Sydney can be a glamorous place, but it’s also beautiful, as you discover on the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. This easy and family-friendly walk takes you along the stunning coastal headland and past some of the best beaches in the region.
I grew up only about an hour north of Sydney, but it took me 35 years to do The Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach walk, and I am kicking myself for all those years I missed out!
I could have spent many more days swimming in the tropical coloured waters of the rocky headland beaches along this coastal walk.
Absolutely stunning is about all I can say.
But there is no time to dwell, and to make sure you don’t make the same mistake as me and miss out on this incredible short walk, I’ve prepared this guide to help you understand why this walk is so special, and how you can do it for yourself.
About The Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Walk
- Where is the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Walk?
- Distance: The entire walk is just under 7km there and back
- How long does it take? It takes about 1 hour to 1.5 hours, depending on your walking speed and how many photo stops you take.
- How difficult is the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Walk? The walk is pretty easy since there are boardwalks for most of the trail, but can be quite hilly in parts with plenty of stairs. It was kind of awkward with a pram, a pregnant momma and a daddy with a bad back! But we made it and had a great day.
- Where is the trail head? The start of the trail is at Bondi Beach. There is a signpost to the east of the beach by Bondi’s Icebergs Club, just off the grassy area behind the sand. Alternatively, you can walk from Coogee Beach back the other way. There is a signpost indicating the trail on the west of Coogee Beach.
- How to get to Bondi Beach? You can take public transport to Bondi Junction, and walk from there.
- Is it wheelchair friendly? Sadly no, it’s not suitable for wheelchair users and strollers. We took a stroller and it was a bit of a challenge on the stairs!
- When is the best time to do the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk? The best time to do the coastal walk is between June and November when it’s whale season, as you can often see migrating whales in the waters in the distance (the best place to see them is Mackenzie’s Point).
Map of the Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk
The above map shows the route from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. As you can see it pretty much hugs the coastline along the whole way, but you can stop off for drinks and refreshments at cafes along the way.
And of course take a dip in the ocean at any of the beaches! Most beaches have picnic shelters and benches on the main path, so you can stop and take a break anytime.
Stops on the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Walk
Here’s a little about the stops along the way…
Stop 1: Bondi Beach
Probably one of the most famous and most popular beaches in Australia, a title which has me pleading with travelers visiting Australia,
“Please, whatever you do, don’t just hang out in Bondi and think that is our only and best beach. There are so many more beautiful beaches in Australia worthy of your time.”
Having said that though, Bondi is a beautiful beach. The water is crystal clear; the surf is usually battering away for some good body surfing, the lifesavers are famous for being on a reality TV show, and there are thousands of beautiful people enjoying all it has to offer.
On the corner as you head north is the popular Icebergs, where you can stop for a drink with beautiful views. We’ve seen whales breaching in front of us while having lunch before.
There are also outdoor swimming pools here if you fancy a lap or two. Best views for a swimming pool ever!
It is worth having a look-see but move on quickly further south on your walk. You are going to find quieter, less pretentious and far prettier coves and rocky beaches.
Stop 2: Tamarama Beach
Tamarama Beach is very pretty snow white sandy and rocky cove.
For surfers, there were some really small, yet clean breaks out the back. There were nowhere near as many surfers haggling for the wave as you would find at Bondi. It is known as Sydney’s most dangerous beach for its rips.
Overhanging rocks provided plenty of areas for shade, the turquoise water beckons you from the coastal path to sidetrack for a little while for a cool dip and break from your warm walk.
This would be the perfect spot for some morning tea and a swim. If you have children there is a small children’s park here as well.
Stop 3: Bronte Beach
“Do you want to know why this is the best beach in the Eastern Suburbs for families?”
The children’s train driver asked us as Kalyra and I alighted from the small kiddies train opposite Bronte beach.
“The wide open grass area for picnics and games of touch footy and cricket?”
“There’s plenty of barbecues, covered picnic tables, and a great children’s playground?”
“It is good, but not the reason.”
“The Bronte Baths and natural rock pool which makes for safer swimming?”
“No. This is the only area that does not have a pub. That means no one drinking and swimming and getting out of control. We never have a problem at Bronte Beach, everyone is well behaved.”
I walked around the bend of the path to discover Bronte.
The fresh salty air, invigorating breeze, crystal clear water and pounding surf made me pining for my forgotten cozzies.
This was the place for us to stop and have lunch–a delicious vegetarian hamburger for only $8 from the surf club kiosk and a $2.50 cheese sandwich for Kalyra under the shade of the trees.
Kalyra had a play in the park and then stripped down to her undies for a swim in the rock pool and Bronte Baths which sit on the southern end of the beach.
The surf at Bronte can be quite rough and dangerous. If this is a bit daunting for you then head around a few bends, past the Waverley Cemetery, until you reach….
