Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk

Fast Facts

Duration: More than 3 hours
Price Guide: $0
Last Reviewed:
pramschildrenseniors
summerwinterautumnspring
walk
beach

Fun Things to do in Sydney

You can walk from Coogee to Bondi along the coastal track in any season, as long as the weather is pleasant. It will take you between 2 and 5 hours depending on how long the stopovers are. If the weather is suitable, bring swimming gear as there are a number of great spots to swim along the way.

Prams and Pushers are OK, but with difficulty as there are plenty of stairs.

Starting the tour

Coogee Beach gains much notoriety from the famous “Shark Arm” murder case of 1935 where a locally captured tiger shark regurgitated the arm of missing person, James Smith and it was identified by a tattoo. Because the arm had clearly been cut from the torso a murder case ensued and although nobody was ever convicted many locals still have their suspicions.

As a budget traveller you will no doubt be well versed in all the cheap beers and wines available and you could easily just spend the entire day sitting on the grass with a few drinks and good company – saying that there is heck of a lot to see on this tour so now that lunch is out of the way, let’s get moving.

Section 1:
Directions:

From Coogee head north towards the white gateway on the hill to your left.

Stopover:

We have only walked a hundred metres at most and we are already stopping. However, this stop is well worth it as the white gateway you are standing at leads down to Giles Baths. Giles Baths is simply a rock pool near the entrance to the bay that is sheltered from the pounding waves. It is great for a quick swim and at the foot of the stairs is a shady spot that can provide some welcome relief from the constant stream of UV rays scorching your skin a nice brown/beetroot colour.

Section 2:
Directions:

Right, now that we’ve had a swim and have got a bit of shade, it’s back up the stairs towards the sculpture to your right.

Stopover:

Spend a couple of minutes viewing the sculpture that is a memorial to the Australians from the local area who died in the Bali bombings of 2002. It is also a good spot from which to look back and see Coogee Beach from a different angle and also see where you’re going next.

Section 3:
Directions:

Another five minutes along the path.

Stopover:

You can turn right down a grassy lane to the cliffs where you can admire the views and laugh at the teenagers who have carved into the rocks their undying/temporary love for whatever member of the opposite sex/same sex said “hi” to them in the school corridor the other day.

Section 4:
Directions:

Head back to the path and then head down the road following the signs for Gordon’s Bay. Remember to throw a jealous look at anyone out pottering in their garden since their front room has a direct view over the stunning bay.

Stopover:

Gordon’s Bay isn’t really for swimming but is very picturesque. The locals like to do a spot of fishing from the bay, as you will notice from all the dinghies and the overpowering smell of fish. Nice spot but don’t stop for too long because this tour gets even better!

Section 5:
Directions:

Continue on up the wooden steps.

Stopover:

You can stop about halfway up the steps to read about the wild flowers of the area if it takes your fancy or you just need an excuse to stop and take a rest – it is quite a few steps huh?. Perhaps more interestingly, you can read about the locally famous Cliffbrook Mansion that used to dominate the bay.

Section 6:
Directions:

Now that we have finally made it up the stairs and have managed to get some oxygen back into our lungs we are rewarded with a car park. Head through the car park and follow the path down to Clovelly beach.

Stopover:

As you round the path into the bay you can stop and enjoy some refreshments at the Clovelly Lifesaving Club. Clovelly Beach is not the most picturesque due to the several tonnes of concrete that have been dumped into the bay, but it doesn’t seem to put off the locals who frequent this spot. If you have snorkelling equipment then I definitely suggest you get in there as there is some interesting marine life to see. If you don’t, then I guess you will have to make do with a leisurely swim – because Clovelly is a sheltered bay it is pretty safe for swimming. If none of that takes your fancy then I suppose you could just find a nice seat and stare at all the gorgeous people wandering past!

Section 7:
Directions:

As you leave the bay and continue on the path there are further opportunities to shoot jealous looks at homeowners who command impressive views over the bay. Continue along the path until you get to Randwick Park.

Stopover:

Now if you fancy a game then this is the place to do so. Just past the park there is another grassy lane where you can head over to the cliffs for a stone-throwing competition.

