Established as a military base and fishing settlement in the colony's early years, Watsons Bay is a charming suburb, with a popular waterfront pub, that has held on to its village ambience despite the exorbitant prices paid for tiny cottages here. Unlike Watsons Bay's tranquil harbor side, the side that faces the ocean is dramatic and tortured, with the raging sea dashing against the sheer, 200-foot sandstone cliffs of The Gap.
Macquarie Lighthouse. When the sun shines, the 15-minute cliff-top stroll along South Head Walkway between The Gap and the Macquarie Lighthouse affords some of Sydney's most inspiring views. Convict-architect Francis Greenway (jailed for forgery) designed the original lighthouse here, Australia's first, in 1818. Visitors climb the 100 stairs to the top of the lighthouse on guided tours (20 minutes duration; A$5) that are run every two months by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. Call or check the website for dates and bookings. Old
South Head Rd., Vaucluse, 2030. To reach Watsons Bay either take the ferry from Circular Quay or buses 324 or 325 from Circular Quay. Bus 324 goes past the lighthouse. 02/8969–2100. www.harbourtrust.gov.au.