Our first order of business upon arrival in Australia was to visit some beaches. We had read and heard a lot about different beaches in Sydney and we were eager to see them all and work on our tans. Some of the top beaches we had heard about were Manly Beach, Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach. Each had their pros and cons and we were determined to experience them ourselves.
Once we arrived in Sydney we settled into our hostel in the CBD and prepared for the next few days. We met our roommates and started talking to them about things to see and do in the city. After asking if they had tried any of the beaches in town, we were told that Manly Beach was the best bet. So the decision was made to spend our first full day at the beach.
On Sunday we got up and headed out to see Manly Beach. It required a train ride down to the wharf and then a ferry ride over to another part of town.Typically this could add up on costs, but since we had our Opal cards for transportation, our max charge for the day was a whopping $2.50. After a 30-45 minute ferry ride, we arrived at our destination and wandered through an adorable town full of restaurants and shops to arrive at the beach.
Given that it was a bargain transportation day, the summer AND a Sunday, the beach was extremely crowded. However, it was beautiful, full of great people watching and had killer waves. We spent several hours at the beach reading, playing in the surf, watching the tourists and locals, reapplying sunscreen and even watching an ad hoc air show!
The next day we tried out a Coastal Walk that our guidebook had suggested. This is a walk that is 6km and works its way down the coast, starting at Bondi Beach and ending at Coogee Beach. Once again, we put public transportation to use to get to our starting point (this is one of our favorite things about big cities… we cannot say enough about our love for great public transportation!)
We started at Bondi Beach and figured the best thing to do would be to really experience the beach by laying out and tanning. The downfall of this was that we did not want to get off our butts, put on tennis shoes and start walking up a cliff. After about 2 hours we talked ourselves into continuing on and headed out to start our walk.
We headed up some cliffs and got great views of Bondi Beach from afar, as well as stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. We continued onwards and saw Tamarama beach, which was incredible, but we talked ourselves out of another 2 hour detour and ventured onwards. Our next stop was Bronte Beach where we had lunch and another tanning detour. Our lunch was an elegant tapas platter that we packed in our backpacks… salami, cheese, crackers, carrots and hummus! Once we were re-hydrated and stuffed with tasty snacks, we checked out Bronte Beach. Our favorite part about this beach was that there was a part of the beach that was blocked off by rocks and formed a natural swimming area that was safe from the waves. It was really difficult to walk away from this beach and continue on our journey, but we did it so we could see the infamous Coogee Beach that was located at the end of the walk.
The Coastal Walk has taken a slight detour in the past year due to storms, so we actually had a detour away from the beach and through an old cemetery that was quite eerie yet beautiful. We passed another swimming pool/beach, walked up what seemed to be never-ending stairs, then walked/hiked up a giant hill, then complained a lot about how we were never going to walk again, then kept walking.
Finally we arrived at Coogee Beach. It was a larger beach and pretty full of people, with plenty of amenities close by, though it was far from our favorite beach along the hike. We partly wished we had stayed back at Bronte and spent the rest of the day there, however we felt accomplished to finish the entire walk. We stayed at Coogee for awhile until the sun started to set and our skin was over it all.
The good news is that we were only 2 days into our visit to Sydney and still had a lot more to see and do. Until next time…
~ Kerry & Jenny