Sydney: Coogee to Watson’s Bay return 31km

Good Mrs was attending a work conference in Sydney for 2 days. Which included 2 nights in a hotel in Coogee along the beach.

The prospect of free seaside accommodation for me by just tagging along was too tempting. I flew up to Sydney as well.

Two nights means one full day there for me and what better way to spend that day than hiking along the water. So, off I went…

I didn’t realise how much I missed the sea air after leaving Manly but the early morning brought it all back. And that blue morning light…

IMG_6075

A beautiful sunrise welcomed the day over Coogee Bay. It’s gonna be a beautiful day.

IMG_6185

By 7.30am I was on my way. This is Coogee Beach in that early morning light. What is not to like about this?

IMG_6080

Good Mrs and I stayed here just opposite Coogee Beach, in the section to the left and on the second floor to the right. Yes, we had a balcony overlooking the bay.

IMG_6079

I walked north from Coogee Bay and here we are looking back south from the headland just north of the beach.

IMG_6081

There were some reasonable waves this morning. It all looked great in that early morning shimmer.

IMG_6084

Flat Melbourne it ain’t. There are hills up and down the headlands like here at Cliffbrook Parade down towards Clovelly.

IMG_6086

Clovelly Beach at the end of that concreted narrow mouth just down from Seasalt Cafe. You will always find early morning joggers and swimmers along the Sydney beaches.

IMG_6087

Clovelly Beach again but now looking back out at sea from the end of the photo above.

IMG_6088

Waverley Cemetery behind me below is in the most beautiful setting. The sea is just to the right.

IMG_6095

A few years ago they built a new walkway between Waverley Cemetery and the cliffs dropping down to sea level. Earlier you had to negotiate gravestones and narrow cemetery paths to get from one side to the other. So that was a great improvement.

However, the choice of not using enough rust proof steel for fences and railings here do puzzle me. The area is much exposed to the elements with plenty of sea spray and salt. The inevitable result is browning…

IMG_6093

Moving on north and passing Bronte Beach, which is the end destination of the much popular Bondi to Bronte Walk. Of course, that is just a small subset of the distance that you can walk along the coastline here.

IMG_6103

A lone surfer at the water’s edge. Another day on the beach in Emerald City.

IMG_6104

The second “best” beach in Sydney, Bondi Beach.

Yes, I am biased. They talk about the world famous Bondi Beach but I have lived on the Northern Beaches in Sydney for 26 years. The last 15 of those years I lived in Manly. The northern equivalent to Bondi.

So Manly Beach is the “best” beach in Sydney… 🙂

IMG_6111

OK, there is some pretty cool street art along a concrete wall along the beach. If you didn’t know where you were…

IMG_6113

That concrete street art wall again. I have never been convinced about all that parking up from Bondi Beach though. Bondi Surf Pavilion is just here to the right. Is that the best that they can do in an iconic place like Bondi Beach?

IMG_6114

Today’s film recording comes from the TV program Bondi Rescue. I didn’t ask anybody but what else could it be?

IMG_6116

Close nearby on Bondi Beach was another filming in progress. A lot more low key this time. Some kind of a “learning to surf” school…

It was all happening on Bondi Beach today. Like any day one may presume.

IMG_6124

Up the hill to North Bondi and beyond where somebody had discarded this chair. OK, that red chair has nothing to do with hiking or the beauty of the beaches, but it did break up the story a bit. I thought it looked photogenic.

IMG_6127

Raleigh Reserve is a narrow strip way up on the headland and along the water in Dover Heights. I have found during my previous visits here that it is a popular dog walking reserve.

Today I counted to 25 different dogs. Many of these guys may be “professional” dog walkers. After all, Dover Heights is one of Sydney’s more affluent areas.

IMG_6129

I took this picture to show how the edge of the Raleigh Reserve drops down to the water. Fencing is a must.

IMG_6130

From Dudley Page Reserve you will get excellent city and Sydney Harbour views. A few Sydney icons can be seen from up there.

IMG_6134

For a short stretch between Weonga Road and Lancaster Road, there is no reserve to walk on. You need to walk back to and then along Military Road. It is not too bad as you can cross that street and walk through Dudley Park Reserve. And see those harbour views above instead.

