We caught up with Sydney local and Traveller writer Annie Dang after she visited Bondi Beach Sydney for a Summer 'staycation'.
Annie Dang is a writer and digital producer for Fairfax Media's travel section, Traveller. She has worked as a journalist and editor in legal business, manufacturing and logistics. Her first trip abroad was to France, but it was a three-month stay in Jakarta that confirmed she caught the travel ‘bug’ bad.
Here's what she had to say about her trip!
In 3 words, how would you describe the culture in Bondi?
Active/fit, beachy, relaxed
Best place to get a green smoothie? Any new trendy ingredients we should know about?
The green juice at Bills is delicious. I love that they add cucumber and ginger to theirs. If you’re on the run, Cali Press on Hall Street is a great spot to grab a green juice, or be that orange, deep red or yellow juice. If you’re in North Bondi, then swing pass Orchard St on Wairoa Ave where you can grab an organic juice or make your own chai late remedy. Turmeric has been an ‘on trend’ ingredient, and one which has been used by Orchard St founder Kirsten – it’s listed as one of the many ingredients on the remedy board in the cafe. Kirsten is currently looking at ways medicinal mushrooms, such as shiitake and reishi, could be used in drinks and food, something she thinks could become the new ‘on trend’ ingredient.
Best insta-worthy vantage point for a photo of the beach?
There are so many! I would say heading to either ends of the beach, the greens in North Bondi or towards Mackenzie Point in Tamarama. You can get a great shot of the beach but also of the coastline. One of my favourites, is an insta shot of Iceberg Pools – iconic and completely stunning.
You had a surfing lesson, how did that go? Easier or harder than it looks? Any tips?
It was so much fun. I got dunked a few times, but was able to stand on the board on my fourth attempt. My surf instructor Sam said that was a very good effort for a first-timer. I was thrilled; I’m pretty uncoordinated (did I tell you about my first time skilling in Japan?) so it was a great feeling to be able to pick up some new skills.
I think if you haven’t surfed before it’s good to have some lessons; get the basics down first, learn how and where to stand on the board, as well as learn how to read the waves. Sam gave me a good tip before we went out into the water, he said, you have to commit to doing it and want to do it. If you go out into the waves without really wanting to be there, part of your mind won’t put in that extra effort to get you up and standing. So I thought, right I’m going to do this and I’m going to stand on that board, and I did (much to my surprise). Mind over matter I guess?
I do think having some upper-body and core strength helps as you need to be able to push yourself up from the board while in the water, and also not being afraid of being tossed about in the ocean. I have a friend who did surfing lessons but she was afraid of putting her head under the water; she found it hard to stand up because she was constantly thinking about falling off her board into the water.
That time when Sam the surf instructor tells you the secret to standing on your board when it's your first time surfing... Sam the surf whisperer 🌴☀️🏄 @letsgosurfingaustralia #letsgosurfing #bondibeach #surfing #beach @travellerau #adinabondi @adinahotels @adinabondibeach #summer Photo credit: Lets Go Surfing
What was your favourite part about living like a local in Bondi? Would you visit again?
The warm weather, being so close to the beach and the all those great restaurants, cafes and bars; it’s really a great spot to live. Gosh, those Bondi locals have it good! I really love the whole active wear and drinking green juice thing. It sounds rather cliché, but when you live there it makes sense. You’re always out and about wanting to make the most of the great weather and location, walking everywhere from the beach to the cafe, from the main street to North Bondi and back, and because it’s so hot you need a thirst quencher so you grab a juice.
And to add to the cliché, I also love that yoga is so popular. I did a yoga class at Power Living Yoga Studio while I was staying there and it was intense – level 2 heated Vinyasa Yoga. I walked into the class thinking it was a beginner’s class and gee, was I wrong! Everyone was decked out in serious yoga gear, toned arms and legs in downward dogs and cobras. One hour later and dripping in sweat, I left feeling very relaxed and refreshed, and I’ll like to think 2kgs lighter.
But the thing I love most about staying in Bondi is that it reminds me of my overseas travels, visiting coastal cities with that chilled-out beach vibe, staying out all day, late dinners outdoors, fresh food and friendly locals. It makes me feel like I’ve gone on a holiday to somewhere fun and exotic and have returned home refreshed. So yes, I would do another stayaction in Bondi. It’s definitely a good-value beach-holiday option.
Advice to travellers visiting Bondi?
It’s worth staying at a night in Bondi Beach if it fits your plans, but you can always catch a bus, taxi or Uber to there. It’s a great spot for a beach escape from the city, but there is more to Bondi than just sand and beach. Wednesday nights are lively, it’s the night when the locals head out for a drink or two, so if you come mid-week you won’t miss out on seeing the Bondi nightlife. There are plenty of shops with local designs from swim wear, such as Bondi Bather, to fashion as well as photography, including Aquabumps, and on the weekends, there’s the Bondi Markets. Go for a swim at the iconic Bondi Iceberg pools is a must-to, however it’s good to note the pools are closed on Thursday for cleaning. So come ready for some beach and relaxing time, and don’t mind the super fit, super tanned locals going on there daily jogs along the sand or doing chin-ups at the jungle gym. Just get out there enjoy the beautiful weather and sights that is Bondi Beach.