500px Photo ID: 45657584 - hornby lighthouse@watson bay

Structuresxx Photographer / 500px

Lovely Watsons Bay, east of the city centre and north of Bondi, was once a small fishing village, as evidenced by the heritage cottages that pepper the suburb’s narrow streets (but which now cost a tiny fortune). 

For the Sydney visitor, it's a lovely day trip by ferry. If time allows explore South Head by foot, take a dip at Camp Cove or enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of its popular restaurants. On the ocean side, The Gap is a dramatic clifftop lookout worth a visit.


The closest spot for a swim is at Camp Cove, a short walk from Watsons Bay ferry terminal. It’s a small sheltered beach, perfect for families. At the eastern end, there’s a short jetty where you might find locals snorkelling, plus public toilets and a kiosk to buy refreshments. 

Further around the harbour is Lady Bay Beach, a more secluded, clothing-optional, harbourside beach. It was the first nudist beach in Sydney to be given a nod from officials back in the 1970s (nudity is permitted on the beach only).  


Next to the Beach Club, Doyles on the Beach is another Watsons Bay institution which opened here on the beach front in 1885. It also has a shopfront for takeaway on Fishermans Wharf. Slightly more upmarket again is Dunbar House, a 1830s restored mansion on Marine Parade that serves breakfast, lunch and high tea.  

Watsons Bay Hotel

The Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is blessed with one of those iconic locations that you can’t miss. The ferry pulls up practically outside, sailing boats bob in the harbour, with views to Sydney city beyond. While you’re here, tradition demands that you sit in the Beach Club beer garden at sunset and watch the sun dissolve behind the Harbour Bridge, jutting above Bradley’s Head.


To take the ferry to Watsons Bay, you can go direct from Circular Quay or as a stop on the way to and from Manly. The ferry leaves around every 30 mins and takes around 25 mins.

Leave the car behind if visiting Watsons Bay; the parking options can't cope especially on weekends.