Section 8:
Directions:

Back on the path and cover some ground. Head right past the bowling club. Once past the bowling club you will be able to see Bondi Beach off in the distance. Yes it really is that far away! The other beach you can see is Tamarama beach which we will also pass through. Don’t stop yet as we’ve have a long way to go.

Stopover:

This may be one of the most idyllic locations for a graveyard on the planet. Many famous Australians are buried here so take your time wandering through it and appreciate the history and of course, those magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. Once you have reached the other side of the graveyard you may like to stop and read the plaque about the plants that grow in this area or you may just want to get cracking on.

Section 9:
Directions:

As you head along the path you will arrive at a road. Now you can continue down the road but as long as you are not scared of heights and you’re steady on your feet then I advise you to take the path onto the cliffs. If not then head down the road and stop once the bay comes into view.

Stopover:

Once on the cliffs, head over to look down at the bay. Marvel at the surfers who look like they are about to whack their heads off on the rocks in the bay. Check out the waves nearest to this side of the bay and you may be able to see the dolphins riding the waves. If you have opted to head down the road instead then you can get a similar view once you manage to get past the cliffs.

Section 10:
Directions:

The beach is beckoning you. Head down the path to the bay (where all the sand is).

Stopover:

Bronte beach is another popular beach with the locals. If you are feeling particular childlike then for a couple of dollars you can sit on the miniature train and go round in circles.

Now if that constant Australian sunlight is getting a bit too much then pick up a refreshing drink and head off to the far end of the beach where there is a nice big shady spot to sit and chill for a while. You will also probably notice a series of rock pools called the Bogey Hole. This is a good spot for taking a refreshing dip or spending some time hunting down various different sea creatures in the shallower rock pools.

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Posted in Sydney

Shopping on Swan Street and Bridge Road

Fast Facts

Duration: 1-2 hours
Price Guide: $0-$unlimited, depending on how much shopping you do!
Last Reviewed:
wheelchair accessiblepramschildrenseniors
summerwinterautumnspring
walk
suburb

Shopping on Swan Street and Bridge Road

If you’d like to see the Gleadall St Market in action (the final stop on this tour) you’ll need to time your tour for a Saturday morning as the market finishes at 1pm each Saturday.

Starting the tour

Catch a train to Richmond (Zone 1). From the city loop this should take approximately 10 minutes or five minutes on a direct train from Flinders Street Station.

Section 1:
Directions:

At Richmond station, follow the signs that direct you to Swan Street. Exit down the ramp and turn left, past the car rental store. Pass under the railway bridge and continue walking.

Stopover:

Swan Street shops: Swan Street may not be as whacky as Chapel Street or as grand as Melbourne’s city centre, but it certainly holds its own when it comes to discount shopping. Many stores sell Australian fashion designers’ seconds or rejects so, if you know a good deal when you see one, you could nab yourself a serious bargain.

Section 2:
Directions:

Bridge Road is parallel with Swan Street, but it’s about a 10-minute walk from one to another. If you wish to reach it, turn left onto Church Street and walk over the hill; the major road at the bottom is Bridge Road. You may turn left or right to explore. If you don’t want to walk, you can catch the 78 or 79 tram along Church Street to get you there.

Stopover:

Richmond Town Hall: If you turn right at the bottom of the hill you will see the Richmond Town Hall on your left. Inside, it hosts all of Bridge Road’s cultural information. Take note also of the bronze plaques on the buildings, which will provide you with some historical insight to this Heritage-classified area.

Section 3:
Directions:

Continue down Bridge Road.

Stopover:

Corner of Bridge Road Church St: there are vast numbers of cafes, restaurants and bars to be sampled around this intersection, including venues offering Thai, Burmese, Malaysian and Lebanese cuisine. Sweet Bunny is a super-cute confectionery shop that should also be visited.

Section 4:
Directions:

Adjacent to the Town Hall is Gleadell Street Market (open Saturdays 7am-1pm) where you will find a wide range of local seasonal produce being sold by the people who grew or made it.

Stopover:

Gleadall Street Market: Richmond’s Gleadell Street market on Saturdays is packed with seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh bread, herbs, flowers and gourmet delights. The market is open 7am to 1pm every Saturday except Easter Saturday, Anzac day and two Saturdays over the Christmas period. The original Richmond market opened in 1873 and this market continues the traditions of farmers travelling to Richmond to sell their fresh produce.

