Parking facilities here are rather limited and expensive – public transport is often your best bet, especially on busy days.
Less crowded than world-famous Bondi, but just as fine-looking, Coogee Beach is in many ways a summary of classic Australian beachlife. It’s a beautiful crescent of white sand backing crystal-clear turquoise water, with hot weather, quality surf, and constantly sizzling barbecues. You can easily spend a day here – in fact, the real difficulty is summoning the will to leave.
A Beach Without Pier
The name “Coogee” supposedly derives from an Aboriginal word meaning “smelly place” – but don’t let that put you off – the smell of seaweed is no worse than on any other beach. Located just 8km south-east of central Sydney, Coogee’s popularity exploded in the early 20th century, and a proliferation of fancy hotels and amenities sprung up to meet demand. This culminated in 1928 with the opening of the Coogee Pier, an “English-style” affair that reached 180m out into the sea and was topped by a 1400-seat theatre and a ballroom that could hold 600. Sadly, the designers had underestimated the power of the Coogee Surf, and it was demolished just six years later.
We Love to Coogee
These days, there isn’t much left of the old grandeur, but a down-to-earth, laid back atmosphere has grown up in its place. You can try your hand scuba diving and snorkelling, either at Coogee itself or on Gordons Bay, which is just a short walk further north. Well-marked safe swimming areas make it a family-friendly place, and if you want a break from the sand then you can take in a film at the heritage-listed Ritz Cinema at the back of the beach. If you’re feeling energetic, there is a beautiful 6km coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach, which will reward you with stunning clifftop views and secluded little inlets.
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