Fly across the harbour on the fast ferry with the wind in your hair on a trip to one of Sydney’s prettiest spots – Watson’s Bay. By Renate Ruge
Allow yourself a good half to a whole day for a trip here. Watson’s Bay is found on the southern head of the entrance to Sydney Harbour. To the east is the Tasman Sea and to the west is the Harbour with a glorious view of the city of Sydney in the distance. Yachts and fishing boats bob in the sparkling waters of the bay, which is surrounded by huge palm trees.
It was here that Governor Phillip first landed in Australia. It’s also recognised as Australia’s oldest fishing village, having been established in 1788. ‘Tinnies’ (small tin fishing boats) hapharzardly line up on the shore ready for impromptu fishing trips.
The best place to dine is Dunbar House. Just a few metres from the water’s edge in the grounds of Robertson Park, the historic mansion built in the 1830s has recently been treated to a multi-million dollar restoration. It’s the kind of super-sophisticated place that make you breathe a long sigh of satisfaction on entry. Perhaps it’s the comfort
of brisk, welcoming service and relaxed vibe, coupled with luxe interiors: comfy whicker chairs set out around patio tables with killer views of the water, elegant colours of greys and silvers punctuated with pretty coloured stripes, walls with lower wood panelling and fancy wallpaper all lit up with crystal lighting. This place is swish and thankfully the luxury is not reflected in very reasonable prices.
On-the-menu highlights include ocean trout with a prawn crust served with kipfler potatoes and green leaves or perfectly-seared salmon salad with hot, salty shoe-string fries and tasty tomato bruschetta.
Breakfast means waffles with strawberries and cream, eggs in lots of ways with sides of roast tomato and vegetables washed down with freshly-squeezed juice. Then there’s afternoon tea served in dainty china cups (Royal Doulton of course), accompanied with tiered stands stacked with cucumber sandwiches, scones and mini lemon curd and fruit tarts.
Dunbar House, 9 Marine Parade, Sydney NSW 2030 (02) 9337 1226, www.dunbarhouse.com.au
There are two paths leading from the wharf, that both take around one hour for the round trip. From the wharf you can walk north past Lady Bay (see their nude beach) and on to South Head and see the Hornsby Lighthouse. Or you can walk south past The Gap and take in Signal Station and Macquarie Lighthouse. See the site of the wreck of the Dunbar.
Fish & Chips
The Bay is also famous for being the home
of the first Doyles restaurant. Grab a schooner in the pub or buy take-away fish and chips from the chippie on the wharf, and eat in the park. Just watch out for greedy seagulls.
Ferry is the best way and the Eastern Suburbs service leaves from wharf 4. Otherwise you can go by car along Oxford Street (it changes to Enfield Drive) out of the City. Follow the road left into Old South Head Road and continue along this road to Watsons Bay. If you’re going by bus then catch the 324 from Circular Quay.