Welcome to our Mini Coogee Beach Backpackers Guide. With so many beach cities down in Oz, how do you pick the right one to visit? Coogee Beach is one that should be on the top of your list.
Located in the eastern suburbs, the name Coogee (pronounced ‘could-jee’) comes from the Aboriginal word ‘Koojah’, which literally translates to ‘stinky’ or ‘smelly’. This name came about from all the seaweed that used to get washed up by the water, although that is definitely not the case anymore! The seaside town is now home to over 15,000 people and is a backpacker haven.
Where to Eat and Drink at Coogee Beach
Dining options in the Coogee area are limitless. With gorgeous alfresco settings, you can enjoy the warm rays of sunshine while having some great food and drinks along the hubs of Coogee Bay Road or Arden Street.
The Coogee Pavilion
Sunday sesh? After work drinks? Mid week pints and burgers? The Coogee Pavilion is your number one go-to spot. Located right on the beachfront, the ‘Coogee Pav’ provides A-grade views with delicious drinks that’ll keep you satisfied for hours. This multi-level spot is perfect to take in the incredible beachy panoramic skyline from the rooftop while sipping on a tropical mojito. When you’re done there, head downstairs for tasty woodfire pizzas with your backpacker crew. After your food and drink coma kicks in, step into the games room to unwind with a round of ping pong or Scrabble. And if you really want to relax? They even have a mini theatre for an ultimate chill out! The Coogee Pavilion is the spot to be, especially in summer. Just make sure you get in early for a good seat to watch the sunset, enjoy a few cocktails and some delicious food.
Coogee Bay Hotel
This award winning venue is also located along Coogee Beach so you’re able to sink in those gorgeous views, as well as sink down a couple of pints. The Coogee Bay Hotel is a hub for backpackers and locals. It’s the place to mix and mingle with old friends and new friends. With its history dating back to the 1800s, this venue still has an old school influence with a modern twist.
You aren’t short of places to eat and drink at the Coogee Bay Hotel either. You can enjoy an alfresco dining experience in The Garden, soak in an Aussie summer vibe at the Beach Bar, watch a game of footy at the Sports Bar, or relax with a jug of Pimms in the Arden Lounge. Whatever the mood, the Coogee Bay Hotel has got you sorted for a day or night of food and drinks.
Beach Burrito Company
Mexican? Sí! The Beach Burrito Company has got you sorted for your quesadilla cravings and sangria sessions. Popular among all kinds of tourists, this place mixes Aussie beach vibes with a Mexican twist. It’s colourful wooden tables and dimmed lights will set the mood for any occasion, whether it’s a fiesta or a hot tinder date! They also have weekly specials so you can enjoy $3.00 Taco Tuesdays or all day Happy Hour on Wednesdays. Salud to that!
After a long swim on a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing more refreshing than a delicious juice. Melonhead is the number one juice spot in Coogee. Family owned since 2001, Melonhead has world famous smoothies that’ll quench that summer thirst! Not only a juice bar, you can even find breakfast or lunch salads, healthy sandwiches, fruit crushes, shakes and so much more. Also if you’re feeling a little naughty, they do amazing chocolate strawberries. Yum!
For more cheap eats, trendy cafes and restaurants with a view, check out our Coogee Beach Restaurant Dining Guide. If you’re looking for happy hours or a place to dance or watch live music, read the Best Coogee Bars & Pubs.
What to do at Coogee
There’s an array of things to keep you busy in Coogee but one of the most obvious and popular things is to get outside and enjoy the beachy suburb! Full of natural goodness, Coogee will give you a golden tan and a fresh perspective. Whether you’re walking along Coogee Bay Road, Arden Street or Dolphin Street, you’ll be stopping for multiple reasons!
You can’t explore Coogee without heading to Coogee Beach. Less than half an hour from the CBD, the beach is a family friendly location that’s perfect for your lazy hungover arvos, or an early morning surf. Go exploring and discover hidden gems, uncrowded areas and great spots where you can sit and watch the hours go by.
