I have to start by saying that I've always been a northern beaches man, been surfing them since I came to Sydney well over 20 years ago & also lived at both Manly (southern end of the northern beaches) & also Newport (part of the "insular peninsula" - see my Avalon page for a bit more).
I dare say you can hear a "BUT" coming on & you are absolutely right. I've been to Coogee a couple of times over the years, the most recently just yesterday & last night & this morning & I have to admit I've quite fallen in love with this beautiful little village by the sea & would move there tomorrow
I'm building a separate "Coogee" page with a range of tips so please come visit it to learn some more about this beaut' area.
So why have I fallen in love with Coogee? Well, anywhere you can smell the salt air & walk along the beachfront (especially where there is a nice green park running along the beachfront) looking at the waves breaking onto the lovely pale golden, almost white, sand is a good starting point. When you add to that very good coffee indeed from a few different places, excellent cafes & resaurants & a few different nightlife spots you're really getting there.
If you're coming to Sydney to visit & you love the beach then I'd strongly suggest staying here. There are a number of accommodation options ranging form a number of Backpacker places that seem o.k. though to flats etc, up to the Coogee Crown Plaza Hotel which is eithr 4 star rated. You are only about 15 minutes drive from the city, but I'd suggest it'd take a bit longer in a bus although you can get an express bus with first stop in Bent Streeet in the City. I wonder if they only run in peak commuter times in the morning & late afternoon/early evening.
The only danger if you stay here (& love the beach & ocean) is that you may well be tempted not to go into the city at all. lol!
Feel freet to visit my Coogee page for more specific info'.
Take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach, then walk to the far left end of the beach, where the kid's pools is. You can see the tunnel as a dark spot from afar. Walk past the pool, climb the cliff (fairly easy walking, no hiking) and walk to this tunnel. The tunnel runs approximately 50m through the cliff to the other side. The shore at the other side is rocky and rough and I was here at low tide and with a calm surf., but I can imagine it's spectacular at high tide and high surf.
For seven years I was lucky enough to be Assistant Principal of Rozelle Public School in the suburb of Rozelle, just 2 kilometres from the very heart of the city.
These two suburbs have a fabulous array of eateries with great food and coffee in quality abundance. Lots of interesting shopping for clothes, homethings, books & lots more.
They also have a great range of real aussie pubs with some good entertainment options. Check out the website below.
I will put some of these places that I know well into my Sydney page as Shopping or Restaurant tips.
To get here from the city it is only about 5-10 minutes over the Anzac Bridge using any of the 500 buses or a 440, 433 or 445 bus which take you on a more circuitous route through the inner west.
To just confine yourself to the city and the usual touristy places of Bondi and/or Manly is to really do yourself a disservice. Bondi and Manly are worth a look, I'm not meaning to put them down. I lived in Manly quite some years ago & still really like it. It still has an interesting diversity to it, especially if you scratch below the surface. However Balmain & Rozelle are even more interesting in a genuine way.
This may sound a bit odd, but in Newtown, there is an old historical cemetaryin St Stephens Churchyard.
This cemetary was established in 1849.At the entrance , is one of the largest Moreton Bay fig-trees that I have ever seen. This also was planted in 1849.
Amoung the graves are some of Australia's earliest settlers including one Eliza Emily Donnithorne.
Charles Dickens brother ,apparently lived in Sydney and Dickens paid a visit and met Miss Donnithorne, who was jilted on her wedding day and spent the rest of her life in her wedding dress.Dickens must have been fascinated by this story as she became the model for Miss Haversham in Great Expectations.
Currently ,this place is often used as a background in movies such as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Sydney's underwater environs are as spectacular as its above-sea landmarks, if you know where to dive in.
The Captain Cook National Park at Kurnell offers a number of dive sites including:
Normally done as a drift back into the bay this dive has a maximum depth of 21m. During the dive you will see a large number of seadragons, some great sponge gardens and if you look closely a number of seahorses.
This dive offers the clearest water in the area. With a maximum depth of 25m this site has some spectacular sceenary. Can only be dive when the seas are very flat and is not a site for inexperienced divers. This site is one of the best in Sydney.
The Monument is a very easy dive site. Due to its location right in the bay viz can be a little worst here than other sites around Kurnell. But it is still a very nice relaxing dive with usually lots to see including a large population of weedy seadragons. Maximum depth 14m.
With a maximum depth of 14m this site is a great dive site, especially if you want to see Weedy Seadragons. The sponge gardens in the area a very extensive and this is an easy dive which can be done on a regular basis.
After the wonderful visit to Cronulla, we came to Oyster Bay, which is a gorgeous little township, and would you believe... we stopped right by the bottle shop.. ha,ha....
Should have come here first, picked a nice bottle of wine, then gone to Cronulla for the seafood lunch.. ;-)
Oyster Bay is only a small town, and the shops were tiny, as in all small towns. But it is such a delightful little place, I guess we all enjoy a place like this one, when our lifestyles are mainly in the big cities.
I quite often take overseas visitors on the Rivercat to Parramatta.
