Discover Bondi's secrets beyond its golden shoreline.
By Ellie Schneider
There are plenty of reasons to love Australia's most famous beach. Beyond the beachfront strip, Campbell Parade, lies a village of cafés, restaurants and designer shops, and locals often dedicate their entire weekend to the "Bondi Bubble". With countless accommodation options, including high-end hotel QT Bondi, you can too.
- Dine at trendsetting cafés and restaurants
- Walk along the clifftops between glistening white-sand beaches
- Shop the fashion boutiques along Gould Street
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Top things to do in Bondi
Walk Sydney's famous Bondi to Coogee coastal trail
The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is one of Sydney’s most scenic attractions. Begin at the Bondi Icebergs ocean pool and traverse the six kilometre (3.7 mile) clifftop trail between Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee beaches. The walk will take just over an one hour each way. Each beach has its own unique charm, with parks, cafés and picnic spots. There are also plenty of opportunities to swim along the way, whether you prefer the surf at Tamarama or the calm water of Bronte's ocean pool. Wander past Clovelly to the little oasis of Gordons Bay, a well-known scuba diving and snorkelling spot. At the end of your walk you'll find the renowned seaside eatery Coogee Pavilion, which serves delicious fresh seafood, wood-fired pizza and breathtaking views from its rooftop terrace.
Or take the lesser known route to Watsons Bay
Take the road less travelled and stretch your legs on the seven kilometre (4.3 mile) Federation Cliff Walk from Bondi to Watsons Bay, allowing 1 1/2 hours each way. Walk up Military Road at the northern end of Bondi Beach to Raleigh Reserve in Dover Heights. Follow the timber walkway as it twists above sandstone cliffs, past Australia’s oldest lighthouse, and down toward The Gap, where you'll take in dramatic views across the Pacific Ocean. This is one of Sydney’s best spots for whale watching from May to November. At the end of your walk, enjoy a laid-back lunch at the harbourside pub, the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel.
Delve into Bondi's vibrant dining scene
Bondi has become one of Sydney's most popular dining destinations with its mix of sophisticated restaurants, casual takeaway joints and clean-eating cafés. Start your day with the green breaky bowl at Porch and Parlour or Harry’s indulgent ricotta hotcakes with blueberries, organic maple and double cream. At lunch and dinner, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar delivers regional Italian cuisine with one of the most coveted views in Sydney. While at the other end of the beach, laid-back eatery North Bondi Fish serves a seafood-centric menu, a testament to the restaurant's waterfront location. Bondi's bars get packed at sunset as beachgoers tear themselves away from the sand. Enjoy a tipple at relaxed wine bars such as Neighbourhood or The Corner House or cocktail jugs at The Bucket List. And if you're looking for a sweet pick-me-up, try a scoop of gelato at Gelato Messina – salted caramel is the biggest seller.
Splurge on designer threads along Gould Street
Just back from the beach lies the boutique shopping strip of Gould Street, home to premium Australian designers including Jac + Jack, Annex and Museum. Tuchuzy is a local favourite where you’ll find acclaimed international labels such as Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang and Rag & Bone, alongside the cream of Australian fashion including Dion Lee and Bassike. Across the road browse sunglasses at Bailey Nelson. For a unique gift pick up luxury skincare products from Aesop.
Tuck into delicious street food at Bondi farmers market
Each Saturday, Bondi locals make the weekly farmers market their first port of call. Head down early to nab a spot on the grass and get your hands on popular dishes such as Mr Bao's steamed buns loaded with karaage chicken or delicious Vietnamese street food from Bar Pho. You'll have the chance to meet the producers and pick up all sorts of locally made gifts such as olive oils, honey, jams, herbs and spices.
Swim, surf or chill out on the grassy knoll
Bondi wakes with the sunrise as swimmers, surfers and photographers all head for the beach. It's a hive of activity from morning to night, aptly captured by surf photographer Eugene Tan at his Bondi gallery Aquabumps. Sets of flags are dotted along the sand and indicate the safest areas for swimming. Surfers stick to the southern end and, is you're a first-time surfer, Let's Go Surfing offers a range of private and group lessons run by professional surfers. Take a dip in Sydney’s most famous pool, which has been a Bondi landmark for more than 100 years. Bondi Icebergs is open to the public each day apart from Thursday (adults AUD$6.50) when it is closed for cleaning. Year round, locals flock to the "grassy knoll", a little grass hill at the northern end of the beach, for picnics, barbecues or to just chill out into the afternoon.
Come for the festivals
Each year Bondi hosts a diverse calendar of festivals and events. Sculpture by the Sea takes place each October and November, transforming the coastal walk between Bondi and Tamarama into an open-air gallery as more than 100 sculptures pop up along the shoreline. In September the beach comes alive with kite-flying extravaganza Festival of the Winds, and from January to February Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinemas screens the best new releases and cult classics on its outdoor movie screen. During winter (June to August), test your legs on the ice skating rink at Bondi Winter Magic festival or in the Sun-Herald City2Surf, a 14 kilometre (8.7 mile) fun run that attracts more than 80,000 participants.
How to get there
Express buses run to Bondi Beach from the centre of Sydney, and take about 30 minutes to reach the beach. Trains operate from the city centre to Bondi Junction, which is a 10 minute bus or taxi ride from the beach. Bondi Beach is also one of many stops on a Big Bus Sydney tour, which allows you can hop on and off as you please.