Bondi to Coogee Walk Vs. Cronulla Beach Walk

Mum: “We’re lost aren’t we?”
Dad: “No. I’m just in unfamiliar territory.”

Only seven day apart and I have gone to two separate beach locations, 32 kilometres away from each other. That makes it a personal record! Sometimes I’m lucky to get to a beach once in a year.

Last Sunday was my first weekend back in Australia. The air was rich and filling, the sun rays gently grazed my skin and the overhead clouds offered sufficient shade for a pleasant day outdoors. Seven uni students, Maria, Mandy, Wira, Jay, Yujun, Diana and myself make the most of it on the 6km Bondi Coastal Walk.

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(Photo credits to Maria Nguyen)

Meeting most of the group at Bondi station, we hop onto bus 333 and head down to the beach. We had allowed ourselves plenty of sleep and time in the morning, so by now it was 1:30 and time to stock up on some nutritional fuel for our walk. After I eat my packed sandwich and others order fish, chips and a variety of breakfast foods (that healthy meal can be eaten any time of the day) we start the walk.

Strings of people file pass (generally in pairs) jogging, walking, talking, taking out their dog, just absorbing the fresh air, making it impossible to loose your sense of direction on this track. None of us had ever done the whole track before, but once you’re walking along the beach you won’t get lost.

At the start of the walk we get excited by all of the small petite dogs we walk past, but by the end of it, we had seen plenty. It was almost like a local requirement: If you’re a local resident please care for an obedient dog no larger than 50cm.

The walk takes us through five separate beaches: Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly and finishing at Coogee. The water seems quite occupied along most of the track and the walk holds a continuous buzz. This coastal region houses quite a busy activity destination.

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(Tamarama Beach)

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(Bronte Beach)
[I promise this was the same day. The clouds were moving fast]

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(Clovelly Beach)

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(Coogee Beach – Credits to Maria Nguyen)

My favourite beach, and one that I’m sure to visit again on its own was Clovelly Beach. I liked its promise of open swimming, without the concern of waves, and its small encasement from the big ocean. Don’t get me wrong, I love the waves and the power they offer, but I haven’t learnt how to fully appreciate their strength and prefer to swim more liberally through the ocean water.

Towards the end of the track we finally stop somewhere between Clovelly and  Coogee beach.  Yujun is the only one eager and ready for a swim, so after we walk out along the rocks he cautiously wades and and swims around in the small alcove. We meet him back by the beach where he lies exhausted on the sand.

Yujun: “The tide was pushing me back and the waves were pushing against me and I wasn’t going anywhere. I was thinking of putting my hand up for help because the water was just too strong. But in my struggle my hand touched the bottom and I realised I could just stand up.”

We arrive at Coogee beach about two hours since the start of our trek. We walk through the park, with our backs to the water and catch the bus back to the station.

***

One week later, after leaving Church, Dad proposes we celebrate this rare opportunity where we all have Sunday off and go for a walk along Cronulla Beach.

After a lunch stop at Maccas for a delicious healthy steak salad and medium fries (I’m not even kidding, the steak was so tender and complimented the salad so well) rain starts to fall. We reconsider our options for the day but decide to go ahead with it as this opportunity is such a rarity.

We drive along the motorway and through sporadic downfalls of rain and arrive to the clear blue skies and windy coastline of Cronulla.

Grabbing a coffee and a cake at ‘Cronulla Pie Shop’ we get on the track and follow the coast. This slightly shorter walk (I would estimate 4 kilometres), starts in North Cronulla and takes you down to South Cronulla, Shelly Beach, Port Hacking and close to the beginnings of the Royal National Park.

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We pass by houses, elderly couples taking a local walk and occasional joggers. Down in the water young boys in wetsuits bring down their body boards and experiment with the waves. If I was to acquire a lot of money and consider the beach life, Cronulla would be the place to go. It offered a much more relaxed neighbourhood, opposed to the busy tourist destination of Bondi.

Three quarters through the journey we turn away from the beach and head up a flight of stairs, following the only jogger we can see in the distance. This track eventually leads us to a grassy area separating the edge of the cliff to some beautifully built houses. Below we can see an excluded beach tucked away for the privacy of its neighbour.

We unsuccessful look for an appropriate path so walk through the neighbourhood of Cronulla. Taking at few turns through the streets my dad has to get out his phone and pull up a map.

Mum: “We’re lost aren’t we?”
Dad: “No. I’m just in unfamiliar territory.”

Walking through the streets we walk pass beautiful houses with well mowed lawns and wide open garage doors. Boys in wetsuits pack away their boards, as fathers close the doors of cars filled with swimming gear and mothers call their sandy children inside as the finish another day by the beach.

Eventually we do arrive back at our starting point, having completed a loop through Cronulla from North to South and back again. For only half our journey we had a view of the ocean but at least we felt the sea breeze and enjoyed our company and so made the most of our day.

***

Just now as I’ve been doing brief google searches to clarify the beaches, the Clovelly to Cronulla Coastal 30km walk keeps appearing in my google search. Another walk added to my list!

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