North Head

Top choice national park in Manly

About 3km south of Manly, spectacular, chunky North Head offers dramatic cliffs, lookouts, pretty paths through the native scrub and sweeping views of the ocean, the harbour and the city. It's great to explore by bike or on foot. Grab a map and plot your own path through the headland, which takes in former military barracks, WWII gun emplacements, a quarantine cemetery and a memorial walk commemorating Australia's military. At the tip, Fairfax Lookouts offer dramatic clifftop perspectives.

North Head is believed to have been used as a ceremonial site by the native Camaraigal people. These days, most of the headland is part of Sydney Harbour National Park. There's a visitor centre (10am to 4pm) at the North Fort complex, and a cafe. Tours of the defensive tunnels and quarantine cemetery run at weekends.

The 9km, four-hour Manly Scenic Walkway loops around the park; pick up a brochure from the visitor centre. Also here is the historic Q Station.