Sydney’s playground, Bondi beach Australia, has great swimming, surfing, shopping, eating and drinking.
Like a Kardashian, this Sydney paparazzi beach has been snapped a thousand times in all shades of dress and bad behaviour.
It’s had its very public ups and downs, relationships and comebacks. And its fans love it.
The beach has well-defined zones.
North is for your beach family vacations. It has a playground, gentler surf and lovely shallow ocean pools. North is for children.
South is for more adventurous surfers, for beach bunnies and topless bathing. South is where you go to see and be seen.
Most of us fit somewhere in the middle.
Sydney Buses to Bondi Beach
Getting to Bondi is easy. Sydney buses in the 380 series (380, 381, 382, 389), plus specialprepay (333) and peak hour (X84, X89) express buses, stop along Bondi beach.
You can pick up Bondi buses from the city centre.
If you’re starting from somewhere else on the Sydney transport network then catch the Bondi busat the bus/rail interchange at Bondi Junction.
There’s no direct rail link to Bondi beach, you’ll always need to hop on a bus.
The services are very frequent so you won’t wait more than a few minutes.
You could walk from the Junction, but it’s a long way down Bondi Road and I don’t recommend it. It could take three quarters of an hour.
Beach Family Vacation
There’s no shortage of Sydney things to do on a beach family vacation at Bondi beach Australia. The swimming, surfing and sunbathing are givens. What about after that?
Well, there’s a rather challenging skate park right on Bondi beach, if you have children that are into skateboarding.
On a gentler note there’s the fantastic coast walk from Bondi to Bronte beach – or further if you have the energy. And don’t forget there’s always buses to get you back if you can’t face the return trip.
Or consider beach metal detecting – perfect if you’re on the spot in the early morning or when the day trippers leave in the late afternoon. Hire a metal detector and do some Sydney beachcombing with the kids.
There’s generally something happening at Bondi pavilion as well. World music, short film festivals, theatre, art installations and exhibitions – there’ll be something happening right in the middle of Bondi beach Australia while you’re there.
Don’t miss the Bondi Beach markets on the weekends. Art, craft, bric-a-brac, music and home-made food. It’s held in the grounds of the Bondi Beach Public School and is well worth a visit.
If you’re a family that does a bit of running – or at least that’s relatively fit – then join Sydney as it runs or walks the City to Surf on the second Sunday in August.
It’s’s a 14 km fun run from Hyde Park start to Bondi beach.
September sees Sydney’s Festival of the Winds – kite-flying for all.
October and November is the time for Bondi Sculpture by the Sea.
Then January’s Sydney Festival brings more activity to Bondi.
Topless at Bondi Beach Australia
Topless is possible at Bondi beach Australia. Remember that Bondi is essentially a family-friendly, city beach so a certain amount of discretion is required. No topless beach volleyball!
And you have to locate yourself at the southern end of the beach, not in the middle of the toddlers and young children.
Sydney beach inspectors do wander around to keep everything within the bounds of acceptable behaviour. If you just want to sun bake topless you shouldn’t have any problems. If you attract attention with exhibitionist antics, expect to be asked to leave.
Bondi Icebergs is today a very swish Sydney restaurant overlooking Bondi Beach. Celebrities eat there – think Keith and Nicole when they’re in town, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe.
But the Bondi Icebergs are also – and have been for a long time – a group of hardy souls who swim at Bondi’s ocean pool every day of the year, summer and winter.
Now, I know Sydney doesn’t have icy winters but they’re still pretty cold, especially if you have to get up early on a winter’s morning and jump into an unheated pool. And the water is winter-cold, the pool freshly washed by the ocean’s high tide. Yet these Bondi icebergs have been coming here to swim every morning for years. Join them if you can stand it.
Books and Coffee
It’s a natural fit, books and coffee. And all around Sydney you’ll find places that do both. There’s Ampersand and Berkelouws in Darlinghurst, another Berkelouws in Leichhardt, and Sappho’s Bookshop, cafe and bar in Glebe.
At Bondi Beach Australia there’s Gertrude and Alice.
All of these have used books for sale, and they also buy used books. Some also carry new books.
To get to Gertrude and Alice you stroll up Hall Street, a gentle slope up from the beach.
You’ll pass Martin Smith’s bookshop on the way – a small but excellent spot for new books.
Everything here at G&A is a little squeezed together – whether it’s too many tables or too many books, who knows? – but join the squeeze because it’s a welcoming place.
Fish and Chips Shop
Fish and chips, eaten out of their paper wrapping, is a traditional meal at the beach. And Bondi Beach Australia is no exception.
There are several good fish shops in Campbell Parade, the main shopping street running parallel to the beach.
Buy your fish and chips there, wander back across the road to the park and tuck in. You won’t be the only one doing this.
You can go down to the beach itself or sit on the grass in the park.
Alternatively, use one of the little wooden shelters and benefit from table and chairs. You’ll face greedy seagulls whichever option you choose. They’re used to pinching food from visitors, so watch them.
The Bondi Hotel, again on Campbell Parade, has an outside terrace which overlooks the beach, but it’s too close to a busy traffic intersection to be really relaxing. Better in that case to try Ravesi’s upstairs bar and balcony just up the road.
The Bondi Hotel comes into its own in other ways. Relaxed during the day and Sydney party central at nights.
Pool tables upstairs, sofas for lounging around on and a DJ spinning the sounds from Thursday to Sunday nights.
During the day it’s very laid back and casual.
Drop in after some shopping or when you’ve been to the beach. Relax out of the heat of the day with a cold beer.
At night the Bondi hotel attracts Sydney’s young and beautiful.
Other Things to Do in the Area
Still in the Eastern suburbs, the bus to and from Bondi will take you through Paddington. A suburb known for its charming terrace houses with iron lace around their balconies, it is also the home of Paddington markets held every Saturday. These craft-based markets also include plenty of good food and drink and really should be on your Sydney agenda.
Just over the hill from Bondi beach there’s the harbour. The Hermitage Foreshore walk takes you around part of the Vaucluse foreshore, with interesting views along the way.