Sydney Sampler Week 2: Watsons Bay Review
Watsons Bay’s seclusion is part of its charm.
So it’s week two of my research on where I am going to live in Sydney, and it was a delight.
Firstly let me say this. EVERYONE should do this once. Put your place on Airbnb and book a four-night stay at Watsons Bay Hotel. It was only $770 for the four nights including breakfast. You will love it!
If, like me, you like to work hard in the office and live hard when you’re not, Watsons Bay is the location to be. As soon as you jump on that ferry after work you instantly feel like you are leaving the stress of your job in the city. I still can’t believe you can go to work by boat across one of the most beautiful harbours on earth for only $64 per week. As a Sydneysider, I kept thinking “why don’t I use this mode of transport more often?”
The ferry home to Watsons Bay
It’s a 20-minute direct trip with Captain Cook Cruises. I found myself getting up earlier to get on the ferry sooner and leaving work earlier to catch the sunset cruise on the way home.
Watsons Bay during the week is as quiet as any sleepy beachside town. I slept each night with the window of my room open and the loudest noises I heard were from the birds outside. I have to admit that I did miss some of the silliness of Double Bay; however, I relaxed knowing that ferry-loads of tourists and westies (I grew up in Ebenezer so I can say that) jam themselves into the hotel on a weekend.
Everyone I told that I was thinking of living in Watsons Bay said exactly the same thing: “But it’s so far away!” That’s exactly why I love it over there. With the ferry services and Uber drivers parked up near the pub, getting around was easy. For the more adventurous, the sea taxi service is also on offer and still one of the best ways to cruise the harbour at $140ish each way.
The sea taxi ride
Watsons Bay does not have as many dining options as Double Bay, but there is still enough to find everything you need. The Pub has a special every night from around $15 to $20 for a main. I also dined at Doyles for the very first time. I have never really loved the location of Doyles as I don’t like dining on a foot path and don’t like eating inside when you have such an amazing view right in front of you. I tried a couple of the entrées and thought they were OK. I would still prefer to take a ferry to Catalina and watch the seaplanes take off rather than the backside of a passing tourist.
The view from Catalina
At Watsons Bay you are spoilt for beautiful morning coffee locations like Dunbar House and Nielsen Park Cafe & Restaurant, or you can head up hill and grab a takeaway from The Grumpy Baker and sit overlooking the sea cliff. Last week I took a drone off the edge and captured a sea turtle swimming just off the rocks! Who knew?
What about the Hotel? I loved it! The feeling I got at Watsons Bay was the way I feel when I go to someone’s house and they totally love to entertain. That’s nice work by the team there. The rooms were large with big bathrooms, and obliviously the location is unique. Well done guys!
A meal at the Watsons Bay hotel
So what’s my verdict? It’s not as convenient as Double Bay and dining locations are limited, but where you dine in Watsons Bay is much more scenic. You feel more relaxed and you do get to enjoy some people watching on the weekends. That ferry ride is the world’s best trip to work, and you are encouraged to get out of bed earlier and leave work sooner which is a much better way to live. Watsons Bay is A-OK.
This week I’m off to the Q Station at Manly and I am very excited about it. With detached private bathrooms and rumours of it being haunted, it should be a lot of fun.
Each week Byron Matthews will review a different Sydney suburb he's always wanted to live in. Read his other reviews here.