On your trip to Sydney, why not make a day trip to Watsons Bay? Watsons Bay is a pretty fishing village a short ferry ride from central Sydney and said to be Australia’s oldest fishing village. Still today Watsons Bay offers excellent seafood, pretty beaches, nice walks in stunning scenery and a park made for Sunday picnics.
It’s easy to get to Watsons Bay with a Sydney Eastern Suburbs ferry from Circular Quay, which makes it a popular day trip destination from Sydney.
Central Sydney seen from Watsons Bay
As we stayed in Sydney we often made half-day trips to Watsons Bay where we walked on marked paths, sunbathed on our favourite sandy beach and enjoyed what Watsons Bay village centre has to offer.
Once again we made a day trip to Watsons Bay. It was Easter Sunday and we went there for a small Easter picnic with so many Australians that had decided to do the same thing.
As normally the ferry ride from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay takes about half an hour, on Easter Sunday so many people were visiting that we had to stand in a queue for the next ferry.
Day Trip to Watsons Bay: the Map
Watsons Bay on the map
The maps shows you where Watsons Bay is located. It’s a narrow peninsula east of Sydney. The other peninsula north of it is where Manly is.
Circular Quay ferry wharf where the Watsons Bay ferries leave is between Royal Botanic Gardens and The Rocks on the map.
Watsons Bay Village
Day trip to Watsons Bay: eating seafood
Watson Bay’s village centre is almost on where the Sydney ferry takes you. Watsons Bay has Sydney’s best known fish restaurant right opposite the sandy village beach and nearby is a popular beer garden with views of Watsons Bay boat harbour, Sydney city skyline and of course Harbour Bridge.
There are also some more restaurants and cafés around the pretty park.
Visiting Watsons Bay by Sydney ferry
If you go to Watsons Bay, remember to check when the ferries return. It has happened to us at least twice that the last ferry back to the city already left around five. If you want to stay longer it’s not a problem but you just have to know it. There are also buses from Watsons Bay to Sydney, but by bus the trip takes a much longer time than by ferry.
Camp Cove Beach
The lovely Camp Cove beach in Watsons Bay
My favourite beach in Sydney is in Watsons Bay. This is the place where I always want to return when I want to swim. Camp Cove Beach looks like this and is only a few minutes walk north from Watsons Bay ferry wharf.
As Camp Cove is on the bay side the water is almost always calm which is a big difference from ocean side beaches. That’s why Camp Cove also has a crystal clear water.
Sydney day trip to Watsons Bay: walk to Camp Cove
There are pretty houses on the way from Watsons Bay ferry to the beach. From Camp Cove you can walk on along the rocky shore to a lighthouse at the top of the peninsula. From that place there are good views to Manly and to the Pacific Ocean.
Day Trip to Watsons Bay: Cliff Walk
The Gap, Watsons Bay, Sydney
Back in the village you maybe want some more ocean scenery which you will get walking uphill through the park. Climb the big stairs you will see there and you will come to the steep ocean side called the Gap. The Gap has spectacular cliffs and fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean, views to the village of Watsons Bay and the bay beyond it, all the way to Central Sydney.
The Gap, Watsons Bay
The rocky scenery looks stunning, and there is a clifftop walk in both directions from the lookout. But the Gap is also a drastic place where sad things have happened, there has been a dramatic ship wreck against the cliffs and many more sad incidents.
View from the Gap lookout
So those were ocean views from the Gap and this is the view from the Gap towards Sydney. I’d really like to be in this place on the New Years Eve and see all the fireworks around the bay.
View from the Gap towards Sydney
Walking from Watsons Bay to Bondi Beach
Walking in Watsons Bay, Sydney
What more can you do in Watsons Bay? You can combine your visit with some more walking.
From Watsons Bay and The Gap, there is a walking track following the cliffs almost half-way to Bondi, to a big lighthouse. If you want to walk on to Bondi Beach, just follow the road through the quiet residential area. The other option is to take a bus to Bondi. The bus follows almost the same route so you can hop on at any time.
To get back to Sydney you can walk southwards to the lighthouse or still longer if you like, and then hop on a city bus on South Head Road. The buses starting from Watsons Bay all go to Sydney but one of them drives via Bondi.
And there is still one more great walk, towards Shark Bay, Nielsens Park and on to Rose Bay, where you can take the ferry back to Sydney. That walk is a bit longer, about 8 km, so you’ll need a bit more time and a water bottle.
More about Sydney and New South Wales
- See the sights of Central Sydney: Sydney Walking Itinerary: See Sydney’s Top Sights
- Walk through Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens: Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens Autumn Colours
- Make a day trip to Bondi Beach and walk along the coast: Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
- My all posts on New South Wales, Australia
- Visit Sydney, the official Sydney tourism website