Balmoral, near the desirable suburb of Mosman, is a little gem set on Sydney's Middle Harbour, a favourite with the locals and not on the obvious tourist trails.
It has three beaches as well as a 'baths' section which is completely enclosed by a sandy beach and a wooden board walk.
Balmoral has a unique timeless elegance and charm, almost of an era long gone by. It is not too difficult to imagine victorian era couples strolling arm in arm along the raised beach side promenade, shaded beneath colourful parasols.
Balmoral has a good variety of cafes, bistros and restaurants perfect for spending a long lazy lunch, gazing across at the beach and Middle Harbour. There is also an award winning fish and chip shop if you want to picnic on the beach itself.
Balmoral was named after its beautiful namesake in Royal Dee Side, Scotland. It seems entirely fitting that this favourite residence of the British Royal Family lends its name to this idyllic little harbour side village.
Balmoral is also the start of a rewarding walk (with stunning elevated views of Sydney Harbour) to Chowder Bay and Clifton Gardens.
Balmoral can be reached by car via Mosman (however traveling along Military Road can be frustrating), public transport or even water taxi from Circular Quay in Sydney. Although there is a car park at the southern side of Balmoral and some car parking near the Esplanade, parking can be difficult, particularly on weekends. Be prepared to search around for a spot or park in one of the streets slightly further away from the beach.
Shakespeare By the Sea
Balmoral has a small marina, a gentle, sheltered beach ( which is not subject to the full tides and currents of the open ocean ), a promenade and park areas. The popular 'Shakespeare By The Sea' is held at the Rotunda during the summer (the season usually runs from January to March with performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings - check website for details).
There are some wonderful restaurants and cafes located in Balmoral. Towards the southern end of Esplanade is Boat Shed Cafe and the multi award winning Watermark Restaurant. This stylish restaurant serves modern Australian cuisine and has views over Balmoral Beach.
The Bathers Pavilion is located further up the Esplanade and comprises both a cafe and restaurant within the same complex. This combination allows one to experience a fine meal over several hours in the restaurant or just simply drop in and enjoy a coffee, a cake or a snack in the cafe.
For both Watermark and Bathers Pavilion restaurant, booking ahead would be desirable.
To complete the culinary picture, Balmoral also has an award winning Fish and Chip shop, the Bottom Of The Harbour, and a selection of other cafes and eateries.
Balmoral is divided into three main beach areas with Edwards Beach being separated from Balmoral by Rocky Point. These sandy beaches are popular on warm days with sunbathers, swimmers and families enjoying the relatively sheltered conditions of this harbour side location.
Alternatively there is a completely enclosed swimming area further up the Esplanade near The Watermark Restaurant.
The first section of Edwards Beach is also enclosed by a unique shark net which stretches from Rocky Point to the beach. The net dates back to the late 1800's and is the oldest of its type in the Sydney region
Balmoral makes such a relaxing spot to while away a hot afternoon. Although it can become busy, you will not find the sheer of volume people which descend on the more well known beaches such as Bondi or Manly.
As well as the cosy beaches to base yourself, Balmoral has grassy areas bordering the Esplanade with magnificent Morton Bay fig trees providing natural shade. Also recommended are the picturesque walks along the Esplanade or to Rocky Point across the stone bridge.
It is appropriate for a place which stages Shakespeare plays each year that Balmoral has something of a romantic reputation.
This is one of the reasons why Balmoral is a popular place for weddings. They are are usually conducted in the Rotunda and following the ceremony there are countless perfect photo locations. There are also several ideal venues for the wedding breakfast including the Watermark and Bathers Pavilion
North and South Head
The North and South Head of Sydney Harbour can be seen from Balmoral and the ocean can be seen through the gap between them. It is fun to watch the occasional ship or even a tall ship under full sail pass through into Sydney Harbour.
Usually at the weekends, the view is painted with brightly coloured sails of yachts playing in the harbour.
Balmoral is a popular Sydney location for windsurfing because it has good wind conditions with the added bonus of having good protection from the full exposure of the ocean currents and swells. There is a sailing centre behind the beach at the southern end of Balmoral.
Balmoral is located on Middle Harbour near Mosman. It is approximately 10km (6miles) drive north east of the Sydney CBD. Allow at least thirty minutes for this journey as traffic can build up along Military Road.
See Balmoral Map
A charming feature of Balmoral is the small island called Rocky Point which lies a few metres off shore. This point separates Balmoral Beach from Edwards Beach and is reachable by a quaint stone foot bridge. Rocky Point is an ideal spot to eat your gourmet fish and chips and champagne picnic.
Near the Rotunda there is a statue of a Billy, a faithful dog who accompanied his master, a street sweeper, for 17 years.
There is also a statue of Vice Admiral John Hunter who was the second Governor of New South Wales. The Hunter Valley is also named after him.
Walking Trail To Chowder Bay
There is a very enjoyable Sydney Harbourside walking trail from Balmoral to Chowder Bay. This 1.5km walk is steeped in Sydney's military heritage and starts from Balmoral Oval (see Map) which is on the south east side of Balmoral. As there is so much to look at along the way and because of the undulating terrain allow a few hours for the return trek.
The start of the trail is well signposted and is up a unique wooden and steel board walk and stair case which winds its way up from sea level besides the HMAS Penguin site to Lower Georges Heights. There are some magnificent views towards 'The Heads' and the Eastern Suburbs over Sydney Harbour. You will pass some wooden, stone and metal sculptures near Lower Georges Heights. This former military gun position and World War One hospital site is now the location for several Sydney Artists studios.
Further along the trail leads you to Georges Heights which has a well designed sandstone seating and lookout area overlooking several Victorian era gun positions, complete with well preserved canons, perched on the treacherous cliffs tops. The canons had a commanding and formidable view of Sydney Harbour. The gun positions were cordoned off for safety reasons when we visited as there are some steep drops.
Besides the lookout area is The Barracks Tea Rooms, which dates from the late 1800's and was once the barracks for the troops stationed here.
Further along, the trail leads you to Chowder Bay and Clifton Gardens. Chowder Bay is former naval base which has been restored and converted to civilian use including a cafe and a scuba diving centre.
Clifton Gardens, a once a thriving waterside resort, has a pleasant grassy reserve behind the beach, one side of which has an enclosed bathing area, similar to the baths in Balmoral.
At this point in the walk you can choose to continue on to Bradleys Head and Taronga Zoo (an hour or so's walk) or head back to Balmoral for a well earned meal and drink at one of the many cafes or restaurants.
Driving To Sydney
Some approximate driving times to Sydney are:
20Hrs From Adelaide(1400Km)
12Hrs From Brisbane (950Km)
31Hrs From Cairns (2500Km)
3.5Hrs From Canberra(300Km)
45Hrs From Darwin (4000Km)
12Hrs From Melbourne (950Km)
42Hrs From Perth (4000Km)
Driving through the Outback and remote or isolated areas of Australia is not recommended for the unprepared or inexperienced.
See Route and Distance Calculator for more accurate driving times and routes from additional locations.
Flying To Sydney
As a guide, some approximate flying time from Sydney are:
Perth is 5 hours
Melbourne 1.5 hours
Brisbane 1.5 hours
Cairns 3 hours.
Times do not include travel time to and from airports and adequate time prior to check in etc.
These figures are for guidance only:
Max Average Temperature
Deg C/ Deg F
Winter(June-Aug):17 / 63
Spring(Sep-Nov):22 / 72
Summer(Dec-Feb):26 / 79
Autumn(Mar-May):23 / 73
Average Monthly Rainfall - mm
Further Sydney Climate information