With a spectacular coastal location in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and a great choice of cafes and restaurants, Coogee’s calm stretch of sand and picturesque streets make it a deservedly popular destination. It’s laid-back atmosphere, coastal walks and playground reserve exemplifies the Australian beach lifestyle, all with a good dose of history thrown in.
Coogee Beach is the heart of all the action, with the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club at the southern end of the sands keeping swimmers and beachgoers safe since 1907. Nearby a trail leads to McIvers Baths, a women’s only pool since 1876, while at the northern end is the open rock pool of Giles Bath. An Aquatic Reserve stretches from the southern end of nearby Bronte Beach to the northern tip of Coogee Beach, offering good snorkelling, diving and the opportunity to see New South Wales’ state fish, the giant blue groper. Or take in the sweeping coastal panoramas along the six-kilometre long walk that hugs the cliff tops between the two beaches, passing cosy inlets along the way and with views across to Wedding Cake Island which lies just offshore. Away from the sands, the Coogee Beach promenade is lined with historic buildings, many of which have been transformed into trendy cafes and restaurants, as well as one-of-a-kind boutiques and the heritage-listed Ritz Cinema.
Coogee Beach is well connected to Sydney’s CBD by public transport, with trains to Bondi Junction connecting with numerous different bus services. Between October and April, there’s also a dedicated bus service along the coast connecting Coogee Beach with Tamarama, Bronte, and Bondi Beaches every 30 minutes.
The name ‘Coogee’ evolved from a local Aboriginal word, koojah, which translates as “smelly place” or “the smell of the seaweed drying”, in reference to the decaying kelp that used to wash up on the beach. The village of Coogee emerged in the 1830s, with swimming baths constructed in the late-19th century and the Coogee Pleasure Pier, with its theatre, restaurant, and ballroom, built in 1928 to cater to the suburb’s surge in popularity as a beach resort.