A little more chilled than its neighbour Bondi, Coogee is just as stunning, with crystal-clear waters, an expanse of white sand beach, historic ocean baths and generous green parks ideal for picnics. You’ll find a laid-back beach vibe, vibrant dining and bar scene, and plenty of adventure, from coastal walks to snorkelling and diving in an aquatic sanctuary.
Three of Coogee’s ocean pools are at the southern end of the beach. The steps from Grant Reserve leads to McIver Baths, the last ocean pool in Australia reserved for women and children only. Wylie’s Baths has an elevated timber deck and Ross Jones Memorial Pool is next to the surf lifesaving club, bordered by sandcastle-like concrete turrets. Giles Baths is a natural rock pool at the foot of the northern headland.
Things to do
Besides swimming and relaxing on the soft sand, Coogee Beach is where you can start, or finish, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. The 6km track winds along sandstone cliffs to other pretty eastern Sydney beaches, including Bronte and Clovelly. It’s also a great vantage point to spot whales along the coast between May and November during their annual migration.
Coogee’s northern headland, Dolphin Point, offers superb views of Giles Baths and Wedding Cake Island, and houses a bronze memorial that honours the locals killed in the 2002 Bali bombings. Just north of the point is Gordons Bay, which is part of the Bronte-Coogee Aquatic Reserve and a great place to go snorkelling. Explore the underwater nature trail with Sydney Underwater Scooter Tours.
Eat & drink
The jewel in Coogee’s vibrant cafe, bar and restaurant scene is Coogee Pavilion. Housed in the historic former Coogee swimming baths and aquarium, the multi-level complex includes a casual family-friendly bistro, fine dining restaurant and rooftop bar. Other great eateries include Coogee Wine Room, Osteria Coogee and Sugarcane Restaurant, while the Coogee Bay Hotel has been the locals’ pub since 1873.
You’ll find a range of places to stay for a weekend escape or beach holiday. Crowne Plaza or the Coogee Bay Hotel makes for a comfortable stay if you want to be right by the ocean. There are self-contained rooms at the Adina Apartments a few blocks back from the beach and there is also a range of budget backpacker hostels.
Getting to Coogee is easy by public transport, with buses stopping right next to Coogee Beach, a popular beach for families with young children. It’s about a half-hour trip from inner city Surry Hills and the transport hub of Central Station or just under an hour from Newtown in the inner west.