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Posted in Melbourne

Shopping on Chapel Street – South Yarra

Fast Facts

Duration: 2-3 hours
Price Guide: $0
Last Reviewed:
wheelchair accessiblepramschildrenseniors
summerwinterautumnspring
walk
suburb

Shopping on Chapel Street – South Yarra

When it comes to shopping, Chapel Street is one of Melbourne’s best known areas. If you’re fed up of high street shops and looking for something a little bit different, this street is second to none when it comes to variety. For everyone after something run of the mill, I advise you head elsewhere; you’ll find no tracksuits or Target stores here. Three words to best describe this street? Vintage, unique and expensive…

Starting the tour

Catch a train to Windsor (Sandringham Line). From the city loop it should take approximately 15-20 minutes.

Section 1:
Directions:

As you exit the station turn left, you are now at the start of Chapel Street.

Stopover:

First impressions can be deceiving – I admit at first glance I thought this place seemed rather shabby, dull even, with nothing obviously special to offer. However, after you’ve passed the first few rows of laundrettes and kebab huts, you’ll start to notice some interesting little boutiques. Go in them. Every one is fabulously different!

Section 2:
Directions:

After roughly ten minutes walking you’ll notice Chapel Street Bazaar to your left.

Stopover:

I found this huge store/mini market to be strangely reminiscent of my Gran’s living room. Even if you’re not after anything it’s worth a look – from kitsch costume jewellery to vintage clothes and accessories, bizarre ornaments and every collectible imaginable, it’s all utterly useless in the most wonderful way. (It’s alarmingly easy to convince yourself that you do actually need some of this junk, I found myself debating whether or not to buy a pair of $150 geisha shoes … don’t ask.)

Section 3:
Directions:

Exit the Bazaar and continue down Chapel Street.

Stopover:

If you’re hungry, there’s plenty of choice. The cafes are cute and the restaurants are swish; I personally sampled lunch at Tusk (a corner cafe 10 mins from the station on your left), which I couldn’t fault. There are also a few specialist cake shops which you probably wont be able to resist either. Pran Central Food Court is a 20 minute walk from the station, once again on your left, situated in the Pran Central Shopping Centre (just after Wittners shoes). This offers yet more variety.

Section 4:
Directions:

About 20-25 minutes down Chapel Street you can turn onto Commercial Road (at the traffic lights, left or right)

Stopover:

There isn’t too much here apart from a few more restaurants and high street shops. But if you have time to kill, it could be worth a gander (there is also an outlet of one of Melbourne’s favourite handbag and accessory stores, Quick Brown Fox).

Section 5:
Directions:

Continue down Chapel Street.

Stopover:

Did I mention how good for shoes this place is? No? Well, it’s really good. If you’re after some retro cowboy boots or 60s pumps then you’re spoilt for choice. And surprisingly enough, heaps of shops here are very affordable. There are, of course, a couple of tres exclusive boutiques that charge ridiculous amounts for second-hand jumpers that look like your Dad’s, but they’re not the only sorts of shops. As you near the Commerical Road end of Chapel Street you will notice the boutiques fade out and are replaced with more restaurants and chain stores.

Section 6:
Directions:

Tiring, all that shopping eh? If you really can’t be bothered to walk back, you can catch a tram back right to the station anywhere along Chapel Street, catch the number 8 tram from Commercial Road into the city or walk west up the hill from the Chapel and Commerical corner to South Yarra Station where you can catch any of the City Loop or Flinders Street-bound trains into town.

Stopover:
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Posted in Melbourne

The Royal Botanic Gardens – Melbourne

Fast Facts

Duration: 1-2 hours
Price Guide: $0
Last Reviewed:
wheelchair accessiblepramschildrenseniors
summerwinterautumnspring
walk
river
bushsuburb

The Royal Botanic Gardens – Melbourne

This amazing 38 hectare garden is said to be one of the world’s finest botanic gardens – boasting over 10,000 species of plants (many endangered) and an array of wildlife, it’s not hard to see why.  Directions to the gardens are surprisingly sparse, but thankfully it’s not too hard to find. Open 7.30 – dusk (5.30 or 6pm in winter, spring and autumn, 8.30pm November to March); admission is free. The directions I have given follow a scenic route along the Yarra River, taking about 25 minutes in total. Alternatively, you can ride the free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle to the Royal Botanic Gardens – the Shuttle begins at the Melbourne Museum and runs every 15 minutes between 10-4pm daily.

