Why the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk Needs to be on your Sydney Itinerary

After climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge and a quick lunch, we headed out for the next item on our agenda: the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.

After all, a 3.7 mile walk after a bridge climb makes total sense, right? Actually, it was a wonderful day and I am so glad we did both activities. I enjoyed both of them immensely, mostly because I was with great company.

I Googled the walk before we went and the website I checked said the walk should take about two hours to complete. It took us longer than that because we stopped to admire the views often and frankly, also because I am just slow. It became very clear after about the 10th of many uphill climbs that I have to get back into the gym. Thanks to Claire and a Megan for being patient with me.

Rebels Just for Kicks

Because we are rebels, we did the walk the opposite way from how most people complete it. We started at Coogee Beach. Coogee Beach is located in Coogee, a beachside suburb about five miles southeast of the central business district in Sydney. We ended the walk in Bondi Beach. Bondi Beach is the name of the beach and the surrounding suburb in Sydney,

Coogee Beach
The state of our walk – Coogee Beach.

But First, Sun Protection

One of the things I was most worried about for this trip was the sun and whether I would be able to adequately protect my skin on days like this where I was outside all day. Basically, days like the day we did the coastal walk.

Luckily, I succeeded. I managed not to get sunburned in Australia, thanks in large part to lots of sunscreen, a striped rash guard that you will see in many photos later, and the hat below.

Sunhat in Sydney
This hat save me from so many sunburns on this trip. I got in LA when I went to visit a friend a few years ago. What a smart purchase!

The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk Views

What will you see along the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk?

You will see the Pacific Ocean and lots of amazing views. You will pass a cemetery and five swimming pools: Coogee Beach (where there is also a women’s sea pool), Clovelly Beach, Bronte Beach (there’s a rock pond here), Tamarama Beach and Bondi Beach. Swimming and snorkeling are possible at Gordon’s Bay.

Our first beautiful view happened just outside of Coogee at the spot pictured below. The view is amazing but what I remember most about this stop was a girl sitting on the very edge of the cliff, beyond the recommended stopping point. It was an area that did not look safe because it wasn’t completely solid underneath. She was sitting on a piece of rock that jutted out over the cliff, trying to get the perfect Instagram photo.

I couldn’t make myself stand there and watch. I was terrified that the rock piece was going to break off and fall into the ocean with her.

Spoiler: she survived the photo session.

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
The first place we stopped along the walk to admire the view.
Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk
So Pretty!

The Pacific Ocean as far as my eyes could see. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Pacific Ocean

I love the sound of waves crashing into shore. Wouldn’t you agree?

Waves Crashing

Waverley Cemetery between Coogee and Bondi

About halfway into the walk, we came upon the Waverley Cemetery. This cemetery opened in 1877 and is located on top of the cliffs at Bronte in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. It is known for its largely intact Victorian and Edwardian monuments. Waverley Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries I have seen. It spans 41 acres. It went on and on and on.

Given that it’s along the coast, its residents have some of the best ocean views in the world. Too bad they don’t get to enjoy it.

Due to construction of the waterfront path, we had to walk through the cemetery to continue on our way to Bondi (it was the official detour route)e). It may sound strange but I enjoy looking through cemeteries, during the day at least. There is so much history in them. This one was no exception.

Waverley Cemetery
Waverley Cemetery along the walk

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

The cloud below passed through the arch just as we walked by. Perfect timing.

An arch along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Below are some really cool rock formations we saw along the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.

Rock formation along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Bondi to Coogee Beach Rock Formation

Megan and me. I am so glad we were visiting Australia at the same time and were able to meet up and explore Sydney together.

Close to the end of the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk

Finally, Bondi Beach was within view! There were several pools like the one below along the coast as we walked. They are public pools, which I thought was very neat. This pool is featured in photos of Bondi Beach a lot.

Bondi Beach pool

After spending some time admiring Bondi Beach and the views, we set out for dinner. We went to Doyle’s on the Beach in Watson’s Bay. It’s a seafood restaurant and it was delicious! Watson’s Bay is across the bay from Sydney which allowed us to witness the amazing sunset over Sydney after dinner.

Sydney Sunset

We took the ferry back from Watson’s Bay to Sydney and had to get one more selfie in front of the opera house along the way.

