Aside from the Opera House and getting some amazing Harbour Bridge views, the Bondi to Coogee Walk is the highlight of any trip to Sydney. It may not make as many postcards as those two icons, but this is one of the best coastal walks in Sydney and probably in the whole of Australia.
When my parents visited Australia for the first time, this was the first activity we did. We thought that sea air would help with the jet lag. Plus the incredible views, sunshine and exercise would get them excited about what was to come. Needless to say we were correct as it is at the top of their list to do again on every return trip!
It's not a difficult walk at 5.5 km, so it's accessible for almost everyone. It can take as little as an hour and a half or all day, depending on how many times you stop for a coffee and a dip!
Here's why the Bondi to Coogee walk is a definite Sydney must do.
Bondi to Coogee Walk
There's no better introduction to life in Sydney than walking along the cliff tops from beach to beach, taking in the stunning views along the way. It is the perfect sunny day activity and something you must plan into any trip to Sydney. In fact we've done it on a cloudy day and it looks good then too, so basically unless it's torrential rain, just go for it!
It is a chance to see the surfers, joggers, walkers and beach bums all lap up the lifestyle we came to love. The trail takes you over cliffs, across beaches, rockpools and parks, as well as having a smattering of coffee shops along the way.
There is also wildlife along the track and you can expect to see Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets, but you may also see kestrels and a few other birds. More excitingly - well, unless you're a really passionate bird watcher - is that we've often see dolphins and a couple of times have even seen Humpback whales (May to October).
Bondi to Coogee Walk starting point from Bondi
As this is a one-way walk, you can start at either Bondi or Coogee. We recommend starting at Bondi as you'll be heading in the same direction as most other people. Bondi is also one of our favourite sunrise spots in Sydney, if you want to make an early start on the walk. However, starting at Coogee is also good if that fits your plans better.
The starting point from Bondi is along Notts Avenue: a tiny road on the Southern side of the beach that goes alongside Icerbergs, swimming pool (the location is marked on the map below). It is pretty easy to find from Campbell Parade. From here just keep walking until the path heads down towards the cliffs. Then just keep going straight.
To be honest unless it's bad weather or extremely early or late you won't be alone, so you can't really get lost.
Bondi to Coogee Walk starting point from Coogee
The Coogee to Bondi Walk starts from the grassy park at the very north of Coogee (see the map below). You can get there by finding the footpath that runs alongside the Coogee Pavilion and continues up to the cliff top.
The Route: Bondi Beach
Once you've started, take a little while to appreciate the epic view looking back on one of Australia's most iconic beaches. From Nott's Avenue you'll get a great view from up high, overlooking the beach as it curves into the distance.
It is a good vantage point for surfers and we struggled to peel my Dad away from this first view of Bondi. We still had the whole walk to do, but he just wanted to watch the surfers crash into the waves. This is also a great vantage point for whale watching.
The path heads up to Icebergs, another icon and one of Sydney's most Instagrammable spots. This is just one of the many ocean baths that dot the coastline. They are a Sydney institution and Icebergs is the most famous of the lot.
You can also stop for a cold and very cheap drink at the RSL (Returned and Services League) if you want, but we normally choose to walk on. There's a fancy bar there too if that's more your thing, which is a good finishing option if you were choosing to walk from Coogee rather than Bondi.
Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach
The trail leaves the road via some steps down to the shore and goes under some overhanging cliffs. As the path continues, you'll get glimpses looking back to Bondi as well as some of the waves crashing against the nearby rocks. The waves are huge around here and on a particularly wavy day they can even crash over the track, which makes for a pretty exciting start.
The path soon heads up to the top of the cliffs to one of our favourite spots. MacKenzie's Point is a viewing platform where you can see out to sea for miles. Arguably, this viewpoint changed our lives.
Having spent a year in South East Asia, we were feeling the post-travel blues. We felt a little jaded at the reverse culture shock and end of the travelling adventure. We were even discussing whether we should still go for jobs and give Australia a go, or whether we should carry on travelling.
It was when we reached this point on our third day in the city and looked out to sea that we felt excitement again.
About 300 metres away a humpback whale and her calf jumped out the water, breaching and diving just off shore for over half an hour. We knew that this wasn't like any other city.
MacKenzie's Point is a great place to see whales between May and October. This is the time of the Humpback whale migration which grows in numbers every year. You'll need to be patient and have a little luck, but it is possible to see them from here.
The next main attraction you come to is Tamarama Beach. Tamarama's one of the smallest along the track and is one of our favourite beaches in Sydney.
Along the way you'll pass the Surf Life Saving Centre, painted with a huge "Tamarama SLSC" on it. From the air, Tamarama is stunning and sits snugly into a little alcove, surrounded by houses. Those lucky, lucky people!
At the back of the beach there is a park, play area and coffee shop. We've stopped here both times with my parents for coffee and lunch, while watching the surfers in the water. It's also somewhere you can fill your water bottle if you need.
From here the track goes around the back of the coffee shop, onto the footpath at Tamarama Marine Drive and back up to the cliff. Once you've rounded the cliff, the track splits left and heads back down again.
The next stop is Bronte Beach, one of the bigger beaches on the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk.
At the far end is Bronte Baths: a huge ocean bath that has become a drone photographer's favourite. Behind the beach is a large park. It is another beautiful place to have a rest, drink and take in the view.
