North Head

Top ways to experience North Head and nearby attractions

The area
Neighbourhood: Manly
A 40-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay will take you to the famous northern beach of Manly. The beaches here are perfect for learning to surf or spending the day sun-tanning. The walk from Spit Bridge to Manly is a great way to experience Sydney Harbour Bay and the Australian bush land. Along the foreshore, there are plenty of watering holes and wine bars with excellent cuisine. There are plenty of kid-friendly restaurants as well, especially along the family-oriented areas like Shelly Beach. An excellent way to experience Manly is to rent a bike and explore the dedicated bike paths and off road trails. The North Head National Park is another must-see. Located on the southern tip of Manly, North Head National Park offers great bushwalks and panoramic views of the city.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles388 reviews
Excellent
265
Very good
110
Average
12
Poor
1
Terrible
0

LongReefHacker
Sydney, Australia242 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
There is so much history on North Head and the views are fabulous but you must walk.
I had relatives in tow including a 5 year old so it was good to be able to park close to the top of the headland. There is paid parking but it is cheap. You'll need a credit or debit card though.
The walks reveal wonderful views everywhere. The bushland was burned severely during eastern Australia's firestorm season a couple of years ago, but it is recovering. Flannel flowers were in full bloom for example.
Paths are easy and there is a wonderful memorial walk that commemorates Australia's servicemen and women in the many wars and campaigns in which they have served. The memorial plaques include maps and lots of detalls all set in beautifully cut sandstone plinths. The sandstone itself is eye-catchingly beautiful.
There are amenities - toilets and water bubblers - along the walks but you need to take notice of signage to find them.
North Head was also home to major gun emplacements and well preserved relics exist along with plenty of explanatory signs. They are all mono-lingual - just in English.
The wlaks are easy and the views are stunning.
Written November 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Byrne C
Sydney, Australia57 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Couples
We stayed at the Q Station but also took time to derive and walk to explore the whole area. Lookouts, cemeteries, history all in one place.
Written January 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mairwen1
United Kingdom9,517 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
North Head is a national park area, sitting high above Manly and Shelly beaches. You can easily combine Manly Beach and North Head in a a day trip and you get the best of Australian sand, surf and bushland.
Highlights at North Head include bushland walking trails, whale-watching sites, native wildlife, panoramic views of the harbour, military relics and the old historic quarantine centre. It is free to enter.
You can walk from Manly Beach up to North Head but it’s steep and you need to allow about an hour. I’ve not done this yet but, I’d like to go back and do it another time. Instead we drove to North Head and did a few of the bush walking trails around the headland.
If you have 1 – 2 hours, you will easily have time for more than one walking trail. They are well sign-posted although I’d recommend stopping by the Information Centre first and picking up a free map or guide. They are pretty helpful in there.
The Fairfax Trail is the best one for panoramic views and whale-watching. It only takes 30 minutes. The Memorial Walk is the best one for seeing native bushland. It has beautiful native wildflowers (acacia, banksia, boronia, wattle). Depending on how much noise you make and whether you thud your way through the bush, you may also see native wildlife like kookaburras or the normally shy echidna.
I found the Memorial Walk to be very moving. The red brick pavers are engraved with the names of those who served in different wars and there is excellent historical information, set in sandstone blocks with old photos.
The Bella Vista Café is a nice spot to finish. The outdoor seating has wonderful harbour views. We finished here.

GETTING THERE:
From the Manly ferry wharf, catch the 135 bus (stand C) which will take you right into the North Head sanctuary, stopping by the visitor centre and Bella Vista cafe. Bus 135 is pre-pay only so you will need an Opal card, otherwise you will be stuck.
If driving, It is only a flat $5 parking fee for the day (must be the most reasonable parking fee in Sydney).
Written October 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mmswire1
Wollongong, Australia3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020
North Head is Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS), which is a nationally and state-listed Endangered Ecological scrub. Because this land was first set up as a Quarantine Station to protect Sydney from the Spanish Flu in 1919, and later just before the onset of WW11, then became a military stronghold to protect and ward off the enemy. What is left is amazing remnant bush, these two factors have saved this part of North Head as a isolated beauty, just up the road from Manly.
Written June 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Linda W
Pymble, Australia40 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2020 • Family
We haven’t been to North Head for a bush walk in over 10years. You just forget how breathtakingly beautiful this part of Sydney is. We bush walked for 3 hours. Time just flew. Felt so relaxed.
Written May 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tinker
Sydney, Australia109 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
Go on a clear day and you get treated to a lovely view of the harbour with the city in the background. I've also been on cloudy days and the view is disappointing.

I've never been in whale season (winter) so don't see much attraction on the ocean side of the headland. Sadly, most viewing areas are barricaded off too.

Parking is $5 regardless of time spent there, but if you don't want to pay, just pull up in the carpark, enjoy the city view for 5 minutes and then leave. You'll have seen 95% of the attraction.
Written March 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BasherWarwickshire
Solihull, UK281 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
Like everyone, caught the ferry to Manley and then did the scenic walk. There is however a great little visitor centre at the North Head which also does a tour of the gun placements as well as being helpful about the history of the North Head
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wsahui
Sydney16 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
Great afternoon. Hot, crowded. Ideally bring a milk crate to stand on and be above the crowd. The site is a tourist spot with Cafe and parking available
Written January 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JohnBanora
Mountain Creek, Australia25 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018
Easy access parking and worthwhile to take the leisurely drive to this iconic view across the Sydney harbour entrance. Very, VERY crowded on the Sydney to Hobart race day. Bring your camera and enjoy the serenity.
Written November 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aldo G
Concord West, Australia9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Couples
Amazing view. You would be silly to miss this view. Spot a whale in whale watching season too. Unbelievable.
Written October 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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NORTH HEAD - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about North Head

According to Tripadvisor travellers, these are the best ways to experience North Head: