Your Guide To Lavender Bay Wharf

Disabled Access – NO

Food and Drink Options – YES

Tourist Attractions – YES

Transport Links – YES

Shopping Centre – YES

Nightlife – YES

Lavender Bay Wharf is situated on the lower North Shore of Sydney, right next to the iconic Wendy’s Secret Garden. It is a quieter, more residential wharf not far from the Kirribilli Markets, which also has excellent tram and train transport links nearby for easy access. The wharf boasts spectacular views of the Harbour Bridge and is generally very easy to access. Consider being dropped off here if you wish to visit either the Secret Garden, the markets or, further down the bay, Luna Park. The wharf provides access to private vessels and is open throughout the year.

History

The bay itself was named for George Lavender, a boatswain from the Phoenix prison vessel, which moored in the bay for years. It was originally called “Hulk Bay” due to the size of the ship, and sometimes “Phoenix Bay.” The Lavender Bay Wharf was constructed over 20 years ago and reconstruction work was recently completed on it, as a significant number of the timber elements in the wharf and boardwalk were showing their age. Lavender Bay was also the site of Cavill’s Baths, which was named after the famous swimmer Richard Cavill and was used for almost a century as a public swimming bath before it was demolished in 1975.

Attractions

Wendy’s Secret Garden is named after Wendy Susan Whitely, the former wife of Australian artists Brett Whitely and landscaper extraordinaire, who transformed the derelict railway in Lavender Bay into her very own ‘magic garden’ that has been delighting the public for years. Described by many as rivalling even Claude Monet’s famously ornate garden, the public has always had free access to the garden, which includes an antique fountain from the Paddington garden of Margaret Olley, lush Bangalore palms and numerous objects found in the scrub, like an old tricycle and a child’s scooter. A quirky, unmissable delight and a true Sydney institution that even led to Wendy being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her efforts. Luna Park, located on the western shore of the bay, is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. In fact, it is one of only two in the world protected by government legislation. The park was built in 1935 and has seen its fair share of historical woes including a horrific ghost train fire in 1979. Today it has been heavily restored and is a wonderful novelty, with the Luna Park Face that flanks the entrance to the park now one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. A trip to the park itself is like stepping back in time, with its nostalgic, 30s funhouse aesthetic, dodgems, Ferris wheel and wooden roller coasters. The Kirribilli Markets, meanwhile, offer a more relaxed experience. First held in the mid-70s in the backyard of the local community centre, it grew over the years and decades to become a sprawling collection of 220 stalls. The oldest and most popular market in Sydney, a stroll through the market will see shoppers tempted by new and recycled fashion, bespoke jewellery, plants, homemade foods and so much more besides.

Restaurants & Bars

The Kirribilli Club, at the northern tip of the markets that share its name, is nestled opposite the secret garden and offers a range of restaurants and bars to suit all budgets and all tastes, all with some truly breath-taking views. A little up the road on Lavender Street, meanwhile, you’ll find Windy Willow Café, which offers genuine food at a very fair price. Perfect for a light lunch before exploring the adjacent garden. In the same area, the Anchor Café is a favourite local spot for some quick and easy grub and further down the bay, by Luna Park, The Deck offers affordable and tasty food alongside stunning scenery.