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Recognisable world-over, the word Bondi elicits dreams of gorgeous white sand, cloudless skies and world-class surf. But Bondi is way more than just a beach. This hip Sydney neighbourhood has so much going on that you could spend days here, and visiting just to spend the afternoon on the beach would be a crime!
In fact, I chose to base myself in Bondi during my trip to Sydney, and I was so happy I did! That being said, I was on a whirlwind two week trip to Australia, and although I ticked a good number of Bondi attractions off my bucket list, I didn’t have time to do absolutely everything I wanted to (a common travel problem!). Luckily, a few travel blogger friends agreed to pitch in and write about their favourite things to do in Bondi to help me convince everybody that Bondi is more than just a beach.
If you find yourself in Bondi wondering what to do aside from hang out at the beach, we’ve got you covered!
Probably the most iconic of the tourist attractions near Bondi Beach, this 50-metre infinity pool, overlooking the beach, is the most photographed swimming pool in the world, and a truly unique Bondi experience. Whether you’re planning to do some serious lane swimming or just splash about, it’s easily worth spending the $9 entry fee. What’s more, entry to the pool includes the sauna, which overlooks the ocean!
The Bondi beach pool has been standing on the southern end of Bondi beach for over 100 years and is still open to the public every day. Be warned though – even in summer the pool is absolutely freezing! Have your towel and warm clothes nearby for when you get out!
Contributed by: Me!
Dudley Page Reserve
While exploring Bondi during your stay in Sydney, make a stop at Dudley Page Reserve for the most gorgeous views back over Sydney! From here you can see the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Tower alongside the rest of the city skyline in the distance.
This grassy mound makes a perfect spot for a picnic on a hot summer’s day, especially due to the ocean breeze, but sunset is definitely the best time to visit Dudley Page Reserve. The way the sun shines over the city and reflects upon the water is magical, and makes it undoubtedly one of the most instagrammable places in Sydney too!
Those feeling adventurous could also visit this spot while walking from Bondi to Watson’s Bay (or the other way around). While it doesn’t have many other amenities, other than a few swings, as a viewpoint it’s one of the best in Sydney.
Contributed by Cassie from Cassie the Hag
Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
The Bondi to Coogee walk is by far one of the most fun things to do in Bondi and it’s completely free! The walk stretches along the coast with breath-taking views of the cliffs and ocean. However, there is more to the walk than just the views.
Along the walk, you will be able to spot lovely wildlife and little coves along the way, which are hugely popular with families and dogs. In the middle of the walk you will also come across Bronte Beach – a less busy version of Bondi Beach complete with a rock pool perfect for swimming in to cool off.
To fully appreciate the 6km walk, allow yourself 2-3 hours. This will give you plenty of time to sunbathe, casually walk along the coast and perhaps even enjoy a game of beach volleyball on Coogee Beach.
The walk can be done in either direction, so if you would rather finish the walk at Bondi then you can start it at Coogee. Plus, walking the coastal path in this direction is also easier as there’s less uphill walking!
Contributed by Kerrie & Woody from Just Go Travelling
Travelling in Australia? You’re gonna love these other posts!:
• The Coldest Swim of My Life at the Bondi Beach Pool
• How to Take a Day Trip to Moreton Island from Brisbane
• What It’s Like to Visit Nimbin, Australia
• The Best Hiking Route In Noosa National Park, Queensland!
Whether you’re a resident of Sydney or a visitor from the other side of the world, a trip to Bondi Beach simply must include a trip to the fabulous Aquabumps Gallery. Situated on Curlewis Street (just a 5-minute walk from the famous Pavilion) Aquabumps is a Bondi icon.
First opened in smaller premises in 2004, Aquabumps is a result of the combined passions for photography and surfing of owner Eugene Tan. Better known as ‘Yooj’, his incredible range of photographs celebrate daily Bondi life. You will inevitably spend hours poring over an endless number of gorgeous shots of surfers, swimmers, sunbathers, colourful sunsets or moody sunrises.
Look out for Yooj’s most popular photograph titled ‘Lone Swimmer’. The crisp blue waters surrounding the lone woman enjoying the sea immediately bring on a feeling of deep relaxation and yearning to be back in Bondi yourself.
For those not fortunate enough to be close by, Aquabumps also offer a daily photo e-mail service. Join over 40,000 existing subscribers and you will receive a photo to your inbox taken that very morning.
Contributed by Paul from The Two That Do
Bondi to Watsons Bay Walk
Most people are familiar with the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, but the best-kept secret in this part of Sydney would have to be the Bondi to Watson Bay Walk. Why? Well, it is less crowded and has some stunning views that are not only Instagrammable, but it will also take your breath away.
The entire walk is approximately 7km and takes around 2 hours to complete (one way). Of course, the time it takes to finish the trek depends on the speed of your walk, the start and finish location and whether you stop to take photos along the way.
If you start at North Bondi, follow the many well-travelled paths, (although sometimes you will find yourself dipping inland ) or ensure that you are following the direction of the ocean’s edge, and you won’t have any trouble getting to Watsons Bay.
A great way to finish this beautiful walk would be by popping into The Watson Bay Hotel to reward yourself with a cold drink and a delicious meal.
