We love Coogee. More relaxed and less crowded than Sydney’s other eastern beaches, spending time here allows you to soak up the good life, splitting your time between enjoying the natural beauty of the coastline and indulging in good food, great coffee and the playful local vibe. Facing east over the Pacific Ocean, Coogee’s location provides the perfect motivation to get up early and catch the sunrise. For us, one of the best ways to start the day is joining a Pilates or yoga class at Wylie’s Baths.
Perched on the cliff above the water, even a tough set of hundreds feels invigorating and you are at leisure to take a swim or soak up the sun for as long as you want after class. The baths are every good adjective we can think of on a clear morning, with nothing but the tidal pool and pristine ocean in front of you.
Coogee locals are all about embracing the outdoor lifestyle so expect to see a few swimming laps and others simply relaxing in the sun. While the kiosk does serve food and drink, we recommend venturing further afield when caffeine cravings kick in.
There are a number of truly great cafes and restaurants in Coogee, most of which are located along the front of the beach. The Little Kitchen on Arden Street is always a safe bet for a morning coffee and has one of the friendliest baristas in town. Just around the corner on the southern end of the sand you’ll find Barzura. The food and the views are both impeccable here and the rolling menu has something to satisfy at any time of day. Our favourite is the nasi goreng, closely followed by the house baked muffins that come fresh from the oven at regular intervals. The wine list is also excellent and you can purchase some of Australia’s best boutique producers by the glass.
At the other end of the beach sits the Coogee Pavilion. A masterpiece of multipurpose spacing, the Pavilion offers something for every age and occasion, serving up Will & Co coffee, cocktails, fresh seafood, pizza and gelato. The space is spectacular: enormous, expertly decorated and oriented to make the most of the sweeping beach views. For the young (and young at heart) there are giant board games adorning the back wall and an ever popular ping-pong table downstairs. For the adults there’s a rooftop with four bars, trendy wait staff and a delicious Mediterranean menu.
The other must do in Coogee is the coastal walk. You can head south to Maroubra or north to Bondi, stopping off at a number of beaches along the way. Our personal favourite is Gordon’s Bay, the first inlet to the north of Coogee. Tucked away between two headlands it has a lovely secluded feel, with small fishing boats clustered along the shore, an abundance of marine life and a distinct lack of people. If you continue the coastal walk a little further, the Clovelly Bowling Club is also worth a stop. The club’s prime cliff front real estate means its greens offer some of the country’s best views, perfect for an afternoon game of barefoot bowls.