Bradley's Head to Chowder Bay

The Ucruise Guide To Sydney Harbour

Key Info

Duration: 0.5 Hours
Distance: 8km
Difficulty: Moderate
Child Friendly: Yes
Dog Friendly: No
 

The pleasant Bradley's Head to Chowder Bay Walk within the Sydney Harbour National Park offers spectacular views and fun-packed activities. The walk begins at Bradley's Head and takes you along the coastline to Chowder Bay. As you wind your way towards Taylor's Bay, you will be amazed by sweeping views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera house, the PM's residence and city skyline in all their glory. The weaving trail between Bradley's Head and Chowder Bay Walk is either boardwalk or leafy path. You may spot curious water dragons along the way.

At Bradley's Head Amphitheatre, watch the boats glide by, and then, step into the history at Military relics. Explore the wildlife and ancient trees, and enjoy a tasty drink at heritage sites, Athol Hall or Chowder Bay cafe. Take a dip at Chowder Bay and grab a meal at Ripples Chowder Bay before heading back. Once you've explored this exquisite track of Sydney Harbour, you're sure to wish to explore more of Sydney's coastal trails.
 

 

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History and Development

The area surrounding Bradley's Head and Chowder Bay Walk was a meeting point for the Borogegal clan of the Eora nation before colonisation. It is named for the Lieutenant William Bradley of HMS Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet. Bradley's head is located on the north shore of the Sydney Harbour between Athol Bay and Taylor's Bay. Covered with thick bush and large trees, it was named by first fleet officers.

Chowder Bay was also an important region in North South Wales for the Borogegal clan. At that time, it was known as "Koree" During the 1890's, colonials built a base at Chowder Bay for the Submarine Mining Corps. Mines were designed to prevent enemy ships from entering the harbour. In 1922, technology changes made these types of mines ineffective and the Corps was decommissioned. Chowder Bay then transformed into a depot and barracks for military engineers. In the 1970's, the Army Maritime School, which closed in 1997, was constructed here. Chowder Bay was opened to the public in the year 2000, after decades of army occupation.

Now, Chowder Bay is a site of historical significance attractive tourists with a diverse range of activities, including water sports, nearby walks, cafes and restaurants.
 

 

Activities

Bradley's Head has a recreational area with lawn areas, steps and stone paths and seats placed strategically, allowing panoramic views of Sydney Harbour. On your way, you will enjoy a great range of activities, such as fishing, nature walking, and bird-watching. This walk is also more in tune with nature, reflecting the plant life and over 150 bird species, including New Holland honey-eater and white-bellied sea eagle, as you get further into the walk. You can also have quality time with your family or friends in the picnic area.
 

 

Getting there:

By Ferry: Catch a Ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo. Ferries depart Circular Quay every 30 minutes. Walk beyond the zoo entrance to Bradley's Head. You can train to North Sydney station or catch a bus to Mosman that passes through the Bradley's Head Road.

  • By Car: Drive along the Bradley's Head Road to Mosman. It takes just 20 min to drive from Sydney CBD. However, parking is a bit costly, so your best bet is to arrive by public transport.
  • By Bus: Take bus 244 from/to Wynyard in the city. The bus is mostly an hourly service; so plan accordingly.
     

 

 

The Sights

The Bradley's Head to Chowder Bay walk is a short but an amazing bush trail in Sydney's lower north shore. It boasts panoramic views across Sydney Harbour and historical significance. It is a grade 3 walk that means it is suitable for most ages and fitness levels. You may have to walk through short steep hill sections and many steps.
 

 

HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast

The walk starts at HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast. Erected in 1934, after the HMAS Sydney's decommissioning in 1928, the mast stands in respect for Australian sailors, officers and ships lost at sea.
 

 

HMAS Sydney Mast, Bradley's Head

The walk heads along the footpath for nearly 150 m to where the road turns sharply left. Then, this walk heads along the boardwalk, keeping the water glimpses to your right. The boardwalk ends and follows the track along the hillside for 600 m to come to an intersection with signage that points back to 'Bradley's Head.
 

