Which Way is the Beach?

Australia, Fitness & Workouts, Lost Girls RTW Adventure — By on June 6, 2007 at 3:26 pm

A Lost Girl’s favorite way to see a new place is on foot, so the famous Coastal Walk from Bondi to Bronte Beach was just our speed. After reading about the five-kilometer, two-hour trail in our trusty Lonely Planet, we laced up our sneakers and set out to take a hike.

The rocky bluffs, gemstone-blue waves and Aboriginal rock engravings created a colorful backdrop to the well-marked path winding around the ocean. Other spectacular scenery encompassed bathing beauties and bronzed surfers dotting the landscape. Sprinkle in plenty of cafes to refuel in along the way, and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect walking tour.

The ladies and I started in the north by the Bondi Golf Course. Since our putting technique is not up to par, we preferred to admire the Aboriginal rock engravings. Turning left onto Ramsgate Ave, we found ourselves on Bondi Beach. Families were relaxing on grassy patches with picnic lunches and runners were doing laps on the sand. I was sweating just watching them.

To the right, there was a crowd of surfers bobbing up and down as they waited for the next big wave. I went to surf school in Costa Rica about a year ago, and got hooked on the adrenaline rush that catching the perfect swell and riding it all the way into shore triggers. Watching the surfers in the zone made me miss this feeling that’s somewhere between floating and flying so much that I vowed to sign up for a few more surf lessons. After all, when I am going to live just minutes away from the beach again?

At the edge of Bondi Beach were the baths, where a pool was carved right into the rocks. Filled with saltwater, it allows swimmers to do laps without the danger of getting caught in a riptide. We climbed the steep stairs past Bondi Icebergs, a trendy restaurant and bar with hanging chairs, cozy couches and, of course, a breathtaking view. Note to self: Head here for happy hour.

I was seriously craving a cocktail until I forgot all about it after seeing the view around the bend at Tamarama Beach. Plunging rocks and crashing waves faced us while the wind whipped our hair as we climbed down the stairs and past a Technicolor mural entitled “Wonderland.” Apparently, this beach used to be some kind of amusement park back in 1877-complete with roller coasters, tight-rope walkers and even a lone penguin. I told Amanda and Jen that they’d be fit for the circus if it was still happening, but they didn’t find the joke as funny as me for some reason.

Around the corner we found (you guessed it!) another beautiful beach known as Bronte. The area’s even got it’s own freshwater creek and another set of baths for swimmers who prefer to be protected from strong ocean currents. It was time for a cup of joe, so we grabbed a latte from a little café to tide us over for the rest of the hike. Now that we had our caffeine fix, we decided to extend the walk and find out what was around the bend.

The next turn in the road led not to another beach, but to a cemetery. Set on a high cliff, an enormous graveyard overlooked the ocean. It felt creepy to me to walk by Waverly Cemetery and examine the sun-bleached, weathered gravestones. Some dated as far back as the 1800s and were impossible to read, while we spied others freshly carved from the 1990s. Jen, on the other hand, finds cemeteries interesting because she likes to read the stories on the grave markers and be in a place where people are remembering loved ones. I guess reading about others’ deaths is a fast way to bring you down to earth.

We made our descent to our final destination, Coogee Beach. It was less crowded than Bondi and had lots of little restaurants and grassy patches lining the sand to give it a laid-back air. At the southern tip were Wylie’s Baths, where the bargain price of about $3 scores you the chance to cool off with a dip after your scenic walk. If only for a day, our scenic walk made us perfectly content to be beach bums.

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