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Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Walk, Including the Hermitage Foreshore Track

The Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk is one of the most scenic coastal walking trails in Sydney. The walk brings you to secluded beaches, beautiful parks and picturesque bays, while enjoying panoramic views of the city and the harbour. Some of the highlights of this trail are Milk Beach, Parsley Bay and Nielsen Park.

Part of this walking trail is the Hermitage Foreshore Track that runs from Bayview Hill Rd (just north of Rose Bay) to Nielsen Park.

 
 

Characteristics:
– Distance: 8 km
– Time: 3-4 hours
– Grade: easy
– Kid friendly: yes
– Running: Not ideal
– Dogs: not permitted on trail

Highlights:
– Natural bushland
– Scenic Harbour views
– Secluded beaches
– Nielsen Park and Shark Beach
– Parsley Bay
– Relaxing in Watsons Bay

Getting there:
Parking areas available in Rose Bay, or alternatively street parking close by. Ferry services run between Circular Quay, Rose Bay and Watsons Bay. Rose Bay also has a bus stop.

Rose Bay

The walk starts in Rose Bay, but of course you can start from Watsons Bay at the other side too. It’s very convenient that you can park your car at either side and catch a ferry back to where you started. Ferries run frequently between Rose Bay and Watsons Bay.

Rose Bay itself is a beautiful place to hang out on a lazy Sunday afternoon. There are plenty of activities to do, such as stand-up paddling, kayaking, swimming, tennis, or simply relax at the cafe.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can book a scenic flight with Sydney Seaplanes and enjoy the best views of Sydney from above.

Views of Sydney Harbour

The walking trail to Watsons Bay starts at Rose Bay ferry wharf. From there, simply make your way to the north end of Rose Bay beach, past Lyne Park and Tingira Memorial Park.

At Dumaresq Reserve, find the public steps that lead to New South Head Road. From there, take a left-turn into Tivoli Avenue and left again into Bayview Hill road. You will now soon see the sign for the start of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. Let the fun begin!

Hermitage Foreshore Track

Once you’re in the Hermitage Foreshore walking trail, you’ll realise immediately why this walk is so beautiful.

The trail takes you into bushland along the coastline with secluded beaches and great views across the Sydney Harbour.

It always amazes me how lucky we are that we get to enjoy these beautiful natural landscapes so close to the city.

Secluded Beaches

The first secluded beach along the track is Queens Beach. Don’t be surprised when there are literally no people at the beach, that’s how secluded it is, small and hidden away from the main roads.

Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk: Queens beach

Queens Beach

Keep following the trail towards the north, and Queens beach is soon followed by Tingara beach and Milk beach. These beaches are so small and secluded that you’ll feel like you’ve ended up in some sort of tropical paradise.

Between those two beaches lies Hermit Bay, a great spot to have a rest and to simply absorb the natural beauty and panoramic views.

Hermit Bay along the Hermitage Foreshore track

Hermit Bay along the Hermitage Foreshore track

Strickland House

Strickland House is a heritage listed house located in the suburb of Vaucluse. Designed and built in the 1850’s, the house was the home of Sydney’s second mayor, John Hosking.

The grounds around Strickland house form an urban park, open 7 days a week. The house itself is only open 1 day a year to the public during the National Trust Heritage Festival.

Hermitage Foreshore track: Strickland House

Strickland House

From Strickland House, it’s a short stroll to Nielsen Park, the perfect spot for a little break.

Nielsen Park and Shark Beach

Shark beach, with Nielsen park right behind the beach, marks the end of the Hermitage Foreshore walk. Shark beach is a very popular weekend destination for families to go for a swim and to relax in the park.

Finding a spot to park your car in the area on a warm Sunday afternoon is a huge challenge.

Hermitage Foreshore walk: Shark beach

Shark Beach

The area is family friendly with calm waters, an enclosed swimming area, a shaded promenade and lots of picnic areas. From here you can choose to do a couple of circuit walking trails before continuing on to Watsons Bay.

These short loops are well sign-posted and offer beautiful views over Sydney Harbour.

 
 

Vaucluse Bay and Vaucluse House

Leaving Nielsen Park, follow Coolong Rd and Wentworth Rd around Vaucluse Bay. If you have the time, it’s worth exploring Vaucluse House, an historic mansion built in the 19th century that became a museum in 1915 and still is today.

