Top walking and running trails in Newcastle

Top walking and running trails in Newcastle


For many of us, going on holidays means exploring new walking, running and rolling routes – whether it be the city streets, beachside paths or parks and bushland 

Here in Newcastle we are known for our outdoor lifestyle, so we thought it only fair to share some of our favourite adventures around the city - best enjoyed on feet or wheels.

The Bathers Way, CBD

Distance: approx 12km return 
Difficulty: medium  

The jewel in the crown and an absolute must do for anyone seeking salt air and the scenic route. This is a well-known and (well-worn) path for both locals and visitorsand it is near impossible to take a wrong turn (unless you’re too busy gawking at the views). 

If you’re staying in the CBD, start at Nobbys Beach and head south to Newcastle Beach. From here, you’ll see the inviting green of King Edward Park and perhaps the less inviting stairs. If stairs aren’t your thing, take the winding road to the top, or practice your hill-sprints straight through the middle - the view from the top at Shepherds Hill will be worth it, no matter which ascent you choose 

The downhill to Bar Beach via the iconic ANZAC Memorial Walk is one of the most popular attractions in Newcastle, and with good reason. Built in 2015 to commemorate the ANZACs, the walkway offers 360 degree views of the city, the coastline and the ocean. The remainder of the run to Merewether Beach is relatively flat, perfect for people watching, grabbing a coffee and checking the surf conditions. 

Boost the route: 

  • Add Nobbys Breakwall to the beginning or end of your trip to increase the distance to approx 15km
  • Continue past Nobbys Beach and take in some harbour views. If you’re a keen runner and seeking a distance of around 30km, include the breakwall and Honeysuckle/Foreshore area and a loop of Carrington
The beach highlights, Merewether

Distance: approx 2.6km return 
Difficulty: easy 

Starting at Merewether Beach, home of international surfing competition Surfest, follow the crowd along the footpath to Bar Beach and enjoy this easy route. While the path is wide and smooth, the hill at Dixon Park can be deceivingly tough (especially if running with a pram). This is perfect if you've got wheels; whether it be kids on scooters, a wheelchair, pram or rollerskates.

Boost the route: 

  • Continue past Bar Beach to the top of the ANZAC Memorial Walk to increase the distance to approx 5km
  • Add a loop of Merewether Ocean Baths for an extra few metres plus satisfying views 
Fernleigh Track, Adamstown to Belmont

Distance: variable
Difficulty: easy 

The Fernleigh Track, stretching from Adamstown to Belmont, is a favourite for families on bicycles, distance cyclists and runners alike. There are multiple access points, with the full distance measuring 15km each way 

The peaceful and scenic track winds along the route of a disused coal haul rail line through bushland and wetland areas, as well as residential and employment areas. You’ll pass by former stations and heritage railway relics along the way.  

Note: there are not many water bubblers along the Fernleigh Track, so plan your hydration.  

Boost the route:  

  • Part of the Fernleigh Track aligns with Glenrock State Conservation Area, check the map to plan your  adventure
  • There are several outdoor exercise stations along the Fernleigh Track to practice your chin-ups or improve your core
  • The Fernleigh Track can be made any distance – just turn around sooner!  
Yuelarbah Track, Glenrock State Conservation Area

Distance: approx 5.5km return
Difficulty: easy 

This popular track is pedestrian only and a great short trail option for beginner trail runners or a family bushwalk. 

Commencing from the Yuelarbah Trail car park, access is via the raised boardwalk near the information board. The picturesque track leads you along Flaggy Creek, through wet gullies and coastal rainforest. On the way to Glenrock Beach you’ll pass two waterfalls and Leichhardt’s lookout which offers excellent views over Glenrock Lagoon. 

Boost the route:  

  • There are numerous trails to explore in Glenrock, check the map and design your own route. You can explore for hours in here if you’ve got the time. Be mindful though, there are lots of MTB trails in Glenrock so be ensure to adventure safely and listen out for passing bikes.
Tall Trees, Blackbutt Reserve

Distance: 2.6km loop
Difficulty: easy 

Surrounded by nature sights and sounds, an adventure in Blackbutt Reserve will calm your senses. The Tall Trees trail is a loop that circles the Richley Reserve area of the park and is easy terrain.  Trails are signposted at each major intersection with the name of the track and the distance.  

Boost the route: 

  • There are nine different trails to explore in Blackbutt Reserve, add the Main Ridge track to this route or check the map and design your own adventure to increase your distance 
Throsby Creek, Wickham

Distance: 3km loop
Difficulty: easy 

The Throsby Creek shared path is loved by many and is home to Newy Park Run, which sees almost 430 runners through the course every Saturday morning. 

Starting at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, head north (keep Throsby Creek on your right), run under the quirky underpass and find your stride on this flat, peaceful shared pathway. Mostly a residential area, you’ll see locals tending to their gardens, stand up paddle boarders, dogs on adventures and dragon boaters training for regatta season.  

Cross Throsby Creek at the Hannell Street bridge (about 1.4km into the run) and keep an eye out for the entrance to the boardwalk through the mangroves. Wind your way through this area before landing back on the main path. Use the Cowper Street Bridge to complete your loop. This loop is particularly stunning at dusk as the sun sets over the area. 

Boost the route: 

  • Instead of crossing the Hannell Street Bridge, continue the same side of Throsby Creek to Islington Park – or further. Alternative crossing points include Lewis St and River Court Road. 
  • Tell someone where you're going – especially if you are heading out for a long run and exploring new areas  
  • Not all routes have regular water bubblers – take water
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen – sun safety is important 
  • Consider bug spray – especially if you're heading into Glenrock State Conversation Area or Blackbutt Reserve.