Boasting charming restaurants and cafes, it is situated along the scenic coastal walk between Taronga Zoo and Balmoral. Hit the beach at nearby Clifton Gardens and look out for visiting penguins, seals and whales. A network of scenic trails and roads link Chowder Bay to other nearby attractions including the neighbouring precincts that makeup Headland Park – Georges Heights and Middle Head.
Planning to visit? To ensure your time with us is enjoyable and hassle-free, refer to the below information 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.
Restriction to access (13-18 September): The Harbour Trust is undertaking vital works to maintain the pedestrian walkway linking Chowder Bay to the beach at Clifton Gardens Reserve. The walkway is located along the Chowder Bay Seawall near the historic Submarine Miner’s Depot. These works are anticipated to run from Monday 13 September to Saturday 18 September and, for their duration, the pedestrian walkway will be closed. Consequently, visitors to the area will be unable to move between Chowder Bay and Clifton Gardens Reserve. Drift Café Kiosk will continue operating during the temporary works and will be accessible to people visiting Clifton Gardens.
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 park is patrolled by rangers from 8am to 4pm and by security personnel from 4pm and 8am. 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 (8am to 4pm). Alternatively, to contact a security officer, call 0433 631 572 (4 pm - 8 am).
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 ride bikes, skateboards or scooters on footpaths or walking tracks; do not climb walls, fortifications, sculptures or cliffs.
As the situation unfolds, our priority is the health and safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers. Currently, Harbour Trust sites remain open to the public; however, we are monitoring the situation vigilantly.
Looking for things to do in Sydney? Chowder Bay is a place where you can enjoy a swim, take a stroll, picnic, spend the night, and learn about marine life...
The Land’s Edge Foundation (Sydney Harbour) offers affordable group accommodation for schools, families, and community groups seeking to stay at picturesque Chowder Bay. With views of Sydney Harbour, the foundation’s accommodation is ideal for groups seeking to undertake coastal activities including kayaking, snorkelling, stand-up paddleboarding, bushwalking, curriculum studies, and more. Self-catering or catered options available, with expert staff on hand to enhance your experience.
Visit Chowder Bay – plus other iconic destinations on Sydney Harbour – with Sydney Harbour Explorer. Operating every Saturday and Sunday, this Fantasea Cruising service connects Chowder Bay with Manly, Watsons Bay, Circular Quay and Taronga Zoo. Purchase a 1 or 2 Day Pass to get on and off at each stop as often as you like (includes direct fast ferry between Manly and Circular Quay and direct ferry between Manly and Watsons Bay), enjoy a 70-minute Sightseeing Cruise, or pay for single segments between 2 destinations.
Dive or snorkel at Chowder Bay to come face to face with local marine life or head to the netted beach at nearby Clifton Gardens Reserve for a swim. If you’d prefer to keep your head above water, you can kayak along the scenic foreshore. Looking for an idyllic picnic spot on the harbour? Clifton Gardens Reserve features a shaded playground, a large lawn, sheltered seating and barbeques, making it the ideal spot for a picnic with family and friends.
For epic views of Sydney Harbour, including the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, journey along the coastal walking track linking Chowder Bay to Taronga Zoo via the historic lighthouse at Bradley’s Head. Feeling ambitious? Embark on the 80km Bondi to Manly Walk! The massive network of public tracks spans the foreshore between Sydney’s most iconic surf beaches, and includes a pit stop at Chowder Bay.
Set within the historic sandstone mine labs at Chowder Bay, the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) Discovery Centre is a treasure trove for kids as well as marine life enthusiasts. Highlights include a virtual dive and a 3D model of Sydney Harbour. The SIMS Discovery Centre is open to the public on selected Sundays throughout the year.
Unwind and recharge at one of four harbourside food and beverage venues...
Update: Ripples will resume offering their seated dining experience on 11 October 2021. Further info: COVID-19 updates
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.
Update: L'Heritage will resume offering their seated dining experience on 14 October 2021. Further info: COVID-19 updates
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.
Chowder Bay is a precinct of Headland Park, which features pockets of woodland and heathland on the upper slopes and ridges.
Meanwhile, the shady southern slopes are characterised by littoral vine forests and the headland between Balmoral and Chowder Bay is defined by sandstone cliffs and rocky outcrop.
Teams of bush regenerators work regularly at Headland Park to conserve native flora including eucalyptus forest as well as scrub containing banksia, kunzea, hakea and an endangered subspecies of Acacia terminalis (Sunshine Wattle).
This vegetation provides a habitat for native animals including Long-nosed Bandicoots, Water Dragons, Blue-tongue Lizards, Ring-tailed Possums and Green Tree Snakes.
Local bird species including kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, currawongs, pacific white face herons, and dollar birds. Additionally, Chowder Bay receives seasonal visits from penguins, seals and whales.
Chowder Bay holds special significance for the Borogegal People. It served social and ceremonial purposes and provided shelter, food and water...
Local names for the area include Koree and Taliangy, which refers to the stretch of water between Chowder Bay and Obelisk Beach.
Meanwhile, heritage buildings at Chowder Bay speak to the major defence works carried out at the site during the 19th and 20th century. This includes the sandstone Submarine Miners’ Depot – 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]