Walk map below.

Dan looking out to South Head with North Head off to the left. A partly cloudy sky parades over a crystal clear ocean with two prominent headlands in the distance. To Dan's left is bushland, and to his right, coastal heathland.

Extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk Map and Stats

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 10km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 75m
  • Difficulty: Grade 3
  • Trailhead: Bradleys Head Car Park
A rough map of the extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk
A rough map of the extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk

Highlights of the Extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk

Check out our Maroubra to La Perouse and Cronulla to Kurnell loop day hike guides

About Bradleys Head, Mosman

Before we get stuck into a trail description for the extended Barldeys Head to Chowder Bay Walk, let’s talk a little bit more about Bradleys Head. We’ll talk about the Bradleys Head fortification complex, amphitheatre, lighthouse and the Foremast of HMAS. For your reference, please find a Bradleys Head map.

Bradleys Head Fortification Complex

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk starts at Bradleys Head, which was once a fortification complex. The fort was built in the 19th Century, as part of a larger Sydney Harbour defence system. At Bradleys Head, you’ll find remnants of convict-built artillery batteries. These remnant fortifications are positioned next to the popular Bradleys Head Amphitheatre.

Foremast of HMAS Sydney

Near Bradleys Head Amphitheatre, you’ll see a tall mast at the tip of the headland. The mast, which overlooks the harbour, was named after William Bradley, a Royal Navy officer who part of the First Fleet to Australia. The mast was built in 1934 as the foremast of HMAS Sydney, a light cruiser operated by the Royal Australian Navy that was later sunk during WWII. Today, it serves as a monument for all Australian ships lost at sea and all Australian sailors killed during battle.

Bradleys Head Amphitheatre

One of the most stunning features of Bradley Head is its amphitheatre. Right off the bat, you’ll have amazing views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House from Bradleys Head Amphitheatre. It’s certainly an epic harbourside vantage point to take in the stunning Sydney skyline and all of its big-name attractions. Indeed, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House are the pride and joy of New South Wales and you’ll enjoy excellent views of these attractions.

As part of the Bradleys Head Amphitheatre, we recommend heading onto the stone jetty for the best photos. There, you’ll feel further immersed in the gorgeous harbour.

Having grown up in Sydney, I admittedly take these views for granted. But for someone who hasn’t seen much of the city before, Beck really enjoyed exploring Bradleys Head Amphitheatre and the harbourside. If you have visitors from overseas, this is a great place to show off the magnificent Sydney harbour.

Bradleys Head Lighthouse

Near Bradleys Head Amphitheatre, you’ll find a small lighthouse that was built in 1905. The lighthouse is still active today, so it’s closed to the public.

Impressive as Bradleys Head Amphitheatre and Lighthouse may be, nothing beats the beauty of nature. So after you’ve scoped out the harbour, it’s time to crack on with the extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk by continuing along Bradleys Head Walking Track. With Port Jackson Bay to your right, you’ll head away from Bradleys Head and towards Taylors Bay.

Bradleys Head Walking Track

Following a dirt walking trail, which forms part of Bradleys Head Walking Track, you’ll be surrounded by harbourside bushland in a matter of minutes. The transition is so swift, that you’ll feel like you’ve been teleported to some bayside national park outside of the city. You’ll continue to have glimpses of the sparkling harbourside bay along Bradleys Head Walking Track, as you hike through increasingly dense bush.

Admittedly the Bradleys Head Walking Track becomes fairly narrow and muddy around Taylors Bay. So you might have to slow down and make way for passing groups.

Taylors Bay

Other than the serene Bradleys Head Walking Track that leads you there, Taylors Bay is the next major attraction. It’s a small, picturesque and concealed bay. There’s a small set of steps leading you down to the bay on a rather overgrown path if you wish to scope it out in more detail or even go for a swim. To be honest, Beck and I were just hitting our strides with our speed hike, so we decided to continue along the Bradleys Head Walking Track. If you’re keen for a swim, Chowder Bay – the next attraction, will also provide you with that opportunity!

Dan speed hiking through the harbourside bushland. On a dirt trail, Dan is surrounded by dense bushland. You can just make out a blue sky through the trees.

Chowder Bay and Chowder Head

After bending around Taylors Bay, you’ll leave the Bradleys Head Walking Track as you continue towards Chowder Head. In between the thick bushland, to your right, the turquoise waters of Chowder Bay are revealed. The bay calmly stirs, creating a peaceful ambience.

Chowder Bay. A calm blue bay is farmed by some bushland. The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk is nearly at and end, but we recommend to continue further for more attractions and a longer hike.
Chowder Bay

As you hike adjacent to Chowder Bay, the dirt trail gently undulates, eventually spitting you out onto the sand of Chowder Bay. Within the comparatively larger bay, are a few boats and yachts. If you can’t get too far out of the city, on a sunny day, Chowder Bay is truly a great place to be to catch some rays! For the hikers, it’s a welcome change-up from the bushland trail of the Bradleys Head Walking Track.

