A superb coastal walk around South Head, the gateway to Sydney Harbour. Discover stunning views of the city, ocean and surrounding headlands from vantage points only accessible on foot. Rich in early settler and forgotten military history, Watsons Bay walk is home to one of Australia’s first lighthouses. It’s the easiest way to escape the city and yet still enjoy city and harbour vistas.

Highlights

    • Stroll along Sydney’s famous Watsons Bay
    • Experience Camp Cove where the Birrabirragal mob met the First Fleet
    • Enjoy endless harbour and ocean views
    • Look into a sandstone chasm from Gap Bluff
    • Discover Sydney’s wartime history
    • See two of Australia’s first lighthouses
    • Spot whales during migration season

Route Map

South Head and Watsons Bay walk map

Quick Start Guide

Essential Information

Distance?

4.5km (3 miles)

Time?

2 hours

Track Conditions?

Mainly paved walkway

Grade?

Class 2 Track (Although Camp Cove Beach is untracked so technically 5+).

Mountains to climb?

Relatively flat. Slight incline to 20m elevation at South Head itself. Steep climb to 40m up stairs at Gap Bluff.

Mobile (cell phone) reception?

Yes.

Public transport?

Yes. Public ferries and Eco Hopper to Watsons Bay. Or Bus Route 324 City to Watsons Bay.

Coffee?

Yes. Plenty of options. Try Watsons Bay Hotel (better known for cold drinks than hot!), historic Dunbar House for high tea, or gelato on Military Road. The iconic Watsons Bay experience is fish and chips from Doyles on the Beach.

Watsons Bay walk-thru in 1 minute

Sydney at War

On the night of 31st May 1942, Japan brought WWII to Sydney’s doorstep. Three miniature submarines, launched from larger mother ships offshore, secretly entered Sydney Harbour. They torpedoed navy ships at Garden Island as the Manly ferry still transported passengers to and from Circular Quay. Stand on the spot where anti-submarine defences were controlled and read how one of these submarines was successfully caught.

“Warra warra”. “Good day old chap”.

The arrival of the English navy to Aboriginal Australia was truly a clash of cultures. The Birrabirragal mob had fished, hunted and harvested shellfish at Kutti-kutti (Watsons Bay) for nearly ten thousand years. The Europeans arrived in huge ships with fancy clothes and rifles that could fell a kangaroo at 100 yards. Walk on the beach where stone-age Aboriginal hunters were confounded by English sailors cooking fish in a cast iron pot.

Shipwrecks

Sydney has always been a maritime city. With shipping, comes shipwrecks, and Sydney has her fair share. Two tragedies at Sydney Heads in 1857 caused Hornby Light, the red and white striped lighthouse to be built on South Head. Macquarie Light was built atop the cliffs further south 40 years earlier but was unable to prevent these tragedies. See the places these ships were wrecked and read a lone story of survival from the carnage.

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SELF GUIDED WALK

Hear all the stories that make this walk so fascinating – at your leisure! Coming Soon.

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HALF DAY GUIDED WALK

From $397

Enjoy an exclusive guided experience with one of our passionate guides.

  • Professional, local guide with detailed interpretation of the historical sites, stories and environment
  • Healthy snacks
  • Return ferry between Circular Quay and Watsons Bay
  • National Park entry fees

BOOK HERE

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