A Complete Guide to the Bondi to Coogee Walk
Almost every travel guide puts the Bondi to Coogee walk at the top of the list of things to do in Sydney. Friends tell you this is a must-do on your visit. While it might sound like hyperbole, they are right; this really is a stunning walk.
With five beaches, rocky sandstone cliffs, a bunch of great parks and a heritage-listed cemetery, there is plenty here to keep you busy. We suggest allowing enough time in your itinerary to do at least a portion, if not all, of the walk.
One of the best things about this coastal walk is that it is gorgeous year-round. We tackle it often – not so often between December and February because we don’t love crowds, but even in peak season, you can find some quiet time if you start nice and early.
Read on for our tips on doing the best-known coastal walks in Sydney.
The Bondi Coastal Walk came about as a State Government project during the depression of the 1930s.
Everything you need to know before you start
the Bondi to Coogee walk
Let’s start by answering the most frequently asked questions about this popular coastal track.
How long is the Bondi to Coogee walk?
The complete Bondi coastal walk distance is just under 6kms (3.5 miles), but you can break it into stages (see below).
How long does it take to walk Bondi to Coogee?
The full walking time between Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach is 75-90 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to take photos.
On average it takes:
• 1.5 hours good pace
• 2 hours normal sightseeing pace
• 3 hours with coffee or refreshments
Where is the best place to begin the Bondi to Coogee walk?
There is no right or wrong way to do this coastal walk. It comes down to personal preference. Think about what you want to do at the end of the walk and your public transport options going home.
This is how we see it:
- No rush – do the full coastal walk from North Bondi to Coogee Beach
- Need to shorten the walk choose Clovelly to Bondi. Catch the bus to Clovelly Beach and start there walking towards Bondi.
- Want a longer day – Start at Coogee Beach – walk to Bondi for lunch – relax for a while, then head to the Federation Cliff Walk to Watsons Bay and jump on the ferry home.
- Walking with kids? Start at Bondi and finish at Bronte, which has a great playground and, on weekends, a model train to ride.
- Want to finish with breakfast? Start at Coogee Beach and finish at Bondi; they have the best range of cafes.
- Want to finish with lunch – walk from Bondi to Bronte, I think this is the best place to stop for lunch with some excellent cafes or if you are on a budget free BBQs in the park.
- Want to combine the coastal walk with a classic Aussie activity? Walk from Bondi to Clovelly Beach and try your hand at Lawn Bowls.
What is the best time of day to do the Bondi Coastal walk?
My first instinct is to say time your walk to finish at happy hour so you can take a seat at Bucket List or the North Bondi RSL club and watch the twilight colours change with a cold drink in hand. But as the sun rises behind the beach, sunrise is a lovely time to walk too.
Really anytime is good but avoid midday when the sun is at its hottest, and your photos will be the least impressive.
If you have a weekday free, you will find fewer people on the walk, which makes it a little more enjoyable in my view.
How difficult is the Bondi to Coogee walk?
While most people will find this a relatively easy walk, the stairs and hills probably relegate it to medium grade difficulty.
If you’re not as fit as you like, you can do it at a slower pace. There are plenty of seats and cafes along the way, and no rule says you need to tackle this like an athlete 😉
There are several sets of stairs, and a couple are a little deeper than standard stair height but nothing that should pose too difficult for anyone with no major health issues.
I often get asked if one way is easier than the other. While I seem to find walking north easier being a clifftop walk that drops down into several beaches, you will be walking up and down quite a bit, so there is little difference.
The most challenging section is between Waverley cemetery and Coogee Beach, probably why I like starting at this end and getting the hard work over and done early.
Which beaches are along the Bondi to Coogee walkway?
From north to south the beaches along the walk are:
What facilities are available on the Bondi to Coogee walk
There are toilets at all the beaches, and most will have a cafe open as well. Drinking fountains to refill water at Dunningham Reserve – just up from Coogee Beach and Calga Reserve just north of the cemetery.
Can you do any of the Bondi to Coogee walk with a wheelchair?
Sadly the Bondi to Coogee walk is not accessible. There is really no part of it where you can enter and continue for any distance on even ground. You can get some lovely views from St Marks Park and also from the road combing into Bronte.
