(0km) Balmoral Park car park → Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk heads away from the oval, across a bridge. The walk then climbs a few flights of stairs to enter a fenced area with many signs. This walk continues for some time up stairs to turn right, through the fence and continues up stairs to the intersection with Middle Head Rd.
(0.57km) Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk → Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd
(1.1km) Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd → Int. Old Fort and Govenors Rds
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk heads through the gate, keeping the view of the water to the right of the track. Note that if the gate is closed, visitors can walk around the right-hand side of the fence. The walk then follows the fenceline, (on the left of the track), to then continue up a small hill along the fenceline and to a short stone wall. The walk continues over the stone wall to the fork in the road.
(1.7km) Int. Old Fort and Govenors Rds → Int. Lower Barracks Trk and Old Fort Rd
(1.89km) Int. Lower Barracks Trk and Old Fort Rd → Tallest Fort
Middle Head Forts
(2km) Tallest Fort → Int. Lower Barracks Trk and Old Fort Rd
(2.1km) Int. Lower Barracks Trk and Old Fort Rd → Int. Inner Forts and Lower Barracks Trks
Continue straight: From the southern fort (surrounded by bush), this walk winds right, away from the fort keeping the sea on the right of the track. The track quickly leads to an intersection near the fort at the sea cliff.
(2.35km) Int. Inner Forts and Lower Barracks Trks → Disappearing Gun Pit North
(2.35km) Int. Inner Forts and Lower Barracks Trks → Behind Officers Quarters
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk heads down the grass hill beside the old house, keeping the house on the left. The track then turns left and down the hill with the fence, to continue along the fenceline. Near the end of the fence, the track turns right, down the hill and comes to a management trail.
(2.62km) Behind Officers Quarters → Middle Head Oval NE Gate
Veer left: From the middle of Cobblers Beach, the walk follows the track up the hill, with the beach on the right of the track. The track steeply climbs up the hill to the white picket fence of Middle Head Oval. The track turns left, following the fence to the gate and ‘Middle Head’ sign. Now Veer right to rejoin the main walk .
(2.62km) Behind Officers Quarters → Cobblers Beach Trail Top
(2.72km) Cobblers Beach Trail Top → Middle Head Oval NE Gate
(2.87km) Middle Head Oval NE Gate → Middle Head Oval SW Gate
(3.01km) Middle Head Oval SW Gate → Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd
(3.04km) Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd → Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk
(3.58km) Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk → Balmoral Park car park
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk heads toward the sea, keeping the oval to your left. The walk passes ‘1st Balmoral Sea Scouts’ on the right before coming to the car park.
Maps for the Balmoral to Middle Head Forts walkYou can download the PDF for this walk to print a map.
These maps below cover the walk and the wider area around the walk, they are worth carrying for safety reasons.
|Sydney Heads||1:25 000 Map Series||91302N SYDNEY HEADS||NSW-91302N|
|Sydney||1:100 000 Map Series||9130 SYDNEY||9130|
Overview of this walks grade – based on the AS 2156.1 – 2001
Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
|AS 2156.1||Gradient||Very steep (4/6)|
|Quality of track||Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)|
|Signs||Directional signs along the way (3/6)|
|Experience Required||No experience required (1/6)|
|Weather||Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)|
|Infrastructure||Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)|
Some more details of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining grading looking at sections of the walk
2.5km of this walk has gentle hills with occasional steps and another 750m is very steep. Whilst another 550m is flat with no steps and the remaining 300m has short steep hills.
Quality of track
2.2km of this walk follows a smooth and hardened path and another 1.8km follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles. The remaining (170m) follows a clear and well formed track or trail.
Around 2.8km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 1.3km is clearly signposted.
This whole walk, 4.1km requires no previous bushwalking experience.
This whole walk, 4.1km is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).
Around 3.4km of this walk is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats), whilst the remaining 770m has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced).
2 km Circuit
The walk from Chowder Bay to Middle Head is an interesting one, passing Georges Head Lookout and its views over South Head, and then going up to the WW1 hospital. The track continues with an exploration of the whole of Middle Head, including forts, a nudist beach (a sidetrip option) and stunning views over the harbour. The walk returns via Chowder Bay Rd which offers a few fortifications hidden in the bush.
Total climbing: 215m
5.1 km Circuit
2 hrs 30 mins
This scenic walk takes you from the Spit Bridge, along the coast to explore the Middle Head Forts. There are a few alternate routes for use at high tide or high seas. Balmoral Beach offers a few spots for a coffee or fish and chips along the way. Middle Head offers plenty of options for exploring the old forts and enjoying a view out the heads.
Total climbing: 181m
6.3 km One way
2 hrs 30 mins
This walk explores a great section of Sydney Harbour. The walk starts at the Taronga Zoo ferry wharf with views of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The spectacular views continue as you explore bushland and the bays along the way. The walk also explores a historic section of the harbour, including the fortifications at Bradley’s Head and Chowder Bay. Some sections of this walk are closed at night. There are a few places to get food along the way, and many great places to eat your own packed lunch.
