Cross the harbour for a relaxing break at this charming seaside haven.
It’s only a short ferry ride from Sydney’s CBD to this harbourside getaway but once you step onto the wharf, you can switch out of work mode. To your right and left are sheltered beaches where locals walk their dogs, take an evening run or watch the sun set over the city skyline.
The best place to stay is the chic, contemporary Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. Check in to the Grand Harbour Suite with a distinct marine theme – deep-blue carpet, framed nautical flags and white shutter doors that open on to a private balcony with bay views. Head to the Beach Club restaurant and bar for a cocktail before dinner and choose from catch-of-the-day seafood, hearty pasta and fresh salads from the Italian-style menu.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, from the buffet or à la carte menu until 11am. Set on a peninsula, Watsons Bay has retained its natural beauty and easy walking tracks lead to hidden beaches and dramatic clifftop vantage points. Go north and stroll the South Head Heritage Trail, stopping at the crescent-shaped Camp Cove beach, where the old-school kiosk serves salads, sandwiches and coffee. Continue up the track to the red-and-white 19th-century Hornby Lighthouse, standing proudly on a headland with panoramic views.
On weekends, the hotel’s Beach Club attracts a glamorous (and thirsty) crowd with its fun cocktails – by the glass or carafe – and extensive wine and beer lists. DJs pump out house music in the outdoor area, which has a laid-back St Tropez vibe. Hang out here as the day slips into night and the water turns a silvery blue. Right next door is the grandfather of Sydney seafood restaurants, Doyles on the Beach. It’s the spot for classics such as fish and chips, fresh oysters, prawn cocktails and whole baked snapper and has an appealing drinks menu.
Start with breakfast at elegant Dunbar House, which offers alfresco seating overlooking the water and an inviting seasonal menu. Your appetite sated, climb the sandstone steps to The Gap and take in sweeping Pacific Ocean views as you make your way to the grand Macquarie Lighthouse. Prefer two wheels? Hire a bicycle from the hotel and explore, with the option of a picnic pack. End your stay as it began, on a leisurely ferry ride back across the harbour.