Bondi Beach is a true Sydney icon and, unlike the Opera House or Harbour Bridge, one that has a life of its own. With a focus on style, fitness and living local it’s a wonderfully easy place to immerse yourself in.
One of the most famous institutions in Bondi has to be Icebergs – the ocean pool and swimming club that juts out over the southern end of the beach. While you can indulge in fine dining on the top level and casual drinks with a million dollar view the level below, the pool is the heart of this place and where we suggest you go. It has perched here, overlooking the ocean for more than 100 years and has its fair share of die-hard long-term members who swim rain, hail or shine. We suggest swimming while it shines but, if you find yourself there during one of the less favourable weather conditions, the club provides a great spot to take in Mother Nature’s fury.
If swimming isn’t your style, Bondi also marks the start of the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. The first kilometre south of Bondi offers some of the best views and photo opportunities of the trail, giving a beautiful perspective over the famous stretch of sand. Because Bondi is the land of the fit, expect to share the trail with lots of runners in little swathes of lycra. It’s all part of the scenery.
If there’s one meal Bondi does better than any other, it’s brunch. In what was quite possibly our hardest task for the week, we’ve narrowed it down to our top three picks but, with excellent cafes on almost every corner, it’s pretty hard to go wrong. Jo and Willy’s Depot up in North Bondi has been delivering delicious meals for a good few years now, embracing fresh produce in recipes that deliver flavour in spades. The menu is superbly enticing (if you manage to make it past the front counter of freshly baked cakes and pastries without ordering) but we always find it hard to say no to the mushy peas, parmesan and poached egg combination that is Peas Please. Back down towards the main part of Bondi, Porch and Parlour is another favourite. The focus here is firmly on health, with quinoa, kale and sprouted grain bread featuring heavily on the menu. Their trademark Porched Eggs are always a good idea, rounded and poached to perfection and covered in fresh herbs. Whatever you choose, eating here is always a meal you can feel virtuous about. The final mention in our trifecta goes to Shuk, which offers a middle-eastern inspired start to the day. As well as their spread of house made baked goods, which is seriously to die for, their savoury offerings make choosing difficult. Will it be the zucchini and pea fritters with pea puree, whipped fetta and tomato-maple relish or the Israeli breakfast with sides like hummus butter that linger in our dreams? It’s your call.
The other foodie paradise well worth a visit while you’re in town is the Bondi Farmers Market, which is held in the public school grounds on Campbell Parade every Saturday morning from 9am – 1pm. All products are sold by the people who grew or made them, bringing an intimate and rewarding feel to any purchases made. There’s an abundance of fresh produce you can stock up on as well as a number of ready to eat options, which you can then enjoy picnic-style, surrounded by live music. The same venue also hosts a Sunday market where you can purchase clothes, jewellery and homewares. Some of Sydney’s most successful brands started out here, such as luxe jewellery label Samantha Wills and eyewear phenomenon Bailey Nelson, so it’s always exciting to think what new discovery you might make as you wind your way through the stalls.
When the afternoon sun starts to dip over Bondi, there’s nowhere we’d rather be than the Bucket List. Set right on the sand, this place screams holiday, providing the best beach front real estate in town, refreshing cocktails and a small but sophisticated wine list. This is the life.