Southern Beaches, Sydney - Region Information

Bondi Beach has featured on more postcards and in more television travel shows and films than any other beach in Australia.

The image of bronzed Bondi Beach lifesavers marching down the beach has been around since people began making travelogues. But the locals love it too. Tens of thousands flock there on warm, sunny weekends.

The beach is easy to get to from the city by bus or car and at $20 one-way it is still affordable by taxi.

You simply drive out of the city along Oxford Street to Syd Einfeld Drive (the Bondi Junction bypass). There you go straight ahead along Bondi Road, which turns left just before it hits the water and becomes Campbell Parade.

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The Parade runs right along the beach, less than 100 metres from the water. There are several parking areas and off-street parking stations, but it is busy on weekends.

Campbell Parade is packed with restaurants, many with outside tables where can enjoy the view. Others are in streets which run into Campbell Parade. There is also the Bondi Hotel, a big, popular pub with three-star accommodation. The Swiss-Grand hotel, four-star all-suite property, offers great views overlooking the beach and out to sea. It has an outside restaurant on its big, first floor verandah.

Bondi is easily the biggest of Sydney's southern beaches within reasonable reach of the city. Sydney beaches are north or south counting from the entrance to Sydney Harbour, though Bondi is east of the city and part of the Eastern Suburbs.

It is patrolled in daylight hours by volunteer lifesavers and professional lifeguards. It also has an enclosed swimming baths at its southern end if you do not feel like tackling the waves. Many Sydneysiders who do not work office hours come to the beach during the week, and it is a popular eating and entertainment area at night.

Unlike the northern beaches which are on or quite close to the main south-north road from Manly to Palm Beach, Sydney's southern beaches are considerably harder to find as the main access roads run east-west and are connected north-south by suburban streets. Some are very pretty, but tiny, and parking is near impossible.

Heading south from Bondi, they are Tamarama, Bronte (bus and car access through Bondi Junction), Clovelly, Coogee (bus access from the city), South Coogee and Maroubra, which is getting close to the entrance to Botany Bay.


Nowhere near as big as Bondi, Coogee is a good beach for visitors. It has a paved esplanade around the beach with several restaurants and cafes and two popular hotels with accommodation, bars and entertainment - the Coogee Bay Hotel and the Holiday Inn Coogee Beach. Coogee is a good swimming beach and a swimming baths at both ends. Wylies Baths at the south end conducts weekend swimming contests, which you can watch from the esplanade.

It is a fairly straightforward drive on major roads from the city which takes you past Randwick Racecourse, the most sophisticated horse racing track in Sydney. From Hyde Park take Oxford Street to Taylor Square (Darlinghurst), turn right into Flinders Street which becomes Anzac Parade with parkland on your left. Veer left into Alison Road which runs by the racecourse (on your right).

Once you leave the racecourse, take an angled right turn into Belmore Road at the next set of traffic rights and curve left into Coogee Bay Road and the beach. While the trip is simple, a street directory will make life much easier.


Golfers will be more likely to want to go to Maroubra than swimmers. The peninsula just south of the beach is home to four golf courses - Randwick Golf Club, The Coast Course, St Michaels and NSW, which is one of the best in Sydney. But ring and check their visitor rules and public opening times if you are keen on a game rather than just the drive. Stay on Anzac Parade after you leave Taylor Square and the road will take you right into the area.

La Perouse

Anzac Parade comes to a dead end at a park looking out on Botany Bay at La Perouse where the French, had they been just a little earlier, might have been the colonial masters of Australia. Though Lieutenant James Cook had landed at Kurnell on the opposite headland of Botany Bay in 1770 and claimed the country in the name of George III of England, the British left no settlement.

The First Fleet of 11 ships under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip arrived there from England on January 20, 1788. La Compte de la Perouse, with his ships La Boussole and L'Astrolobe, turned up on January 26. Unluckily for La Perouse, he found most of the First Fleet at anchor in the bay.

The same day, Phillip was ashore at Camp Cove in Sydney Harbour, cementing England's claim to the colony of New South Wales. He had left the fleet to look for a better, more protected harbour in which to settle. One of the French died and was buried at La Perouse.

There is a small memorial in the park at the end of the road, along with the Macquarie Watchtower which Governor Lachlan Macquarie built in 1820 to watch sea traffic into the underbelly of Sydney and prevent smuggling (open daily). The La Perouse museum, housed in an old cable station built in 1882, is open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4.30 pm. It gives the French side of the story.

Accessed from the same park is one of Sydney's least known historic attractions - Bare Island. Like Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour, Bare Island was fortified and equipped with cannon to repel a possible Russian attack during the Crimean War of 1854-1856. It is connected to the headland by a wooden bridge and still has its cannon and a soldier's barracks. It is open daily 9am to 3.30pm. La Perouse has a sizeable Aboriginal community for whom La Perouse, but more so Kurnell where Cook landed, marked the start of the 'white invasion'.


The biggest, and recognised by surfers as the best southern Sydney beach, is Cronulla. Like Manly in the north its has several names, including Wanda.

Cronulla is on the Kurnell peninsula, across Botany Bay on the extreme southern fringe of Sydney, making it far too far to go for a swim. But the Royal National Park begins at Loftus, which is very close to Cronulla. It covers many square kilometres of bushland and a couple of hard to get to and secluded beaches - Wattamola and Garie. The hang gliding and para-gliding 'capital' of Stanwell Park and Stanwell Tops is just south of the park on the coast road.

Bondi Beach Bondi Coogee Beach Bondi Beach