Clifton Gardens Reserve

Adjacent to Chowder Bay (also known as Clifton Gardens Beach) is Clifton Gardens Reserve. It’s a large grassy area with a few picnic tables and covers – a wonderful spot for a snack, or even lunch. From there, you’ll have unbeatable views of the bay and the wooden jetty that seems to split the bay in two.

Chowder Bay with Clifton Gardens Reserve in the background. Turquoise tranquil water is surrounded by golden sand and bushland. It's hard to make out, but there's a reserve and picnic area in the distance - a great spot for lunch on the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk.
Chowder Bay with Clifton Gardens Reserve in the distance

More Hiking: The Extended Version

Now, you might be thinking, that it’s – the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk is over! Well, technically, yes. But we don’t recommend finishing your hike at Chowder Bay. Further along the coast, are epic lookouts, more great harbourside bushland trail, beautiful beaches and fascinating fortifications. So after taking in the tranquil bay, and putting down some food, speed hike your way towards Georges Head.

Georges Head Lookout

From the eastern end of Chowder Bay, you’ll ascend a concrete set of steps, passing by a restaurant and a few other buildings. It’s not the best part of the hike, but it brings you above the bay, revealing more great views of the harbourside. Continuing slightly uphill, you’ll be taken to another headland, this time – Georges Head. From this vantage point, you’ll have vast views of the entire harbour.

To your right is Chowder Bay, where the wooden jetty prominently sticks out. Surrounding Chowder Bay is the lovely bushland you just hiked through. Further in the distance is the Sydney skyline. You should be able to make out all of the buildings, including the tallest – Sydney Tower Eye.

The Sydney harbour as seen from George Head. We recommend adding on Georges Head to the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk by more great views of the harbour.
The Sydney harbour as seen from George Head

In front of you is a large body of water, separating you and South Head – the tip of the Eastern Suburbs. You should be able to make out the small beaches of Watsons Bay and Vaucluse.

To your left is a gap between South and North Heads, which is essentially the opening and gateway for the Sydney Harbour. All of these beautiful views in front of you, and yet, there’s still more to enjoy at Georges Head itself. Here, as well as Middle Head, there are military fortifications to check out. The ones here are from WWII. On a grassy area, the forts are roped off but you’ll still feel quite close to this historical attraction. Take time to enjoy the cannons and battlements on display.

Georges Head WWII military fortifications. The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk provides not only great views but also historical fortifications. A cannon is pointed out to the vast bay, surrounded by bushland and covered above by a mostly clear sky.
Georges Head WWII military fortifications

Headland Park

After you explore a few more of the viewpoints from Georges Head, continue your extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk northwards. When leaving Georges Head, make sure to take the bush trail that initially steers you towards Headland Park. Along the way, you’ll continue to have some fantastic views of the harbour, particularly towards South and North Head.

Dan enjoying the harbourside views. Amongst harbourside spinifex and heathland, the harbour shines brightly in the background.
Dan enjoying the harbourside views

At this point, you’ve well and truly finished the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk and have technically started Bungaree’s Walkway. This harbourside trail, beginning from Chowder Bay, has obviously taken you through to the Georges Head Lookout and now continues through Headland Park. You’ll see a bunch of signage on the way, keeping you on course. You might even be lucky enough to have a cackling kookaburra righteously perched at the top of one of the signs!

Bungaree’s Walkway then takes you up through Georges Heights and eventually leads you to Balmoral Beach. However, that isn’t on the itinerary for today! Once you get to Middle Head Road, you’ll turn right, instead of continuing straight. You’ll then follow a dirt trail, adjacent to Middle Head Road, that leads you to Middle Head.

Middle Head Walk

You’ll pass by HMAS Penguin – a Royal Australian Navy Base and Middle Head Oval, over the road, to your left. Afterwards, you’ll pass a relatively large car park to your right. Fair to say, this part of the walk isn’t that great. But soon enough, you’ll find the Don Goodsir Walking Track. This small, flat and easy dirt trail is what leads you to heritage-listed fortifications dating back to 1801!

The Don Goodsir Walking Track quickly winds its way through some more bushland which becomes increasingly thicker. The trail becomes a bit fainter as you near the batteries, but it’s easy enough to follow. You’ll then arrive at a small concrete platform, surrounded by a metal fence, overlooking the harbour. Next to it, is the first of the fortifications on Middle Head.

You can then follow the outer concrete parameter of this old battery, making your way around it. The views of the harbour from Middle Head are just as exquisite as any of the other viewpoints. After you’ve explored this battery, there are in fact, many others, some even larger, littered throughout Middle Head. Take time to explore them all before you head to Obelisk Beach – the final attraction of this extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk.

