Experience classic Australian beach culture at sun-drenched Coogee.
By Ellie Schneider
It may not be as well known as its big sister Bondi, but that’s part of Coogee’s appeal. Priding itself on its laid-back lifestyle, Coogee offers tranquil waters, historic ocean baths and plenty of green spaces in which to spread out.
- Walk the cliff-hugging trail along the coastline
- Swim at one of Sydney's most picturesque inlets
- Drink and dine with a view
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Top things to do in Coogee
Follow the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk
The clifftops of Coogee offer spectacular walking trails and some of Sydney's most panoramic views. The six kilometre (3.7 mile) Bondi to Coogee coastal walk winds its way from Bondi to Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly, before finally arriving at Coogee Beach. The walk takes just over an hour in each direction. You can extend the walk by following the 2.9 kilometre (1.8 mile) path from Coogee to Mistral Point and South Maroubra Beach.
Swim in historic saltwater baths
Coogee is blessed with three beautiful ocean pools. At Coogee's northern end stairs descend from Dolphin Point to Giles Baths, a natural rock pool known as the "bogey hole". At the southern end, the coastal walk winds around to McIvers Baths, Australia's last remaining women-only seawater pool, dating back to 1886. The baths include a sunbathing area, change rooms and clubhouse. Further south are the famous Wylies Baths. Established in the early 1900s by champion Australian long distance swimmer Henry Alexander Wylie, the baths have 180-degree views across the Pacific Ocean out to Wedding Cake Island. After a dip, enjoy an early morning yoga or Pilates class on the deck.
Sip cocktails at a rooftop bar
Coogee Pavilion is a multi-storey dining destination created by Sydney hotel baron Justin Hemmes. Located on the beachfront, the pavilion has a rooftop with sweeping views across the ocean and serves beach-inspired cocktails and a good list of local beers. Downstairs, things are more family friendly, with a dedicated wood-fired pizza menu and nostalgic games room replete with giant Scrabble, ping-pong and an in-house theatrette. This place gets packed during summer, so it's best to book in advance.
Snorkel or scuba dive on an underwater nature trail
Sandwiched between Clovelly and Coogee beaches is the tiny, picture-perfect cove of Gordons Bay. Home to a 500 metre (1640 foot) underwater nature trail, Gordons Bay is a popular spot for snorkelling and diving, thanks to its reefs, sand flats and kelp forests. During summer, head here early to snare a spot on the rocks. Pro Dive offers a range of scuba diving courses, guided shore dives and boat dives from its Coogee centre.
How to get there
Coogee Beach is 20 minutes drive from Sydney city centre. Buses depart from Town Hall Station and Central Station to Coogee and take about 30 minutes.