Stop 4: Clovelly Beach
What a delightful surprise this area was. The walk to get here takes you past the massive Waverly cemetery that takes up acres of prime headland real estate. It was a real bizarre sight and I am quite surprised that they have not yet moved all the bodies to build mansions here.
If you fancy a bit of lawn bowls, then – in what has to be the best lawn bowls location I have ever seen – on top of the headlands is Clovelly Lawn Bowls.
Clovelly beach is really strange, but perfect for swimming if you are concerned about rough water.
The beach sits at the end of a narrow bay. Concrete and natural rock retaining walls and sitting areas are on the edges of water making it look like a large swimming pool.
Swimmers were happily snorkelling around in the calm waters exploring the rocky areas and their own body parts that were clearly visible beneath them.
Stop 5: Gordon’s Bay
Gordons Bay is the place that most resembled the Portuguese Algarve for me.
Again it is a really narrow rocky bay, with crystal clear cyan water just perfect for snorkelling.
The bay is protected by an offshore reef which makes it the perfect place to explore the undersea world. It is known as the best area for diving in Sydney and if you remember to bring your snorkel mask, you can swim the Gordons Bay Underwater Nature Trail.
There are even plaques that tell divers and snorkellers what they are looking at. Pretty cool, huh?
This secluded, tiny beach is taken mostly up by small dinghies and seaweed. Most people seem to spread themselves out on the nearby rocks.
Stop 6: Coogee Beach
Just a short, yet slow and difficult walk up a steep hill along the Dunningham Reserve sandstone cliffs, and you reach the headland of Coogee Beach and the end of the Coastal walk.
Before you head down to the beach, be sure to check out the Bali Memorial along the way, which is dedicated to those lost in the Bali Bombings.
There is also a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the fence just before the beach. Some people believe they have seen an apparition of Jesus when passing this shrine, so don’t just pass it by without a glance.
Coogee would be the next biggest and busiest beach after Bondi, and I think more funky and fresh.
Many Irish and backpackers can be found here as is evident by the accents heard on the beach volleyball courts, the Brazilian jujitsu demonstrations on the open parklands, and the plethora of places offering Irish breakfasts.
You can relax at the Coogee Pavilion and enjoy some well-earned shade.
We recommend an end to the walk with a late afternoon beer in the beer garden of the Coogee Bay Hotel, a legendary establishment in Sydney. In my early twenties it was the place to come watch and stage dive to live bands.
Tips for Doing the Bondi to Coogee Walk
It was a last minute decision to do this walk and we raced out of our house for the train totally unprepared and a little late in the morning.
That harried departure meant we left without a camera or swimming costumes. Go figure!
To help you make the most of your experience and not make the same mistakes as us, here are some words of advice!
- I would definitely recommending planning the day in advance and not rushing out the door. This way you won’t forget all the essentials, like we did!
- Get your butt out of bed early to start your walk and to make a whole day of it. You can start the walk either from Coogee or Bondi Beach.
- Pack swimming gear, a towel, and a snorkel mask.
- Bring plenty of water.
- Wear a sunhat as there is very little shade cover.
- Put on sunscreen and bring some with you, as the sun can get strong.
Don’t miss Sculpture by the Sea
One of our favorite things to do along the Bondi to Coogee walk is the annual SculptureByTheSea.com.
It occurs along the Tamarama stretch of the coastal walk. (It also happens in Cottlesloe Perth)
The walk is lined with sculptures in the sand, along the path, or on the cliff tops. Each piece of work adds to the dramatic natural setting, and it’s possible to see 108 works by artists from Australia and overseas exhibited.
It’s a really great activity for kids in Sydney.
The event is temporary in Bondi and Cottlesloe and the dates vary each year. Currently, the 2023 dates for Bondi are yet to be announced.
Final Thoughts on The Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk
There is no doubt that Sydney is an expensive place to visit, so you should definitely plan for some free activities while you’re there.
The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is one of our favourites and was one of our highlights when visiting Sydney on our 18-month road trip around Australia.
Just being able to walk along the cliffs and list to the sounds of the waves, was a breath of fresh air (literally) from the honking noises of Sydney CBD.
Why not reduce your costs on your trip to Sydney and spend a day or even more exploring the Bondi Beach to Coogee Bay Coastal Walk and relaxing at its beautiful beaches?
More Travel Tips for Sydney
Need more inspiration for your trip to Sydney? Here are some more resources…
- Ultimate Guide to Sydney
- 18 free things to do in Sydney
- 15 exciting things to do in Sydney with kids
- Places to stay in the Sydney CBD
Best Tours of Sydney
Have you done the Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal walk in Sydney? Which beach would you like to spend the most time in along the way? Let us know in the comments.