Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Sydney is not just about the city and if you are looking for something to do after looking at Sydney Harbour Bridge for the umpteen time, here is an activity that won’t take you far but still bring you outdoors for some sunshine.

You’d probably heard of Bondi Beach, the famous beach where surfers ride the waves and nude sun bathing is allowed. Besides enjoying the beach and waves, you can also hike the coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. It’s about 6km and you could probably complete it in less than 2 hours. It’s an activity that can be done in half a day and still get back to Sydney for lunch or dinner.

It was the end of July and in most parts of the world it would be the middle of summer. But here in the Southern Hemisphere it was the middle of winter. So a mid winter’s day might be too cold to spend at the beach, but you can take the coastal walk and it’s quite nice to have such a long walk without sweating like a pig due to the cool weather.

Getting There

You have a choice of starting the coastal walk from Bondi or Coogee. Your choice depends on which beach you want to end up at after completing the hike. For myself, I decided to start from Bondi Beach which is slightly nearer to Sydney’s CBD.

I started by taking the bus from Sydney’s CBD. Buses to Bondi Beach start from Circular Quay (380 or 333) and pass through Sydney before making their way to Bondi Beach. It takes around 45 minutes to get to Bondi Beach if you board the bus at Circular Quay.

If you decide to start from Coogee Beach then take Bus 373 or 374 from Circular Quay instead. The bus ride is also around 45 minutes.

Bondi Beach

So I found myself at Bondi Pavilion after getting off the bus. This is a large mall like building where you can find restaurants and shops.

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Surfers riding the waves while tourists look on. Despite it being mid winter, it was a sunny 20°C that morning and I expected more people to come onto beach as the day got warmer.

There is a boardwalk that runs behind Bondi Beach and this is start of the coastal walk. The whole walk is on dedicated pedestrian pavements so I wouldn’t consider this to be a nature walk. However, you will get to see the Pacific Ocean and some wildlife along the  way.

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A kaleidoscope of colours as street art murals cover the walls along Bondi Beach’s boardwalk.
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A complete view of Bondi Beach as I continued on the path towards Coogee Beach.
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At one end of Bondi Beach is a surfing and life saving school which has these awesome swimming pools right beside the crashing waves. There are a couple of restaurants there to enjoy the view while dining.
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Past Bondi, you get to see these limestone cliffs which have been eroded into beautiful shapes and patterns.

Along the way, you will go pass 3 other smaller beaches and various lookout points. The beaches are Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly in that order if you start your walk from Bondi Beach.

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Looking out into the South Pacific Ocean, you can spot whales if you are lucky. For myself, I was able to spot this lone seal as he sunbathed in the sea close to shore.
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Many people, locals and tourists alike use the coastal walk, either for sight seeing, jogging or power walking. There are many lookout points where you can sit and relax while contemplating on life, or just girl gossiping.
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The south coast of Sydney with its small coastal communities and sea carved cliffs.
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For most of the coastal walk you will have the Pacific Ocean on one side and rugged cliffs on the other. Hiking while having the ocean breeze blowing in your face and the sound of giant waves crashing onto the rocks is really exhilarating.

After around more than an hour of hiking, I found myself at Bronte Beach. This is more or less the halfway point between Bondi and Coogee. Bronte Beach is a much smaller beach but it’s quite popular for surfing and I stopped to catch some surfing action.

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Catching the wave at Bronte Beach. Surfers paddle out and wait for the big wave to come.
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A surfer in action.

From Bronte Beach I continued my hike and found myself in a large cemetery. Thousands of tombstones and crypts could be seen stretching out in the distance. In the bright morning sunlight, the cemetery gave an air of silence and serenity. I just wonder if it would be scary to walk through here at night.

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Waverley Cemetery is really old (opened in 1877) and has more than 50,000 graves, some of which are more than 100 years old.
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I could see the path that I had taken along the coast as I looked back. Waverley Cemetery is often said to one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world and many prominent Australians are buried here.
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Continuing on from Waverley Cemetery, I soon reached this lookout point called Shark Point. I presume it’s named that because you can spot sharks from here?
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Near Coogee Beach is another area with more lookout points. Small tunnels through the shrubs lead to the cliff edges and viewing points. Signs warned visitors of magpies attacking if we got too close to their nests.
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Finally I arrived at Coogee Beach after more than 3 hours of slow hiking and taking photos. You can probably complete this hike in less than 2 hours if you walk briskly and don’t stop.

I made my way down to the beach and Coogee Pavilion where I found myself enjoying a late lunch before taking the bus back to Sydney.

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After all that walking I was famished. There was no better way to end this than with a seafood lunch and some ale at Coogee Pavilion.

Some Tips Before you Go

Bring along a bottle or 2 of water and some energy snacks like cereal bars, chocolates or sandwiches. Besides Bondi and Coogee which have a variety of restaurants and shops to take a rest, there aren’t any restaurants or kiosks to stop for refreshments along the way.

Despite it being winter, the weather can be very sunny and warm. I took off my jacket after a while as it got warmer. Dressing in layers would be advisable as you can take off layers if you feel too warm. The wind can be quite cold and you probably need a windproof outer shell. Of course wear good walking shoes as some parts are hilly and require some effort to walk uphill.

While the cliffs edges along some of the lookout points are great for taking selfies while sitting on the edges, it’s quite dangerous as the wind along the coast is quite strong and at times I was knocked off balanced. If you fall off, it’s a 10-20m drop to the rocks and ocean below.

If you prefer to stay in Sydney then here are my previous blog posts on Sydney itself and going on a whale watching cruise.

2 thoughts on “Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

  1. Great banner shot ~ the colors, art, all blending in the man on the bench (in great colors too!). Bondi Beach is this place I’ve heard about my whole life yet never have traveled to Australia… This post is an inspiration to make the trip ~ great series of photos.

    1. Thank you Randall. It was an opportune shot as I was walking pass this guy sitting on the bench listening to his music. I signalled if I could take his photo and he said ok. His juxtaposition with the mural just what I had in mind.

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