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.
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: Sydney Buses operate buses to Chowder Bay on weekdays. The 244 service, which departs from Wynyard, stops along Middle Head Road and Chowder Bay Road, before terminating at Chowder Bay’s parade ground.
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.
There are currently no disruptions to accessing North Head Sanctuary. Continue to check here and our social media channels for updates.
Paid and accessible parking is offered along Chowder Bay Road between 8am and 10om 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.
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 for a swim. If you’d prefer to keep your head above water, you can kayak along the picturesque foreshore.
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 that links Chowder Bay to Taronga Zoo’s Athol Wharf via the historic lighthouse Bradley’s Head.
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.
Housed in the Submarine Miner’s Depot, a 19th century building revitalised by the Harbour Trust, Ripples offers Modern Australian dining as well as cocktails and wine in a historic, waterfront setting.
Situated next to the scenic Bungaree Walkway, with views out across the harbour, Drift Café is a relaxed venue serving Toby’s Estate coffee as well as fresh, modern meals for breakfast and lunch.
Unwind at East Coast Lounge, an artisan homewares store and wine bar, overlooking the world’s best harbour. Sip on a glass of wine and graze on a charcuterie board as you lounge on custom-made furniture, available for purchase.
Chowder Bay is a precinct of Headland Park, which comprises pockets of woodland and heathland on the exposed upper slopes and ridges; littoral vine forest on the southern shady slopes; and sandstone cliffs and outcrops along the headland at Balmoral and Chowder Bay.
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.
Beautiful Chowder Bay played an important part in the defence of Sydney during World War I and is also a place of significance for the Borogegal People. The area was occupied by the military from the 1890s until 2000, when it was opened to the public. Today, locals and visitors alike enjoy the clear waters and public amenities of this harbour gem.
Image caption: Chowder Bay and Clifton Gardens, circa 1878-79, National Library of Australia