Highlights include charming eateries with views of Sydney Harbour as well as easy access to Clifton Gardens Reserve – an idyllic picnic spot featuring a beach and play equipment. A network of scenic trails and roads link Chowder Bay to Taronga Zoo, Balmoral Beach and the neighbouring precincts of Headland Park – Georges Heights and Middle Head / Gubbuh Gubbuh.
Planning to visit? For a hassle-free experience, refer to the information below ahead of your trip.
By car: Drive along Middle Head Road, Mosman until the road intersects with Chowder Bay Road at the HMAS Penguin roundabout. Turn right at the roundabout and continue along Chowder Bay Road to arrive at the precinct.
By bus: The 111 bus service operates to the precincts of Headland Park. It runs between Chowder Bay and South Mosman Wharf every 30 minutes, seven days a week. To travel to the precincts of Headland Park from the CBD, board the 100 service (QVB to Taronga Zoo), alight at Mosman Junction and transfer to the 111 service to complete your journey.
For travel back to the city, board the 111 service at Headland Park, alight at Mosman Junction and transfer to the 100 service. It runs every ten minutes during the day and every 20 minutes during early morning and late night.
By ferry: Sydney Buses operate the 238 services, which collects passengers who arrive by ferry at Taronga Zoo’s Athol Wharf from Circular Quay. Walk four kilometres along the coastal walking track that links Athol Wharf to Chowder Bay via Bradley’s Head (Note: The gate for this walking track at Chowder Bay is open from sunrise to sunset).
By private boat: Vessels (including water taxis) can drop off visitors at Clifton Gardens Wharf, adjacent to Chowder Bay, and may anchor off the beach.
For further information, including timetables, visit the Transport NSW website.
From 27 to 28 September, roadworks to repair a leaking valve will take place at the HMAS Penguin/ASOPA roundabout at Middle Head and Chowder Bay. Traffic control will be onsite and access to all areas will not be restricted. We apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused.
Chowder Bay wharf has been closed indefinitely to boats (including mooring, and loading/unloading passengers) while its condition is assessed by the Harbour Trust. There is no access to the wharf by land or water during this time. The Harbour Trust are performing structural repairs on the wharf and slipway, with the aim of reopening both structures to the public by January 2024. Further, major work is underway to stabilise a section of cliff near the Chowder Bay Road roundabout. It is anticipated this work will be completed by mid-November 2023. Learn more here.
Paid and accessible parking is offered along Chowder Bay Road between 8am and 10am daily. Parking meters accept coins (Note: No change facilities available) and MasterCard or Visa (Note: Minimum transaction amount is $4). Hourly and daily rates apply, and there is a surcharge on the weekend (Note: parking rates and time limits are subject to change). Subject to sign-posted time limits, parking is free of charge for motorcycles and drivers with Mobility Scheme Permits.
Parking permits issued by Mosman Council and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service are not valid in Harbour Trust parking areas.
Public toilets, including an accessible toilet, are located near Drift Café and at Clifton Gardens Reserve. Many areas of Chowder Bay are accessible to wheelchairs, mobility scooters and strollers; however, there are some uneven surfaces and bushwalking tracks include stairs and low to medium inclines. Further, Bungaree Walkway, which links Chowder Bay to Georges Heights, features steep stairs, unsuitable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and strollers.
The Harbour Trust maintains public toilets at Chowder Bay, and these facilities are listed on the Department of Health’s National Public Toilet Map. The toilets available at this destination are listed below:
Chowder Bay is patrolled by rangers from 7am to 4pm and by security personnel from 4pm and 7am. In the event of an emergency, dial 000 or 112 if mobile reception is poor. To contact a ranger during an emergency, call 0432 750 714 (7am to 4pm). Alternatively, to contact a security officer, call 0433 631 572 (4pm to 7am).
