Fresh Magazine "Quirky Guide to Coogee" ...
gives us a glimpse of the real Coogee.
There is something magical about
Coogee. The transformation from a sleepy coastal bay to a latte-sipping
boutique beach was swift. Now settling into comfortable adulthood, Coogee’s
simple style, natural beauty and creative heartbeat has attracted many
- even the Virgin Mary.
Baths, Cliffs, and Bliss
Curvy cliffs at the south of the bay are full of the type of hidey-holes
that adolescents love. The north side doesn’t disappoint either.
From cliff-hugging caves you can safely watch storms roll in, and in
sunny weather hidden flat rocks provide discreet spaces to catch some
Wylie’s Baths are located on the south headland. Its a gorgeous
place shielded by pines and banksias. Upon paying your $2.50, you’re
privy to share the best balcony the east coast has to offer. You can
do morning tea on cappuccino and cake, down a pie or a sandwich, or
enjoy a massage in the breeze.
Ladies, feel like swimming in your own pool? Nearby are the famed Ladies
Baths where laps can be enjoyed without having to concern oneself with
in-between-waxing worries. A private open air balcony area can be enjoyed
au-natural. Model types have been discovered getting their all-over
body tans along with UV adventurers of all shapes and sizes. It costs
a tiny 20 cents to get in, just throw it in the ice cream container
at the bottom of the stairs. The pool is open 24 hours but rambunctious
teenagers are the only visitors after dark.
On the north side of the beach a mossy path exposed at low tide brings
you to the most divine little natural sea oasis you can imagine, locally
known as Giles. It was once sealed by barbed wire - a part of the Mens
Private Gym, where sweaty men would cool off their newly-pressed muscles
in the bliss of privacy, before it was liberated with a pair of wire
cutters in the 1980s.
The gym was deemed structurally unsound, and now all that remains is
a monument. Sorry boys, now it’s a free-for-all. You can access
it via structurally sound stairs from the north headland. No small change
is required, just some common sense when diving at low tide. It’s
a great spot for crab-spotting, night swims and cave-hunting.
Ok, three pools later ... where is the nightlife? Coogee’s night
scene is nothing to nod off to - and never has been, but it’s
diversified a lot from the rock scene that Selinas made Coogee famous
Treehorn is a restaurant in the quiet artery of Havelock Avenue, off
Arden Street. The soothing, silky soiree atmosphere is great for flirting
with someone new, or indulging in delicious vegetarian lasagne and zucchini
quiche. The guitar duo Urban Gypsies weave Latin rhythms into the air
along with stories which inspired their music. The dessert sizes are
generous, the strudel is exceptional, and the coffee well-made. If you’re
particularly fussy ask Rob to make your coffee.
If you hit it off with someone at Treehorn and would like to warm up
a little more over a nightcap, cushion is the perfect next stop: comfortable
loveseats, lush mood lighting and great cocktails provide for that extra
bit of intimacy. Try their mezze plate or woodfired pizza. A friendly
local crowd and other eastern suburbs drifters make this a great little
place, with a jazz trio on Sunday nights to mellow things further.
The Art Lounge Café is the cafe you always dreamed of. It’s
as if the owners Dave and Lee picked up on your wavelength, with comfy
sofas, breakfasts of good down-to-earth scrambled eggs and muesli. Local
art tastefully ordains the walls - each month by a new artist. The coffee
is great here, and their soy varieties don’t taste burnt or sour.
The staff are particular about keeping the coffee standard high. Trackies
and bad hair are just as welcome as bouffants and cashmere. It’s
a regular hang for the local ambulance guys, the real estate mafia and
your lazier students.
Coogee’s Only Virgin?
Last summer saw Coogee the centre of a truly spiritual kerfuffle. On
the headland between October and February on a sunny day the Virgin
Mary appears between 3:30 and 4:30pm. I kid you not. Resident scientists
claimed it was an optical illusion. Christian pilgrims flocked to hear
the Virgin’s message. Some guy thought it was a fence and tore
the fence down. Will the virgin appear again next summer?
On the southern end of Beach Street, right next to the Aquarium Bar
with its huge historic Aqua dome is The Beach Street Gallery Laundrette.
Doing your laundry has never been more serene. While the lovely laundry
ladies fill you with stories and astrology you can admire the artworks.
Every month there is a new exhibition. You can get along to their regular
launch nights and meet the artists. The next shop along is a fun one,
too - I’ll let you discover this one for yourselves.
There’s much more to Coogee, enough for a dedicated directory
of Coogee Cool. Locals hold their suburb close to their heart, not revealing
too many of its secrets. Tread lightly upon it, and Coogee will gently
bare its soul.
of Coogee Cool:
Neptune St, ph 9665 2838
Massage by the Sea:
1 Havelock Ave, ph 9664 4400
Dolphin Point, Dunningham Reserve
19 Havelock Ave, ph 9664 4005
242 Arden Street, ph 9315 9130
Art Lounge: 275 Arden Street, ph 9665 2500
Bobby Dazzler: 265 Arden Street, ph 9665 5330
The Beach Street Gallery Laundrette:
128-130 Beach Street, ph 9665 2161.