Wander around the grounds, have high tea, coffee or lunch, and enjoy this beautiful historic site.

From Vaucluse Bay, follow Wentworth Road and Fitzwilliam Road to Parsley Bay Reserve

Parsley Bay Reserve

The Parsley Bay reserve area is similar to Nielsen park but less crowded, with an enclosed swimming area and quiet picnic facilities. Swimming here on a warm day is a fantastic experience, with calm waters and idyllic surroundings.

One of the highlights of Parsley Bay is the suspension bridge that is part of the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walking trail. Crossing this bridge is great fun, with lovely views on both sides. The bridge is accessible via a small path from Fitzwilliam Road.

Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk: Parsley Bay bridge

Parsley Bay Bridge

 

Watsons Bay

From Parsley Bay, follow The Crescent which leads to Watsons Bay.

An interesting stop along the way is Kutti Beach, a “secret” small strip of sand that can be accessed via the sailing club on Wharf Road. Just don’t tell anyone.

From The Crescent, turn left into Hopetoun Ave, left again into Palmerston Street, and follow the path that leads Gibsons Beach.

Not as small and secluded as Kutti Beach, Gibsons Beach is still a very quiet and perfect spot for a quick dip before moving on to Watsons Bay.

In Watsons Bay, enjoy a well deserved lunch at any of the cafe’s, rest up in Robertson Park and enjoy the views at The Gap.

If you feel like more hiking and exploring, go ahead and try the Watsons Bay walk around South Head, one of the most popular walking tracks in Sydney.

Summary

The walk from Rose Bay to Watsons Bay is relatively long but it’s a reasonably flat and easy track. It won’t get as busy as, for example, the Bondi to Bronte walk, but the views, secluded beaches and parks make this walk one of the best in Sydney.

You can also choose to only do the Hermitage Foreshore track instead of walking further north to Watson Bay. This section of the walk is actually the best part.

With enough facilities such as toilets and cafe’s along the way, this walking trail is perfect for all outdoor enthusiasts, from young families to professional hikers.

 
 

Map

Start the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk from the ferry wharf, going north along the shoreline. Walk to Bayview Hill Rd north of Rose Bay beach where the Hermitage Foreshore walk starts.

Rose Bay Google Map:

 
Hermitage Foreshore Walk Google Map:

 
Comments 6 comments
Grace Mifsud - January 10, 2017

Thank you, I appreciate the information given. I have emailed my son to accompany me to do this walk.

Reply
Bren - January 11, 2017

Thanks mum

Reply
Patricia Smith - February 18, 2017

Really really disappointed about the lack of signage for this walk. We are 2 Seniors from the UK who love walking and wanted to get off the beaten track and enjoy your beautiful coastline. We are staying in Paddington and took the 380 bus to Mcquarrie lighthouse and followed the Coast route to Gap Bluff, the Southhead Heritage trail to Watson’s Bay, perfect to here. Then disaster, walked to the baths at end of Watson’s Bay then nothing, not a sign, notice, nothing. We ended up walking along the road to Rose Bay which was most unpleasant and despite asking many locals nobody seemed to have heard of the path (or didn’t want us to know about it)

We saw a sign for cycle route to Parsey Bay but no footpath or route sign anywhere and all we had to guide us was the red dotted line on the free map of Sydney. Needless to say we were very disappointed and wished we had caught the ferry at Watson’s Bay and not wasted a big chunk of our precious few days in Sydney.

Reply
    Best Sydney Walks - February 19, 2017

    Hi Patricia,
    Sorry to hear you had issues finding the start of the walking trail to Rose Bay from Watsons Bay. You’re right, the signage there certainly isn’t the best. Especially starting from the Watsons Bay end it can be a bit confusing because you need to go through some suburban streets until you get to The Crescent from where you can cross the suspension bridge at Parsley Bay. Hopefully the rest of your stay in Sydney worked out well for you.

    Reply
Michael Murray - June 21, 2017

As a Rose Bay local, I have to say the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk is definitely a favourite! Great article, thanks for sharing.

Reply
Helen - August 13, 2017

It’s a great article, I didn’t have any issues to find the trail. Thank you very much for sharing the information.

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