Skip to Content

7 Top things to do in Watsons Bay Sydney

Watsons Bay Sydney is ridiculously beautiful. It is Australia’s oldest fishing village. Visting Watsons Bay is like being in a beautiful beach resort but with amazing views of the Sydney Central Business District. It is a weekend getaways from Sydney option that is actually in Sydney.

It is also home to sandy beaches and some great places to eat.  And all in sydney’s eastern suburbs. Watsons Bay is a must-visit on any Sydney Itinerary. Here are 7 things to do in Watsons Bay for grown-ups.

⇒ Planning your trip to Sydney? Check out my post on the best Sydney Itinerary for 3, 5 and 7 days.

multiple signs with food and drinks at watsons bay sydney
Lots of tasty things to eat at Watsons Bay

7 Top Things to do in Watsons Bay Sydney

1. Watsons Bay Ferry

It is very easy to get from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay. Captain Cook Ferries runs the ferry and offers single, return and multi tickets – all of which can be purchased online.

The Watsons Bay ferries run throughout the day but stop by about 7 pm. Do check the Watsons Bay Ferry Timetable online – it takes about 30 minutes to get from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay. There are up to 2 ferries per hour.

The ferry ride is a wonderfully scenic trip! There are about 5 ferries a day from Darling Harbour ICC or Pier 26. Ferries now also depart from the fantastic new Barangaroo centre in west Sydney about 7 times a day.

If you are staying around Manly there is also a ferry between Manly and Watsons Bay. During the week these operate once an hour between 11am and 5 pm. The Manly to Watsons Bay schedule runs for longer on weekends but is still about once an hour.

The ferry stop for Watsons Bay is right outside the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and Doyles so it could not be better located. And this is where you can pick up the ferry to head back to Circular Quay.

⇒ Planning a trip to Melbourne? Read about the Best Place to Stay in Melbourne, where to have a fantastic Melbourne Brunch, 18 brilliant places to watch the sunset in Melbourne, and 2 of Melbourne’s best side-trips: The Mornington Peninsula and Daylesford. And don’t forget Melbourne is very close to the wonderful Tasmania.

2. Take a Photo of The Gap

View of the Gap in Watsons Bay including the sea
The Gap

Once you get off the Watsons Bay ferry walkthrough Robertson Park away from the Watsons Bay Hotel and you’ll get to where the buses stop. Cross the road and you’re at the Gap Sydney which is ahem quite literally drop-dead stunning ocean cliff.

The Gap is sadly the most popular spot in Sydney for suicides. It is so stunning you can kind of see why but of course very sad. The Gap probably wins as the most photogenic part of Watsons Bay – although the competition is stiff.

3. Watsons Bay Walk

red and white lighthouse watsons bay sydney
The Lighthouse Watsons Bay

The 4.5km walk Watsons Bay Walk around the South Head is pretty easygoing and can take up to 2 hours depending on how fast you want to go.

The walk starts just past the little strip of beach near Doyles. Walk onto Cove Street, turn left onto Pacific Street and then head towards Green Point Reserve.

The first stop is Camp Cove where Governor Arthur Phillip first landed. There is a lovely beach at Camp Cove where you can swim and snorkel. At the northern end of Camp Cove beach are a kiosk and bathroom. This is also where you can continue the Watsons Bay walk by heading up the staircase.

The walk will then take you past a cannon and some stunning views of Sydney Harbour. The next stop is the tiny Lady Bay Beach. Just to warn you this is one of Sydney Harbour’s 3 legally-sanctioned nude beaches. If you would prefer to stay clothed there are still some stunning views!

Then you will head along the South Head Heritage Trail which will take you past the Hornby Lighthouse and Lightkeeper’s cottage. After this turn back and return to Watsons Bay.

4. Doyles Watsons Bay

barramundi oysters and chips in a box with a diet coke doyles watsons bay sydney
Barramundi and Chips at Doyles

There are two Doyles restaurants at Watsons Bay – the proper sit down more upmarket restaurant and then the very popular take away restaurant with a seating area restaurant that is at the ferry station.

I am assuming you are heading to Watsons Bay during the day so I say go and order some delicious fresh seafood at Doyle’s on the wharf takeaway and then head to the general seating area on the other side close to the water.

I highly recommend the grilled barramundi (for me Australia’s best white fish) with chips and salad. The food at Doyle’s on the Wharf is very reasonably priced.

Planning a trip to Queensland? Check out my posts on the top 15 Brisbane Boutique Hotels and my Gold Coast Itinerary.

5. Have a swim

wide view of the sydney skyline and sky from watsons bay
The view looking at the Sydney sky line

Yes, you can swim almost anywhere in Sydney. Bring your bathers (or togs if you want to be more Australian) and a towel and literally hop in at Watsons Bay. Then have a nice rest on the sand before you head to:

6.  Have a glass of Australian chardonnay at the Watsons Bay Hotel

boats on sydney harbour with skyline in background
Boats against the city skyline

Go for the quintessential super oaky ice-cold Australian Chardonnay at the Watsons Bay Hotel. You can sit outside with your towel wrapped around you and enjoy the buzzy atmosphere and if you stay long enough and are lucky enough an amazing sunset!

7. Stay at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

This super cute boutique hotel has 31 rooms and a rather amazing location! The rooms at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel are beautifully decked out in blue and white to keep that seaside feeling alive. Choose from lofts to suites and your view of choice. The Beach Club at Watsons Bay will take care of all your food and drink needs.

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Don’t miss my post on the 10 Best Sydney Weekend Getaways from Sydney for Boutique Hotel Lovers.

Who Paid for What in this Watsons Bay Sydney Post

I covered all of the costs associated with my time in Sydney and my visit to Watsons Bay. This Watsons Bay Sydney blog post does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on them and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. I just wanted to make sure that you knew this.


Like this Watsons Bay Sydney post? Why Not Pin It?

watsons bay
watsons bay beach sydney australia
watsons bay signs, the gap walk, watsons bay beach and the gap sydney australia
Cliff and sea of the gap watsons bay sydney australia
beach at watsons bay sydney australia
beach at watsons bay sydney australia

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Sunday 6th of December 2020

Hello Amanda, thanks for the great guide! I wish I had seen this post when I was in Australia (back in 2016), because I completely missed this place and it would have made for a great day-trip from my home in Sydney. Guess that's one reason to return soon :)

The Boutique Adventurer

Sunday 6th of December 2020

My pleasure Kev - next time!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Like this post? Why Not Share It?

Thanks for Sharing!