Most visitors to Watsons Bay are there for fish and chips, cold beer, and a walk to The Gap – all good ways to spend a few hours. But here are a few more things to see and do in Watsons Bay.
Swim from Secret Harbour Beaches
The eastern reaches of Sydney Harbour are dotted with quiet, almost hidden beaches. Three of these can be found in Watsons Bay
From the ferry terminal, visitors walking to their right passing Robertson Park, Watsons Bay Baths, and the Watsons Bay Pilot Station will find they have left many of their fellow tourists behind by the time they reach Gibsons Beach. Here, a short golden arch of sand faces a bay full of small private boats and a view across the harbour to the north shore.
Kutti Beach is a little trickier to find than Gibsons and a longer walk but visitors feel like they’ve stumbled on something special when they get here. From Hopetoun Avenue, follow Wharf Road to the dead-end at the Vaucluse 12 Footers Club and there, look for a wee set of stairs leading down to the beach. The beach is smaller than Gibsons and the boathouses of nearby homes open onto the beach. From here it is hard to believe you are in the middle of one of the world’s greatest cities.
Lady Bay Beach
Lady Bay is not a beach for the shy or the prudish. This is one of Sydney’s three clothing-optional beaches – which is another way of saying it’s a nude beach. If frolicking in the Sydney Harbour in nothing but you were wearing when you came into this world sound like a treat – then this is the place for you. From the Camp Cove Beach join the walking path heading to South Head. About 500 metres along this trail is a sign for Lady Bay and a set of stairs leading to the beach.
Visit the Lighthouse and Gun Emplacements of South Head
It’s not an especially long walk, even if begun from the Watsons Bay Wharf – less than an hour – but the views are spectacular and there are several interesting sites along the way. This is the South Head Heritage Trail through one of the many sections of the Sydney Harbour National Park.
The trail begins with the stairs leading up from Camp Cove. The walk takes you out to South Head and makes a loop around its very tip, and doubles back on your return to Camp Cove. Visitors pass old gun emplacements, the 1858 Hornby Lighthouse and the associated lighthouse keeper’s cottage while taking in expansive views of the whole of Sydney Harbour, Middle Harbour, North Head and an endless vista of the Pacific Ocean. In winter, this a promising spot for whale watching.
Pop into the Cutest, Best Located Public Library You’ll Ever See
Nestled behind the umbrellaed tabled of the Tea Garden Café and opposite the Watsons Bay Baths is the Watsons Bay Library – the cutest, best located public library around. Sure, if you don’t live in the Woollahra area you can’t borrow from their collection but book-loving visitors are sure to enjoy taking a few moments to pop in, have a look around, and imagine how nice it would be to have this as their local library.
Walk to Bondi Beach
In late 2019 an official walking trail – 80 kilometres in length – opened connecting Bondi to Manly. Following the foreshore and crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this walk connected several shorter local walks and installed wayfinding signs along the route.
The segment from Watsons Bay to Bondi Beach is 10 kilometres long and takes walkers past some of the most spectacular views in all of Sydney – including Diamond Bay and the cityscape views from Dudley Page Reserve. The path is a mix of paved walking trails through parklands and footpaths through quiet suburban streets.
Sydney Adventure Tours offers private charter tours to Watsons Bay. Tours are also available in the CBlue Mountains, the South Coast, the Northern Beaches, and the Hunter Valley. Bespoke tours can be arranged to meet your needs.