Starting the tour

Catch a train to Flinders Street Station (on the city loop)

Section 1:
Directions:

Exit via the main entrance of the station and cross over to Federation Square.

Stopover:

Federation Square holds a host of attractions to suit every desire. From swanky cafes and bars to the incredible National Gallery: Ian Potter Centre (which hosts Australian art), it’s a mix of culture and style. Perfect for lunch or cocktails.

Section 2:
Directions:

Walk diagonally through Federation Square and down any of the sets of steps that lead to the Yarra River (Transport Bar will be on your right, the Ian Potter Centre on your left) At the bottom of the steps turn left.

Stopover:

The Yarra River runs through the very centre of Melbourne. It has played a huge part in the city’s development, once effectively a drain for the city’s early industry it has been cleaned up and now provides miles of picturesque walks for all to enjoy, is host to numerous rowing clubs, fisherpeople and other water activities. It is also host to events that are held as part of the Melbourne Festival and the Moomba Festival.

Section 3:
Directions:

Continue walking alongside the river, following the path around until you reach Swan Street Bridge (approximately a 5-10 minute walk)

Stopover:

Throughout this walk you will notice various sculptures and other art dotted around. This is the Birrarung Marr precinct; art that is not confined to gallery walls. Just right of the footbridge are the Federation Bells, which play set compositions daily. On the other side of the river you will see the various rowing and boating clubs of Melbourne.

Section 4:
Directions:

Cross Swan Street Bridge. Go straight over the road and turn left. To your right is a big hill. Follow the path that leads diagonally up and left. At the end of this path you will see a gate. This is one of the entrances to the Botanic Gardens.

Stopover:

Immediately as you enter there is a map showing you the layout of the park. There is no set route to go, so take your pick. Be warned – the scale of this park is huge, so be prepared to get lost – thankfully there are cafes and tearooms within the park should you need a pick-me-up. Most trees and plants are marked with informative plaques so you can get an idea of what you’re looking at. It’s hard not to see the wildlife here as most come to you; whether it’s a skittish possum or one of the overly friendly black swans (hold onto your sandwich, one was harassing me for mine). In the lake, the eels are prolific. On a sunny day, this is a truly beautiful place to visit, so be sure to take your camera. Once amongst the flurry of fauna and flowers, you almost forget you’re in the middle of a huge city; there aren’t any buildings near the park grounds and little of the city skyline is visible once you’re within the garden fence. If you have the time, try and see everything, but my personal favourites include the Lily Lake, Long Island and the Glasshouses.
One weekends the gardens are a very popular picnic spot and many functions, particularly weddings, are hosted there. During summer, there is a cinema at night and plays and pantomimes are also held on the grounds. There is a charge for all these events, see the Tourist Office in the city for more information.

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Posted in Melbourne

Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne

Fast Facts

Duration: 1-2 hours
Price Guide: $0-$unlimited, depending on how much shopping you do!
Last Reviewed:
wheelchair accessiblepramschildrenseniors
summerwinterautumnspring
walk
city

Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne

Sunday: 9am-4pm (limited stalls only)

Starting the tour

Catch a train to Melbourne Central Station.

Section 1:
Directions:

Follow the signs to the Elizabeth Street exit of the station and turn right when you exit so you’re facing north up Elizabeth St. Walk, or catch the tram, up the the Queen Victoria Market. It’s four short blocks and all flat walking. Alternatively, all three tram routes on Elizabeth St will drop you at the door.

Stopover:

Officially opened on 20th March 1878, Queen Victoria Market stands strong as one of Melbourne’s most historic landmarks. Its colourful (sometimes controversial) past includes time as a school, a livestock market, a drill hall and a cemetery. I do not exaggerate when I say you can buy almost anything here! The food halls are worth a visit, boasting copious amounts of fresh fruit, veg and seafood, all of incredible quality. In the section over the road (the market is huge so take your time and explore) are stalls, stores and shops selling fashion, gifts and souvenirs.

