watsons bay

circular quay

I remember the first time I went to Watsons Bay.

We were with my sister and her (new) husband, long before children came into our lives- she now has enough to populate a small village (a minor exaggeration)… Anyways, we arrived by boat, private boat (as you do) and had set ourselves up with pans of paella and beers at Watsons Bay Hotel.

I have an issue with climbing in and out of small boats- actually climbing in and out of anything that I can easily fall out of. I’m not the surest person on my feet and feel as clumsy as a fairy bus-horse (if you don’t know what one of those is, ask my mother), so my brother in law had tied the (newish) boat to the moorings at the wharf, enabling my sister and I to step elegantly out of said boat onto step and out of harms way.

Which was good until the ferries started to come in. The wharf my brother in law had tied up against (I’m sure there’s a technical term) was the same wharf the ferry (a bigger boat) was now threatening to pull up against. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my brother in law run faster than at that moment…or swim faster than he did later that night when he had to swim in the dark waters out to retrieve it from where he had left it.

On Monday Miss 14 and I arrived on said ferry, and left the same way.

We did what you usually do- crossed the road for gelatissimo before starting the climb up to The Gap Lookout. Ok, it’s not really a climb, more like a walk up a hill, but it still requires ice cream.

Miss 14 had the raspberry and white chocolate, I had half a scoop of the passionfruit. Together we invented the “half of” diet- whereby you can have half of anything and it’s ok…or you can combine the two and average it out- we all know that calories from anything tasty that someone else is eating become airborne.

The view from the top is amazing and well worth the (short) walk. We spiced it up a little by going cross country and pretending that we were on a dangerous discovery mission in the jungle. Ok, I pretended that, she rolled her eyes. She did laugh though, when I announced that we were safe because there were signs of civilisation before us in the form of squashed coke cans.

The exercise was good and pre-emptively worked off at least 3 of the truly awesome chips that came with the fish and chips special ($14.50 including a beer or house wine…bargain!) back at the Hotel.

view at lunch

We did briefly consider Doyles on the beach (a little expensive for what we wanted) and Doyles on the Wharf (school holidays, so no bench space for takeaway available), before settling on the pub. A wise choice, as it turned out.

Getting there:

Watsons Bay is located at the southern head of the entrance to Sydney Harbour (South Head). There has been a fishing village here since 1788, although the pub isn’t quite that old…

You can drive, it isn’t far out from the city and there is limited parking- especially if you are arriving mid week…I wouldn’t even try on the weekend unless you are blessed with a tolerance level far stronger than mine- the carpark fairies fly right over and don’t stop.

Besides, the 30 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay is fun. Timetables can be downloaded here. If you must, there is also a bus from the city. All timetables can be downloaded from www.131500.com.au.


We ate at Watsons Bay Hotel, but there are other alternatives. Doyles have been serving people things to eat at Watsons Bay since 1885 and Dunbar House offers a slightly more highbrow alternative against the magnificent backdrop that is the bay. Or, you can skip the food entirely and go straight to ice cream!

south head & the gap.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

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