It was from here that we've seen pods of dolphins a couple of times. Head across the beach to the southern side and find the path that heads up to Calga Place road before Bronte Baths and the toilets (it is marked on the map below).
You'll have to keep a sharp eye as they move quickly!
Follow the road along until a footpath veers left. The next section is a stunning boardwalk over the cliffs and one of the most beautiful section of track.
Waverley Cemetery & Clovelly Bowls Club
The track soon moves onto a stunning boardwalk that makes you feel like you're suspended above the sea. It is one of my favourite parts of the whole walk, offerring the ocean on one side and a cemetery on the other.
Yes, you read that right. On the boardwalk you will pass the most famous cemetery in the city. Only in Sydney will you get a cemetery with one of the best views in the city! I couldn't think of a better place to be laid to rest than on top of this cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
After the boardwalk you will pass Clovelly Bowls Club and the sports ground. Bowls is a really popular pastime in Sydney, even for young people. You can stop in for a game if you are making a day of it. After that is the only clifftop rugby pitch I've ever seen.
With the price of real estate in Sydney, I'm shocked that they are both still here. I'd imagine they've had a few multi-million dollar offers for this clifftop land, but it is beautiful to see that they've stuck around.
Clovelly Beach & Gordon's Bay
After the park, the track descends to Clovelly Beach, a very narrow, but long stretch of sand. It is in the trees here that we saw dozens of Rainbow Lorikeets and Cockatoos making a racket, so keep an eye out.
On the far side is another ocean bath and concrete platform to stroll along by the water. Behind this is a cafe which is another great place to stop for a drink. You'll soon get a glimpse of Coogee in the distance.
The track continues down to Gordon Bay, a spot which has stunning electric blue water and excellent snorkelling. BYO snorkel. The path here goes up a very steep staircase, the steepest of the walk. It is a bit more of a wild section of trail as you'll move further from the houses and see a bit more greenery and vegetation.
The path then heads onto Major Street briefly, before you follow it back onto the cliffs. This is the final stretch before reaching Coogee Beach.
From the park it is just a leisurely stroll down the hill and onto Coogee Beach, another Sydney-sider's favourite. This huge stretch of sand is seen by locals as the hipsters alternative to Bondi, which is perceived as a foreigner's and backpacker's spot.
It also has the Coogee Pavilion, a great bar that serves good food and has some table tennis tables and games to play. Treat yourself to a cold drink at the end of your walk, you deserve it!
Everything you need to know
Bondi to Coogee Walk distance
The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is 5.5km long from start to finish. The track is pretty much fully paved and in the best condition you could hope for. We've walked along streets that don't look as good as the track on this walk.
You could do the walk in just an hour and a half, but that would be without stopping anywhere and taking in the views. We advise giving three hours to walk, look and take it in. You could easily take up to four hours to do the trail if you include lunch and swimming.
Bondi to Coogee Walk parking
If you want to park to do this walk, you'll need to find a back street. Although you can park on the Bondi Beach front, the cost is high and the hours are limited. It is also incredibly busy, even at 8am! There are some long stay spots, but many have a limit of four hours. All spots cost $7.80 AUD per hour, so the price adds up very quickly!
You can find the full details about the council car parks here. Street parking is cheaper, but you'll be limited to 2-4 hour parking maximum. Go Get have an article with some more alternatives, but they aren't much cheaper or convenient.
It is better at Coogee, but not much. The main problem is the restrictions in how long you can park. Few places allow even four hours of parking and to do the Bondi to Coogee walk, you'll want to allow plenty of time to take it in and of course it is one way so you need to get back to your car.
If you're doing the walk we'd recommend leaving the car at home. The hassle of parking on the Eastern beaches (especially on a weekend) just isn't worth it. You can easily get an uber or get there by public transport.
Public Transport to the Bondi to Coogee Walk
Getting to / from Bondi: Public Transport is by far the easiest way to get to the start and end of the Bondi to Coogee Walk. The best way to get to Bondi is either by the 333 or 380 bus (this goes regularly from Circular Quay Stand B, see the map below). Alternatively, you can get the train from Central, Town Hall, Martin Place or Kings Cross to Bondi Junction. From here you can get a bus down to the beach. The bus normally takes about 45 minutes and the train is a lot quicker.
Getting to / from Coogee: The only way to Coogee is by bus. Buses go from Central station in the city or from the bus stands at Eddy Street (check the map below). Just look at the front of each bus and see which stops at Coogee.
Bondi to Bronte Walk (the shorter version)
If you want to shorten the Bondi to Coogee Walk, you can stop at just about anywhere along the way as you're never too far away from public transport or a taxi. However, the most popular is going from Bondi to Bronte. This version is around 2 km long and will take up to an hour to do (depending on whether you stop a lot).
This takes in some of the major highlights, including Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte beaches. If you only have a short amount of time, this is worth doing. However, we're always fans of doing the whole walk!
Sculpture by the Sea
A fun version of the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is to do the track during the time Sculpture by the Sea is on. If you time it right (it is usually on in October) then you can do the walk at the same time that quirky art is being exhibited along the path between Bondi and Tamarama. Though this is an extremely busy time to do it and we have only dared attempt it at sunrise.
If you plan to do this, try to avoid weekends and go early. Otherwise it can be one long shuffle.
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