However, there is a walk that starts at Coogee Beach and heads south along an equally beautiful coastal trail. It is perfect for wheelchairs and prams with a good even surface with an incline. Have Wheelchair Will Travel has written up a guide to this accessible coastal walk.
Can you take a pram on the Bondi Coastal walk?
Sure you can, but I would not recommend taking a pram on this walk. There are too many steps and uneven surfaces. If you really want to, it can be done provided you have plenty of muscles to lift the pram up and down the staircases.
If you want to give it a try with a pram, the best option is to tackle the first section entering from St Marks Park. This avoids a couple of sets of steps right at the beginning. And gives you just one easy one from the park to the trail. The walkway is even for quite some time. There are steep steps in the section between Clovelly Beach and Coogee so avoid this. Check out the walk above and consider this.
Is the Bondi to Coogee walk dog-friendly?
Yes, you can take your dog on the path; however, dogs must be on leads and cannot be taken on any of the beaches or into the adjoining parks.
What to wear Bondi to Coogee walk?
You can walk in any shoes you feel comfortable in. I prefer to wear runners or sports shoes, but plenty do it in thongs or flip flops. There is not a lot of shade along the route, so a hat is a good idea. In summer be sure to bring a towel and swimsuit, five beaches are a lot of temptation.
Where are the best places to take photos along the Bondi to Coogee walk?
You will likely find your camera snapping the whole way; this trail is so picturesque, but keep your eye out for some of our favourite spots.
• The lookout at McKenzie Point
• The rocks along the section between McKenzies Point and Bronte
• The surf club at Tamarama Beach
• The Bogey Hole and fenced ocean pool at Bronte
• The fishing boats at Gordons Bay
• Giles Baths as you come into Coogee
Keen photographers will also want to check out the Federation Cliffs walk at Dover Heights from some spectacular cliff shots.
Sculpture by the sea is on in Oct/Nov – Check out our tips for beating the crowds
Tackling the Bondi to Coogee trail in sections
There is no need to do the whole walk in one go, and you don’t need to decide in advance as public transport is available at all beaches along the way.
North Bondi assumes a starting point of the North Bondi Surf Club. South Bondi assumes starting at Bondi Icebergs.
|Nth Bondi||Sth Bondi||1km||15mins||333|
|Sth Bondi||Tamarama Beach||1.2km||25mins||361|
|Sth Bondi||Clovelly Beach||3.6km||50mins||339|
|Sth Bondi||Gordons Bay||4.5km||70mins||n/a|
How do I get from the city to Bondi to Coogee Walk?
The best way to get to the walk is by using public transport. Parking around these beaches is hard at the best of times.
Starting at Bondi Beach
From the city you have two options, you can take the bus all the way or do a bus and train combination to save time.
The 333 is a limited-stop service that travels between Circular Quay and North Bondi Beach. It is one of the busiest public transport routes in Sydney. The bus departs from Alfred Street at Circular Quay and travels up Elizabeth St and onto Oxford Street to Bondi Junction before taking Bondi Road to the beach. Buses leave every 3-6 minutes during the day and every 6-10 minutes off-peak.
The full trip from the city to Bondi Beach takes 45 minutes in good traffic. You can join the bus at Circular Quay, Martin Place Station, St James Station or Taylor Square.
Alternatively, you can take the train on the Illawarra line. Join at Central, Town Hall, Martin Place or Kings Cross and get off at Bondi Junction; this is a quicker trip of about 15 minutes. There is a bus station directly above where there are regular shuttles to the beach when you leave the train. Alternatives are 333, 380 or 381.
All Bondi Beach buses leave from Stand A. It is very well signposted. The train is quicker, and the changeover is pretty straightforward.
Starting at Bronte Beach
If you have decided to start a Bronte Beach, then take the train to Bondi Junction and jump on the 360, 379 or 381 which all stop at different parts of Bronte Beach.
Starting at Coogee Beach
Two buses travel between Central Station and Coogee Beach. The M50, which is a limited stops bus leaves from Stand E, on Elizabeth Street every 5 minutes. You can also take the 373 from Circular Quay or the 374 from St James Station. The journey will take about 45 mins in daytime traffic.
Are there buses between Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach?
