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Bondi Beach, NSW (c) Anna Mansfield

Your guide to Bondi Beach on the cheap

How to eat, drink and live it up like a local


Bondi Beach is the stuff postcards are made of. It’s the place where shoes are optional, the lifeguards are TV superstars and there’s plenty of talent to swipe yes to on Tinder.  

But how do you do it like a true local and not like the throngs of newbies falling off the tourist buses?

How to get there, fast

Express buses run to Bondi Beach from the centre of Sydney, and take about 30 minutes to reach the beach. Jump on a 333, 380, 381, 389, X89 and you’re good to go. Plan your trip here or download the Opal app to see when your ride is coming in real time.

Trains operate from the city centre to Bondi Junction (it’s the end of the line, so easy to know when to jump off), from there it is a 10 minute bus / taxi / uber ride from the beach. Or, don’t be a slacker, and walk. It’s 20 minutes tops and mostly downhill.


Or better still, stay

Make like you own the joint and stay as close to the beach as humanly possible. There are plenty of hostels – Noah’s at the end of Francis Street and a few on Lamrock Avenue.

If you’re keener on your own room for a short stay, check out Airbnb. Every local in Bondi flogs their room here as they chase the European summer, so there are plenty of cheap options to choose from.


Happy hour

There are happy hours all over this sun-kissed suburb. Our pick is The Shop & Wine Bar on Curlewis Street every day between 3 – 6pm. A local’s haunt, you’ll find $6 red, white and beer that is top notch-natchie numbers. Also not to be missed: their BLT. Holy cats.


Cheap eats

Bondi is the perfect place to be a player, because it’s so cheap to date. There are the nightly specials – North Bondi RSL’s $10 steak night is not to be missed on a Wednesday (you’ll need photo ID to get in) and up on Bondi Road, dive bar The Beaver has a special for every night of the week. On Monday, line up for $5 cheeseburgers, on Tuesday, $10 burgers and $4.50 beers, on Wednesday it’s half-price wings (that’s 8 for $6). And yeah, it’s perfectly acceptable to treat yourself to steak AND wings.

If you’re looking for somewhere acceptable to take your new arm candy, try La Macelleria on Campbell Pde. The trick here is to order a couple of kebabs (chicken or beef) and veg / fries. Dinner for two if you play it this way will cost you less than $20.


Shop like a baller

On Gould Street, there are designer shops one after the other – Lucy Folk, Tuchuzy, Watson x Watson. Window shop, or if you’re feeling cashed up / have Mum’s credit card handy, go to town.

For the cut-price kids, the real bargains are to be found at The Wayside Chapel Op shop on Warners Avenue. This hidden gem plays home to plenty of secondhand designer pieces ditched by the Bondi bloggers – get a whole outfit and change for a $20.


Work, work, work, work

Bondi is full of freelancers reluctant to pay for their own internet – why not join them at one of the many cafes / stores that lure you in with NBN speeds?

Our faves? Chapter One on Sir Thomas Mitchell Road (get the Brekkie Roll if you’re eating – you’ll feel full for a year) or Bills on Hall Street where the internet is faster than Grease Lightning, and the zucchini fries are always a good idea.

Lululemon on Campbell Pde also have a communal work desk you can use – but be warned for those small of bladder, there’s no bathroom.

Living the freelance life? Here’s our pick of the best places to work. 


Other free stuff to do in Bondi

Sit out on the grassy knoll on the North End of the beach. Sunny until the very last moment.

Browse for secondhand books at Gertrude & Alice on Hall St, or better still, there’s a bookcase on the northern end of Campbell Pde outside Rocker where the books are free.

Walk the Bondi to Bronte and swim in every body of water you find in between.

Bake your bod on the sand.

So, what else do you need to know? Here are all the essentials – from one local to a soon-to-be other.

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