 

An optional side trip to Taylor's Bay Lookout

Walk 50 m and turn right to head away from the main tracks winding into the bush past two white beaches, to a small rock shelf overlooking the ocean. At the end of this optional side trip, step back to the main walk and turn right.
 

 

Int. Borogegal Walking Trail and Taylor's Bay Lookout

Walk straight to arrive at Taylor's Gully, with Taylor's Bay below on your right. The track heads for about 300 m, contouring the hill with fascinating views of the Taylor's Bay on the right. You will enter and exit Taylor's Gully and continue 250 m to the intersection at the beginning of the houses on the left.

Continue straight along the houses for 140 m; you will notice a Japanese Submarine information sign on the right. The stairs below the last house meet by a large sandstone staircase on the left and a track to the front. Walk straight to arrive at a flat track keeping the water glimpses to your right. You will see a clear three-way intersection with an 'Ashton Park' signage pointing back along the track.
 

 

An optional side trip to Chowder Head

Take a right from the intersection. The track heads downhill and bends left towards an un-fenced rock platform with harbour views across the water to South Head, Vaucluse, Rose Bay, Shark Island, and Bradley's Head. In the end, retrace your steps back to the main walk then turn right.
 

 

Chowder Head track intersection

From the intersection, take a left to head towards Clifton Gardens sign up the hill. You will walk through the bush before noticing another three-way intersection, marked with a 'Morella Rd' sign. Veer left to the intersections to arrive at the main track keeping water views to your right. The track works around the hill to spot a sign point back to 'Ashton Park'.
 

 

Morella St Lookout

 

Morella St is an informally named fairly large clearing behind houses, offering great views across the harbour. It has been well-maintained and is a good place to avoid the large groups at Clifton Gardens.
 

 

Turn right of the intersection and the walk follows 'Clifton Gardens' signage along the concrete path. The path will lead you down the hill, following steps past a bench to come to a 'T' intersection with Sarah's Walk, part way down a few steps.
 

 

Bottom of Sarah's walk steps

Turn right from the intersection and walk until the steps flatten out as the footpath leads around the headland under a few sandstone overhangs. You will see a 'Foreshore Path' sign pointing back along the path at the southwestern end of Clifton Gardens. Turn right, and you will reach the beach, towards the wharf in the middle. On the way, you will see passes an Illawarra Flame tree, as it heads approximately 100 m along the beach to the start of the wharf.
 

 

Clifton Gardens Reserve

Developed in the late 1800's for a picnic, Clifton Gardens is remnant bushland with a netted swimming enclosure, a fenced playground, and change rooms. This place offers bird-watching and impressive views over Chowder Bay. A short bush track will lead you to Rawson Oval.
 

 

Clifton Gardens Baths

Walk straight from the wharf towards the playground at the end of the beach. You will walk along the beach, passing the playground and rocky outcrop on the left. Tend right onto a boardwalk that will take you to the lower gate of Chowder Bay.
 

 

Bacino Kiosk

The Bacino Kiosk, a smaller version of the Bacino Bar at Chowder Bay, sits just next to Clifton Gardens. It supplies passers-by with a homemade coffee and sandwiches, all at a reasonable price. It remains open from 7am-4pm every day, except Christmas and terrible weather.
 

 

A Recent Google Review:

" Stunning location with sheltered bay popular with scuba diving and possibly snorkelling enthusiasts, boosting a wonderful marine sanctuary for viewing seahorses. Easy access to Chowder Bay for walking enthusiasts via a path from Taronga Zoo ferry terminal or ascending Balmoral Beach/Oval's rear metal staircase (turn left and follow road past Burnt Orange Restaurant, around towards Ripples Restaurant and descend their staircase."
 

  

Final Words

Ensure in advance you are well-prepared and well-equipped for all delays and hazards. Check weather information and park closures before setting out. Allow extra time for resting and exploring the places on the way. Be cautious, have fun and happy walking.

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