The South Head Walk is a short coastal trail around HMAS Watson that offers great views of Sydney Harbour, whale watching, and the historic Hornby Lighthouse.


Getting To The South Head Walk, Watsons Bay


Where Is It?

The South Head Walk starts at Camp Cove Beach and is a short loop walk around South Head at the entrance to Sydney Harbour, directly behind the HMAS Watson.
To access by car, take Old South Head Road to Robertson Park then follow Cliff Street to Camp Cove Beach. The entrance is near the kiosk, up some wooden stairs.

By Ferry

The closest ferry terminal is at Watsons Bay. Follow Cliff Road for approximately 10-15 minute walk. Alternatively, walk along Watson’s Bay Beach to Cove Street (joined by small footpath) which joins up to Cliff Street via Victoria Street.

By Bus

The closest bus stop is on Military Road near Robertson Park, about a 10 minute walk from Camp Cove. Buses that stop there include the 324 and 380.

Address

The closest Street address is the corner of Cliff Street and Victoria Road, Watsons Bay, 2030.

Parking

There is a small carpark at the end of Cliff Road near Camp Cove Beach. If you get in early, you might secure a spot there. There is also about a dozen spots at the end of Pacific Street behind Green Point Reserve. If you park here, walk across Green Point Reserve and the beach to access the walk.

Entry Fees

There are no entry fees for this section of the Sydney Harbour National Park.

Maps

Google Maps Link – South Head | Sydney Harbour National Park

South Heap Walking Trail Map


Things To Do


Route Notes

This is a short, easy walk of about 1.5kms with some stairs and a slight ascent to the loop. Shade protection is minimal so make sure to bring a hat and sunscreen.
The track is in good condition the whole way, comprising mostly boardwalk or packed earth. There are a number of natural stopping positions if you need to take a break. It’s worth noting that Lady Bay Beach is a nudist friendly beach and only partly obscured from the track.

South Head Walking Track Loop Sydney

 Whale Watching

Humpback Whale Migration

Humpback whales from the Australian East Coast Humpback Group migrate North to South between April and mid August every year. From mid August to mid December the Humpbacks return south, with the period between early October and mid December offering the best opportunities as it is when the mothers and calves return, generally swimming closer to shore and stopping more frequently for feeding and rest.

Southern Right Whale Migration

Less populous than the Humpbacks, Southern Rights are perhaps more recognisable, and they spend more time in and around Sydney’s bays, beaches and coves, feeding and resting as they might are through the winter.

Historic Hornby Lighthouse

Historic Hornby Lighthouse is Australia’s third oldest lighthouse and an important part of Australia’s European history, erected after two disasters within a few months of each other cost almost around 250 sailors their lives. It’s iconic red and white stripes are recognisable from distance, and the lighthouse marks a halfway point for the loop.

Hornby Lighthouse South Head Sydney

Military History – Gun Emplacements

Two gun emplacements connected via underground bunkers remain near the lighthouse and illustrate the long history of South Head as a military area. A cannon is also present further back on the trail overlooking Camp Cove Beach.

South Head Barracks Walking Track

Underground tunnels join the historic gun emplacements

Get Your Gear Off At Lady Bay Beach

Accessible down from the track prior to reaching the loop trail, Lady Bay Beach is one of Sydney’s few nude friendly beaches. Cliffs and trees provide natural shade, as wekl as partially obscuring the beach from the track.

Cliff Jumping: Popular Or Prohibited?

Thrillseekers will be disappointed to know the cliff jump area near the start of the walk is prohibited and carries a $150 fine. There’s good reason, plenty of folks have injured themselves and there’s even been deaths. 15 meters down into the water is probably too risky.

South Head Heritage Trail Watsons Bay Sydney

This cannon looks out over Camp Cove towards the city.

 


Amenities


  • Food

    There is a kiosk at Camp Cove Beach and a number cafes and restaurants around Robertson Park where you can grab a drink and a bite to eat.

  • Rubbish Bins

    There are rubbish and recycle bins near the amenities block close to Lady Bay Beach.

  • Toilets

    There is a toilet and amenities block near the start of the walk

  • Can I take my dog?

    Dogs are prohibited on the South Head Walk and Camp Cove


Nearby


Camp Cove Watsons Bay Sydney

Camp Cove Beach | Watsons Bay

A favourite harbourside beach with some good snorkelling and plenty of spots to lay out and enjoy the sun.


Green Point Reserve New Years Eve Watsons Bay Sydney

Green Point Reserve | Watsons Bay

A rolling green space with great views of the harbour and some nice spots to fish.


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