Section 2:
Directions:

Head back down through the market to the food area.

Stopover:

If you’re hungry, the food halls are an amazing experience, so don’t be unadventurous and slope off the nearest cafe. Inside the halls it can be jam packed with buyers and sellers haggling over a crate of asparagus or scrabbling for the last swiss loaf, so push your way through and nab yourself a sandwich brimming with fresh meat and antipasto, or treat yourself to a slice of heavenly mudcake from a selection of cake stores. Or, cherry pick from the different stalls – bread here, cheese there, fresh fruit somewhere else – make up a picnic and go on to our next stop.

Section 3:
Directions:

Walk out of the market back onto Elizabeth Street, turn right and go back the way you came until you reach the corner of A’Beckett Street. From there, turn right and walk up two blocks to William Street, across the road you’ll see the Flagstaff Gardens.

Stopover:

* a great view through to Docklands.
Enjoy.

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Posted in Melbourne

Coogee to Maroubra Coastal Walk

Fast Facts

Duration: 1-2 hours
Price Guide: Nil
Last Reviewed:
childrenseniors
walk
beach
suburb

Coogee to Maroubra Coastal Walk

Nice little coastal walk with plenty to do and see. There are swimming spots along the way, so bring your swimming gear if the weather is suitable. There are also a number of picnic spots along the way if you’d like to bring a packed lunch.

Starting the tour

I caught a bus from Bondi Junction which took around 5-10 minutes. However, if you go to Central Station, you can get buses from outside the station.

Section 1:
Directions:

The bus from Bondi will drop you right at the beach outside The Coogee Brasserie. Directly in front of you will be the beach.

Stopover:

Your first destination is Coogee Beach. Enclosed by cliffs on either side, this beach is quite small but definitely nice and cosy. To the left of the beach, on the cliffs, is a Bali Bombings Memorial and a good view of the beach. There are some shops and restaurants across the road from the beach, a nice grassy area for picnics and bbqs, and last but by no means least, the beach is really nice and the water is extremely inviting.

Section 2:
Directions:

Make your way back to the promenade and continue along it south towards Maroubra. Once you get to the end of the beach, you will want to keep going past the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club (on your left). There is a children’s play area on your right if that’s of interest to your group.

Stopover:

After about 10 minutes of walking along this path you will come to the south head of Coogee Bay. There will be a large, open grassy area on your right hand side, directly in front of you will be an awesome view of the ocean and Coogee beach to your left. There are various benches facing the sea, or again you could use the grass for picnics etc. This would be good for photo opportunities.

Section 3:
Directions:

Now you want to keep following the path with amazing sea views on your left (Plant lovers – According to the signs there are various rare plants along this part of the walk etc). You will hit a wooden walkway that will go under a canopy of trees (like something from Rivendell). After a while the pathway will cease and you will have to continue following the coast keeping on the yellow footpath that veers away from the road to the left.

Stopover:

There is an excellent view point on the left along this path which you may want to stop at.

Section 4:
Directions:

If you stay on this path, you will come to a point where the path ends and you will be in a small cul de sac. Once the path ends, you will want to take the first right onto Palmer Street. At the end of Palmer Street, turn left onto Close St and then take the first right onto Cuzco Road. At the end of Cuzco Road turn left onto Malabar Road. Follow the main road south until you get to the first set of shops, keeping a look out for Torrington Road on your left. Turn left down Torrington Road, and keep walking to the end.

Stopover:

At the end of Torrington Road is a beautiful memorial park. There are rocks to your left that you can sit on, good grassy areas, good views, toilets, a small pool on the rocks and areas for bbqs etc. To your right you can see our final destination, Maroubra Beach, home to the infamous Bra Boys.

Section 5:
Directions:

Once you are ready to move on, you just need to continue along the various pathways towards Maroubra (only about 5 – 10 minutes away from the memorial park).

Stopover:

Maroubra beach is longer and more open than Coogee, and there seemed to be more people there as well. There are opportunities to surf or skate as well as the usual beach activities. If you have time, I recommend following the beach round to the other side of the bay up onto the cliffs, as the views are amazing. Again there are shops and restaurants opposite the beach as well. If needed, you can catch the 395 bus from Maroubra to Central Station, which cost me $3.90.

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Posted in Sydney