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Dover Heights Federation Cliff Walk

Home > Sydney > Walks | Free
Published January 17th 2011
The jagged cliffs of the Federation Cliff Walk that carve the coastline from Dover Heights to Watson's Bay offer an unrivalled view across the Tasman Sea. Highly erosive, the fragile sandstone cliffs offer a rare glimpse into the past as waves constantly pound the bluff, revealing stone that was present millions of years ago.

In recent years, the Waverley Council has restored the rotting boardwalks and created a scenic path beginning at the foot of Lancaster Street, Dover Heights and ending 5 kilometres later at The Gap Reserve, Watson's Bay. Lace up your shoes and smear on some sunscreen as extraordinary views distract from the walk and encapsulate wonderers for hours as they glimpse sight of the fierce ocean crashing through the heads between Manly and Watson's Bay.

The first few kilometres of the Federation Cliff Walk border the impressive houses of affluent Dover Heights and Vaucluse before reaching Christison Park. Pass Australia's first lighthouse, the soccer-frantic youth and some curious canines before continuing toward Signal Hill Reserve. Here begins a historic tour of Sydney's World War II defence barriers; shady bunkers hug the crags while platforms once holding hefty cannons rust in the ocean spray.

As the path begins to descend into handsome Watson's Bay, a view spanning from Mosman and the North Shore suburbs to The Sydney Harbour Bridge fill every inch of peripheral vision. The Gap Reserve offers the perfect backdrop for a well-earned fish & chip lunch from Doyle's Restaurant in Watson's Bay. Gelatissimo offers refreshing gelato which can be enjoyed while perched along the tranquil sands of Camp Cove harbour beach- a few minutes stroll from The Gap Reserve.

Ferries to Circular Quay run daily and bus L82 from Sydney CBD hurtles up Military Rd eventuating in Watson's Bay. To begin the Federation Cliff Walk in Dover Heights, hop off the bus or park your car across from Dudley Page Reserve and follow Lancaster Street to the cliffside. It is advisable to begin in Dover Heights and end in Watson's Bay as the latter may prove difficult for parking on weekends.

With a full belly, weak legs and sun kissed skin, you can easily return to your vehicle via bus or taxi. The Federation Cliff Walk provides the fresh air and open space of a nature trail miles from any city yet it's just a 20 minute drive from the heart of Sydney City. Pet and eco-friendly, don't forget the camera on this healthy, outdoor weekend adventure.
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Why? Because the views are truly priceless
When: Anytime- especially summer months
Where: Eastern Suburbs, Sydney
Cost: Free
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