Remember to bring along water (water fountains are a little sparse along this route), wear comfortable shoes and of course, bring something to capture some fantastic photos!
Contributed by Paula from TrulyExpat
Bondi Icebergs Dining Room & Bar
The Bondi Icebergs Dining Room & Bar has some of the best dining views in Sydney! Their dining room overlooks the Icebergs swimming pool, and at some tables you’ll also get a great view of the ocean. It’s one of the best places to eat at Bondi Beach.
Bondi Icebergs Dining Room & Bar is a great place to visit for lunch. Given its amazing location, it’s no surprise they have quite a long list of celebrities who like to lunch there while they’re in town (such as Oprah, Beyonce, the Kardashians). It can be a great evening dining experience as well, as the sunset views are breathtaking!
The service at Bondi Icebergs is fantastic and the seafood, as you can imagine, is super fresh – their oysters are especially tasty. That being said, while the food is good, it is not necessarily the BEST food in Sydney. The views are what pull in the crowds here, and that’s what you’re paying for. If you are visiting on a weekend, be sure to make a reservation. It can get quite busy here!
Also note, the Bondi Icebergs Club is a different restaurant! This is a casual dining experience and is located below Icebergs’ Dining Room. It is a seat yourself cafeteria-style diner that also offers beautiful views.
Contributed by Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel
North Bondi Rocks
The northern end of Bondi Beach is mostly residential and much quieter than most other spots at Bondi Beach. You definitely won’t have the constant stream of people from the coastal walks at the southern end of the beach, or the hustle and bustle of the beachfront area.
But once you make it past the long road of apartments you’ll reach a small park area that overlooks a series of small rocky cliffs. Here, you get a stunning view back over Bondi Beach and along the coastline. The headlands flanking most of the eastern suburb beaches are in full view from this point.
The way this headland points to the south means that you have a clear view of the beach directly to the west. This makes it one of the best places to view the sunset in the area with the beachfront area creating the perfect foreground.
There is a staircase that will take you down onto the rocks where you can explore the headland. Accessibility will depend on the tides and size of the swell – so take caution. This is a popular spot for rock fishing, and it is also common to see people taking in some sun in a quiet spot amongst the rock formations.
Scattered around the area are old Aboriginal rock carvings. They are unfortunately not well marked out, but you’ll find them scattered around the area if you look hard enough!
Contributed by James from Team AJ Travels
City to Surf Run
While it may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, the City to Surf fun run has become an icon of Australian culture.
The annual event has been going since 1971, on the second Sunday of August, and attracts competitors ranging from the serious athletes through to the people who run in costume or mums who push their kids along in strollers. The 14-kilometre course runs from the centre of Sydney through a number of Sydney suburbs, before cresting a hill and the Bondi Beach finish line stretches before the runners.
The streets of Sydney are closed for the event, so it’s an exceptional experience to be running along streets normally laden with cars, and the majority of the course is lined with spectators cheering runners on and bands playing along!
Waiting at the finish line, Bondi Beach itself is lined with pop-up food and entertainment for the 80,000 runners that will descend upon the beach over the course of the morning to join the party!
Contributed by Holly from Globeblogging
Take a Surf Lesson
If you’re ever wanted to try surfing, Bondi Beach is the perfect place to try this quintessential Australian sport. For beginners, the north end of the beach offers great surf, whereas the southern end attracts the more serious riders.
On a typical day, it’s a normal beach right and left break which can get very crowded on weekends or during holidays when the weather and surf is good. Before you catch a wave though, make sure to go over surf etiquette and basic technique. To do this, head to Lets Go Surfing, located at the northern end of Bondi Beach next to Speedo’s Cafe.
They offer a fantastic 2-hour group introductory lesson (70$ AUD) that’s ideal if you’re completely new to surfing. An experienced instructor will go through essential surf safety and etiquette, plus how to paddle, catch waves, and stand-up. They also offer multi-day packages, so you can really hone in your skills. They provide everything you need – wetsuit, surfboard, rash-vest, even sunscreen! Just make sure to bring your bathing suit, a towel, extra water and you’re good to go. There’s no better way to experience Australian surf culture than at Bondi Beach.
Contributed by Natasha from the Great Ocean Road Collective.
One thing you need to do when travelling to Sydney is to shop at the Bondi Farmers Market, one of Bondi’s best attractions. Since 1993, the market has been open every Sunday on the beachfront grounds of Bondi Beach Public School on Campbell Parade, right across the road from Bondi Beach.
It’s one of the best little markets around to find original designer clothing, exotic imports, handmade jewellery, arts, crafts, homewares, retro furniture, vintage clothes, and so much more! Also, one of the most popular food stands at the market, Bar Pho, serves up some delicious Pho for breakfast, an authentic Vietnamese tradition right in the centre of Bondi! Also, make sure to try the Raclette Shack, where you can delight in the gooey hand-carved cheese that has gone viral on social media.
After a morning shopping, you can head right to Bondi Beach and have a relaxing lunch while enjoying the ocean views. The market is open from 9 am to 1 pm.
Contributed by Kaila from Water Sky Land
I hope this round-up has you adding Bondi firmly to your next trip to Sydney, and has shown you that there is way more to do here than just the beach!