It’s funny how, when you grow up with something, you don’t always appreciate how special it is. Looking back now, I can see how lucky I was to have the Bondi to Coogee Walk so close to my home in Sydney for so long.
The Bondi to Coogee Walk (or the Coogee to Bondi Walk) is one of the best things to do in Sydney. It’s not just that it has incredible views of the coastline, or that it takes you past some of the best beaches in Sydney.
What makes this experience so special for visitors is that it’s not designed for tourists – it’s also one of the most popular activities for Sydney locals. Oh, and it’s completely free. You’ve gotta love that!
In other words, it is an iconic experience that you can only have here in Sydney – and it won’t cost you a cent. No wonder everyone recommends it when they have friends visiting!
FAQ: The Bondi to Coogee Walk
Let’s start at the beginning. The Bondi to Coogee Walk is a pathway that’s been constructed along the coastline between Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach. It is six kilometres long but you can start anywhere and just go for as long as you want (more on that shortly).
The path takes you along the coastal cliffs with the ocean crashing against the rocks beneath, it takes you back down and past about half a dozen beaches, you’ll go through some parks, along the side of a cemetery, and there are lots of great viewpoints and photo opportunities along the way.
You’ll see a lot of locals along the Bondi to Coogee Walk. Many people use it for exercise or to walk their dog. But it’s also often a social outing, a chance to chat with a friend while getting some fresh air.
Along the way, there are lots of places to stop for a coffee, a bite to eat, or even a drink. So you may want to time your walk so you can have breakfast or your afternoon coffee along the way, for instance.
What is the Bondi to Coogee Walk?
The Bondi to Coogee Walk is a pathway that’s been constructed along the coastline between Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach. It takes you past some of Sydney’s best beaches and offers dramatic views from the clifftops.
How long is the walk from Bondi to Coogee?
The entire walk from Bondi to Coogee is six kilometres long. There are a few detours and additional sections at either end that you can do to make it longer. You also don’t have to do it all, so you can make the length whatever you want.
Where does the Bondi to Coogee Walk start?
There is no official start and no official end. Most people walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach, starting at Icebergs. Or it’s also popular to walk from Icebergs to Bronte Beach and then back again.
How long does it take to do the Bondi to Coogee Walk?
It takes about 90 minutes at a moderate speed to do the Bondi to Coogee Walk. However, you may like to stop along the way for a swim or at a cafe for something to eat or drink.
There are so many ways to do this beautiful Sydney coastal walk – a short hop between beaches, one way, or return. Alone, with friends, with a dog.
I do recommend finding a way to walk at least some of it, though!
Bondi to Coogee Walk
Length: 6 kilometres
Duration: About 1.5 hours each way
Difficulty: Easy but with a quite a few sets of stairs
Best spot to start the Bondi to Coogee Walk
You can start the Bondi to Coogee Walk from anywhere – and finish anywhere along the way – so first you need to decide on one of the following options to approach the walk:
- OPTION 1: Walking the entire length in both directions (for a total of 12 kilometres and about 3 hours)
- OPTION 2: Walking the entire length in just one direction (for a total of 6 kilometres and about 1.5 hours)
- OPTION 3: Walking just part of the entire route and then going back to where you started.
If you’re choosing option 1, firstly I would consider whether Bondi or Coogee has the more convenient transport to where you’re staying. Bondi is probably best if you’re using the train, while Coogee actually has faster express buses from the CBD.
If you’re driving, Coogee has a bit more parking (although it can still be difficult) and so that would probably be best.
It’s also worth considering the time of day and what you want to do before and after the walk. If you’re having breakfast before you walk, would you prefer to do that in Bondi or Coogee? If you want a drink at the end, where would that be better?
If you’re choosing option 2, then the transport doesn’t matter too much because you’ll have to go between your accommodation and both Bondi and Coogee in one direction.
The main consideration is just how the walk fits into the rest of your day and whether it’s better to be at Bondi or Coogee at the start or the end.
For option 3, I would recommend starting at Bondi and going to Bronte, because this is the most attractive part of the walk. If you want a bit more, you can always extend past the cemetery to Clovelly.
How do you get to Bondi Beach?
By public transport, there are regular buses to Bondi Beach from Bondi Junction, which you can reach by train from anywhere in Sydney. Look out for bus number 333, which is an express service and takes about 15 minutes.
How do you get to Coogee Beach?
By public transport, there are regular buses to Coogee from Bondi Junction train station. Some take longer than others so check the timetable – bus numbers 313 or 353 are quite fast and take about 20 minutes.
If you’re coming from the CBD, there are also express buses that are usually quicker than catching the train to Bondi Junction and changing. Look for bus numbers 373, 374, X73, X74.
Remember, you can’t pay cash on most Sydney buses. If you need more information, check out my guide to Sydney’s public transport.
The best things to see on the Bondi to Coogee Walk
You don’t necessarily set out on the Bondi to Coogee Walk to see anything in particular. It’s the views in general that are the highlight, so close to the ocean that the salt will sometimes go up your nose.
But, having said that, this is also a good tour of Sydney’s eastern beaches, so it’s worth sharing some information about each of them.
There are also a few interesting spots along the way that you might like to take particular note of.
I have marked the route and all the beaches and highlights on the map below. Have a look before you go or use it as you walk along to track what is around you.
For this guide to the Bondi to Coogee Walk, I’ll assume you’re starting at Bondi. (Obviously just reverse things if you’re going the other way as the Coogee to Bondi Walk.)
If you want the full experience, you can start your walk at North Bondi and go the full length of promenade before you get to the official starting point.
Look out for the Bondi Pavilion, which was opened in 1929 as a changing room and now hosts cultural spaces.
The mural wall at the southern end is also interesting and has a constantly changing selection of artworks.
Bondi is also a fun place to do a surfing lesson if you want to try that before or after your walk.
For more information, you can read my story about the best things to do in Bondi.
This may be one of the most photogenic pools in Australia (make sure you get the obligatory shot from the road of the turquoise pool marked with lanes contrasted against the dark rough ocean), but it’s also a serious swimmers club.
The Icebergs club started in 1929 and is for winter swimmers (hence the name). To become an official swimming member, you have to compete in weekly Sunday races from May to September for five years, missing fewer than one in every four weeks.
There is also a casual bistro and a more upmarket dining room here. The Icebergs Dining Room will be an event in itself, but you may want to consider just popping into the bistro for a lunch or a beer.
You won’t miss the large grassy area known as Marks Park that you’ll pass about halfway between Bondi and Tamarama. This is the centre of the annual Sculpture by the Sea event.
There’s also a fantastic lookout here that is very popular for photos, so have your best poses prepared!
For something a bit cultural, look for the Aboriginal rock engravings here. The most obvious shapes are a large marine creature (probably a whale from above) and a smaller profile whale.
Mackenzies Beach is the thing of legends – a beach that only appears a few times a year. Look out for it just before you reach Tamarama.
The beach is formed when there’s the right combination of tides and storms that dump sand on the rocks. When it’s here, it’s usually about 50 metres wide.
Tamarama is a stunning beach and it has a reputation for attracting a crowd that is just as beautiful, hence the nickname ‘Glamarama’.
Statistically it is the most dangerous beach on the eastern coast (but that’s based on rescue numbers, so there are presumably unpatrolled beaches that are actually much worse). If you’re not a comfortable swimmer, this is not the place to take a dip.
The beach cafe here is very popular and it’s a nice spot for a rest. The surf club on the northern cliff is also quite a sight.
Bronte Beach is another popular spot with locals and the large park that stretches out behind it makes it perfect for families and picnics.
The beachside kiosk is not the best but thankfully there is a row of fantastic cafes along the southern side that are well used by walkers who start or end their route here.
At the southern end of the beach is the Bogey Hole, a popular swimming spot that is in the ocean but protected by a ring of rocks.
Bronte Baths and Lookout
If you follow the official path, you’ll miss the Bronte Baths and Lookout – so I recommend a slight detour because they’re stunning.
The baths were opened in 1887 and are mainly used now by people swimming laps. There are some nice sunbaking spots on the rocks here.
Go past everyone to the end of the path and you’ll get a great view down the cliffs to the south.
It’s a weird name that probably has no significance to you, but it was called this in honour of the 150th anniversary of Waverley Council. It was opened in 2009 (although had to be repaired almost a decade later when storms damaged much of it).
The boardwalk takes you along the edge of the cliffs for some fantastic views, with a few spots where you can sit and admire it all. The main purpose of the boardwalk, though, is to avoid the adjacent Waverley Cemetery.
This has to be one of the best views of any cemetery in the world (and there is always some discussion about whether the bodies should be relocated so the space can be used for housing).
But Waverley Cemetery was opened in 1877 and is now heritage listed because it has a lot of Victorian and Edwardian monuments. It has more than 90,000 burials including many famous Australians.
Although the boardwalk was built to take the Bondi to Coogee Walk out of the cemetery, that was so that joggers and chatting walkers didn’t feel disrespectful.
If you’re interested in the heritage and want to have a look at the cemetery, you’re more than welcome to go in and walk around. There are even tours that you can take to learn more about it.
Clovelly Bowling Club
Lawn bowls may have been something we inherited from the British but Australia has embraced it like our own. For many years, it was seen as an ‘old person’ game, where retirees could socialise with their friends at a bowling club while they drank beer.
About 20 years ago, young people realised they could also drink cheap beer and socialise with their friends at a lawn bowls club and it became a ‘cool’ thing to do for parties on the weekend.
One of the most scenic bowling clubs in the whole country is the Clovelly Bowling Club. You may want to do a little detour to have a closer look at the game and the club.
Clovelly is quite different to most of the other beaches along this walk because it is in a sheltered bay without any surf. Although there’s a beach at one end, many people choose to lie on the concrete platforms on either side of the bay.
Clovelly is a popular spot for snorkelling and the highlight is a blue groper known as ‘Bluey’ that lives here. The first ‘Bluey’ was actually killed by a spear fisherman in 2002 but other ones have appeared here over the years and get given the same name.
There is a takeaway kiosk and a nice sit-down cafe here if you’e ready for a rest.
Gordons Bay is usually quiet because it has just a tiny beach and no direct access other than from the coastal path. But there are lots of spots along the rocks where local will sunbake and swim from.
There is a 600-metre underwater nature trail here for divers and snorkellers that is marked with a chain and even has information plaques.
Once you get up to the reserve past Gordons Bay, most people walk along the road or on the path through the grass. But you can actually cut through the trees and walk on the rocks at the edge of the cliff.
It is only a slight detour but it’s much more interesting and the views are worth it. You’re almost at the end now, so make the most of that last little bit of energy!
Just before you get to Coogee, you’ll see a sculpture that is actually a memorial to those who were killed in the terrorist bombings in Bali. 202 people from dozens of countries were killed but Coogee was hit particularly hard because 20 of the victims were from this neighbourhood.
The memorial symbolises three linked figures representing family, friends and community, grieving and comforting together.
Nearby you’ll also spot a small shrine to the Virgin Mary along a fence. Some people claim to have seen an apparition of her here and the story has never quite gone away.
The final stop (or beginning) of the Bondi to Coogee Walk is Coogee Beach, with its large sandy expanse and green park. This is a very popular beach and can get crowded in summer.
There are some nice places to eat and drink here, but I would particularly recommend popping into the Coogee Pavilion. It’s got lots of space over several levels with good food and drinks. It’s a bit of a local institution.
If you’re interested in some heritage, you may like to visit Wylie’s Baths at the southern end (there’s an entry fee). They were constructed in 1907 by champion swimmer Henry Wylie and were used in the recent Tourism Australia advertisement with Kylie Minogue.
Tips for doing the Bondi to Coogee Walk
If you’re planning to do the Bondi to Coogee Walk, I’ve got a few more tips to share, to help make it safer and more enjoyable.
- Make sure you take a hat and sunscreen. Especially in summer – but even in winter – it can get very hot and sunny on the walk and there is not much shelter on the path.
- There are quite a few water bubblers along the way, so stay hydrated, but you might want to carry a bottle to fill up at the water stations.
- Even if you don’t think you’re going to swim, you might want to throw some bathers and a towel in your bag. I can’t tell you the number of times I have wanted to go for a dip but forgotten to bring anything with me.
- There are plenty of public toilets along the way, including at South Bondi, Marks Park, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, Coogee.
- The walk is relatively easy but there are quite a few sets of stairs so unfortunately it’s not accessible for wheelchairs and you might want to reconsider taking a stroller.
- The free outdoor Sculptures by the Sea art exhibition is held each year around October/November along the stretch between Bondi and Bronte. It’s worth going to see but it gets very crowded on the path.
THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN BONDI
You’ll find something here for every budget, with accommodation right on the beach or down some of the quieter side streets.