Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sydney - coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee

This walk is one of the most famous walks in Sydney and follows the dramatic rocky coast from the famous Bondi Beach to a less famous beach called Coogee. You can see a map of the walk here.

The beach is about a kilometer long. This beach is probably the closest ocean beach to the centre of Sydney and has long been very popular. At one time, the beach was reached by a tram line which led to the phrase 'shot through like a Bondi Tram'.

I started south along the path above the sand towards the Icebergs swimming club which is on the far left.

There were storm clouds about a mile out to sea and the waves were surging over the Icebergs swimming pool.

Board riders waiting for the perfect ride. I must admit I have never attempted to hang five or ten.

Watching waves of a decent size is fascinating. They are all the same but different. Like humans I suppose.

Waves breaking over the side of the pool. No doubt it makes for exciting swimming if you are in the lane next to the ocean.

The Icebergs get their name from their habit of swimming in winter.

Heading south along a path beside the rocky headlands/

The rocks give you the impression of waves.

Last view back to Bondi.

The path is not level all the way and you can expect quite a few sets of stairs and numerous hills. Nevertheless, I saw quite a few mothers with strollers, usually with somebody else to help lift the strollers up and down the steps.

Approaching Tamarama Bay.

This is not a good idea standing on the rocks with an ocean with waves. Rogue waves are not that uncommon on this coast and there are occasional news reports about people being washed out to sea.

The beach. I was taken by the circular Life Saving building. That is cool.

The water temperature is about 65 degrees. That is way too cold for a wimp like me who grew up with the warmer waters of Queensland but it's not bad by Sydney standards.

If you read the Wikipedia article you might have noticed the section about the dangerous rip current that can flow at 2 meters per second which is about the same as the speed of Olympic 50 meter swimmers.

Over a decade ago I was introduced by one of my friends to the series of books by an author called Robert Barrett. The main protagonist was a bloke called Les Norton. When I would arrive in Brisbane, I would often sit down with the latest book and relax after the long plane ride. Les Norton lives in Bondo and one of the books (Day of the Gecko) had Les helping to blow up an old handball court next to the Icebergs swimming pool with a small nuclear bomb. Yeah!!

Early in the book, Les takes the mad bomber for a training run which includes running up and down a set of steps at Tamarama. I am not sure if the steps go up this hill but I could not find any other set of steps in the area. The curious part about climbing the steps was you had to go down the steps backwards which apparently was very difficult.

Robert Barrett died in September 2012. His books were such fun and really captured the Aussie larikin spirit. When I get homesick for Australia, these are the books I turn to.

Sails are a really cheap, popular and effective means of providing shade in the hot Aussie sun.

Fishing from the rocks. I wouldn't do it with these waves and a storm off shore.

The sign is correct. This club was the first and you can read about it here.

The Bronte swimming pool.

The path becomes a road but with no traffic.

Suddenly you are at the dead centre of the walk. Sorry about that.

It's quite common for cemeteries to be located on headlands by the coast in New South Wales.

The Clovelly Bowls Club. Not a bad spot to roll the jack. I belonged to the bowls club that played at the Dupont Country Club but I have a problem with my little fingers that prevent me from delivering a smooth bowl without a wobble so I had to give it up. It's a very tactical game and more difficult than you might think.

Most of the houses that overlook the walk are modern and expensive. Here were a couple of older houses that will eventually be torn down when the appropriate mega millions exchange hands.

The narrow entrance to Clovelly Beach in the foreground.

The Clovelly Beach pool. These pools are always on the south side of the beach.

If I ever move to Sydney I must try swimming in one of these pools sometime to see what it is like.

I finally came round a bend to see Coogee Beach in the distance.

Sandstone rocks.

Before Coogee there is another cove to walk around.

I don't know the name of this cove (Gordons Bay?) but it has an interesting collection of dinghies at the end.

Simple, but no doubt effective.

So far the rain had remained out to sea but now a few drops were falling. I speeded up since I had again failed to bring my umbrella. You would think I would learn not to trust a radar map.

The Coogee Beach Palace. You can read about its history here.

Coogee Beach. We stayed at a motel here when Robin was about four years old. The morning after we arrived I took Robin down to the ocean where the waves had to be at least ten feet high. Somewhere I have a video of board riders dwarfed by the size of these waves. I had noticed an Asian girl walking towards us on the beach and then a few  minutes later I noticed that she had foolishly waded into the water and had been knocked over by the force of the waves. Fortunately she managed to struggle out of the water by herself and I did not have to try to rescue her.

The walk is about 7 kilometers (5 miles) and took me about 90 minutes.


  1. I love your pictures. They are really interesting. Do you think I could use one of your pictures (swimming pool at Bondi) on my blog?

  2. Go ahead and use any of them.