Once a quaint fishing village, Watsons Bay is now a lovely seaside enclave with loads of appeal, located at the tip of South Head peninsula in Sydney’s east. Enjoy a family picnic in a lush park, swim in a harbourside pool, dine on delicious seafood at a waterfront restaurant or hike up to a historic lighthouse.
Things to do
Steeped in history, Watsons Bay is rich in indigenous and colonial heritage. Join Kadoo Tours to learn about Aboriginal culture and the indigenous heritage of the area. The two-hour guided tour along the rugged clifftops of the Gap Bluff walking track will also have you marvelling at the vast Pacific Ocean as you walk by the spot where the full-rigged passenger ship the Dunbar shipwrecked off South Head in 1857.
The South Head heritage trail is another lovely walking track, taking you past Lady Bay Beach, which permits nude bathing, and on to the top of South Head. Here you’ll find the historic red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse, built in 1858 after the Dunbar sank. Between May and November, you can easily spot whales off the coast during their annual migration.
Watsons Bay is a calm, protected cove with a small sandy beach, making it perfect for stand-up paddle boarding. Watsons Bay Stand Up Paddling offers lessons, as well as guided SUP tours that take you to secluded little bays around the harbour or you can just hire the gear and adventure off on your own. Watsons Bay Baths, an enclosed harbour pool with sunbathing pontoons, is a scenic place for a swim.
Picturesque Camp Cove is a short stroll from the Watsons Bay ferry wharf but a million miles away from the rest of the world. The soft, sandy beach stretches out in front of multi-million-dollar mansions and offers a calm, secluded haven beloved by families. It’s also a great spot to go snorkelling or kayaking.
Eat & drink
Watsons Bay is home to the iconic seafood restaurant Doyle’s on the Beach. Enjoy fine dining on the water, while feasting on fresh fish, lobster, prawns and other ocean delicacies. Alternatively, you can grab takeaway fish ‘n’ chips from Doyle’s on the Wharf, right where the ferry docks, and then enjoy it in the nearby Robertson Park.
Indulge in a glamourous high tea at Dunbar House, a historic building overlooking pretty Robertson Park. The perfectly-positioned Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, right on the water, has the more casual Beach Club, which serves a light menu, and provides a buzzy beer garden atmosphere and stunning harbour views.
Getting to Watsons Bay, next to exclusive Vaucluse, is easy by public transport. A ferry from Circular Quay across sparkling Sydney Harbour takes less than 20 mins and is a magical experience. Alternatively, hop on a bus in the city at Walsh Bay, Barangaroo, Hyde Park or Kings Cross. There are buses from Bondi Beach as well.