The Coastal Walk (Bondi to Coogee, or vice versa)
One of the main things to experience in Sydney is the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. Extending over 6 km, this walk is known as postcard pretty. You’ll come across some incredible views, relaxing parks, quiet beaches and picturesque moments that will leave you in awe.
The walk in total should take about a couple of hours, but it’s good to take a full day out for it, especially with all the rest stops that you’ll want to chill at. Have lunch in a park, take a nap on a sandy beach and then end up at one of the many bars or restaurants in Coogee. It’s the perfect way to soak in the views as well as getting some exercise. Check out our full Bondi to Coogee Guide to discover our favorite stops along the way!
Just north of Coogee Beach is Gordons Bay – another unmissable spot with calm waters, native flora and beautiful views. This area is like a secluded paradise with its own Underwater Nature Trail. Take some snorkelling or scuba diving gear and discover some sea stars, urchins and other local sea life. The entire trail is about 600 metres and takes 40 minutes to complete. As you make your way under the water, you’ll find information blocks that will tell you about the sea life. If you’re looking for something unique to do, then this is one to add to your list.
One of Sydney’s most famous sea pools is Wylie’s, located just a few hundred metres from Coogee Beach. Heritage listed, Wylie’s Baths is a gorgeous tidal pool that will have you coming back over and over again. Whether it’s the 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean, the local swimming club doing their afternoon laps, or the morning zen classes, Wylies Bath is the spot for an extremely relaxing day where you can kick back without any worries.
If you’re a female backpacker looking to chill, check out McIvers Baths, which is only open for women and children. Being the only one left in Australia, McIvers bath lets you swim with your gear on or off so you’re comfortable going au naturel without a care!
Depending on when you’re in Coogee, there are certain events that happen throughout the year. In February, Coogee holds the Coogee Arts Festival – one of the largest festivals in the Eastern suburbs. It runs for the entire month and consists of music, film, art and community events every night.
If you’re in the area during Christmas time, make sure you don’t miss out on the Coogee Carols. A free event, the night is a good way to get into the Aussie holiday spirit where you can sing carols overlooking the beach. Grab your mates, watch the fireworks and get in to the festive spirit! Find out more here.
And if you’re really a big kid at heart, the Coogee Family Fun Day is for you. Held on the first Saturday in December, the Fun Day will have you high off candy floss, jumping on carnival rides and getting some local artisan shopping in. It really is a fun day out for anyone. Read more about it here.
Where to Stay at Coogee Beach
Mad Monkey Coogee Beach
You go to Coogee for the relaxed beach vibe. Mad Monkey knows this. Not only are the rooms a decent price, the Coogee beach hostel looks over the beach so it’s just a short stroll to the water. The staff is always more than willing to help you with anything you need, whether it questions on employment or basic tourist info. You’re also in the hub of all the best Coogee bars and eateries, so you’ll always find a party!
Mad Monkey is good for both solo travellers or a group of mates. They have an amazing restaurant and bar, FNKY MNKY, which holds regular events and promotions, and a tours desk to help you explore the area. If you’re looking for an incredible location and atmosphere, stay at Mad Monkey Coogee Beach.
Coogee Beach House
If you’re after a more homey vibe with affordable rooms, the Coogee Beach House is the place to be. When staying at the hostel, you’re able to get ready for your day out with a free breakfast. After you’re all fueled up, stroll down to the beach which is only a 3 minute walk. Hire a free surfboard from the Coogee Beach House and work on those surfing skills!
Once you’ve called it a day, you have the option of hitting the bars along the street or relaxing in the hostel with their collection of movies or books. The choice is up to you at the Coogee Beach House!
Whether you’re after a wild night out on Coogee Bay Road, looking to find some local sea life in a hidden underwater trail or just wanting to enjoy the golden sand, Coogee and its surroundings will keep you entertained for days, weeks and even months!
More Things to do in Coogee:
If this guide got you excited to plan your trip to Coogee, check out these articles for more travel inspo:
- A Guide to Coogee Beach to Take You From Sunrise to Sunset by Tash Gillezeau from Concrete Playground
- Coogee Suburb Profile from Sitchu
- A Local’s Guide to Coogee by Angela Law from The Urban List