Watson’s Bay Lighthouse Walk
Watson’s Bay is gorgeous as is, take the ferry over and then walk the Watson’s Bay Lighthouse Walk and your day couldn’t get any better. We had heard a lot about the walk and seen pictures but couldn’t figure out where it started. We’ve done the walk a couple of times, it is magnificent.
There are beautiful views, a lighthouse and some historical sites along the way.
The Watson’s Bay Lighthouse Walk on South Head is one of the most spectacular walks in Sydney. And you can definitely do this walk with kids. You just have to know where to start and to be careful of avoiding the views overlooking the nudist beach.
The Lighthouse Walk on South Head, Watsons Bay
(The South Head Heritage Trail)
The proper name of this walk is actually The South Head Heritage Trail. But for the kids sake we refer to it as the Lighthouse Walk.
The views extend from Sydney Harbour in the East, Middle Head and North Head in the North and the Pacific Ocean to the East. Visiting in Winter gives you the added advantage of doing some whale spotting. It’s also a bit cooler then which is ideal given that there is not really any shade on the walkways.
Where is the walk
The Lighthouse Walk is around South Head so on the opposite side of Sydney to Manly. The closest suburb to the walk is Watson’s Bay. If you’re living in Sydney and you’ve never been to Watsons Bay, you’re crazy. You should read the post on Taking the Ferry to Watsons Bay and do it!
That aside, the walk is a highlight of Watson’s Bay and should be done if you have the time.
You start the walk at Camp Cove in Watsons Bay and head off towards South Head ultimately looping back around.
How to get to the Lighthouse Walk
From the Ferry
Most people will start the walk after coming off the Ferry in which case
- you get off the Ferry and turn left to walk along the promenade. If you walk past a whole lot of little dingies stacked up on the beach you’re going the right way.
- When you get to the end of the promenade you will see a little staircase to your left, go up that and onto Cove Street.
- Walk along Cove Street all the way to the end and turn right into Victoria Street.
- Walk all along Victoria Street until you reach the end. You’ll see a little car park in front of you.
- Turn left into Cliff Street and walk out onto the beach.
Driving to Camp Cove
- Drive along New South Head Road past Vaucluse to the end
- Turn right into Robertson Road, then left into Military Road, which becomes Cliff Road.
- Turn left onto Short Street then right into Cove Street and right onto Victoria Street
- Continue to the end and leave the car at Camp Cove carpark.
- Walk out onto the beach.
From Camp Cove Kiosk
You will see Camp Cove Kiosk and a little path that passes it up to a ricketing wooden staircase. Go up the staircase and past the toilets on your right. Keep walking up the hill on those cobblestones and you’re officially on your walk.
What you’ll pass on Lighthouse Walk
1. Camp Cove Beach
To start with you’re at Camp Cove Beach which is a stunning beach. The first time we tried to do the Lighthouse Walk we didn’t get past the beach because the kids just wanted to stay and swim. And eat ice creams of course. We were far more successful with the walk when we did it in Winter and Spring.
2. The Cannon
Just up the hill from Camp Cove Beach you will find a “Gun Placement and Rifle Walls”. This was established in 1890 to protect a military jetty and boat shed from threats.
You will find two more Gun Placements on the otherside of the Lighthouse, when you get there.
3. Lady Bay Beach
After the lookout you’ll head up onto Lady Bay Road along to Lady Bay Beach.
If you’ve got kids, walk past this beach quickly otherwise they will definitely point out the naked bathers. For some reason the bathers seem to stand facing the path and not the ocean. Every.single.time.
4. The South Head Loop
This is, for me, the heart of the walk. Here you look out over Sydney. The views are astounding and worth the walk alone. Although the Fairfax Walk is also as good and a shorter and easier walk.
This is where you’ll find the Hornby Keeper’s Cottage and the big red and white striped Lighthouse.
At this point of the walk you will loop back and return back past Lady Bay Beach and Camp Cove.
We have done this walk with our kids a few times and even before the littlest turned two. She was walking but had to be carried a bit of the way. The Lighthouse Walk in total is 3.5km but it is an easy walk if you know where to go.
You just have to keep a very very close eye on the kids as there are no rails or guards to keep them safe. The walk is very exposed.
Interesting Facts About The Lighthouse
The lighthouse was built in 1858 following the wrecking of the Dunbar at the foot of South Head. Designed by colonial architect Alexander Dawson, Hornby Lighthouse was the third lighthouse to be built in NSW.
Get the Kids out the House and Out on Sydney’s Best Coastal Walks.