Your Guide To Clifton Gardens Wharf (Chowder Bay Wharf)

Disabled Access – NO

Food and Drink Options – YES

Tourist Attractions – YES

Transport Links – YES

Shopping Centre – NO

Nightlife – NO

Opening Hours – 8am-10pm

Clifton Gardens Wharf, which is also known by its location as Chowder Bay Wharf, is situated within the affluent Mosman suburb of Sydney on the north side of the Harbour Bridge. Surrounded by a rich history, it is the ideal drop off point for sightseeing and tourism, with the popular Cobblers Beach also conveniently close. The wharf is also perfectly situated for transport links, with a bus service running from a stop a short walk from the wharf, and the wharf also has connections to ferry services. There is also ample parking, though parking costs are steep at $4 per hour on weekdays and $6 per hour on weekends and public holidays.

History

Named for the whalers who would make chowder from the seafood harvested at the bay, Chowder Bay is an idyllic slice of paradise situated on the southern side of the Middle Head peninsula. Clifton Gardens, which sits towards the southern end of Chowder Bay, is named after an early settler by the name of Captain E. H. Cliffe, who purchased the 56-acre estate on the water’s edge, and called it “Cliffeton.” There was a hotel called the Clifton Arms built in the late 19th century, which was sadly demolished in 1967. The area once also housed an ambitious structure containing a dancing pavilion and skating rink, as well as a huge, circular swimming pool that could reportedly hold 3,000 spectators, a boat shed and a tramway system that linked the wharf to the hotel. The bulk of this structure burnt down in 1956, though the gardens continue to be a favourite summer picnic spot among locals. The beautiful and safe stretch of sand, netted harbour pool and abundance of grassy areas makes it the perfect Sunday family getaway spot.

Attractions

Clifton Gardens Reserve is the park that lends the wharf its name and is renowned as one of the most naturally beautiful parks in Sydney. The park is clean, attractive and very well maintained, making it an idyllic spot for enjoying scenic walks with your friends and family. The park also has a playground for small children, as well a BBQ area.

The wharf is known to be a wonderful spot for fishing; you would find few better places if you fancied a lazy afternoon watching the world go by and catching salmon, bonito and yellowtail kingfish. The clear waters surrounding the wharf also mean that the area is ideal for scuba diving.

Chowder Bay itself is part of the larger Headland Park area and is also located a short walk from Taronga Zoo, which is over 100 years old and houses over 4,000 animals. Indeed, many visitors to Chowder Bay incorporate it into a walk between Taronga Zoo and Balmoral Beach. The so-called “Bungaree Walkway” (named for the historic indigenous leader) also leads up to the Georges Head Lookout for spectacular harbour views in scenic bushland settings. For more adventurous tourists (and locals), Cobblers Beach is also located a short walk north from the wharf up Cobblers Bay Road. This is a secluded beach that offers stunning views, snorkelling and nude-bathing. There is also the smaller Obelisk Beach nearby, which is also a nudist beach.

You will find plenty of relaxing spots and tourist attractions around this wharf so if you’re looking to explore more of the gorgeous areas in Sydney this would be a great drop off point.

Restaurants & Bars

Chowder Bay offers some exceptional waterside eating options. A Bacino kiosk serves coffee and light lunches, whilst the East Coast Lounge wine bar, located just as you leave the Clifton Gardens Wharf, serves a variety of craft beers and ciders alongside hearty food in a waterside setting with a pleasing white-painted brick aesthetic. If you’re in the mood for something a little more special, meanwhile, fine dining is offered at Ripples Restaurant, which serves modern Australian food in a renovated, 19th-century building that overlooks the bay. If you’re looking for things to do with the family, the popular Sydney Chocolate School, is also in the area, and provides unique chocolate making classes.