Wandering aimlessly and getting lost in a foreign city is how I get to know it; setting my iPod to shuffle songs, following an urban walking trail and getting lost in thought is how I get to know myself. My criteria for a killer urban walking trail:
• Breathtaking scenery
• Not too long, not too short (one-to-three hours in duration)
• A defined path
• No backtracking. Preferably, the hike is circular
• Easy accessibility from downtown
“Everything is within walking distance if you have the time“. – Steven Wright
BEST URBAN WALKING TRAILS
Sydney’s Bondi Beach to Coogee Walk: Catch a bus to either Bondi Beach or Coogee Beach. Along the journey pass outdoor cafes and pubs, the Bondi Icebergs Club (open to visitors and clearly one of the coolest places to be in the city), Waverley Cemetary, dream beachhouses, and Aboriginal carvings.
Duration: 90 minutes. Level of difficulty easy: People density: high.
• Bondi to Coogee Walk Map
Hong Kong’s Dragon’s Back: Easily reached by the MTR and bus from the heart of the city. Stunning views of Clear Water Bay and islands on one side, the expanse of the Stanley Peninsula on the other. End in charming Shek O fishing village and catch a bus back to HK.
Duration: 75 minutes. Level of difficulty: moderate. People density: moderate. • Dragon’s Back Map
Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak Trail: Ride The Peak Tram from the Garden Road Lower Terminus (walking distance from the MTR Admiralty Station) to the top of The Peak. Take either Lugard Road on the right, or Harlech Road on the left. Both offer panoramic vistas of Victoria Harbor. Back at Peak Tower, go to the information “caboose” for advice on additional walks, including the 31-mile Hong Kong Trail. Findlay Road is an effortless and enjoyable return route to the city center.
Duration: 60 minutes. Level of difficulty: easy. People density: moderate.
Sydney’s Manly to Spit Bridge Bushwalk: Grab a map — trust me here — and take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. The walk is divided into distinct sections: Do ‘em all. Tall grass, a stunning overlook of Sydney, beaches, Aboriginal engravings, an art gallery and museum, and wooden plank walkways await.
Duration: 2.5 hours. Level of difficulty: easy to moderate, depending on the stretch. People density: High at times (and eerily isolated at others).
• Manly to Spit Bridge Walk Map
Vancouver’s Stanley Park (Seawall) Walk. Within walking distance of downtown. Rewards around every bend: totem poles, a soaring bridge, flocks o’ fowl, statues, a waterpark, beaches, concession stands.
Duration: 90 minutes. Level of difficulty: easy. People density: high.
• Stanley Park Map
p.s. Walk duration times are based on a gait of four miles per hour.