Middle Head - one of the highlights of the extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk. A concreate battery is surrounded by crystal clear water and there's a mostly clear sky ahead.
Middle Head

Obelisk Beach

It would be a shame not to visit Obelisk Beach during this hike. Located right around the corner from Middle Head, is a secluded beach packed with beauty. It is a nudist beach though, so it can also be packed with naked rigs. Regardless, the beach itself is gorgeous. To get to the beach, head back to Middle Head Road, and before continuing back to Headland Park, take a left onto Chowder Bay Road. Not far from there, is an entrance to your left, indicated by a narrow trail of old wooden steps winding down to the beach.

Once you arrive on the beach, most people head to the right where there is a larger stretch of uninterrupted sand. But to your left, are an array of scattered rocks, majestically protruding from the sand. It’s a great place to take a photo or hang out to take a breather, before the return hike back to Bradleys Head.

Again, expect serene harbourside views from this cosy beach. Of which, the Gadigal clan of the Eora Nation are the traditional owners. We thank them for caring for the land for many tens of thousands of years prior.

Beck at Obelisk Beach

Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk Recap

The extended Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk is a lovely harbourside hike. It’s certainly one of the highlights of the Sydney Harbour National Park. There’s an interesting combination of impressive Sydney architecture which is enjoyed from the many great bushland surroundings on the trail. What a marvellous mix!

How to Get There

Bradleys Head is located on the northern side of the harbour. There are many ways to access this part of Sydney Harbour National Park. As well, there are different options for completing the hike depending on how you get there and whether you want to pay for parking. We’ll cover the three best options.

Bradleys Head Car Park: Bradleys Head Road

Simply passing Athol Hall and parking at Bradleys Head Amphitheatre Car Park, at the end of Bradleys Head Road, is the first option and most logical choice. But, as of 2021, you’re looking at $8AUD/day. Even with a NSW National Parks All Parks or Multi Parks Pass, you have to pay at the Bradleys Head Amphitheatre Car Park. There are only around 20 spaces, so it can fill up quickly on the weekend.

Chowder Bay Road Parking

You could possibly park at the other end of the walk near Obelisk Beach. In turn, you’d be doing the extended Chowder Bay to Bradleys Head Walk! Basically, parking on Chowder Bay Road, just outside Obelisk Beach is your second option. If you follow the rules, you can even park here for free. If you have a NSW National Parks All Parks or Multi Parks Pass, you can park here for free for up to 4 hours/day. But it means that you might be rushed to finish in time, so you better be speed hiking your butt off! Here’s a map, showing where to park near Obeilsk Beach.

Otherwise, parking here is $3AUD/hour, to a max of $16/day, increasing to $4/hour, to a max of $20/day on weekends and public holidays.

There’s probably even less parking here than compared with Bradleys Head so arrive early to get a spot. If parking here is full, there’s the Middle Head Car Park around the corner. But parking there can be exxy. For Middle Head Car Park prices, check here.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

Public Transport

If you don’t have a car, you could always get the ferry to Taronga Zoo from Circular Quay. The walk from Taronga Zoo Wharf to Bradleys Head follows the Bradleys Head Walking Track. From Taronga Zoo, you’ll have an additional 1.5km harbourside walk to reach Bradleys Head Amphitheatre. This should only takes 20 minutes or so.


Being based in Sydney, we didn’t need to look into accommodation. But if you’re searching for accommodation, you should use or use WikiCamps or Campermate for camping.

Getting to Sydney

Of course, you’ll need to fly to Sydney to do this trip from abroad. If you’re travelling to Sydney from overseas, use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always get the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search.

Hiking Gear Essentials For the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Trail Navigation

Trail navigation is fairly straightforward on the extended Bradleys Head to Towlers Bay Walk. But if you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s worth having some GPS-guided directions as it can get a little bit confusing around Georges Heights. We recommend using Wikiloc or AllTrails.

For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help during the hike and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Although you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand.

Bonus Tips

  • Start early: avoid the Sydney crowds.
  • Bring your swimmers: there are too many options for swimming to choose from!
  • Explore more of North Sydney: this hike shouldn’t take longer than 4–5 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to see more of this beautiful city. Why not head to the Mosman Marina afterwards?
  • Try a similar but different walk: there are plenty of variations of the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk. You could also try these walks – Bradleys Head to Balmoral Beach Walk, Balmoral to Chowder Bay Walk or the Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach Walk (via Bradleys Head) AKA the Taronga to Balmoral Walk.
  • Is the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk dog friendly? No, you’ll have to leave the pooch at home for this walk.

If you have read and enjoyed this article or have some feedback, don’t be shy, leave us a comment below!

We acknowledge and respect the First Nations people as the Traditional Custodians of the land/water that we visited and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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