Suburb Spotlight: Watsons Bay

Thanks to its stunning location, rich history and variety of entertainment options, Watsons Bay is an attraction in its own right.

Set on the northeastern tip of the Eastern Suburbs peninsular and encapsulating South Head, Watsons Bay adjoins Vaucluse. It boasts stunning harbour and city views on its Eastern side and amazing ocean clifftop parks and walks on the West.

In terms of its real estate, Watsons Bay comprises just a handful of residential streets. This only serves to increase demand for housing in this prestigious suburb.

The name

Watson’s Bay takes its name from Robert Watson who arrived with the First Fleet as quartermaster of the flagship, HMS Sirius. Governor Philip King granted Watson land at South Head in 1801. In 1818, Watson was appointed the first superintendent of the Macquarie Lighthouse right next door in neighbouring Vaucluse.

Population snapshot: Who lives in Watsons bay?

At the time of the 2016 Census, Watsons Bay had just 850 residents, with a median age of 39. And there are just 336 properties. Of these, 46% are separate houses, 26.8% are semi-detached, row or terrace houses and 21.5% are units or apartments.

Market snapshot

Watsons Bay has always been a popular place to live, particularly with families and downsizers, and property here is much sought after.

According to realestate.com.au, each property listing receives an average of 2,481 visits, compared to a state average of 868 visits per property. The vacancy rate is 2.73% and a quarter of residents are renters, according to realestateinvestar.com.au.

So few houses change hands in Watsons Bay that median price data is almost impossible to locate. However, in our experience, cottages sell for upward of $4,000,000 with larger family homes starting at $10,000,000.

Five reasons the locals love Watsons Bay

1. Fascinating historical landmarks

Although it covers just 0.6 square kilometres, Watsons Bay has several fascinating and important historical landmarks. You can do a cultural walking tour of the Aboriginal history of the area or discover more about it’s history after European settlement by touring the HMAS Watson Naval base, Hornby Lighthouse, historic homes, old harbour swimming baths, and wartime gun emplacements.

2. The harbourside beaches

While it may not boast a good surf beach, Watsons Bay offers many quiet and secluded harbourside beaches. Watersports such as sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking and even yachting are all available on the harbour near the Ferry at Robertson Park.

If you’re looking for a quiet beach, Camp Cove tops the lists. It also boasts two of Sydney’s designated nudist beaches, Lady Jane and Lady Bay.

3. The great parks and walks

Thanks to its location between the cliffs and the harbour, Watsons Bay is both hilly and leafy. Its six parks take up nearly 21.7% of the suburb. The best known is perhaps Gap Park but Watsons Bay is also home to part of Sydney Harbour National Park, where you can enjoy the South Head Heritage Trail from National Parks and Wildlife. In the other direction, try the Federation Cliff Walk towards Dover Heights and Bondi.

4. The great food and entertainment

The Merivale-owned Watsons Bay Hotel is an icon in the area, as is Doyles right next door. Both have attracted diners from all over the city who enjoy the waterside location. For such a small village suburb, Watsons Bay really packs a punch - from fish and chips or gelato by the water to fabulous cafes and the historic 1830s Dunbar House.

5. Convenient lifestyle

You may feel like you’re on a permanent holiday when you live here but Watsons Bay is just a short ferry or bus ride into town.

Watsons Bay is 11km from the CBD or a short drive to the shops and services of Rose Bay or Bondi Junction. It’s also close to many of the East’s great schools. Plus the beach, shopping and entertainment of Bondi are practically next door.

Recent listings and sales

6 & 7 Marine Parade Watsons Bay

17 Pacific Street Watsons Bay

If Watsons Bay is on your watch list, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today.

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Eastern Suburbs Market Report

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