I love Watson’s Bay and I was so excited when the Sydney Harbour Eco Hopper started operating a service between Manly (where I live) to Watson’s Bay last year. It’s a really short trip across the water (only takes 15 mins) from Manly. You can also get to Watson’s Bay from the main ferry terminal in Sydney, Circular Quay or by car and bus.
Watson’s Bay is fantastic for kids as it’s pretty compact but there are loads of things to do with your children when you are there. When I go I always have to fit in a fish and chip lunch or early tea at Doyles. That is a must for any day trip!
Watson’s Bay is fronted by a lovely sandy beach, which runs along the extent of the bay. There is also a harbour pool where shark nets have been put in place to ensure safe swimming. There is access from the sand or from a pontoon.
Cafes serving coffee, snacks and lunch:
The Tea Gardens: 8 Marine Parade, Watsons Bay, NSW 2030 – Located a short walk to the right of the ferry terminal, this cafe is in a great location with a stunning view. It has a nice outdoor space with high chairs and because it is right next to the Library the kids can play safely in a gated area.
Doyles on the Beach: 11 Marine Parade, Watsons Bay, NSW2030 – Just to the left of the ferry terminal. You can’t miss it. Doyles is worth a day trip by itself. It’s a bit of a Sydney institution and I can honestly say it is the best fish and chips I have ever tasted. It’s location is perfect for children – just in front of the beach so the kids can play while you wait for the food.
If you don’t want the dining experience, then Doyles on the Wharf, Fishermans Wharf, Watsons Bay, NSW2030 at the end of the pier is just as good. You can sit in the cafe or get a takeaway for the beach or ferry trip home.
Places to Go:
Watson’s Bay Baths: A great, safe, bathing spot for children of all ages. It was renovated in 2010 to include a new Olympic-size pool with two floating turning board/sunbathing pontoons, boardwalk, better seating and wheelchair access.
Watson’s Bay Library: 8 Marine Parade, Watsons Bay 2030 – A small library with a gated garden so a very safe environment for children of all ages to play. The library runs Rhyme Time (0-2 years) on Thursdays 10am and 10.30am and Storytime (3-5 yrs) on Tuesdays at 10.30am. There is a box of toys for all to use. I also love the deck chairs out the front.
The Gap: A short walk uphill through the park to The Gap near South Head which has spectacular views and is accessible for prams.
Macquarie Lighthouse : Australia’s first lighthouse. The original structure which was erected in 1791 was undertaken by Francis Greenway, the famous convict Architect.
Park: Large open space for dogs and ball games.
Walks: There are a number of good walks you can do around Watson’s Bay. The walks go either north past Lady Bay (note, there is a nude beach here) to South Head where you can see the Hornsby Lighthouse, or walk south passing The Gap and take in Signal Station and Macquarie Lighthouse. None of them are particularly pram friendly. You will need a carrier for small children. My favourite is The Watsons Bay to Hornby Lighthouse bushwalking track which is do-able with a baby and toddler. It takes about 1 hr 15 mins to walk and is 2.8 km long.
The Dunbar Anchor: You can also see the wreck of Dunbar which was wrecked in 1857. The Captain mistook The Gap for the entrance to Sydney Harbour and crashed the ship onto the rocks. All that remains of the Dunbar is the anchor which is now a memorial to those who lost their lives.
Robertson Park Playground – There is a great playground a short walk from the ferry terminal. It’s gated and has a range of play equipment so great for all ages. It’s also close to the public toliets.