Mosman is one of Sydney’s 658 suburbs. It is located north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, set between the bridge and the well-known suburb of Manly. If this is your first time visiting Sydney, you might’ve never heard of it before, or you might know of it only because it is home to the famous Taronga Zoo. But don’t be quick to discard it from your travel plans, Mosman has a surprisingly natural beauty that should make it part of your A-list of things to do in Sydney, Australia. In this guide, I will walk you through the suburb from South to North, pointing out the best beaches, parks and local recommendations.
The Scenic Sirius Cove Reserve to Taronga Zoo Walk
Although Mosman is often perceived by its cultural devoidness, it remains naturally stunning and diverse. The main attraction in the area is the zoo. If you are planning on spending the day there, I advise you to get in through the South Mosman Wharf, from where you can walk on to the zoo entrance. By taking this ferry, instead of the one going to Taronga Zoo Wharf directly, you will have the chance to do a scenic nature route before reaching the entrance. Start this walk at Sirius Cove Reserve (only a 15 min, walk from South Mosman Wharf). Here you will find a small beach surrounded by beautiful houses. This is mostly a boat beach, so you don’t want to get in as there will be much better beaches further on. Once you are there, take the Foreshore Track, and follow it along the coastline until you reach Little Sirius Point. This is the first real stop of your walk. From this view point you will be able to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge and both the north and south part of the city. It gives you a glance of the privileged views Mosman enjoys. After having this first stop, keep on going on the same walk on to Whiting Beach. Here you can enjoy a swim away from all the tourists of Bondi Beach. Following, you will find out that the entrance to the zoo rests only a few minutes away. This is a short walk (overall only 20 minutes), but it will allow you to enjoy privileged views, nature and silence like a local would.
The Amazing Taronga Zoo
The Taronga Zoo is one of Sydney’s most visited attractions. It is set on hills next to the water, providing it with spectacular views and landscapes all throughout the park. Some of the highlights of the zoo include the nocturnal platypus habitat and the Asian elephant display. Visit the zoo to enjoy a family friendly day with koalas, kangaroos and many other imported animals. Inside you will find various restaurants and cafes as well as twilight concerts during the summer. This is a must in a Sydney trip.
The Fun Clifton Gardens
The next stop going north after you’ve been to the zoo are the Clifton Gardens. You will find out this area combines it all. It has an enclosed pier area where you can swim and jump from the pier into the water, it has an open beach area where boats can get in and have a day at the beach. You will also find a big park behind the beach where you can lay down and enjoy the sun. If you are able to go on a summer weekend, you will find many local families and friends having either a picnic, a swim, a boat ride or playing at the various public sport courts the park has to offer.
Beautiful Balmoral Beach
This is probably the second biggest attraction Mosman has after the zoo. If you keep on following the coastline, you will soon arrive to Balmoral Beach. This is actually an area divided into two beaches: Balmoral and Edwards, nonetheless they are both commonly known and referred to as Balmoral Beach. You will find that the beach is divided into two by an island, which you can access by a bridge and enjoy the views of the beach from there. On the south side of the beach you can find a children’s playground, a large park –perfect for picnics, sports and layouts-, an enclosed swimming area and a pier. The biggest difference between the south and the north end of the beach, is that in the north end you will find no boats, making it cleaner and more relaxing in case you want to bathe. The colour of the water is beautiful at Balmoral and you can rest by the gardens behind the beach if you don’t enjoy too much the sand. Similar to the Clifton Gardens, this beach also provides a few restaurants or food stands, as well as sports courts, an enclosed swimming area and excellent views. As it is more closely linked to the streets, access by public transport can be easier (a few city buses will drive you right across the street to the beach). If you have the time, I would also suggest stopping by Middle Head (midway between the Clifton Gardens and Balmoral) to see the big old WW2 military barracks. These are part of a big project that took place in Sydney during the second world war to protect the city. All along the coastline you can find military barracks which would defend almost every point of entry. The Middle Head Barracks are a great example of this as they are easy to access and they clearly expose the intention behind their construction.
Secretive Chinamans Bay
Finally, if you are looking for a more private and quiet beach, head on to Chinamans Bay. Although its real name is Cobblers Bay, it is popularly known as Chinamans. Here you will find no restaurants or shops nearby, and only a few locals enjoying the beach. It is in many ways a hidden gem. The crystal blue water and amazing transparency will wow you. Spend a couple hours here enjoying the silence and shallow waters to take a swim or a walk along the beach.