This is a ferry that leaves Circular Quay and takes you up the river to Parramatta.The trip takes about 40 minutes each way. You get to see another view of Sydney ,and towards Parramatta ,you travel through some amazing Mangrove wet-lands.Parramatta itself is well worth seeing ,if you like a bit of colonial history.Old Government House and Elizabeth Farm are fascinating to visit..
After a leisurely walk around Paramatta, you can have a quiet ale or whatever beside the river and watch the waterbirds, as you await the rivercat ,to return you to Sydney city.
A very pleasant relaxing experience.
Parramatta is a lovely suburb of Sydney. My husband and I ventured to Parramatta on a River Cat from Circular Quay(buses and trains are an alternative mode of transport). I love travelling by ferry and this was a calm, relaxing ride. We arrived at the Parramatta ferry wharf on Charles Street and began our explorations.
Parramatta is a busy business and commercial area with many business, shops, restaurants and government offices. There is so much to see and do in the area: Parramatta Park, Lennox Bridge, The Parramatta River, St. Johns Cathedral, Elizabeth Farm as well as the shops and the Westfield Mall.
There are several nice restuarants and cafes in Parramatta; our favorite being Liana's (excellent italian food).
To me Parramatta is not the typical "suburb" but a city within a city and worth exploring.
Very quiet and up-market [ Nicole Kidman has a home here ] Elizabeth Bay has a village atmosphere, there are stylish apartment buildings and houses, smart cafes and a small but pretty harbourside park
visit Elizabeth Bay House and step back in time [ see Must See tips ] or walk for a few minutes along to sigh over the classy yatchs at the Rushcutters Bay marina
Cronulla is a nice beach suburb of Sydney. There are beautiful beach areas perfect for sunbathing, swimming or surfing. There is a nice corso for shopping and some good food. We enjoyed several restaurants in Cronulla that had good and affordable food. My wife enjoyed the great shopping in Cronulla at very affordable prices.
Parramatta was a fun experience for us. I enjoyed hopping on the River Cat and travelling along seeing sights I never encountered during my previous trips. Parramatta is a large suburb but has that intimate friendly feel to it. There are many shopping areas, parks and resturants to enjoy while visiting.
Liz and I enjoyed strolling along the river, taking in some shops and enjoying an incredible Italian lunch.
Newtown is the alternative suburb of Sydney where you find all sorts of shops, Cafes, Hippie shops, second hand shops, a cinema showing alternative movies (I was excited to watch Nowhere in africa in german, my language, with english subtitles there) It's a cool place and just a couple of stops away from the city. The trainstation "NEWTOWN" lies in the heart of the shopping street
This is the most beautiful suburb in all of Sydney. Just ask Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson, and Russel Crowe !!!!!!! They all have homes in this trendy neighborhood !!!!! Take the taxi and have them drop you off in front of the Ritz Carlton hotel in Elizabeth Bay. And just walk the streets with trendy cafes...very High end Shops.....this is where you find the Gucci, Prada, Armani boutique stores among the many there. And have lunch and just take in all the surroundings......The Beverly Hills of Syndey is well worth an afternoon stop !!!!!
I like the river. I always feel good on any boat trips along the river--any rivers I mean. Today, I went out to experience a ferry trip from Circular Quay to Parramatta. I read from grossy brochures I picked up from the Tourist Information Center which described that it's a historic route.
But I didn't enjoy it much. The ferry was bigger than expectation and it was so crowded. And because of cold weather, we had to stay inside the ferry unabling to see the view. It took us one hour from the city to Parramatta and what we saw was only the faces of passengers sitting beside me. Once we arrived at Parramatta, we noticed the sign board which suggests the scenic walk along the riverbank. It was pristine and nice but it was very quiet. Maybe it's not the thing for me.
I and my friends tried to check out some places of interests but they are far from each other. We walked along the river and the park area. It's extremely tranquil. We don't like the idea of taking a hop-on hop-off Explorer bus so we decided to walk but it was quite a distance. We noticed that this part of Sydney is pretty quiet. It gave a feeling like a small town in European country when we cought sight for a Christian church. We notice a lot of Indian and Italian people there so we think that probably there's big Indian and Italian community over there. Chinese can also be seen but that didn't surprise me because Chinese are everywhere.
We spent two hours at Parramatta just walking. We didn't enjoy it much. Too quiet is the word to say. We were told because it's Sunday but we doubt it'll be the same even if it's normal days.
Paddington is a very fashionable suburb in the Inner -East of the City.
40 years ago , it was known as a slum but now it has been heritage listed and gentrified out of its mind.
The old Victorian Terrace /row houses have all been completely refurbished and are beautiful to look at. The streets are steep and narrow so a good pair of walking shoes are an idea. There are wonderful Art-galleries,pubs, and cafe's everywhere.
The architecture is a joy to see. There is even a church that has been turned into an apartment block.Sydney has a great way of utilizing any old building and giving it a 21st century life., without destroying the age -old elegance of some of these .Take a bus and have a look. On the week-ends there, are great markets in Oxford Street.
As you stroll around here, you keep getting extraordinary views of the Harbour as well.