Flying in from the east, the expansive white-sand beaches that frame Sydney’s eastern suburbs are a sight to behold.
The walk along that same coastline, between bustling Coogee beach and Bondi, its bigger and bolder counterpart, is a well-known Sydney must-do for visitors and locals alike. On clear weekend mornings throughout the year you’ll see a lot of designer exercise gear and fluro shoes on this stretch of the Sydney coastline.
Walking is great, and with a beach view it’s even better. But what's also wonderful about this iconic coastal walk is the excellent eating and drinking to be done. You’re on holiday, after all.
A block or so up Arden Street from Coogee Beach is The Little Kitchen, arguably Coogee’s best little cafe. Its simple, modern menu is beautifully executed, from house-made granola to smashed avocado on sourdough. The coffee is strong, the plates are beautiful, and it’s all served on rustic wooden tables, making for an extremely Instagrammable breakfast. If there are fresh muffins left behind the counter (I know it’s 2015, but bear with me) they are worth sharing as a pre-breakfast snack: the cherry crumble one I had was a delight.
Also in Coogee and worth a look if is Maloneys Grocer, a small boutique supermarket and deli. They have a huge selection of locally made raw smoothies in the fridge, plus fresh fruit and veggies, and artisan snacks. If you fancy picnicking along the way, this is the place to stock up. Don’t miss the almond croissants.
If you’re doing the walk in reverse, then you’ve got a couple of options in Coogee for a well-earned beer. The new kid on the block is the Coogee Pavilion, a multi-story pub and eatery by local hospitality genius Justin Hemmes. With a coffee stand, a fresh flower stall, a raw oyster bar, a wood-fired pizza oven (the pizza is excellent), and a giant play area with ping-pong tables and giant scrabble on the wall, your options are covered. Bearded dads with a ping-pong paddle in one hand and a beer in the other aren’t uncommon downstairs. Upstairs, a luxe rooftop garden bar is a good spot for a gin with a view.
For something a little more lowbrow, the Coogee Bay Hotel is a true-blue Aussie pub. There's a big outdoor area and sport on the TV. If you just want a handle of beer and a plate of wedges, this is the place for you.
Back to the walk. From Coogee you’ve got a gentle incline up past the Giles Baths, the open-air beach baths, with turquoise water set amongst the rocks. Tucked around the corner is Gordon’s Bay, spectacular on a clear day, too.
Clovelly is the next beach, and it’s worth a coffee stop. Slightly off the walking track in the Clovelly shops is TopHat Coffee Merchants. Coffee snobs will rejoice at the selection of single-origin brews on offer, available in a V60 drip filter – or just go for a damn well-made flat white. There are good sandwiches, too.
At Bronte, just on the halfway mark, there’s a string of good coffee places. Head off the track slightly and up the hill, and you get to the iconic Three Blue Ducks. It’s famed for its own-grown produce and their ever-changing Asian-influenced breakfasts. If you get a seat on the street in the sun then even better.
From Bronte, Tamarama is the last beach before Bondi, and it’s here you’ll walk past Yoga by the Sea – surely one of the best yoga views in the world. Bondi hits you as you round the corner in all its impressive, expansive, white-sanded glory.
The perfect way to end all that exercise (the walk takes 1-2 hours) is at the Bondi Farmers Market, held on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm at the Bondi Beach Public School. If you've been exercising then of course a green smoothie is a must – it goes down well between sampling artisan yoghurt, honey, biltong, muesli, nut butters, and everything else on offer here. Have a coffee or freshly brewed chai with a homemade oatmeal cookie on the side. Or go for the gourmet corn fritters: the ones with labne, haloumi and grilled eggplant are superb. Sprawl out on the grass and bask in your post-walk satisfaction.