Coogee is one of the most beautiful of the eastern suburbs beaches, a long curve of sand embraced by tall cliffs to the north and south.
This walk starts at the northern end of the beach and follows the promenade south to a walkway that leads up to the top of the cliffs at the southern end and follows the cliffside to Trenerry Reserve, where boardwalks traverse protected wetlands.
There are no steps along this walk, but the path is bumpy in places, particularly if walkers do the side trip at the end of the walk.
The word ‘clifftops’ may put off walkers with lively toddlers, and this walk is most unsafe for children who like to run wild. However, the playground en route makes for a good stop for children confined to the stroller and older walkers.
This is a return journey walk, thus the length and times are for both the outward and return journey. There is very little shade on this walk, so hats and stroller shades are a must in summer.
Coogee Clifftops Walk: The Details
Length of walk: Three kilometres
Time to walk: One hour
Start: Promenade by the carpark at the northern end of Coogee Beach at the corner of Dolphin and Arden Streets, Coogee (see map at end)
Toilet: There is a toilet block in the Coogee Beach reserve, by the road, which has toilets, changing rooms and showers. There is also a toilet block beside the children’s playground opposite McIvers Baths.
Parking: Carpark at the northern end of Coogee Beach, where the walk starts. The entrance is on Dolphin Street, just past the roundabout where it joins Arden Street.
Bus stop nearby: Yes
Start the walk
From the carpark, walk south along the broad promenade above the beach. This part of the walk is very safe for toddlers as there is a high seawall.
The spacious reserve between the promenade and the road means that cars are far away. There are picnic tables and barbecues on the reserve.
If you are stopping for a swim there is a lower promenade, easily accessible by stroller, with shaded areas for changing.
Walk along to the end of the promenade and then push the stroller up the hill, passing the surf-lifesaving club on the left and cafe-ristorante Barzura on the right at the end of Carr Street.
Continue along the path as it runs between large bushes. You’ll see a sign for McIvers Baths, the only rock pool in Sydney which is reserved for women and children.
This ocean pool is lovely, however, it is down many steps and taking strollers down to it is not possible, although they can be left at the entrance. There is a small fee to enter the pool and its grounds.
Opposite the pool, to the right of the track, is a the excellent Coogee playground on Grants Reserve. This is an excellent play area, although younger children may find some of the equipment daunting.
The path is uneven here and continues with bushes to the right, masking off the flat green of Grant Reserve. It is possible to walk straight across Grant Reserve and rejoin the path at Wylies Baths instead. There are barbecue and picnic tables on Grant Reserve close to Wylies Baths.
Go past Wylies Baths and over the road into the beginning of the Trenerry Reserve. There is an information sign on the left and several others along the boardwalk.
The path is flat and smooth through the first part of the reserve, but it runs along the cliff edge and there is no wall at all here.
There is a bumpy bit at the end of this path and then the wooden boardwalk starts. The boardwalk was placed in the reserve to help protect this rare piece of wetland from erosion by walkers.
It is an easy walk along the wooden boardwalk with the cliffs, rockpools and ocean looking spectacular on the left. Noticeboards are dotted along the boardwalk, giving information about many aspects of the Trenerry Peat Swamp and its flora and fauna.
There is no shade along the boardwalk and it is very exposed on hot and windy days. Although the streets of Coogee are close by, civilisation seems a million miles away in this primeval swamp area, with seabirds wheeling above and the crashing of waves against the cliffs.
Needless to say this is a perilous area for young toddlers who must be kept in their stroller.
The boardwalk ends with some steps at Bunyah Parade.
Retrace the walk back to the carpark.
Extend the walk
This walk will take 20–30 minutes. From the carpark walk to the other end of the promenade and then go through the stone and wooden arch into Dunningham Park.
Follow the path uphill and take the right-hand path at the fork. Continue up the hill and at the next fork, take the left path, which sweeps up along the cliffs. The views are wonderful from the clifftop. The fence by the cliff is not childproof, so confine any toddlers to their strollers.
The path is concrete for most of the way but changes to gravel near the end, but it’s not difficult to push a stroller along. The path comes to a halt at Major Street. Retrace your steps back down to the carpark, enjoying the easy downhill saunter.
The truly energetic can of course walk all the way to Bondi on the famous walkway along the cliffs, find out more here:
Bondi to Coogee Walk
Find all of our favourite Sydney family walks on this post, just click the photo.
What’s your favourite Sydney walk?