At the eastern end of Lancaster Road, the southern end of Dover Heights Reserve starts. As so do the dramatic headland and ocean views.

IMG_6140

The same Dover Heights Reserve but now from its northern end looking south.

IMG_6142

The cliffs have started to fall down and into the sea at Diamond Bay. It may be a good idea to stay away from the cliff edges here.

IMG_6144

Just before Christison Park, I decided to try something new. To enable a bit of variety and to make a loop of at least a small part of the walk. I walked westwards down the hill along Serpentine Parade. And when that road finishes, there are a few public walkways between properties to enable pedestrians to reach Wentworth Road.

Except that there was this sign in one place…

IMG_6149

A classic NIMBY (Not In My BackYard)? The affluent Vaucluse locals don’t want the great unwashed on their doorsteps? Only the residents are skilful enough to negotiate the “dangerous footpath”?

You, dear reader, may be the judge.

Below is how the path looked down from that sign. Do I need to tell you that I ignored the sign, walked down these steps and could see no risk to limbs whatsoever?

IMG_6150

While we are on it, I had a bit of a giggle as I walked down those steps.

I listened to a Spotify playlist by The Avener called “Soul of Blues”. The playlist is a great collection of soul and blues songs from the 70s. The stuff that you sometimes hear as a soundtrack in a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Well, the current song I listened to was by somebody named Donny Hathaway and the song was called… “The Ghetto”. That couldn’t be any further from this environment…

Just before Wentworth Road and on my left was Vaucluse House. A beautiful old building hidden behind the trees in Vaucluse Park. I have been here for a picnic once and listened to an outdoor concert here at another time. A most lovely place.

IMG_6152

How fantastic is this wooden bridge over Parsley Bay. There is a beach there immediately to the right. Sydney Harbour is on the left.

IMG_6154

Looking back at that wooden bridge from the other side.

IMG_6156

Watson’s Bay was as far as I was going today. At 11.20am or so it was too early for lunch but never too early for a coffee. So I bought myself a take away cuppa and took a break under the trees next to Watson’s Bay’s ferry wharf. Which you can’t see because it is behind the camera.

IMG_6157

From Watson’s Bay, there is a walkway up the hill through Robertson Park. Looking back down the gentle slope towards Sydney Harbour and you see this.

IMG_6163

On the ocean side across from Watson’s Bay is a fantastic vista point out across the sea.

The Gap is also known (or infamous) for another thing. It is one of the most popular spots in Sydney for people to commit suicide.

IMG_6165

There are signs everywhere with positive messages and phone numbers to call. And there are lights and there are cameras. Many cameras.

IMG_6167

The Gap, or Gap Park as is its real name, is an eerie place. Some years ago as I wandered here, somebody had just jumped. There were police tapes around part of the park and not possible to walk straight through. None of that today, I am pleased to say.

I started to walk south back towards Coogee again. In one spot, if you are looking north, you can see across the water to Manly.

I lived in that big white building to the right for a year back in 1999. The building consisted of 2 circular and connected parts. And the whole lot was thus dubbed “The Toilet Rolls” by the locals.

IMG_6174

Moving on south… Coastal Cliff Walk is a much appropriate name.

IMG_6175

Macquarie Lighthouse way up on the headland is visible from quite a distance. As a lighthouse should be of course. It has been beautifully restored and the white contrasts perfect against the blue sky.

IMG_6177

Just south of Macquarie Lighthouse and Christison Park, I reconnected with where I walked before. My short northern loop was completed. And given midday now and with the stark light making photography less than optimal, I took no more photos.

Well, just one more photo from my lunch in a fish and chip shop on Campbell Parade along Bondi Beach. Barramundi and greek salad seemed appropriate for a day like today. Pretty good it was too. No chips 🙂

IMG_6180

I could feel it my legs and butt that I had walked a hillier terrain than normal as I returned to Coogee. Melbourne is so flat and the Sydney headlands go up and down and up and…

Great practice for the mountains in Utah National Parks though…

A few beers in Sydney Town with an old buddy of mine followed later in the evening.  A most enjoyable and satisfactory day.

Leave a Reply