The Watsons Bay Walk is a stunning walk around South Head that offers beautiful views of the skyline, lots of history and the famous Hornby Lighthouse. South Head is one of the Sydney Heads, a headland that’s part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. The Sydney Harbour Walks always are some of the best walks in Sydney and the Watsons Bay Walk is a great way to escape the city and explore one of them. You can either do it in under 2 hours or spend the whole day exploring and swimming. In this guide to the Watsons Bay Walk, you can find everything you need to know, how to get there, what you’ll need and some tips, directions and inspiration on how to make the most of the stunning walk.
This walk is also perfect to connect with the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Walk or the Federation Cliff Walk. However, I would recommend doing each of them on a separate day. It’s worth really enjoying the beaches and the beautiful views you get along the coast.
Quick Tips Watsons Bay Walk
(From Green Point Reserve you can walk straight on Camp Cove Beach and walk along the beach insted of the street, I just couldn´t put it in the map)
How to get to the Watsons Bay Walk
The easiest and most comfortable way to get to the Watsons Bay Walk is the ferry from Circular Quay. You can either catch the NSW public transport ferry F9 or the CCWB, a private owned ferry which is a bit quicker but also more expensive (6.12 AUD vs 8.50). If you take the CCWB ferry operated by Captain Cook, make sure not to tap on the Opal card reader as they need you to pay on board. This happened to me and most other people on the wharf. The F9 leaves every 30 minutes and takes 23 minutes to get to Watsons Bay. You can use the transport NSW trip planner to see exactly when ferries are leaving, how much the trips cost or to look for alternative ways to get to your destination.
If you are located close to central station, you might want to travel by train. Catch the T4 line and change at Edgecliffe Station to bus 324 or 325 to Watsons Bay. You can get off at Robertson Park, Military Rd and walk to the waterfront in about 3 minutes.
In Sydney you can use an Opal card (a smartcard ticketing system) or a contactless card to get the best price. Always tap on and off on public transport.
Alternatively, you can also start the walk at the Gap and end at the wharf. If you arrive by bus, the Gap Lookout is right next to the stop, so you can visit it right away and walk the other way around. I don’t think it makes a big difference which way you do the walk, just do it as you like.
Good to know
Bring sun protection
On the way it’s hard to find shade, especially if you want to visit the beaches and the Australian sun can get very strong. Who doesn’t love to spend as much time as possible on one of the best walks in Sydney? To protect yourself make sure to put on sunscreen and bring a hat.
Where to find water
Make sure to bring enough water. Bottles can be refilled at Watsons Bay. You can buy a drink at the Camp Cove Beach kiosk.
Stay until sunset
There are a lot of beautiful lookouts and places to watch the sunset on the walk. Watsons Bay during sunset is great for a cocktail at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. A very nice spot is the area around the Hornby Lighthouse.
The Watsons Bay Walk Route – Route to one of the best walks in Sydney
Watsons Bay has the ultimate holiday vibes and is perfect if you want to escape the city for a day. There are numerous cottage style houses and some amazing city views. When you arrive at the wharf you´ll see the Watsons Bay Hotel and a really nice seafood restaurant. Turn left and walk along the water until you get some stairs that lead you to the road. Follow the map I posted above and walk along the road until you get to Green Point Reserve. The streets have some really nice houses and who doesn´t love house spotting 😀
Green Point Reserve
Green Point Reserve is a little park area in which you can walk around. There are great views and you´ll soon reach Camp Cove Beach which is one of my favourite beaches in Sydney.
Camp Cove is where the European settlers first set foot on Australia 1788. It now is a beautiful beach where you find a lot of locals on the weekend. At the north end of the beach you can find a cute kiosk to buy drinks and food, it reminds me of a little tropical shack. There is also a little jetty with a hut which is a famous photospot on instagram and for couple shoots. I absolutely love it and would recommend for sunset as you can watch the skyline and the light looks so beautiful.
To continue the walk, you have to walk up the wooden stairs which you find right next to the jetty. This is also where the South Head heritage Trail begins. You can see a lot of history on this part of the Watsons Bay Walk.
Lady Bay Beach
If you keep walking on the South Head Heritage Trail you come along the cannon and gun emplacements. Buuut you’ll also come along one of the only nudist beaches in Sydney, Lady Bay Beach. This is a beautiful beach with great views and definitely worth a visit. When I did the walk there was no one else so don´t be scared and go down to have a look.
One of the most beautiful sunset spots is located a bit past Lady Bay Beach, next to the Hornby keeper’s cottage. Hornby keeper’s cottage was built for the lighthouse keeper and attendants. There are some really nice flat rocks, on which you can watch the sun go down.
There is a circular pathway that leads you to the Hornby Lighthouse, so you have a 360 degree view on this part of the Watsons Bay Walk.
This lighthouse is insta-famous and for a good reason. Not only does it look like a candy cane but it`s also located beautifully. The red-white striped lighthouse was on my bucket list for years and I finally got to visit! It´s one of the oldest lighthouses in New South Wales, built after 2 terrible incidents happened within 2 months. The lighthouse is also a popular spot for whale watching from May to November. When you follow the loop you’ll walk past an gun emplacement and come back to the trail to Watsons Bay.
The Gap is an ocean cliff that offers mesmerising views over the sea, the cliffs, Watsons Bay and the city. You can watch the waves crash into the dramatic coastline. To get to the viewpoint you need to climb some stairs (which is totally worth it) but if you don’t want to, you can return to Watsons Bay straight away. But if you can, don’t miss this beautiful lookout, wander around and soak up the views.
Why is this one of the best walks in Sydney?
As you maybe realised, I love the views, which makes it one of the best walks in Sydney to me. But there is also a lot of history, beautiful beaches, amazing photospots and it isn’t too crowded.
If you want to extend the walk you can do the Federation Cliff walk from the Gap or vice versa.
The bus stop is right next to the lookout at Robertson Park, Military Rd, so you can make your way back to the city. However, I would recommend to walk back to the wharf through Robertson Park (just a few minutes). There you can get some food or drinks at Doyles on the Beach, Doyles on the wharf (takeaway) or the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. If these are too expensive, you can also go back to Circular Quay and chose one of the many restaurants or bars there. The ferry to Circular Quay is a great way to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House from the water.
I hope this guide of the Rose bay to Watsons Bay walk was helpful and that you enjoy your walk! If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment 🙂