The Chowder Bay to Balmoral Walk is a beautiful short hike through the historical North Shore of Sydney. It is in fact the second half of the Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach walk which also includes the section between Bradleys Head and Chowder Bay.
This walk includes interesting highlights of Sydney’s military and settlement history, as well as some of the best views of the Harbour from the North.
You can begin the walk at either end, but if you start at Chowder Bay you can finish your walk with lunch and a relaxing swim in the calm waters of Balmoral Beach.
|Chowder Bay to Balmoral|
|Distance:||2.7km (one way)|
How to Get There
You can easily drive to Chowder Bay via Chowder Bay Road and park your car at one of the ticketed parking spots.
Using public transport is even easier. Catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo, or take the bus (lines 244, 247) from Wynyard.
The first section from Chowder Bay starts at a sign that says Bungaree’s Walkway, close to the car park and next to a little coffee shop with terrace.
This is towards the end of Chowder Bay Road, just before the little roundabout.
Bungaree’s walkway is the steep hike up to the ridge of Georges Heights (Headland Park), and is named after an aboriginal called Bungaree who was in charge of a local farm established by Governor Macquarie in 1815.
Take the limestone steps up to the road (Suakin Drive), and you can start to see your first glimpses of the beautiful Sydney Harbour.
Continue up the road to car park for the Gunners Barracks, now a popular spot for weddings and high tea, but once a crucial military post for protecting Sydney Harbour.
Georges Heights Lookout
To your right behind the Limestone cottage the harbour will open out before you, North and South Head to the left, the city skyline to your right. This is where you will find the Georges Head Lookout Lawn leading up to the Georges Heights Lookout.
Take your time to stroll along the looping historical walk and explore the tunnels and battlements. Some of the cannons are actually still there. This is a great spot to stop for a picnic, with toilet facilities nearby and the views are magnificent.
You can continue on the dirt track up and around the headland, taking in more of the view looking down towards Middle Head. If you’re lucky, you may come across some local wildlife, a Kookaburra digging for worms, or a flock of Australian bush turkeys hanging in the trees.
Feel free to take a detour to your left into The Landship, an open limestone space once used by the Australian Navy for training exercises, as it was decorated to look like a ship’s hold (storage area).
Once you are back on the path and crossed over Middle Head Road, you can turn right into Middle Head or go straight down to begin your descent towards Balmoral.
The last leg towards Balmoral will take you through a protected area for native trees to flourish.
This is also quite a popular section with runners who may pass you going up and down many times before you reach Balmoral.
This part of the walk is quite serene, like walking down through a tropical rain forest. Once you cross the playing fields and car park you will find Balmoral Beach in all its glory.
Balmoral has a fantastic playground, calm and inviting waters, and many great food spots to reward yourself for your hard work.
You could easily spend a whole day at Balmoral Beach, one of the most family friendly beaches in Sydney.
Hire a stand-up-paddling (SUP) board and go for a relaxed paddle in the quiet waves.
Or if you prefer to go under water, do a beautiful snorkel session in the sheltered waters of the bay. You can also join a scuba diving course and discover the Balmoral underwater world.
You can of course also choose to just relax and watch the world go by. The best way to do this is by treating yourself to a well-deserved coffee at one of the many cafes and restaurants along the esplanade.
The Chowder Bay to Balmoral walk is a fairly short hike that offers breathtaking sights and views of the Sydney Harbour.
The walking track is not too hard, offers sufficient amenities and there are more than enough places to rest up, making sure you will spend a perfect morning or afternoon outside. You can also run this track or take your dog out for a nice stroll.
Chowder Bay to Balmoral Walk Map
Look out for the sign that says Bungaree’s Walkway, next to the coffee shop at the car park. This sign marks the start of the Chowder Bay to Balmoral walking track.