Taking the Ferry to Watsons Bay – A Sydney Must

The Ferry to Watsons Bay 

If you’re visiting Sydney for more than two days, you have to take a ferry from the City or Manly to Watson’s Bay. If you live in Sydney and you haven’t done the ferry to Watsons Bay yet you are crazy.


It is one of those iconic trips that you just have to do.


There are two ways to do this ferry trip, either from Manly, North of Sydney (the North Shore and Northern Beaches) or from Circular Quay in the City.


In this post I’m going to give you all the information you need to have a great outing including what to do once you get there. 


The Ferry to Watsons Bay from Manly or Circular Quay


One of the most iconic trips to take in Sydney is a Ferry to Watsons Bay

Manly to Watsons Bay by Ferry



We often take the Ferry to Watsons Bay from Manly. It is a stunning day out regardless of whether you spend all day or just go for a quick visit.  


This is such a stunning trip as you look back at Manly from the water, pass North Head and spot Balmoral and the City in the distance.


Captain Cook operates daily ferries to Watsons Bay from Manly and the cost for the return trip is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children aged 4 – 15 years old. The Manly Fast Ferry does operate on the weekends. Just make sure you know which Ferry you are getting on or which one you have paid for.



You must check the wind speed before you venture out on this trip as it can get quite rough where you pass the heads.



Circular Quay to Watsons Bay


The beauty of this trip is that you aren’t passing the Heads and staying within the greater Sydney Harbour. This however doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when the water gets rough – it still does.


The beauty of this trip is passing the Opera House and Botanical Gardens while on the water. You’ll also get some great pictures of the Harbour Bridge. For the locals its interesting to see Rose Bay and Double Bay from the water.


You can catch a Captain Cook Rocket Ferry between Watsons Bay and Circular Quay this will cost $14. There is also a morning and afternoon peak hour commuter Ferry.



One of the most inconic trips to make in Sydney is the ferry to watsons bay

What to do in Watsons Bay



Fish and Chips


If you ask any Sydneysider what to do after you have taken the Ferry to Watsons Bay they will tell you that you have to get fish and chips. The more typical Sydneysiders will insist that you get fish and chips from Doyles.


Doyles has two locations. There is a take away service right on the wharf as you arrive and then there is a sit down restaurant a bit further to the left of the wharf as you walk along the main walkway.


If you’ve got kids with you or you want to just eat and dash the take away option is your best bet. You can still sit down, just order from the counter round the back and try snag a table. Just remember you can only pay cash at the takeaway.



If you’re braver, take your fish and chips across the road (heading East, with your back to the water) and have a picnic in the park. Just be very very careful of the seagulls they are extremely skilled at stealing food.


take the ferry to watsons bay and then grab fish and chips from doyles right on the wharf



My kids love the Ferry to Watsons Bay, the act like little pirates screaming with their hair blowing in the wind. However, I can imagine that not every little one loves the water adventures like this. If your little one hates the trip you can whip them off the ferry and cross the road to the park. Just head East with your back towards the water.


At the top of the park is a lovely little enclosed playground.





There are a few places to swim in Watsons Bay. My two top spots are the enclosed swimming baths near the wharf and Camp Cove Beach.


I would stick to these two until you know the area, if I was you, because there is a nudist beach and you wouldn’t want to have to explain that to your kids. My son decided to yell about seeing a naked man when we walked past the beach. It was mortifying.



The Lighthouse Walk


I would really recommend taking some time to do the walk to Hornby Lighthouse. It is a bit difficult to find the starting point but it is so worth it. The views are incredible and it’s really not a hard walk once you know where to start.


I’ve put together a complete post on the Lighthouse Walk with all the information you should need.


take a ferry to Watsons Bay and do the amazing lighthouse walk


There are incredible adventures for families in Sydney. Below are the links to some of my favourites. 


Five of the best families activities for tourists visiting Sydney. 

How to visit Taronga with Kids

Palm Beach, One of Sydney’s Best Beaches



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