Gorgeous Bronte Beach

Gorgeous Bronte Beach is small compared with Bondi or Coogee, but that’s part of its lovely appeal.

The beach is only 250m long, set in a picturesque valley. The beachside atmosphere is peaceful, even village-like, yet it’s alive with wonderful cafes and activity.

If you're visiting for the first time - perhaps to get away from Bondi's crowds - take care in the surf!

Bronte is very popular with surfers, although the surf is often rough. When it's dangerous swimmers can still use the delightful Bronte sea baths at the south end of the beach.

Kiddies love the 'bogey hole'

And right near the seabaths is the beloved "Bogey Hole" - a family-safe pool formed by a ring of rocks.

It's a great spot to start your little kids in a love of the ocean.

(The Bogey Hole rocks can clearly be seen in this low tide photo taken from above the Bronte seabaths).

"Bogey" is an Aboriginal word for swimming hole. It's a special place for locals and generations of toddlers have learnt to swim there.

If you have a car you need to arrive at Bronte Beach from early to mid-morning. Parking spots around the beach fill up very quickly.

Heed the parking signs

Or you’ll cop a nasty ticket to add to the cost of your beach day. No fun in that!

If you’ve got the family with you, drop them off with all the beach gear, then drive to the back streets near Waverley Cemetery – where parking’s free!

It’s less than a 10-minute walk back to the beach

That's either by way of the cliff-walk or to the hilltop Bronte shops and down the laneways.  

Look around you at Bronte. Is there - anywhere - a better more charming beach than this? No wonder Bronte gets voted Sydney's most desirable suburb.

(Surf's Up! Two surfers use the wall of the Bronte sea baths to walk along on their way back out to catching some more wave action).  

The clean surf and sand are backed by a huge grassy park – just perfect for family picnics and heaven for those who hate sand! There are many shady trees to get under and plenty of bbq facilities in the 10ha of Bronte Park.

Somehow history is in the air

It's helped by the architecture of the surrounding buildings.

And could it have something to do with Bronte’s claim to be the first Surf Lifesaving Club established in Australia - way back in 1903?

Also, close by and overlooking the sea, is Waverley Cemetery where many great Australians (like writer and poet Henry Lawson) were laid to rest. 

At the seaside neat little rock pools have young kids entranced. They love them. The pools are safe for non-swimmers but of course keep the kiddies under close supervision.

The open surf at Bronte is great for body-surfing but (as mentioned earlier) it can be dangerous so swim between the flags.

Bronte usually has a rip at either end of the beach against the headland. And at times there's a third rip in the centre.

Don’t be surprised by the "Bronte Express"

When it's operating this well named tidal rip can quickly take you out to sea. (Surfers use it for fast transport back to the waves).

Lifeguards are kept busy at Bronte Beach, with an average 130 rescues a year.

Talk to the local lifesavers about the conditions, swim between their flags, and don't swim unless they are patrolling.

If you get into trouble raise your arm and wave. Don't try and fight the rip and don't panic. Conserve your energy and wait for the lifesavers to rescue you. (More "must read" information on the Beach Safety page).

You can always stick to swimming laps in the 30-metre sea baths which have been built into the cliff side.

That’s what many people do when the surf is pounding. The pool is safe, clean and constantly refreshed by the sea.

Bronte has beach huts where you can eat lunch out of the sun and even a train for the kids before they cool off again in the rock pools.

Escape the heat of a hot summer's day

Do so with a walk up the back of the park. It's refreshing there under the cool canopy of trees.

Take the cliff-top walk

At Bronte Beach you have the choice to go north or south on the wonderful Bondi to Coogee coastal walkway.

The pathway is roughly 6km long and can be walked end to end in two hours, but if this is your first time it might take twice that! You’ll surely want the camera out to capture the views.

This is Sydney’s most popular walk

Sealed and safe, it clings to sandstone rocks and cliff-tops and gives panoramic views of the coast to those who walk it – or take it at a run.

The path north from Bronte to picturesque Tamarama Beach (above) is a breeze, but the walk gets more demanding with some steep steps close to Bondi Beach.

To go south to Clovelly from Bronte Beach you must first negotiate a steep climb near Bronte pool. This takes you to the cliff-top pathway.

The walk features sheer cliffs

There are panoramic views of Bronte, Tamarama and Bondi to the north and views of Malabar Headland to the south. And you'll pass the Waverley cemetery (surely Sydney’s most expensive piece of real estate).

There’s also a steep staircase climb as you approach the tranquillity of Clovelly Beach. You can enjoy the views of Gordon’s Bay during another steep section or two and then it’s pretty much all a downhill walk to Coogee.

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How to get to Bronte Beach from the CBD

Quickest public transport - by train and bus.

Go by train to Bondi Junction. Then get the 378 Sydney City Bus from the Bondi Junction Terminus to Bronte Beach.

Alternatively ride the 378 bus all the way from the CBD. If you get on at Central railway station it will take you via Oxford St and Bondi Junction.

Surfing Bronte

A beach break left keeps board riders happy at the northern end.

Bronte Reef at the south end can produce good rights during south to southeast swell.

A little history

The land around Bronte Beach in this beautiful part of Sydney was given to settlers as free grants early in the 19th Century.

Land went to "deserving emancipated convicts" and soldiers of the Marine Corps from 1789.

Today homes here sell for millions of dollars. The Dictionary of Sydney has more about Bronte's fascinating history including skinny dipping in early times.