I went on my first Coogee to Bondi walk (hike? Trek? More like it) on my second day in Sydney and I have still not stopped marvelling at the sights and the peace I encounter, and at the happiness it gives me every time.
Having grown up by the sea, I really missed the sound of the waves and a constant sun in my London life. The Coogee to Bondi walk restores my thirst for nature every time, in its over six km that are not just an incredible chance to fall in love with the Eastern Suburbs, but a great workout as well.
From Coogee onwards, every beach sports breath-taking colours. The rocks and the greenish-blue of Gordon’s Bay’s waters are worth stopping by for an hour of tanning.
Then onto Clovelly, in an up-and-down trek made of stairs, rocks and unbelievable mansions that look like they’ve come straight out of California. After Clovelly comes my favourite bit: the Waverley Cemetery, hosting tombs that display the varied and diverse history of Sydney, made of Chinese, Irish, British, Italian or French inmigrants. Stunning mausoleums or neglected tombs all add to this fantastic scenery, facing the incontaminater ocean. I like to walk around and breath in the peace and the history it carries, wondering what those people’s stories were and, especially if it’s sunset, feeling like I’m in my own episode of my teenage favourite Buffy The Vampire Slayer series.
After the cemetery comes Bronte, a cool and laid-back surfer beach with nothing to envy to the sandy beaches of California. Colours here are even better. Then comes Tamarama, which this month hosts Sculptures by the Sea, showcasing some of the bet Sydney modern art together with its stunning views and its team of shiny sporty people.
The walk ends in Bondi, a long stretch of white sand now dominated by tourists and expats, but still worth a punt for fun independent boutiques like Bondi Bather, which prints pictures of the area on stunning swimsuits. Bondi also features Milky Lane, an American-style diner with the typical Aussie freakshakes and the conut, a hybrid between an ice-cream cone and a doughnut… not to mention a Last Supper mural made of American rappers instead of Jesus and the apostles.
Bondi is the ultimate outpost for healthy, sporty types on the outlook for places to sweat in or yummy health food. Funky Pies offers great vegan pies while Harry’s Smoothies serves up fresh, tangy smoothies.
Bondi is very artsy thanks to both its street art and to it being the home of the most famous tattoo shop in town, Bondi Ink, which hosts a popular reality show. Needless to say, I went there to ink my passion for my favourite bits of London down on my skin and wasn’t disappointed.
While you’re there, go have an awesome Campos Coffee flat white and a spelt scone at Gertrude and Alice, one of the most wonderful cafés/bookstore you’ll ever see. Hosting thousands of books – including an old 18th Century Bible worth more than $200 – Gertrude and Alice features quirky furniture and some of the best books out there, which you’re encouraged to browse while having a coffee. At G&A you can even sell your own books, or listen to engaging stories from the owners, who have been sourcing rare books as a trade for years.
A walk from Coogee to Bondi and back gets you walking for nearly 20 km. Now that’s a pleasant workout.
Pictures: Carolina Are, The Fashion Division