Discover one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in Sydney, where beautiful mansions and heritage homes serving high tea sit alongside spectacular coastal walks and harbour beaches. Vaucluse is exclusive, elegant and naturally stunning.
History & heritage
Vaucluse House is a colonial mansion-turned-museum, set in a picturesque garden estate. It began life as a cottage but when colonial explorer William Charles Wentworth bought it in 1827, he built it into a stately home.
Take a guided tour of Australia’s first official house museum, then enjoy high tea in the garden tearooms, available Wednesday to Sunday.
Things to do
Vaucluse is known for its sheltered harbour beaches. Shark Beach in Nielsen Park is popular with families, home to an enclosed swimming area, park and cafe. Divers will want to head east towards Bottle and Glass Point.
Nielsen Park is also where the Hermitage Foreshore walking track begins, winding through bushland and past the heritage-listed Strickland House to Milk Beach (this is the easiest way to access the beach). The walking track offers stunning harbour views, including of Shark Island and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Another wonderful walking track is the 5km Federation Cliff Walk along rugged sandstone cliffs, connecting Dover Heights and Watsons Bay, and providing postcard views of the Pacific Ocean. Stop along the way at Macquarie Lighthouse, Australia’s oldest lighthouse designed by convict architect Francis Greenway.
Eat & drink
Nielsen Park is a great picnic spot, while The Nielsen comprises a waterfront restaurant and casual takeaway kiosk, located in the restored 1914 Nielsen Park Kiosk. The Botanica is a farm-to-table fine dining restaurant and home to Sol Spa, if you’re after some extra indulgence. For coffee and casual café fare, visit The Trail, Belle Café or The Grumpy Baker.
Located in Sydney’s east between Rose Bay and Watsons Bay, getting to Vaucluse is easy by public transport. Take a bus from the city centre or Bondi Beach. For fabulous views of Sydney Harbour, hop on a ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay and then take a bus or walk south for around 30 minutes, via Parsley Bay’s 1910-built cable footbridge to Vaucluse House.