There is one direct bus (362) between Bondi and Coogee Beach. If you want to save time or there are 2-3 of you, an Uber or Ola will be about $15.
Starting at Watsons Bay
The nicest trip, if coming from Circular Quay, is to take the ferry to Watson’s Bay, enjoy a quick walk out to South Head and then a cold drink at Camp Cove, before returning to Watsons Bay to catch the 380 over to North Bondi.
Commence the walk and continue until Bronte and return to Bondi Junction on the bus. Or do the whole thing in reverse and take the bus to Coogee to begin your walk and the ferry back from Watsons Bay.
Starting or finishing at Newtown
Thought we would throw in a curveball here and suggest you consider combining this half-day coastal walk with half a day exploring our favourite inner west suburb Newtown.
The 370 bus connects Coogee beach with King Street Newtown, and we think craft brews, street art and cheap eats make the perfect partner for a few hours at the beach.
Where to eat along the Bondi to Coogee walk
I like to start walking on an almost empty stomach because there are plenty of good options for snacks along the way and a huge range of cafes at Bondi, Coogee and midway in Bronte Beach.
- Stop for a coffee at Tamarama Beach
- Put the free BBQs in Bronte park to use
- Take a detour to Clovelly Bowling club for cheap beers
- Grab an ice cream at Bronte
- Grab some healthy eats Seasalt at Clovelly
- Hit the rooftop at Coogee Pavilion
If you are ready for a cold drink after all your hard work consider:
- Coogee – The Coogee Pavilion and The Coogee Bay hotel
- Bondi – Bondi Icebergs, The Bucketlist and North Bondi RSL all overlook Bondi Beach
We also have a list of bars with a view here
Where to swim along the Coogee to Bondi Walk
You can swim at any of the five beaches along the way but please do swim between the flags, some of these beaches have strong currents that can make swimming challenging, especially if you are not a strong swimmer. The boys at Bondi Rescue have enough work already!
Clovelly Beach is the best place to swim for those less confident in the water.
Otherwise, swim in one of the beautiful rock pools along the way. Bronte, with its cute white picket fence, is my favourite.
Of course, Bondi Icebergs is the most popular; however, there are several options at the Coogee end of the walk. For a bit of nostalgia, check out Giles Bath at the northern end of Coogee Beach. Further along, Wylie’s Baths is a historic beauty. There is also a women’s only pool at Coogee called McIver’s Ladies Baths.
Check out our Insider’s Guide to where to eat and what to do in Bondi
Are there guided tours available for the Bondi Beach walk?
There are several Bondi to Coogee based tours available from general walks to special interest tours.
Join a Lifeguard on a tour – Spend 1.5 hours with a real Aussie lifesaver who will give you all the insider info on Bondi and take you on a tour of the lifesaving club. You will also explore the Bondi Coastal Trail.
Check out the Bondi cliffs from the water – Ocean Extreme is the fastest commercial vessel in Sydney and on this tour they take you from the Opera House, out of Sydney Heads and down to Bondi Beach where you stop to take the ultimate selfie.
Insider Tips for doing the Bondi to Coogee walk
- Leave the car at home
- Carry sunscreen and reapply it if you swim
- Whale watching in season is worthwhile, as they do come close in at times.
- Resist the urge to get off the bus as soon as Bondi Beach appears in view. Remain on board until you reach North Bondi terminus. This allows you a lovely view of the panorama overlooking Bondi Beach.
- Most people start in Bondi so at busy times of the year this is a good idea, so you are walking with and no against the flow
- If you are walking during sculptures by the sea time walk as early or late as you can to avoid the crowds
Key Points of interest along the Bondi to Coogee Trail
Waverley Cemetery and Sesquicentenary Boardwalk
Waverley Council built the boardwalk in 2009 and named it to honour its 150th anniversary. Several famous Australians are buried here, including our two most celebrated poets, Henry Lawson and Dorothea Mackellar (My Country)
Aboriginals rock carvings
If you look carefully, you will find some carvings of a shark and whale just south of Mackenzie’s Point. There are also some carvings at North Bondi Golf Course. More details here and photos of the engravings here.
This park is a favourite with families today, especially on weekends when you are likely to find many of the picnic shelters hosting birthday parties.
