TIME REQUIRED: Comfortably, about 2.5 hrs | With stops – anywhere up to 6 hours or more depending how long you stop for!
TOURIST RATING: Bondi is an Australian icon so expect a crowd!
BONDI TO COOGEE COASTAL WALK: THE EXPERIENCE
The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is definitely a do-it-at-your-own-pace kind of track. For some that might be a jogging pace, for others a casual stroll, or for ocean lovers like us, and entire day activity. Knowing that we only wanted to take the walk one way we decided to drive in and park a few blocks back from Coggee. We then walked down to Arden Street and took the 362 to North Bondi. A word of warning, before you take public transport in Sydney you will have to purchase a Metro card and load it with funds as most fares are pre-paid only. If you’re new to Sydney and haven’t had a chance to explore Bondi yet then we definitely recommend starting this adventure at number 1 otherwise feel free to skip ahead to number 4.
1. Bondi Markets
As with most of our adventures, we began this one with a quick bite. We took the bus from Coogee to the very last stop to the Bondi Beach Public School which hosts a farmers market on Saturdays and a designer market on Sundays. So keep this in mind if you’re after some local culture with your coastal walk.
2. Bondi Beach
Once your tummy is satisfied and you’ve browsed the indie products of the locals, head across the road and walk south along the promenade. You’ll pass the infamous Bondi Bars where the men work on their tans as much as their muscles. Continue south past the Pavillion and you’ll begin to see some beautiful murals painted by international street artists. If your a skater there’s a park just on the right and if you’re a swimmer, surfer or sand dweller then you will be delighted by the sight of one of Australia’s most famous beaches just to the right. Get in early if its going to be a hot one because she fills up pretty quick! Oh, and if your not a strong swimmer or use to the East coast swells, then do yourself a favor and stay between the red and yellow flags to make it easier for the gents from Bondi rescue.
3. Bondi Icebergs
At the south end of the beach you’ll make your way back up toward the road and see one of Sydney’s most instagrammed pools perched on the cliff side, Bondi Icebergs. Icebergs is a membership club that is open to the public (so long as you live outside of a 5km radius). Entry to the pool costs just $8 per adult and includes use of the Sauna. There’s also a casual bistro style dining and bar but expect to pay a premium for the view.
4. Mackenzies Point
Just past Icebergs you’ll see some stairs that lead down toward a paved path. Welcome to the beginning of the Bondi to Coogee walk. The path winds around the edge of the cliff and brings you up to a viewing platform at Mackenzies Point. This is the perfect place to look back toward Bondi and the view of a metropolitan city built right up to the edge of the earth. Take in the ambience, have a sip of water and continue on. Just to the right of Mackenzies point lookout you’ll find a ledge that is similar to that of Wedding Cake Rock in the Royal National Park but with fewer less ‘layers’. And if you’re game enough you can jump out and get a shot of you… sitting on a big rock and the Tasman Sea. Ahh the things we do for the gram.
5. Mackenzies Bay
There are openings all along this walk that encourage you to live life on the edge, literally. It’s not often you can visit somewhere as populated and safety controlled as Sydney and be allowed so much freedom so take the opportunity when it comes. Around the next bend you’ll see a small rocky area that the locals like taking their doggo’s to. At the right time of day, the water washes just over the top leaving behind small natural rock pools perfect for paddling. And although there was no sand when we visited, according to Bondi folklore every 7 years or so a shore appears turning Mackenzies bay temporarily into Mackenzies Beach. Amazing place we live in, huh.
6. Tamarama Beach
After exploring along the rocks make sure you get back on the track and head down to one of my favourite city beaches, Tamarama. Its relatively narrow which makes it feel a little more intimate than the others in the area and the water depth drops of pretty quick, which means you don’t have to venture far out to play in the waves. Tamarama is a popular spot for surfers as it has been with Great White’s recently. If it’s a hot day and you have enough time don’t let the sharks scare you off but if you would rather chill then we recommend visiting the beach cafe and ordering their Ice Coffee – which was a heavenly blend of espresso, honey and ice-cream! There are volleyball nets set up and the back of the sand which always make for good people watching opportunities and if you’re looking for somewhere to take the family then further back are some barbecues and covered picnic tables.
7. Bronte Beach
On your way out of Tamarama you’ll begin to walk beside a road which will bring you to yet another picturesque city beach, Bronte. And this right here is where the majority of ‘sightseers’ tend to end their walk and the path becomes less crowded. Bronte is a beautiful patrolled shoreline just 200m south of Tamarama. If you chose not to eat at the markets of Icebergs and are starting to feel a little hungry then head to street on the right side of the beach to find a few small cafes and take away joints serving up some delicious fresh dishes.
If you’re like us and want to push a little further past the crowds then keep following the path past the Bronte Baths at the southern end of the beach (pitstop recommend, but not essential). Around the next bend you’ll be welcomed by a place people are dying to get into….The Waverly Cemetary!! Punny, I know. But seriously theres a viewing deck and seating built right beside the walking track as well as some large sandstone steps that looks like a perfect spot to get stuck into you’re next read.
9. Clovelly Beach
Up and around the next corner is a small patch of grass that hosts an activity thats seen some resurgence of late, and become somewhat of a east-siders rite of passage, barefoot bowls. But if bowling isn’t your thing and you’re here for the walk and swim deets then never fear, because theres plenty more of that coming up. Introducing to you, Clovelly Beach. Or as I think of it, Clovelly open ocean pool. Clovelly has a small (not particularly enticing) sand area at the rear with a long narrow opening to the sea. Along each side are some large concrete slabs perfect for laying out like a lizard and baking your skin beneath the hot Australian sun.
10. Gordons Bay
In the next part of the hike we began to realize why people opted out at Bronte. From the car park at the top of Clovelly its quite an underwhelming 1km walk that involved a steep flight of stairs on one side and and a longer slower incline on the other. Albeit those that were chilling along the rocks seemed to be enjoying themselves my suggestion would be to save your time for the upcoming sights. Cunningham Reserve Once you finally emerge from beneath the tall trees that line the right side of Gordons Bay you’ll see a few homes which then opens up to a nice grassed area. This area is a part of Dunningham Reserve and offers a vastly different walking experience from anything thus far. If you take the first small path you’ll be lead through some shrubs and back out along the tall cliffs edge. Its an interesting mix between Sandstone rock, bush-like shrubs, manicured lawns, city living and sea side reserves. Bring down a platter of cheese, crackers and fruit and you’ve got yourself a picnic with a view.
11. Coogee Beach
And last but not least. After a moderate 6km walk beginning at Bondi with multiple pitt stops and photo opportunities you’ll finally reach Coogee Beach. So go ahead and find a piece of golden sand to call yours along the glorious 400m long stretch of beachfront and bask in the fact that you just completed one of Australia most iconic walks. Or, if you’re like me and are still thinking about where and what to eat then you’ll be happy that Coogee offers a range of upscale cafes and restaurants right down to the good ole’ fashion seaside staples like fish n’ chips.
The Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk is the one opted by most visitors to our beautiful country, but if you have the time I recommend pushing forward all the way to Coogee. And if completing the return trek doesn’t sound like something you want to do either then there are plenty of public transport options available to take you anywhere you need to go. The most important thing is that you take the time to stop and enjoy the views, experience the surf and never have to worry when you will eat next because there’s always another cafe around the next corner.