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Hermitage Foreshore Walk
Photograph: Katje Ford

A guide to Vaucluse

Check out the natural beauty and bevy of food talent in this tiny, exclusive Eastern 'burb

By Divya Venkataraman
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This Eastern 'burb has a reputation for its high-earners and heritage homes – but its beaches are what you should be swooning over. We're here to show where to find the best walks, low-key breakfasts, and beaches to hide out in on the sunny days where Vaucluse shines the brightest. 

Recommended: A local's guide to Chatswood

Hermitage Foreshore Walk
Photograph: Katje Ford

Hermitage Foreshore Walk

Sport and fitness Walks Rose Bay

This easy, breezy 1.8km walk rewards visitors with stunning views of the harbour for not a lot of effort. Most set out from Nielsen Park, but you can also begin your journey at Bayview Hill Road and finish up with a leisurely picnic at the forested park. Make sure to stop by the historic Strickland House – and remember to pack some swimmers for a dip at one of the many harbour beaches that you'll pass on your way.  

 

Vaucluse House

Museums Vaucluse

Vaucluse is an older part of Sydney, so it makes sense that the oldest ‘house museum’ in Australia sits pretty in a 19th-century estate in this suburb. It's surrounded by ten hectares (28 acres) of prime land, with its own sheltered beach on Vaucluse Bay. From 1827-53 and 1861-62 this was the opulent home of William Charles Wentworth – but now, you can wander around it by yourself or on a guided tour. 

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Ocean and sand beach at Shark Beach, Vaucluse
Photograph: Creative Commons

Shark Beach

Sport and fitness Vaucluse

Also referred to as Nielsen Park for the grassy reserve nearby, this calm, shark-netted beach in Vaucluse is a social hub with a great atmosphere and filled with sun-bathers and family parties on a beautiful day – it can get a little crowded on weekends, but it’s also a great beach to start the Hermitage Foreshore Walk from and check out smaller, lesser-known beaches on the harbour.

 

Food at The Grumpy Baker Newtown
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

The Grumpy Baker

Restaurants Cafés Castle Cove

This little, community-minded bakery-café might be a Darlinghurst original, but it's become a go-to in the Eastern 'burb. Go for hearty shakshuka embedded with just-cooked eggs and sweet peppers, just asking to be scooped up with one of the house-baked specialty breads. The roast potato sourdough has notes of olive oil and rosemary, and the walnut and fig sees butter and honey folded through the dough. 

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Milk Beach at Vaucluse
Photograph: Jayphen / Flickr

Milk Beach

Things to do Vaucluse

This sweet little strip of sand situated on the Hermitage Foreshore Walk offers up postcard-perfect views back to the city. Bunker up on the grass in front of the heritage-listed Strickland House with a picnic to max your relax time. If you get there are little before dark, consider doing the walk along to Nielsen Park too.

The Nielsen pasta wine
Photograph: Supplied

The Nielsen

Restaurants Italian Vaucluse

This restaurant and kiosk sits right in front of Shark Beach, offering up casual Italian fare for lunch and dinner. Roll in with sandy feet or dress up in the evening for some pasta and wine. Seaside vibes come with classic trattoria dishes: think split king prawns with anchovy crumbs, tagliolini with wild mushrooms and green peas, and, of course, fish and chips. 

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Macquarie Lightstation with a blue sky background.
Photograph: Supplied

Macquarie Lighthouse

Attractions Vaucluse

Australia’s longest standing, operational navigation light was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway. As Greenway predicted, the low-quality sandstone foundations deteriorated quickly, and a new lighthouse resembling the much-admired design was built on the site in 1883 (so maybe that ‘oldest lighthouse’ title is a bit of a stretch), along with the lighthouse keeper’s and assistant’s residences that stand today. Wander around the structures that make up Macquarie Lightstation any day of the week, or join a tour.

The Trail

Restaurants Vaucluse

This long-standing café in the east brings a little funk to New South Head Road. They welcome pooches here, so take your furry BFF for a stroll in nearby Diamond Bay Reserve and then settle in for a coffee and a bacon and egg roll from the cosy shopfront. Sip on some Little Marionette coffee while you perch at the counter, or get it to go.  

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