Sydney Opera House

We finished the evening with a bottle of wine and more conversation on the rooftop of our hotel. It was a wonderful day!

My time in Sydney and in Canberra were my favorite parts of my Australian adventure. Chatting, laughing and exploring with Megan and Claire (and her mom later on as well as Gemma and Angela my first night in town) was much needed and made me so happy. It was good for my soul and one of the many reasons why I love to travel.

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Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk Sydney Australia

Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Harbor Bridge

While researching things to do in Sydney, Australia, one activity that kept coming up was climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. If you know me, you probably know that climbing a bridge isn’t really my thing. I don’t like heights. I don’t like activities that expose me to the scorching hot sun with for hours on end. And I don’t like climbing.

The friends I was visiting Sydney with, Megan and Claire, really wanted to do it though so I decided to suck it up and take the risk and climb the bridge with them. We scheduled the climb for our second day in Sydney, the day after exploring the Sydney Opera House and having drinks with new friends along the harbor. You can check out more about that here.

Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge

Background Information

The Sydney Harbor Bridge is a steel through arch bridge that goes across Sydney Harbor. The bridge carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. It is nicknamed “The Coathanger” because of its arch-based design. It opened in 1932 and is the sixth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world and the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 440 ft (so high!) from top to water level.

We bought our tickets to the bridge climb several weeks in advance. It worked well for us because we were able to pick the date and time for our climb. I would recommend you do the same if you are planning to climb although there were tickets available the day-of the day. I am not sure if that is normal or not. You can buy advance tickets here.

The climb started from the left bottom corner in the photo below. It went up one side of the bridge, across the top of the bridge by the flags and then back down the other side of the bridge (it ended where it started at the bottom). We did not go all the way across the bridge and harbor. The flags on the top – one is the Australian flag, the other is the state flag. Yes, Australia has state flags too!

Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge

Preparing for the Climb

They are very, very strict about the preparation process for climbing the bridge. There were about 10 people in the group we climbed with.

The first step was signing the waiver and then we had to change into the blue and gray suits you will see below. I am pretty sure I have never put anything so unflattering on my body. It was part awful, part hilarious. The suit was way too long on me so without the belt, the crotch of the suit hung below my knees. It looked like I was wearing a penguin suit! Luckily, the suits looked better on Claire and Megan.

Once we had the suits on, everything was tied down and strapped on, cell phones were put in lockers and specific instructions were given. It was all fine until anxiety or food poisoning or a stomach bug got the best of one woman in our group as we were preparing to walk out on the bridge. I will spare you the details but it was bad (and gross). I am actually surprised that no one else lost their breakfast as well because we were all standing right next to her when it happened. That poor woman. I hope she felt better quickly (clearly she was not allowed on the climb).

Sydney Harbor Bridge
Megan, Claire and I all ready to climb!

The Climb

The adventure started with a long, flat walk above the street to get the the actual climb. The walk along the flat surface was the only part that made me nervous. You could see through the boards and they didn’t seem super sturdy to me. I went slow though and kept going until we finally made it to the actual climb.

In the photo below, you can see there are closed steps all the way up and railings on both sides. We were anchored to the railing all the way. I never felt unsafe once we were climbing. We also went slow with lots of stops so we could enjoy the experience and the views.

Note: All of the bridge climb photos below were taken by the company that manages the climbs. Some of them are funny and cheesy but climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge was a day filled with great memories.

Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge After the Climb

After making it back to the starting point, changing into our street clothes (no way was I leaving the premises with that penguin suit on) and making it down from the bridge, we wandered around the The Rocks Market to find a bite to eat.

The Rocks is what the area around the bridge is called. The market is near the bottom of the Sydney Bridge. It was a neat market filled with stalls selling food, jewelry, artwork, etc. We decided to get our lunch from Hero Sushi Box., which had different versions of the dish below, called Okonomiyako (which means ‘grilled as you like it’). It is a savory version of a Japanese pancake, made with flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, meat/ protein and topped with a variety of condiments. Okonomiyako is better known as ‘Japanese pizza’ in the US (because we can’t be bothered to try to pronounce the real name apparently?).

It was delicious!


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Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge