Watsons Bay to Central via Bondi and Coogee

Cycle Sydney, Road Ride, Watsons Bay to Central via Bondi and Coogee

As you pass out of Watsons Bay and make your way along the cliff line, you can’t help but notice the Macquarie Lighthouse on your left. This particular structure was built in 1883 and is still in operation. It replaced a previous structure designed by the famous convict architect Francis Greenway, which in turn replaced a wood and coal fired beacon erected in 1793. So in a sense, this is Australia’s oldest lighthouse.

Continuing south, you’re pretty much following the route of the City to Surf fun run held in August each year. As you make the downhill into Bondi you’ll see a large tower on the left. This pretty structure is actually a sewage ventilation tower. Inside the adjacent golf course are several aboriginal rock carvings. Once you’re through Bondi, the climbing begins. First up and around Tamarama isn’t too bad. Bronte is a good place to stop for a quick espresso (or leisurely latte), before tackling the climbs back up to Waverly Cemetery. Many famous people are buried here including the poet Henry Kendall, aviator Lawrence Hargraves and Dorothea Mackellar who penned the famous lines, ‘I love a sunburnt country.’ Riding through Clovelly a decision has to be made. Should you head all the way to Coogee or take a short cut and turn right into Clovelly Road near the top? I decided to take this ride all the way into Coogee to add an extra hill and coffee option, but seriously, climbing back out along Brook Street does take some strength. I’m not sure what the council were thinking when they allocated it as a bike corridor.

Once you’re on the top though, it’s all plain sailing. The bike path along the Busway around Centennial Park is excellent and Surry Hills still has an old world charm that not even the close proximity of the eastern distributor can allay.


There are a lot of hills on this ride and a couple of them, especially in the Coogee area are very steep. But you can avoid the worst of them by taking the early shortcut described in the text below.


Pretty constant. The roads between Watsons Bay and Bondi are quite wide but they narrow a bit after that. Riding back from Coogee is pretty good and Sydney City Council have been at great pains to make bike lanes in Surry Hills.


This ride is designed to be the second half of the Opera House to Camp Cove ). If you haven’t already done this you can get to Watsons Bay by ferry from Circular Quay. Alternatively, you can catch a train to Bondi Junction and ride there along Old South Head Rd.

Food and Drink

Both Bondi and Coogee have an enormous range of things to eat and drink. Bronte does on a smaller scale and is more of a ‘sit down and have a coffee’ type of place.

Side Trip

Instead of heading towards the city when you reach Coogee, you can have a go at the French Affair. This is a relatively easy route and takes in La Perouse and the areas around Botany.


Ride Log

  • 0.0 Begin at Watsons Bay wharf. Straight up the road and turn right into Military Rd. 500m Turn left at roundabout into Old South Head Rd.
  • 1.7 Pass the Macquarie Lighthouse.
  • 2.1 Continue over New South Head Rd roundabout along Old South Head Rd.
  • 2.9 Turn left into Military Rd.
  • 5.2 Military Rd takes an S-bend at Kobada Rd.
  • 5.9 Pass Bondi Golf Course on your left.
  • 6.4 Pass North Bondi shops.
  • 6.8 Reach Bondi Beach.
  • 7.6 Go straight across roundabout and up the hill.
  • 7.9 Turn left into Sandridge St.
  • 8.0 Go straight across Fletcher St and into Gairloch St.
  • 8.5 Turn right and immediately left into Dell View and then right into Pacific Ave.
  • 8.6 Pass Tamarama Beach.
  • 8.7 Road becomes Tamarama Marine Dr.
  • 9.1 Road becomes Bronte Marine Dr.
  • 9.3 Turn right into Bayview St.
  • 9.4 At the top of the hill turn left into Hewlitt St.
  • 9.9 Turn left at traffic lights at Murray St.
  • 10.3 Turn left at roundabout into Bronte Rd.
  • 11.1 Ride past Bronte Beach and shops. Steep uphill here as road turns around a sharp dogleg.
  • 11.9 Ride up to Bronte shops and turn left into St Thomas St.
  • 12.2 Turn right into Boundary St.
  • 12.6 Turn left into Arden St.
  • 12.9 Go straight across roundabout at Clovelly Rd.
  • 13.4 Go straight across Alison St roundabout.
  • 13.7 Turn right into Dolphin St at a large roundabout.
  • 14.0 Turn right at roundabout into Brook St. Very steep uphill here.
  • 14.7 Turn left into Clovelly Rd.
  • 15.2 Go straight through traffic lights at Carrington Rd.
  • 15.5 Go straight ahead at the Fiveways.
  • 16.0 Go straight ahead at Avoca St traffic lights.
  • 16.4 Turn left into Darley St.
  • 17.3 Go past entrance to Centennial Park and head onto the cycleway at Alison St.
  • 18.4 Cycleway reaches Anzac Pde. Follow it around to the right.
  • 19.1 Turn off bike track and cross at lights at Cleveland St and follow bike path on left.
  • 19.9 Cross South Dowling St at lights. When you’re on the other side, cross again to the right and ride up slip road. This is still called South Dowling St.
  • 20.2 Turn left into Nobbs St.
  • 20.4 Turn left into Bourke St and then immediately right into Devonshire St.
  • 20.7 Cross Crown St continuing along Devonshire St.
  • 21.2 Turn left into Elizabeth St and immediately turn right into Rutland St.
  • 21.4 Finish ride at Central Station.
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    21.822 km / 13.56 mi

    Total Distance

    394 m / 1,294 ft

    Total Ascent

    375 m / 1,230 ft

    Total Descent

    87 m / 285 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Rail Trail
    EPIC Ride
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Gravel Road
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    First Aid
    Bike hire
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle

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