The Federation Cliff Walk is a 5 km walking trail from Watsons Bay to Dover Heights, boasting high sandstone cliffs and amazing panoramic views of the Tasman Sea.
This coastal walk meanders through beautiful parklands and open spaces and includes an exciting timber walkway with viewing platforms that bring you on top of the cliffs.
The Bondi to Watsons Bay walk (or Watsons Bay to Bondi walk) is essentially the same as the Federation Cliff walk, but it goes a little further, to Bondi Beach.
|Federation Cliff Walk|
|Distance:||5 km (one way)|
|Dogs:||On a lead|
How to Get There
If you start the walking track in Watsons Bay, buses 324 and 325 depart from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay. Check the exact timetables on the Transport NSW website.
You can also catch a ferry into Watsons Bay and walk to the starting point of the Federation Cliff walking track on the other side of Robertson Park.
At the other end of the walk, Dover Heights has free street parking available, so that’s an option too if you prefer to start the walk from there.
Federation Cliff Walk
The Federation Cliff Walk can be commenced either from Gap Park in Watsons Bay, or from Rodney Reserve or Raleigh Reserve in Dover Heights.
This article describes the walk starting from Watsons Bay with The Gap as the starting point, passing through the suburb of Vaucluse, and ending in Dover Heights.
The Gap is located on the eastern side of Watsons Bay and is one of Sydney’s most famous ocean cliff lookouts with views that are absolutely breathtaking.
1. The Gap to Christison Park
From The Gap, follow the cliff-side path towards the south through Gap Park, leading up to Old South Head Road.
The track stays on the road’s footpath for a short while until turning into the Coastal Cliff Walk path (see the big sign) which runs parallel to Old South Head Road.
Continue on this path and enjoy the views of the ocean on your left, as you walk past the Signal Station and Signal Hill Fort (est. 1893), part of the Signal Hill Reserve.
The gun at the fort was removed in the 1930’s and the underlying fort has since been locked up. The site of the current signal station has been used since 1790 to signal incoming ships.
As you continue, you’ll walk through the Lighthouse Reserve, past the famous Macquarie Lighthouse. Constructed in 1818 and rebuilt in 1883, the Macquarie Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Australia and is open to guided tours.
The path continues south past Christison Park with its wide sports fields and Clarke Reserve. These are excellent picnic spots with toilet and playground facilities.
This is also where you will see the first glimpses of the breathtaking cliffs at Diamond Bay, further south.
At Clarke Reserve, walk into Jensen Avenue via Clarke Street. Then turn into Marine Street and Chris Bang Crescent that will lead to steps going down into Diamond Bay Reserve.
2. Diamond Bay Reserve
As you walk down the steps into Diamond Bay, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a tropical rain forest which is quite a fascinating experience.
The track continues around Rosa Gully, an inlet between the cliffs that is a popular place for rock climbing.
A beautiful wooden walkway with viewing platforms was built by Waverley Council to provide a safe and scenic circuit route around the cliffs.
This walkway gives you a sense of being right on top of the cliffs which makes this walking track an even more amazing experience. It starts at Diamond Bay Reserve and continues, with a few interruptions, to Dover Heights.
3. Dover Heights
Follow the timber walkway, leading you out of Diamond Bay reserve, around the huge white apartment block with million dollar views, to Ray Street. The cliff walk continues a few hundred metres south at Oceanview Avenue.
Follow the cliff walk all the way to Dover Heights Reserve, where it briefly stops. Walk into Lancaster Road and then into Military Road, past Dudley Page Reserve.
Take a moment to enjoy the spectacular city and harbour views from this park area. This is also a great vantage point for the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks. It’s easy to understand why this is a popular spot with tourist coaches to stop and have a break.
From Military Road, turn left into Weonga Road or Blake Street in order to get back to the cliff walk track. This is the north point of Rodney Reserve which flows into Raleigh Reserve towards the south.
Enjoy the 80-metre high sandstone cliffs at Raleigh Reserve, revealing millions of years of earth’s geological history.
Near the cliffs at Dover Heights you will also find a full-size replica of an eight-element radio antenna that was built in 1951. It has a comprehensive plaque in front of it that explains the rich history behind it.
Bondi to Watsons Bay Walk
The Bondi to Watsons Bay walk (or Watsons Bay to Bondi walk) includes the Federation Cliff walk with the extra bit between Dover Heights and Bondi Beach.
This walk is 7km in total and is definitely worth it if you have the energy. It may also be easier to catch public transport in Bondi and Watsons Bay than it is in Dover Heights so that could be another reason to walk this whole stretch.
Getting to Bondi is easy:
From Dover Heights (Raleigh Reserve / Rodney Reserve), follow Military Road onto Wentworth Street through the Hugh Bamford Reserve. Go back onto Military Road past the Bondi Golf Course and follow all the way to Bondi Beach.
The Federation Cliff Walk is a great walking trail for the whole family with unparalleled views of the ocean and amazing cliff scenery.
While this walk is not too long (5km), if you include all stops for photo’s and general sight-seeing, it may actually take a few hours before you’ve completed the walk.
Even though there are enough cafes and restaurants to grab a drink and a bite in Watsons Bay and North Bondi, it’s recommended to bring some snacks and a good size water bottle.
This walk with its many park areas is perfect for picnics. So why not prepare your own food beforehand and choose a great spot on the way for a picnic with awesome views.
Federation Cliff Walk Map
You can start this walk at The Gap in Watsons Bay or at the other end, at Rodney Reserve or Raleigh Reserve in Dover Heights.