It has been popular since 1887 when it was home to the Royal Aquarium and Pleasure Ground. Families visited to see sharks and seals, to ride the rollercoaster and enjoy amusement parks games. The park has a children’s playground, plenty of shade and a café looking out to the beach.
Dating back to 1887, these baths were some of the first built in Sydney when bathing became an accepted pastime. There are as popular today as they were then.
One of the most popular Instagram spots along the route. Entry is free, and a sunrise swim is hard to beat.
Bronte Bogie Hole
The Bogie Hole is a natural rock pool you can only find when the tide is right. The best time is about halfway between high and low tide.
Check out this blog post on Swimming Pool Stories for more.
Bronte -Coogee Aquatic Reserve
Starting at the southern end of Bronte Beach and continuing to the rock baths at Coogee Beach and out to 100m offshore, the aquatic reserve covers 40 hectares. A highlight of the reserve is a 500m underwater nature trail in Gordons Bay.
The most famous residents of the reserve are blue gropers and stingrays. This 600-metre trail, marked by a metal chain, features information panels explaining what you can see. Snorkeling Sydney has shared some images from their visit.
One of four memorials in the area dedicated to the victims of the Bali Bombings at Kuta in 2002. Twenty of the 88 Australians killed were from the Coogee-Maroubra area.
Step by step guide to walking from Coogee to Bondi Beach
We have decided to share our favourite spots along the walk over 13 highlights. This guide starts at Coogee Beach, which is our favourite direction to walk.
- Beginning at Coogee head to the northern end of the beach and make your way up the hill. This is the spot to get an Instaworthy photo over Coogee Beach.
- The first thing to look out for is the path that leads off to the right and down to Giles Bath, keep an eye out for the restored entry. The baths were built in 1928 and included a gym. This was a popular spot in the early days of swimming. There is a natural rock pool, and it’s a lovely spot for a swim, although not recommended in rough seas.
- After a few hundred metres and before the baths you will find a shine to the Virgin Mary attached to the fence. A local woman said she witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary two afternoons in a row back in December 2002. Nicknamed the Lady of the Fence Post and written about here, the site attracted lots of visitors in its early days. Since then a shrine has popped up on the fence and while the Catholic Church has not endorsed the site as significant in any way people still visit and leave behind tokens.
- Next, you will come to the Bali Memorial. Twenty of the victims of the 2002 Bali bombings were from the local rugby club on an end of season trip. See above for more details.
- Between Coogee rock pools and Gordons Bay is local snorkelling heaven and also a lovely spot for a few photos of the old fishing boats on the shore.
- Clovelly Beach is the most sheltered and safest swimming beach on the walk
- Shark Point is up next. These rocky cliffs are not fenced so be careful here sandstone cliffs against the blue skies are stunning.
- Waverley Cemetery is an amazing final resting place for some well known Australians. Photographers may want to head into the cemetery for some fabulous photo ops.
- Bronte Beach pop into the Bronte Baths or at least stop by for a look. There are several cafes here if hunger strikes.
- Tamarama Beach may be small, but it packs a punch. Be careful swimming here as the rips are very dangerous. It is considered one of the most dangerous beaches in the country. When conditions are right, this is the place to watch the boardriders.
- The Aboriginal engraving near St Marks Park is fairly easy to find. Look out for the whale with a fish inside.
- McKenzie Point Lookout – there is a circular concrete lookout point that offers fantastic views over Bondi Beach.
- Black Sunday Memorial – In February 1938 almost 200 swimmers were swept out to sea. Eighty lifesavers rescued over 150 people with five sadly losing their lives.
Bondi to Coogee Walk Map
Want More Sydney Walks?
Manly to Bondi Walk (80km)
The multi-day Manly to Bondi walk takes you from the northern beaches to the eastern shores. Do some of it or challenge yourself and complete the whole thing.
Coogee to Maroubra Walk (5km)
As locals who have done the Bondi Beach walk hundreds of times, we like to take this walk, especially in summer when the Bondi route is often very crowded.
Federation Cliff Walk (5km)
This walk along the cliffs between North Bondi and Watson’s Bay is much less busy but equally as impressive.
If you find yourself in Newcastle be sure to walk Bather’s Way – their 6km equivalent.