Coastal Walk: Down Under Style

It’s been a while since I traipsed across parts of England’s Southwest Coast Path.. I was ecstatic to do a similar walk in Australia.

For a friend’s birthday celebration, we traversed the Coogee-Bondi walk. Well, they say “Bondi to Coogee Walk.” We opted to go the other way around because I wanted to finish off the walk with a swim in the Iceberg Pool. More comfortable to finish the day dripping wet from the pool than to walk in that state, don’t you think?

Our first stop was gelato to kick-start the walk. Well, the girlfriends stopped for gelato. I, the lactose intolerant, got to admire some hot beach volleyball players as I waited. Next stop, Giles Baths. The walk is marked by a whole bunch of rock pools/baths, where a natural rock or stony beach is turned into a built-in pool with little effort. Waves supply the sea water. So Giles Baths.. problem:


Yeah. We didn’t think to check the tides.

Moving on.

The walk takes us winding through some coves. All of which afforded beautiful views. Path tends to dip down towards the inside of the cove to allow for access to the water and ascend back up the cliffs where the land jutted out towards the ocean.


We got caught in a downpour as we were approaching Clovelly Beach. We tucked under a nearby building’s awning and tried to wait it out. As the rain fell heavier, much to some of our surprise, a bunch of swimmers came out of the woodwork and went right in. Well, if you’re going to be wet anyway.. it wasn’t so much the rain that made us pause. The surf was strong.. the ocean was quite opinionated at the moment. As a swimmer, I was a little jealous of them.. but as someone who is content with my chlorinated box with a blue stripe in the bottom, I admit the waves were intimidating.

Clovelly pool is interesting. The cove is almost perfectly rectangular, because they had poured in straight cement ledges on the long ends, making it into one gigantic ocean pool. I didn’t even see the separate elevated lane pool until later.

We took the longer-than-expected rainfall as a hint. Time to break for lunch.

The sun came out by the time we finished eating and we continued on. We had fun with what we call “Lion King moments.” Some of the jutting cliffs had extended rock formations and we may have been a little silly with our posing.


How can you now with a spot like that? No, that wasn’t our “Lion King” pose.. one of the girls just snap-eager while I was making my way out. The wind was no joke, though.. so we were venturing only so far. Side note: I never understood people’s need to leave their mark. Look at the carvings on the stone. It was not a soft stone.. people had to work on those.

So several of the rock pools were out due to the raging surf (at least for us). But the Iceberg pool was an absolute must for me. I had to go to one.. and the girls were agreeable to chilling out over a pitcher of sangria while I got my over 1500k swim in. I was *not* prepared for how cold the water was. The waves were lower by the time I went in, but I still felt the swaying. Actually, I felt it more when I got out, with land sickness and swaying as I walked. It took only a few minutes to recover, but I was gripping onto walls and surfaces. An unexpected pleasant perk in swimming here? Being surrounded by equally serious swimmers. I’m used to being the swimming in a recreational pool. This is a swimmers’ pool.

One con? They nickel and dime you out to go to this pool. Admission, I understand. Towel? $2. Lockers? Another $2.


Total Tally:
– Weather: Occasional gusty winds, alternating between bright sun and heavy down pour. Drizzly more than not.
– End points:
33°55’08.4″S 151°15’30.8″E
33°53’41.9″S 151°16’27.4″E
– Path conditions: mostly varying concrete pathways, some dirt path

Highlights: Beautiful views, rock pools, and an amazing swim to finish the day off.

Summit: Cadair Idris

Nothing like a sore body to keep me planted on the sofa in front of the telly, laptop available without much physical work. As mentioned earlier, I’ve been good about making a summit hike a year, at least. This is my second of the year.

For hikes, I rarely prepare other than to check weather and camera battery life. But advance research of the path is a rare thing. Yet, I did this time around. I dunno why. In reading other hikers’ notes, though, it sounded like a foreign language to me. It was. The names were all Welsh. A part of me felt like raising a hand and saying, “Vanna, I would like to buy several vowels, please!”

Yet, all that said, I made the biggest goof of all. I woke up, at the B&B and found, with that dreadful sinking feeling in the pit of my belly, I forgot my hiking shoes. I didn’t even have trainers. So I wasted a whole day driving back home to get the shoes and hiking pants that I also realized I forgot, and back to Wales.

I can see why Cadair Idris is one of the most popular hikes in Wales. Take a look at the beautiful sights. The ridgeline rose above and circled a lake tucked in the valley. A lot of literature about glaciers and whatnot. To me, it was just stunning to see the wall of cliffs create a semi-circle around the water.

Despite all my reading, I somehow managed to go a different route. Probably because I got distracted. I ended up coming up to the lake, Llyn Cau, from the shallow end. When the path should have veered left and up to circle the ridge clockwise, I ended up watching a team of shepherds and their sheepdogs steering their grazing herd from the inner crater area to the outer rim. I found myself following another path around the lake, until I was just at the base of the wall leading to one of the lower peaks, Craig Cau.

I don’t think I realized how steep the climb up was until half way, when I thought to myself how my little scrambling experience was being put to good use. And that I should have put my camera in the bag instead of slung across my body but that it was too steep for me to stop and sit to adjust that. To give you an idea, in that length, I went .4 miles in distance, and gained 703 ft in altitude.

[Blue: Route I walked.
Yellow: What most people walk]

I would not have traded that climb for anything. I love a good challenge. Not recommended for the faint of heart or those with no hiking nor climbing experience, but otherwise manageable.

The hiking down to the summit of Mynydd Moel was rather uneventful, a large grassy route that made me actually bust out into the tunes of “The Sound of Music.” After the nth iteration of “Doe, a deer, a female deer; ray, a drop of golden sunnnn; me, a name I call myself.. ” Has anyone ever realized how that song can get stuck on an endless loop?? “And that brings us back to Doe. Doe, a deer.. ” Good thing I was the only walker for a long stretch. How well does sound travel cross those ridges, do you think?

The descent is absolutely horrific, a loose and extremely steep death trap of boulders of all sizes and shapes. I found myself resolving to purchase a pair of walking poles. For others, I recommend taking the climb I made from the lake, then walking the counter clockwise route after reaching the summit. The view is to be much more stunning and the experience more enjoyable. Your legs will thank you… as mine are cursing me today.

Nikon D5100, f/8, 1/320s

Nikon D3100, f/8, 1/250s