Bondi Beach and the walk along its coast is a quintessential Sydney experience, only comparable to the sight of the Opera House I covered in my previous post. Bondi can easily be reached by bus from any point of the city; we used to take the 380 from Hyde Park, a ~40 min ride for $3.5 with Opal Card (a mandatory prepaid card you can buy and top up at convenience stores). I loved Bondi so much that I came here a dozen times during my months in Sydney, even moved here for a week. And I did the coastal walk to Bronte/Coogee/Maroubra 4 or 5 times 😉
Bondi is a gorgeous beach, a perfect half moon of golden sand facing a turquoise bay, part of the Tasman Sea. It’s a favorite for tourists and Sydney-siders alike, for a very good reason. Apart from being an awesome spot to relax and tan, the town is super lively, with a surfer, easy-going ambiance, and tons of trendy restaurants and shops. One of the coolest things is the graffiti wall right on the waterfront, where local street artists share there ever-changing creations.
The best views of the beach can be appreciate from the southern end, climbing up the stairs toward the road. I always gasped when I reached that outlook, and then spent at least 10 min enjoying the views, the sand shimmering, the waves breaking against the rocks, the surfers dropping…To your right, you’ll see the most instagrammable spot in the area, the Icebergs Club. Its clear pools right on the ocean create a mesmerizing image, and make for the perfect backdrop for a brunch.
The coastal walk begins a few yards further, you just follow the road and take the stairs down to the ocean. This first section, which tends to get busy, goes up and down on the winding cliffs, offering fantastic coastal views back to Bondi and forward to Bronte and other beaches, eroded rocks and lots of splashes.
After about 30 min of walking (or mostly stopping for pics), you reach Tamarama Beach. Despite its small size, it is one of the most beautiful beaches on the walk, with greenish, clear water and rock pools. It is also a surfer favorite, so I would always take a break here to watch the local experts catch waves.
Very close after Tamarama is Bronte Beach, a nice stretch of sand favored by local families, with picnic tables and BBQ facilities and free ocean pools (sort of a poor man’s version of Bondi’s Icebergs). The next stretch of the walk is probably the longest and most tiring, with several stairs and little shade. It passes through a huge cemetery right on the cliff, and a funny lawn bowling club. Several sections are paved or an elevated boardwalk, and the views continue to be magnificent, so pushing forward is not that much of an effort.
Less than one hour after leaving Bronte, you should reach Clovelly Beach, a super narrow bay with concrete on the sides and a bit of sand at the end. It isn’t the most beautiful of the bunch, but it’s definitely the most unique. The final stretch to Coogee should take you about 45 min, and it’s one I personally like a lot because it’s usually deserted, and because it offers stunning views of rocky, emerald Gordon’s Bay. Coogee Beach is quite large and has an awesome park on its northern end, and more public ocean pools on the southern one. It also tends to have the softest waves and therefore, the best swimming of all the eastern Sydney beaches.
Most people end their coastal walk here… But for those in the mood for more, it is possible to continue one more hour to Maroubra Beach. The first part of this section is a breeze, as you walk on another elevated boardwalk, this time over the protected Lurline Bay wetlands. Then the path gets interrupted, and you have to make your way through a narrow passage between two houses and continue on streets until you reach the Marine Parade. This section is not well signaled and I think I got a bit lost; some people take a shortcut and walk on the shore rocks instead. Once you’re back on the coastal trail, you get to enjoy your final minutes of cliffs and rock pools, and golden beaches. Maroubra might not be as scenic as Bondi, but is bigger and wilder, with only a handful of surfers and families even on weekends.
From Maroubra, as from any of the other beaches along the coast, it is easy to take a bus back to the city or to Bondi. In fact, I would recommend getting in on a bus to Maroubra or Coogee and doing the walk in the opposite direction (northbound), so that the views are in crescendo and you get plenty of time to enjoy Bondi Beach at the end.