First half hard, but really scenic.
Second half less interesting with a lot of road crossings.
Star Rating For Difficulty (out of 5):
There are very few hills and only a handful of places where you need to cross roads on this route.
Of note, perhaps the worst road to cross with kids on this route is Bennelong Parkway between the spiral lookout on Wentworth Common and the Waterbird refuge. There are no lights and there is no pedestrian crossing nearby (this is similar for Marjorie Jackson Parkway on the way to the Brickpit, but it is a less busy road).
There is a curve on the road which makes visibility sub-optimal, and the cars perhaps push the speed limit boundaries. What I choose to do, is wait for a gap, go into the middle of the road as the responsible adult, and block it while quickly ushering the children across.
Notable Sites, Cafés, and Playgrounds Along the Way:
Our goal on all of these rides has been to get exposure to as much of the coast, harbour and rivers as possible, and while we could have chosen an easier way, the kids really did love the coast here (which is hilly).
Like the lower North Shore (both the East and West sections), the Eastern suburbs coastline is geared towards walking instead of bike riding. However, the coastline here is paved, rather than dirt, but also quite a bit more crowded. So…your kids will need to be good at dinging their bells, saying their “excuse me’s” and “thank you’s” and patiently weaving in and out of pedestrians. This is a great outing, but also worth leaving until your kids have really honed their bike skills.
There are also less playgrounds, less toilets and the café’s aren’t as easily accessible to a family with bikes as many of the other (less pedestrian populated) routes.
Rolling along Bondi beach is always an interesting exercise in people watching, and I love the brutal honesty that comes out of kids’ mouths 😊. Next come Tamarama and Bronte beaches. The South side of Bronte beach is a great location to watch the waves roll in and the surfers enjoy their craft.
Due to the stairs and the sheer number of pedestrians on the coastal walk we diverted up through Waverly Cemetery. It’s on quite a steep hill, but doable with some strong little legs. It also opens up to interesting conversations about tombstones, life and death.
We couldn’t find a good way down to Coogee, so ended up rolling down the footpath of Arden St to Coogee beach. This was probably the least pleasant part of this ride – steep downhill, busy roads, road crossings, and some impatient drivers (almost everywhere we go, apart from the ride that went around Eastern Creek, we have found that motorists have been on the whole very polite and kind).
Grant Reserve Playground Coogee is our first snack, rest and playground stop. A good playground with some shade.
Continue on to Maroubra (where you will see the The Big Rubik’s Cube), and then to Cromwell Park (South) Malabar which has a nice shaded playground and some toilets, so is a good place for a planned stop for some snacks.
There is a walking trail, along the grass, on the edge of Randwick and The Coast Golf Clubs. It makes for an interesting ride, but you need to be careful of golf balls, golfers, pedestrians, and the grass makes the legs a little more achy. Coast Hospital Memorial Park Playground is a good spot to rest the legs if you’ve ridden over the grass near the golf courses.
From here the next destination is La Perouse, which while interesting and scenic, is remarkably busy and crowded with cars (at least on weekends). There is a nice little bike path (finally!) which takes you from La Perouse to Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park. It does say it’s a “park”, but it’s actually quite a large cemetery. Two cemeteries in one day is unusual, but again it’s an opportunity to slowly ride and have conversations with children about the deeper things in life, death and things eternal.
It was at this point at which we had a family conversation. The option was to go back via the scenic, but hilly coastal route, or take the inland road back which was far less scenic, but less hilly. The little legs decided to take the latter option. To be frank, apart from detours on the bike sections of Heffron Park and Centennial Park, it’s a little dull. For kids it’s an all footpath ride and this means a lot of road crossings to be careful at – and with that focus on safety, it’s harder to have a conversation with your children.
Heffron Park Playground is a nice distraction on the way home.
At Kingsford there is a bakery to get some fresh rolls for nutrition, as well as other food options. From Centennial Park, there’s still a little more elevation to Bondi Junction, and then it drops down the hill to Bondi Beach.
Bondi is a great place to wrap up, and if you can time it near sunset, there are some wonderful red, pink and orange hues in the sky. Some sand play at the beach is also a great way to end the day before racking the bikes on the car.
Parking & Toilets
Finding a park in Bondi to kick off this ride is tough, your guess is as good as mine…sorry.
We did find toilets a little harder to come by on this route than a number of the other rides, so it’s worth thinking ahead.
Grant Reserve Coogee
Cromwell Park (South), Malabar