Bondi is world famous, Coogee less so, but today I am going to put the two together in a rather odd way and the reason I am doing this is because I experienced it just like that.
There is a rather gory story attached to Coogee beach and it goes something like this:
This is where the famous Shark Arm murder case happened in 1935. Apparently a tiger shark was having a little bit of dyspepsia and brought up an arm. The arm was identified by the tattoo that was on it - possibly the only positive reason ever to have one- and the person was identified as James Smith. The arm had been cut, rather than eaten by the shark. A murder case was opened but no one was every convicted.
The name Coogee is thought to have come from an Aboriginal word - which means "smelly place" which might be a reference to smelly seaweed.
Not much going for this place you might think but just have a look at the scenery around you.
The Coastal Paths are to die for.There is a reason for my choice of words here. Take a bus to one of these destinations - either Coogee or Bondi, both well served by frequent buses, and set off for the beach, but don't sunbathe or surf-well not this time.
I walked from Coogee to Bondi and even though they seem like next door, the walk was actually over an hour long, nearly two if you do it from the far end of Coogee beach to Bondi.
At the northern end of Coogee beach are stairs leading from Dolphin Point down to the old Giles baths. This is now an open rock pool carved out of the surrounding rocks. This area is now known as "Dolphin Point". The doorway and a four-metre high bronze sculpture serve as a memorial to twenty of the Australian victims of the 2002 Bali bombing who were residents of Coogee and its neighbouring suburbs, including six members of the Coogee Dolphins rugby league team.
The scenery is breathtaking. One minute you are walking high above the rocks and watch the waves crashing in. The next minute you are much lower down walking along the shore. The birds call and swoop, the vegetation is varied and colourful especially if you go in the spring, and humanity is equally varied and colourful. Enjoy all in equal measure. Follow the path until you get to a diversion which takes you, yes you have guessed it, through Waverley Cemetery.This Cemetery was established in 1877 and spans a fair few hillsides overlooking the ocean. This may be a temporary arrangement but if I was the mayor of this area I would make it a permanent part of the coastal walk. The boardwalk is normally on the edge of the Cemetery as far as I could see.
However the Cemetery is open to all and for me, part of the history and the essence of this costal walk can be found here. The perfect resting place but also the perfect place for some thoughts about the people who lived here all those years ago, who were settling this continent, who were making homes and businesses and whose identities lie in the numerous and interesting headstones, from the small ones with reference to a child who died, to the great marble ones dedicated to the many members of an Italian family. Look at the favourite names of the time, the Mauds and Muriels, the commanders and governors who played a part in the running of the area and some famous Australians, as well as many immigrant families who also came to consider this as their new home. It is quite fascinating.
Further down the path, you come across Mackenzie Point where you might spot the Aboriginal carving of a shark in the rock.
Finally, you will see the unmistakable Bondi Beach, with people swimming there all year round, but especially present at the famous Iceberg of Bondi, formed in 1880 to cater for these all- weather- swimmers. Now it is lit up at night with some attractive colours. It is a good place to end the walk, with a drink or meal in one of the various restaurants but if you have a little more energy left in you, then walk along to the Bondi strip which offers even more choice.