This epic walk has two major components: the 10km western stretch between Manly and Spit Bridge, and the 9.5km eastern loop around North Head. Either download a map or pick one up from the information centre near the wharf.
The western section traces the complex harbour coastline through upmarket suburbs and then a spectacular section of unspoiled national park. It emerges in Clontarf and winds its way to the Spit Bridge. After crossing the bridge you can take a bus either back to Manly (buses 143 or 144) or into the city (169, 170, 178, 180 and others).
The eastern loop is known as the North Head Circuit Track and takes 2½ to 3½ hours. From the wharf, follow Eastern Esplanade and Stuart St to Spring Cove, head into the North Head section of Sydney Harbour National Park, and make your way through the bush to the spectacular Fairfax Lookout on North Head (approximately 45 minutes in total). From the lookout, walk the Fairfax Loop (1km, 30 minutes) and then head back via Australia's Memorial Walk and WWII gun emplacements to the Bluefish Track, which descends spectacularly to Shelly Beach, from where you return to Manly Beach via picturesque Fairy Bower Beach.