Total climbing: 328m
6.8 km One way
This is a scenic and culturally rich walk with views over Sydney Harbour and many interesting heritage buildings along the way. The start at the zoo allows for a possible visit. The walk then passes the Bacino Bar on the way through the military heritage buildings. This is an excellent walk to do on a hot summer’s day, with access to beautiful beaches along the whole walk.
Total climbing: 410m
10.4 km One way
This very long day walk has some stunning views, excellent heritage sites, a Zoo and beautiful beaches. What more could you ask for? The many sidetrips and places to stop and enjoy the views, having a coffee at the Bacino Bar or fish and chips on Balmoral Beach, will all make this walk an excellent way to ease into longer distance walking. The walk spends most of its time on the coast, and follows the Spit to Manly walk for the last half.
Total climbing: 746m
18.9 km One way
Other Nearby walks
This walks follows the coast from Balmoral to the Spit and across Spit Bridge. There are some alternate tracks to consider at high-tides, which take the streets over the headlands. Balmoral and Chinamans Beaches are very nice places for lunch and a swim. Allows time to wander and explore. There are plenty of options for swimming.
Total climbing: 85m
4.3 km One way
2 hrs 30 mins
904 m Return
The Georges Heights Lookout has a brilliant view, which is well worth the short stroll from the road. The track is wheelchair-accessible and leads past some interesting signs about the area. The grass surrounding the lookout is also a nice place to lay the picnic rug for lunch. Georges Heights is the site of a series of gun emplacements, and provides great views over the harbour.
Total climbing: 2m
144 m Return
Chowder Bay to Georges Heights Lookout is a fantastic walk to burn off a coffee from the Bacino Bar. The walk passes the Bacino Bar and enjoys the view from an old gun emplacement at George Heights Lookout. The sandstone seats and shaded grassy areas make this a perfect walk for a picnic too.
Total climbing: 60m
842 m Return
1.7 km Return
This loop walk is the shortest way to access the views from Chowder Head. The optional side trip leads to an informal lookout on an unfenced rock platform. A great spot to enjoy the sailing boats on Sydney Harbour. In spring, this walk is particularly spectacular with a wide range of wildflowers on display.
Total climbing: 36m
548 m Circuit
This is a short walk down to Castle Rock Beach, tucked into the rocky shores of Middle Harbour. The walk is mostly along boardwalk or footpath through rainforest vegetation. The foliage surrounding the track is topped by a closed canopy which provides shade, before opening out onto the sunny beach.
Total climbing: 20m
200 m Return
2 km Return
This is an excellent walk with some very scenic views. The walk travels along a well used track through the thick coastal bush. The views are capped off by the vista over Sydney Harbour from the Grotto Point Lighthouse. Easy parking, a few good side trips, and in particular, the Aboriginal Engravings, make this walk all the more appealing.
Total climbing: 83m
1.7 km Return
Spend some time relaxing and exploring Camp Cove – the first landing place for Europeans in Australia. On this walk, you will head across the northern end of Camp Cove Beach, up some steps to follow an old sandstone cobbled road. This road leads to a great vantage point, with views over the Sydney Harbour to the city. This spot is also host to a large (disused) gun, that once defended these shores. Plenty of history and beauty.
Total climbing: 14m
358 m Return
This walk leads to a popular nudist (clothing optional) beach on Sydney Harbour’s South Head. The walk follows the clear footpath / old roads past several significant historic and beautiful sites before climbing down a set of steps to find the beach. The beach is protected from the main surf on the inside of the headland and provides a great view across the harbour to Middle Head.
Total climbing: 38m
992 m Return
This walk explores the tip of Sydney Harbour’s South Head. On this walk, you will visit several historic and scenic places, following a footpath most of the way. You will start at Camp Cove, the first landing place for Europeans in Australia, and also visit a number of gun emplacements, designed to protect the shores from the threat of invasion. Also enjoy the panoramic ocean and harbour views from the cliff line at Hornby Lighthouse. A wonderful walk for those wanting to explore wide open views and get a glimpse of history.
Total climbing: 64m
1.7 km Circuit
Fire DangerEach park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.
Weather ForestThis walk starts in the Metropolitan weather district always check the formal BOM forecast or pdf before starting your walk.
Park Information & Alerts
Short URL = http://wild.tl/btmhf
There are other downloads I am still working on.
You will probably need to login to access these — still all free.
* KML (google earth file)
* GPX (GPS file)
Special Maps/ brochures
* A3 topo maps
* PDF with Lands Topo map base
* PDF with arial image (and map overlay)
I wanted to get the main site live first, this extra stuff will come in time.