Accessible by public transport such as bus, ferry, water taxi and by car, Watsons Bay is definitely a must place to tick off for visitors to Sydney. By car, it’s about a half hour drive from the city, but the ferry will give you the option to see the magnificent Eastern side of Sydney by water.
Watson’s Bay is a stunning harbour-side enclave with lots of things to do in a day or even a few hours. You can bring your own picnic hamper and enjoy it in the idyllic Robertson Park. The green grassed park offers shaded and sheltered areas with several table and chair arrangements and is one of the best places to enjoy the water views.
There are restaurants, cafes and an ice cream bar for a quick nibble depending on your fancy. For more serious dining options you can check out the delicious offerings at Doyles Restaurant or The Watson Bay Hotel which has a slightly elevated position, great to people watch and sink a frosty one with a good value and varied menu. Both venues have unparalleled water views and alfresco dining. The Doyles Fisherman Wharf is our go-to kiosk in the area, their fish and chips are second to none. You can dine in or find a quiet spot and watch the ferries come and go disgorging load after load of passengers arriving at the Bay.
For sun seekers, there are two beaches in the area, Camp Cove which truly is a gem, it’s calm, gentle and very family friendly and just looks superb on a long summers day. For the adults only, Lady Bay or Lady Jane Beach is one of a number of legal nude beaches in Sydney which can be found a short walk away up and along the headland path, access to this beach is by steep steps only.
Walking is the only option to explore Watsons Bay but it’s relatively easy, just a few steps to get you up to the Headland path then it flattens out. You can start your walk by crossing Military Road from Robertson Park to The Gap, a spectacular clifftop viewing area looking out to open sea.
Continue your walk along the Gap Bluff Walking Track until you reach the top, enjoy the 180 degree ocean views surrounded by bushland with its myriad of birds and insects. As you walk further north, you’ll find the HMAS Watson the home of the Training Authority Maritime Warfare. Watson was named after Watsons Bay, which in turn was named after Robert Watson, the Quartermaster of HMS Sirius, a ship of the First Fleet.
Aside from the views, you will also see numerous remnants from the wars like underground bunkers, gun emplacements and batteries along the way. But above all, the iconic red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse is definitely a must stop. The views here are breathtaking, Sydney Harbour to the west, Middle Harbour and North Head to the north and the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the time of day and year, huge ocean going cruise liners make their way through the Heads to the open ocean and beyond.
Continue your walk and make sure to take a selfie with Sydney’s skyline at the South Head point, on such a clear day the city certainly looks stunning.
The walk culminates at Camp Cove at the end of the Lady Bay Road, don’t forget to check out the historic black cannon. You can enjoy a cold drink, coffee and snacks at the beach kiosk. There’s a toilet and a changing facility at Camp Cove.
If you want to spend the night, you can always stay at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel.