Location : Bronte, New South Wales
Even though the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk is one of the most well known in Australia, not many people know that it actually goes a little bit further than Bronte beach. The Bronte to Coogee section of the Coast Walk will take you to some unique beaches, including the amazing snorkeling and diving trails in Gordons Bay, the tiny and manmade Clovelley Beach, and the sandy shores of Coogee Beach. So if you’re still working on the tan and are hungry to see more of Sydney’s beaches, then include this section of the coastal walk into your itinerary and enjoy a few more eastern suburbs beaches.
After Bronte beach the coast gets a lot more dramatic! As you follow a raised walkway it’ll take you over huge tidal waves crashing over the rocks below, and you’ll definitely feel the salt spray as the strong ocean breeze kicks up the salt. You’ll also find yourself passing by one of Australia’s most scenically located cemeteries, Waverley Cemetery. It’s an old cemetery that has been operating since 1877, and is also the final resting place for many of Australia’s luminous figures, and also some of Sydney’s notorious underworld. The grounds are free to enter and wander, just be respectful of where you are and don’t disturb the peace if there are mourners around. The next time I go I think I’ll have a better look for a few people including Australia’s great poet and writer, Henry Lawson, and Jules Francois Archibald; of whom the highly esteemed art award, the Archibald Prize is named after.
Walk on for another hour (or 2.5km) from Bronte beach, and you’ll reach this interesting swimming spot, Clovelly Beach. The path will take you along more park space a very narrow bay with the tinniest stretch of sand flanked on both sides by a manmade sun and swimming deck. The bay is 60 metres long and has a surf club over looking the waters, as well as a small pool on the side. It’s not the prettiest looking beach to be honest, but as Clovelly Bay is so rocky the concrete platforms does give you more sunbathing space, and also makes getting into the water a lot easier. Clovelly Beach ranks pretty low in my opinion of the beaches along this stretch of Sydney’s coast, but that’s totally fine because there are still plenty more to see along the Bronte to Coogee Coastal Walk.
Continuing on from Clovelly Beach, and after 400 metres and a large flight of stairs, you’ll round another rocky headland and see the aquamarine waters of Gordons Bay peaking out from behind the tall scrub. The ascent to the bay looks more like a fishing industrial site, with lots of small fishing boats hauled up to the sandy end and a boat ramp, which doesn’t leave beach goers much sand to lay on; however, there are a lot of large rocks lining the water where you can put your towel down.
Gordon Bay is a beautiful aquatic reserve that’s extremely popular with divers and snorkelers. There is an underwater trail that you can follow, and an abundant of sea life too (so I was told by a local who saw me snapping photo after photo). I didn’t have any snorkel gear with me and was pretty disappointed about that; a good tip is to bring your own snorkel gear to Gordons Bay as there are no facilities for you to hire them around here, which is a little bit of a shame.
After Gordons Bay, walk another 40 minutes past more open parkland and you’ll catch your first glimpses of Coogee Beach. This is the biggest of the beaches for both the amount of sandy shoreline and also shaded green parkland next to it. Coogee is by far my favorite of the beaches that I saw on the walk, and is my pick for Sydney’s eastern suburbs beaches. There is enough space that you don’t feel like you’re in a sardine tin, and the cute ocean pool has been carved out of the rock as opposed to been built with cement.
Personally, I really liked that there was a lot of shade surrounding the beach, and also areas where you could sit down off the beach but still enjoy the view. Facilities here were also great, with free BBQs and picnic tables, lots of change rooms and bathrooms, as well as cafes and restaurants (similar to Bondi but not as crazy and busy); this reminded me a bit more of the city beaches back home in Perth. However, if you’re after big surf then this is not the beach for you, you’re better off checking out conditions at Tamarama or Bondi Beach for some waves; however there is a large drop off not too far from the shore line so if you’re not a very experienced swimmer then avoid going out too far at Coogee when the surf is rough.
Why should you do the Bronte to Coogee Walk?
This section of the walk was my favorite because it was less crowded, and there was a greater variety in scenery as opposed to the Bondi to Bronte section. Here I got to see a little bit more to Sydney’s eastern suburbs beaches than just sandy beach bums (literally). If you’re a snorkeler then Gordons Bay should be on your list of places to go, and it’s not a far walk from Coogee or Clovelly Beach so you have choice as to whether you want lots of sand to lay on, or you’d rather no sand at all. If you’d like to have another day of beach hopping then don’t stop at Bronte and keep going to Coogee!
Did you miss the first part of this series? You can read about the popular Bondi to Coogee Walk here. And if you’d like more idea on places to go in New South Wales, then read some of our other articles for more!
Photography by Jelena Stipanicev.