Watson’s Bay to Walsh Bay: A Self-Guided Bus Tour
Exploring Sydney by bus is a great way to see the city on a budget. We love this Watson’s Bay to Walsh Bay self-guided bus tour because it gives you a chance to get a locals view of the city. The 325 bus route 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 from Sydney to Watsons Bay
The route 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 are also good options.
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
An area that was formerly home to the city’s warehouses and used by shipping companies to store flour and other goods. These days it has been revitalised into space for creative arts and performance, including the Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Theatre for Young People.
Detour – Barangaroo
Backtrack a little, and you will find Barangaroo, the brand new waterfront park that is well worth exploring if you have time before you begin.
Now let’s get on the bus!
Stop 1. Double Bay – Blackburn Gardens & Murray Rose Pool
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 Woollahra Council Chambers. This is a great warm-weather stop but perhaps not a good choice on a cold or wet day.
Here you will find what was a 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.
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.
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 longer 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 city’s 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.
At the bottom, you will find this view and a picnic table. 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!)
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 beautiful 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 route. Not suitable for anyone who is limited mobility
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.
Related: Check out our Photoguide to the Hermitage Foreshore Walk
Stop 3. Nielson Park – Vaucluse House
Vaucluse House is a 19th-century mansion and one of the city’s most popular heritage buildings. With 10 hectares of beautiful, well-preserved grounds it’s a lovely place for a picnic.
The property belonged to William Wentworth, a prominent politician, and lawyer who fought for the rights of convicts who had completed their sentences released to be 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 lovely 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.
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.
If you did not bring your 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.
Your final choice is 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. We love this walk so much we have devoted a whole post to the Watsos Bay track.
Lady Bay Beach, also known as Lady Jane, is a nude beach – meaning you can swim with or without your bathers. If you are 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 from July to October.
Related: Spend a day exploring Watsons Bay with our day trip guide
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.
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.