The Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and the Rocks. These are the most popular and heavily promoted tourist attractions in Sydney.
But Sydney’s natural environment is as equally impressive, especially the spectacular Coastal Walk from world-famous Bondi Beach all the way to party-central, Coogee Beach.
Here’s why you shouldn’t miss it…
Stepping off the bus at Bondi Beach was like stepping into a surfer’s paradise. While it was still relatively early in the day, the beautiful people of Sydney were swimming, jogging, surfing or simply stretching out their lycra-clad bodies on the clean white sand.
The temperatures were starting to climb and I was tempted to join them, however we had some sculptures to see and a walk to complete. We had timed our walk to coincide with the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition and this made a beautiful walk even more stunning.
As the name indicates, the Coastal Walk hugs the coastline all the way from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. This is a distance of around six kilometres and should take around two hours. I guess it depends how often you stop to enjoy the magnificent views.
This path is popular with both locals and visitors alike. Sweaty joggers dodged the more leisurely strollers like ourselves and it was a veritable United Nations of young and old on the move. For visitors to the Emerald City, it is truly Sydney at its best.
Highlights of the walk include:
- Bondi Beach
- Tamarama Beach
- Bronte Beach
- Waverley Cemetery
- Clovelly Beach
- Gordons Bay, and
- Coogee Beach.
Except for the Cemetery, and even that is a tourist attraction due to its many famous residents, the list reads likes the Who’s Who of Sydney beach culture.
Along the path there are a number of interpretive signs explaining both the indigenous and white history of each area. Many of the coves and bays were home to ‘pleasure palaces’ in the early 1900’s complete with rollercoasters, elephant rides and vaudeville performances. Now the pace is a lot more relaxed with the main priority being the development of a golden tan.
The path and various beaches were chock-full of dogs, kids, too-cool surfers, and burnt-brown seniors all chilling on a Saturday morning and looking a bit bemused that their patch had been invaded by all these strangers (us!) even for only a short while as we passed through.
The colours of the sandstone cliffs are warm and golden, and their multi-coloured bands seem to communicate the layers of time and history.
The water shifts from turquoise blue to emerald green and dazzles the eye when the sun glints and glistens. It is good to be alive.
The terrain varies dramatically as the path works its way between the different beaches and headlands. The surface is quite smooth and solid underfoot and in places there are wooden boardwalks that hug the cliffs. The challenge for some could be the many sets of steps and stairs as well as the odd steep climb. If you are pushing a pram or use a walker, you would need to plan ahead for these sections.
While the large number of people on the path remained constant throughout our morning stroll, the number of bathing beauties varied depending on the size of the beach. Some places, like Gordon’s Bay, are so quiet and secluded it is hard to believe that a city of over five million people is just over the ridge. How lucky are those who live in this neighbourhood?
If you are visiting Sydney, toss your walking shoes into your suitcase. Yes, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are pretty special, but make sure you allow time and energy to also stroll the extra special cliffs of Sydney.
You won’t be disappointed.
What other walks in Sydney would you recommend?
What: The Coastal Walk showcases the best of Sydney and some of the most famous beaches in the Sydney area. There are many places along the way to refuel with food and coffee, and lots of strategically placed bench seats to rest a while and admire the view.
Where: A six kilometre path starting from the southern end of Bondi Beach and following the coastline all the way to Coogee Beach. Apparently the path extends to Maroubra Beach, but I haven’t walked that stretch yet. All these suburbs are on the very eastern edge of Sydney.
When: This walk is just as beautiful on a crisp clear Winter’s day. Walk it anytime.
Why: Natural beauty, fresh air, glorious views and a nice stretch for the legs. Do you need more reasons?
How: Catch bus 333 from Circular Quay all the way to Bondi Beach. It takes about 40 minutes. Many buses are now pre-pay and you need an Opal Card to be allowed to Board. Catch the 373 or 374 from Coogee Beach to return to the city.
Who: This walk is not hard and you only need a basic level of fitness. It may not be suitable for people with mobility issues due to the steps and stairs.
Related Posts: If you are interested in this walk AND sculpture, then check out my post about the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition
Related Blogs: I am so bookmarking this blog all about the range of coastal walks you can enjoy in Sydney! Too many fabulous coast walks to choose from!
Read About It: If you are interested in reading about Sydney in its early convict days, grab a copy of Kate Grenville’s The Lieutenant novel available from Book Depository. It really captures the early settlement and the geography of the new colony.
#coastalwalk, #emeraldcity, #bondibeach