For your own safety, and to protect the park’s flora and fauna, please remain on the dedicated walking or bike tracks when exploring the bushland and observe the following rules, enforceable by our rangers:
Conditions of entry: Do not feed wildlife; keep dogs on a leash; do not litter, dump rubbish or leave dog waste; do not camp overnight; do not erect gazebos or marquees (without a permit); do not operate remote-controlled vehicles (including drones); do not smoke, light fires or use portable barbeques; remain on dedicated bush tracks; do not play amplified music (without a permit) or create excessive noise; do not undertake commercial activities (without a permit); do not hold private functions (without a permit); do not disturb plants, soil and rocks; do not climb walls, fortifications, sculptures or cliffs; do not ride or use skateboards, roller-skates, in line skates or similar equipment on Harbour Trust land. For further information, see: Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT) Regulations 2021
Unwind and recharge at one of four harbourside food and beverage venues.
Housed in the Submarine Miner’s Depot, a heritage naval building from the 19th century, Ripples offers Modern Australian dining as well as cocktails and wine in a historic, waterfront setting with views of Sydney Harbour and Clifton Gardens Reserve.
From the operators of Frenchy's Café at Georges Heights, L'Heritage is an opportunity for visitors to enjoy a traditional French menu with matched wines in a heritage setting. The bistro is set within a historic naval building featuring high ceilings and panoramic views.
Situated next to the scenic Bungaree Walkway, with views out across the harbour, Drift Café is a relaxed venue serving coffee as well as fresh, modern meals for breakfast and lunch.
The team behind Drift Café also operate a kiosk near Clifton Gardens Reserve. Located at the eastern end of the beach, Drift Café Kiosk serves sandwiches, pastries and beverages pulled from the parent venue’s menu.
Enjoy a picnic, take a stroll, go swimming, stay overnight and learn about marine life.
Key objects and landmarks have been awoken at Headland Park including Chowder Bay… and they’re eager to have a conversation with you! Look out for the clay-red "Hello" signs to kickstart a lively and informative conversation.
The Sydney Institute of Marine Science Discovery Centre is a treasure trove for kids and marine life enthusiasts. Highlights include a virtual dive and a 3D model of Sydney Harbour. The centre is open to the public on select Sundays.
Want to make a splash? Head to Clifton Gardens Reserve for a snorkel or swim. Prefer to keep your head above water? You can kayak along the scenic foreshore. An ideal spot for picnics, Clifton Gardens Reserve also features lawn, a shaded playground, sheltered seating and barbeques.
Explore Australia’s rich naval history with a guided ‘East of the Harbour Bridge’ or ‘The Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour’ cruise from our friends at the Naval Historical Society of Australia. From picturesque vantage points around the harbour, you'll hear fascinating and lesser-known stories about naval activities during times of war and peace, bringing this rich history to life.
For epic views of Sydney Harbour, journey along the coastal walking track linking Chowder Bay to Taronga Zoo. Feeling ambitious? Embark on the 80km Bondi to Manly Walk – this massive network of public tracks spans the foreshore between Sydney’s most iconic surf beaches and includes a pit stop at Chowder Bay.
The Land’s Edge Foundation (Sydney Harbour) offers affordable group accommodation. Suitable for schools, families and community groups seeking to stay at picturesque Chowder Bay. Self-catering or catered options available, with expert staff on hand to enhance your experience.
Bush regenerators conserve the area’s native flora including eucalyptus forest and scrub containing banksia, kunzea, hakea and an endangered subspecies of Acacia terminalis (sunshine wattle). This vegetation is a habitat for long-nosed bandicoots, water dragons, blue-tongue lizards, ring-tailed possums and green tree snakes. Kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, currawongs, pacific white face herons and dollar birds can also be found locally. Chowder Bay is also a popular haunt for Seals (pictured), and the area is also visited by penguins and whales.
The Traditional Custodians and Owners of Chowder Bay are the Borogegal People and the First Nations name for the area is Gooree.
Gooree traditionally served social and ceremonial purposes and also provided shelter, food and water. Other traditional names for the area include Taliangy, which refers to the stretch of water between Chowder Bay and Obelisk Beach. Meanwhile, the name Chowder Bay dates to the 1830s when whalers made fish chowder from local oysters and pipis.
A key landmark is the former Submarine Miner’s Depot, a nineteenth century naval building that houses restaurants and other local businesses. It is the only remaining mine laboratory in Australia and the most intact facility of its kind in the world.
[Image caption: Chowder Bay and Clifton Gardens, circa 1878-79, National Library of Australia]
Learn more about our extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour.