Exploring Sydney by bus: Watsons Bay to Walsh Bay – Route 325

The view of the city from Lady Bay Beach

The journey takes you from the docks of Walsh Bay to the cliffs of Watsons Bay giving you a chance to see waterfront Sydney from its working class roots to its high-class splendour.

The 325 bus travels from the city to Watsons Bay via  – Walsh Bay, Town Hall, Kings Cross, Rushcutters Bay, Edgecliff, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Nielsen Park and Watson’s Bay.

You can begin at Walsh Bay or start at one of the other points along the way depending on what works for you.  Town Hall and Edgecliff Stations also work well.

This bus route begins at Hickson Road near the Roslyn Packer (Wharf) Theatre and travels along Sussex St to Town Hall where you can join the bus on Park St if that is more convenient. From Park St, it goes up William St towards Kings Cross and past the big Coca Cola sign.  After this, things get a little more picturesque with Rushcutters Bay the first of the harbour bays you will pass.

The stops I have labelled below are places you might like to get off the bus.  I would not suggest getting off at all of them unless you have a full day but rather pick one or two that appeal to you and then jump back on when you are done.

Starting Point – Walsh Bay

Walsh Bay housing and shops

An area that was formerly home to the cities warehouses used by shipping companies to store flour and other goods.  These days it has been revitalised into space for creative arts and performance, home to the Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Theatre for Young People among others.

Walsh Bay in Winter

Detour – Barangaroo

Also right nearby is Barangaroo, the brand new waterfront park that is well worth exploring if you have time before you begin.

 Barangaroo looking to the Anzac Bridge

Now let’s get on the bus!

Stop 1. Double Bay – Blackburn Gardens and Murray Rose Pool – Great for a swim or coffee with a view.

The first place I suggest you might like to get off the bus to stretch your legs is here on New South Head Road.  Just ask the driver to let you off at Woolarah Council Chambers. This is a great warm weather stop but perhaps not a good choice on a cold or wet day.

.St Bridgets bus stop 325

Here you will find what was the most gorgeous little public library with arguably the best view in Australia.  The library looks over Blackburn Gardens and offers beautiful glimpses of the harbour through the trees. It’s a fantastic spot for a bit of quiet reading or thinking.  Last month the library moved to new premises which was great for users but a little sad all the same.

Double Bay library in Blackburn Gardens
The Old Double Bay Library in Blackburn Gardens

At the bottom of the garden is the Murray Rose Pool.  The pool is named after one of Australia’s best known Olympic stars and perfect for a dip or just a coffee if the weather is not warm enough.

Murray Rose Redleaf Pool - Sydney Expert
Murray Rose Pool is open daily from 7 am

Once you are finished here you can either get back on the bus or continue walking to Wolseley Rd Vaucluse – If you do walk it will be at least 2km walk before you can rejoin the bus at Rose Bay Police Station.  If you decide you are up for a bigger walk, you can walk from here to the start of the Hermitage Foreshore Track, which is a total of 4.8km. 

Detour –  Point Piper – Walk

Point Piper is possibly the cities most exclusive suburb consisting of only a dozen or so streets with one, Wolseley Road being listed at the 9th most expensive street in the world.  You can walk along the street and take a peek at what life is like here, but you honestly don’t see that much.  Most of the homes have large fences with only some for sale signs giving you an idea of what life is like behind the wall.  You do see plenty of flashy cars 🙂 and you may or may not spot a celeb.

Duff Reserve on a few hundred metres along Wolseley Road – it gives you an idea of the view these homes have.

 

Duff Reserve Entry
Follow the 100 or so steps down to this tiny park with postcard views and a picnic table

At the bottom, you will find this view and a picnic table.  To be honest, there are better views to come but I included it here so you can see the outlook the rich and famous have while they wash the dishes lol (as if!)

View from Duff Reserve in Vaulcluse
View from the picnic tables at Duff Reserve Point Piper

Also on Point Piper at Lady Martins Beach is the Royal Motor Yacht Club a very exclusive private members club established in 1905,  who list among their members the Prime Minister and many TV personalities.

Stop 2. Rose Bay

Home of the seaplane, iconic restaurant Catalina and the very pretty Lyne Park

As you head up New South Head Road, you will pass the Harry Potteresque Kincoppel Girls school. Kincoppel is a private Catholic girl day and boarding school. It has featured in several films & TV shows including Looking for Alibrandi the ABC series Spirited and Olsen Twins movie Our Lips are Sealed.

Get off the bus here at Towns Road/Bayview Hill Road  – about a  4 min walk to join the Hermitage Foreshore Track

The track is a relatively easy walk of 2.2km (graded moderate due to the uneven surfaces along some portions of the track.  Not suitable for anyone who is limited mobility

Hermitage Foreshore Walk Eastern Suburbs

This is one of Sydney’s lesser known walks and has some stunning views of the city.  You also pass gorgeous and usually quiet beaches that are perfect for a paddle or a quick swim including Queens Beach, Hermit Bay Beach, Tingara Beach, Milk Beach,  Shark Bay beach at the end of the walk.  Check out my post on the walk here

Stop 3. Nielson Park  – Vaucluse House

Vaucluse House is a 19th-century mansion with 10 hectares of beautiful, well-preserved grounds. It belonged to William Wentworth, a prominent politician, and lawyer who fought for the rights of convicts who had completed their sentences released and given land grants.

The bus stops right outside the gate to Vaucluse House. I recommend a visit to the tea room or the tour the house if you have time.

Detour – Parsley Bay Beach

Parsley Bay Beach and Park are another relatively secret area that is only busy on weekends mid-morning and lunchtime with lots of local families picnicking.  Early morning or later in the afternoon is an ideal time to take the short walk, about 15 mins, through the gully to the small waterfall and across the bridge. This is a nice area for swimming too.  There’s a cafe and lots of shade, so it’s perfect for summer. You can access the part via Hopetoun Avenue or Horler Avenues.

Parsley Bay Sydney

Stop 4 – Watson’s Bay all out all change!

Watson’s Bay terminus is the last stop on this route.  The bus will drop you at Robertson Park, which is a great spot for a picnic.

Robertson Park
Robertson Park is a lovely place to picnic or watch the sunset behind the city

If you did not bring you lunch, you have several options from takeaway fish and chips from Doyles on the Wharf to the full Doyles experience in the lovely restaurant pictured below.

Watsons Bay with Doyles in the background

Your final choice is the Watson’s Bay hotel that was remodelled a few years ago and has a large beer garden that is perfect for quenching your thirst while you admire the ocean views. Another gem here is the wheelchair friendly Baths.  There is a great view of them with photos available on the Swimming Sydney blog.

Detour –  Hornby Lighthouse via the South Head Heritage Trail (2.8km)

This walk has something for everyone;

  • Camp Cove,  a pretty and very safe harbour beach
  • an old naval cannon
  • Lady Bay Beach, a clothing optional beach for the more adventurous
  • a spectacular city lookout
  • dramatic cliffs
  • and a cute red and white striped lighthouse

It is worth the extra time if you can fit it in. The walk is graded easy and will only take you about an hour and a half tops.  There is a great map with photos and a guide on the Wild Walks website.

The view of the city from Lady Bay Beach
The lookout over Lady Bay Beach to the Sydney skyline is spectacular.

Lady Bay Beach, also known as Lady Jane, is a clothing optional beach – meaning you can swim with or without your bathers.  If you concerned about being offended, you can walk above the beach and avert your eyes but good luck with that because the view is just gorgeous.

Last stop is this lovely red and white lighthouse that has been servicing South Head since 1858.  In 1933 the lighthouse was automated. This is a fantastic spot for whale watching in July and October

Hornby Lighthouse Watsons Bay
By the time we reached the lighthouse, the weather was dismal

Stop 5. The Gap

The Gap is Sydney’s most infamous lookout. Sadly over the years many people have taken their lives at this spot. Today you will notice signage and a help phone to reduce this occurring today.

The Gap at Watsons Bay

This post is part of a series Exploring Sydney by Public Bus that highlights the best Sydney bus routes for visitors wanting to get a little off the beaten track.

How do you feel about public transport when you travel?  Have you got a favourite local route you think visitors should try?

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