Wednesday, August 5, 2015

After walking nonstop along Sydney’s coastal paths and through suburban side streets, I begged my husband if we could catch the next bus.

He declined. I grumbled on even though I had agreed to and even proposed this long walk in the first place. At the end of our second day in Sydney, we had walked approximately 28,671 steps, according to my Fitbit, which is 20km or 12.1 miles. I was quite satisfied we had walked that much, but my legs were dead tired.

6km Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach
According to TripAdvisor, the second most popular activity in Sydney is the Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk. This 6km walk offers spectacular coastal views and time to frolic along the sandy beaches and in the clear seas if the temperatures are right. Heck, even if it’s only 18C (64F) outside, people will either be swimming or surfing in those chilly waters in the middle of winter.

After having breakfast in Darlinghurst, we took the bus to our starting point at Coogee Beach. We decided to do the traditional walk slightly backwards so we would follow the coastal path in a northerly direction, ending at Watson’s Bay, so we could take the ferry back to Circular Quay. (Here’s a good walking map by National Geographic.)
Since we did this walk in mid-July, the long, sandy stretch of Coogee Beach was fairly empty. However, I’m sure if the temperatures were to warm up, you’d see hundreds of people here. The path is easy to follow and you’ll be rewarded with brilliant blue views of the South Pacific Ocean and the white-crested waves crashing along the coast.
Along the way, you’ll pass Gordon’s Bay, a secluded, quiet bay that is popular for divers. Or an outdoor seawater swimming pool near Clovelly Cove.
Next, you’ll turn the corner and realize you’re staring at a Victorian-era cemetery, Waverly Cemetery, established in 1877 and perched along the coastal cliffs. This sprawling cemetery might have some of the best views in the world!
At the final stretch of this walk, we encountered the famous, 100-year-old Bondi Baths, a 50-meter swimming pool located near Bondi Beach. Definitely not a bad place for a swim! Too bad the water was too cold!
At Bondi Beach, we stopped for a couple minutes to rest and watch the surfers tackle the winter waves. If you need any refreshments or lunch, this would be the place to stop.

Note: the path is generally paved, but there are quite a few steps to climb up and down here and there. 

8km Bondi Beach to Watson’s Bay

At the northern end of Bondi Beach, we ended up walking down the wrong street and on some sidewalks in suburbia-land for 1 kilometer or so. Here, a bunch of expensive homes hug the coastal cliffs so the homeowners have the fabulous views, not you. The walkway finally wanders back through the parklands of Rodney Reserve and then the Dudley Page Reserve, which offers wonderful views of the Sydney Harbour. We stopped in this park for a few minutes and watched as young children and their families enjoyed the warm winter weather.
After this reserve, we meandered through suburbia some more and finally additional parkland hugging the coast for our last 6-km decent toward Watson’s Bay. 
We got lucky on our walk and saw this pretty rainbow lorikeet parrot which calls Australia home.
Follow the Federation Cliff Walk here past the Macquarie Lighthouse, the first and longest serving lighthouse in Australia. This lighthouse was built in 1883, but there were previous ones in the vicinity since 1818.
From the lighthouse, we were rewarded with more spectacular views along the coast. Now, I no longer felt defeated, just slightly disappointed we didn’t start our walk sooner because the early afternoon glare effected some of my photos.
At the home stretch, we walked out to Gap Bluff and enjoyed some lovely views before heading downhill to Watson’s Bay to eat a late lunch. I was famished!

We snapped up one of the last beach-side tables at Doyle’s Restaurant, a local institution since 1885. We ordered an arugula salad, Asian-style scallops, garlic bread, salt and pepper-fried calamari and a bottle of Australian Sauvignon Blanc. Our lunch was a little on the pricey side at 109 aud ($80), but this was our reward after walking nearly non-stop for 5 hours. (There's also an inexpensive fish and chips place on the pier and a gelato shop nearby.)
In my world, wine is always a good idea!

Obviously, as a tourist in Sydney, you wouldn’t need to do both walks like we did. Nor in one day! However, I highly recommend taking in at least one of these coastal walks when you’re visiting this beautiful harbor-side city.
After lunch, we took the 20-minute ferry from Watson’s Bay to Circular Quay and then walked back to our Airbnb apartment. All in all, a 20-km walk for the day.
View of the Sydney Opera House from our ferry boat heading back into Circular Quay.
My Traveling Joys

If you need more walking inspiration, check out these suggested walks by Destination NSW (New South Wales), the state’s main government agency for tourism.

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Julia said...

Aww looks like a fab walk, Joy, and it might not have been too warm but what a perfect time of year to do it - empty beaches and crashing waves. Lovely! :)

Joy said...

@Julia, you're right! I'm sure these beaches get packed once the weather warms up! :)

did u know said...

Your article is really good and have interesting information about places, i always follow your blog. Keep posting.

Ahamed said...

Recently, I'll going on Sydney for my business and I'll stay 7 days on here. On this way your Coogee Beach writing details makes me impress to enjoy more days on here and I hope I"ll enjoy this Coogee Beach and Bondi Beach at a time. See more

Unknown said...

You've got some of the most amazing beach photos in Sydney that I've ever seen and it reminds me that I really need to get out of the storage facility more often so I can really enjoy what we have in the area. Your post is really motivating me to get out there and explore the great outdoors more so thanks for sharing your hike!