Bondi Beach is one of Australia’s and the world’s most famous beaches. Shaped like a giant horseshoe and surrounded by grassy hills, the crystal blue water compliments the pure white sand.
Bondi has a village-like atmosphere and very little high-rise development. The beach is roughly a kilometer long and is patrolled by lifesavers called The Bondi Beach Rescue, which doubles as a reality show about the beefy lifeguards rescuing distressed swimmers. It’s a real-life version of Baywatch. Even David Hasselhoff hangs out here.
Once upon a time, I met a boy, and we liked each other a lot. He got a job in Sydney, while I was living in NYC. Instead of going our separate ways, he asked me to move with him to Australia.
I told him I would move across the globe if he got my name tattooed across his chest. Of course, I was kidding ― but the next day he sent me a picture with Lara right above his heart in my signature. Being the hopeless romantic I am, I packed up after almost a decade in NYC and moved to Bondi Beach, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
There is never a bad time to travel to Bondi Beach. Christmas marks the beginning of the Sydney summer months (December – February). You will see the beach swarming with Santa hats. Boxing day (the day after Christmas) is a fun party day. Then there’s New Year’s Eve, when you should try to see the fireworks display from the Sydney Harbour.
On New Year’s Day, we would rent a yacht and cruise around the harbor. Typically, your boat will pick you up five minutes from Bondi Beach, in the neighborhood known as Rose Bay.
Here is a guide to the areas of Bondi Beach you should definitely know about. You’ll find plenty of options for what to do in Bondi Beach, Sydney, on your upcoming vacation.
The street that wraps around the Beach is called Campbell Parade. This beachfront property is highly coveted and begins in an area called North Bondi. Here, there is the “grassy knoll”, where all the hipsters hang out. On the beach is a natural kiddie pool and a general area where surf lessons are given, as the waves are usually much smaller here. The beach is also a good place to get on your paddle board.
Hike around to the rocks. This is one of my favorite places to go. My friends and I would hang out on the rocks, have a cider, and jump in the water as a wave hit (you must time it perfectly), then swim a back to shore.
Spearfishing is popular here, as is rope climbing. Sometimes, DJ’s will host parties on the rocks. A word to the wise: if you become intoxicated, there is a significant chance you will get hurt.
Just off the beach is North Bondi Fish a great place to grab dinner or an Aperol spritzer. On top is the RSL ― a great place to go for a pint, or to bet on the horses.
On Saturdays and Sundays, North Bondi has the Bondi Markets, which have long been a great option for what to do in Bondi Beach, Sydney. These bustling markets can be found on the Bondi Beach Public School grounds. It is the perfect place to grab a quick breakfast or find some organic produce on a Saturday morning.
On Sundays, you’ll find yourself browsing over a number of stands selling different original designer clothes and unique arts and crafts. I sold a line of dresses I designed, along with jewelry my Mom makes. We called our line Neysa Verde.
It is known to the locals that there is a dangerous riptide here, so be careful if you decide to swim. In July, an ice skating rink and winter wonderland are built here, and during the year many outdoor concerts spring up.
The Bondi Pavilion has sat nestled at the crest of the Bondi Beach since 1929. Although it started out as a simple beach bathhouse, it has been transformed through the years into a vibrant community center featuring a theater, a gallery, multiple multi-function rooms, shops, restaurants, and changing rooms. It is also the location of numerous cultural festivals and film festivals throughout the year.
This is the iconic bar in the middle of Bondi Beach with oceans views, great drinks, and a perfect place to hang out during the day, to watch the sunset, or at night.
South Bondi tends to be more of a topless beach. In fact the entire beach is topless. This is also where the experienced surfers go surfing, so stay out of their way. Also, watch out for the occasional whale swimming through.
This massive structure on the end of South Bondi has a bottom pool level, where the ocean waves flow into the lap pool. On the side of the lap pool, there is a kiddie pool and stadium seating.
The next level has a sauna, a gym, and is where yoga by the sea takes place. There is also a small cafe here. The level above this holds a bar ― another spot to bet on horses ― and one of the best views of the beach. On the top level, there is a fine dining restaurant.
One of the most popular and beautiful things to do is walk or run from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. This walk is 6 kilometers, or about one hour. Artists set up sculptures along the walk during the spring months for exhibitions.
The next beach over is Tamarama ― called “Glamorama” due to its exquisite houses and celebrity residents. This is a great place to surf and is also known to have a strong riptide.
Bronte has a large, grassy park off the beach that’s perfect for picnics, barbecues, and other friendly gatherings. There is also a natural rock pool for swimming.
The next area you will come to is Gordon’s Bay, which has tiny boats lining the shore. This is a great place to scuba dive.
I use to wake up at 6 a.m. to do the coastal walk to Coogee, where I worked, so I could talk to my family and friends with the time difference not getting in the way. As soon as I would arrive at Coogee, I would go to the rock pool, which is only for women, as you can swim and sunbathe naked here. Coogee has many shops, restaurants, and bars. The Coogee Pavilion is three floors, with a rooftop terrace that’s perfect for a sunset cocktail.
Anzac Day (April 25th) is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
Australians recognize this day of national remembrance in two forms. Commemorative services are held across the nation at dawn ― the time of the original landing; while later in the day, former servicemen and servicewomen meet to take part in marches through the country’s major cities and smaller centers.
It is also the one day of the year when all gambling is legal. To celebrate, your local pub will be hosting a game called Two Up. This is one of the funnest games I’ve ever played. Everyone stands in a circle, with a referee in the middle, hosting the game and getting a person from the crowd to toss two coins in the air. Players bet on whether the coins will fall with both heads up or both tails up.
If you are betting heads, you hold the person’s money on your head who is betting against you, gambling the coins will land with tails. If the person tossing the coins doesn’t get a full heads or tails, they have to either do push ups or kiss the referee. It’s always a crowd pleaser.
When you travel to Bondi Beach, wear sunscreen every time you go outside. There is no ozone here, and it gets pretty daunting to see first timers turn lobster red. We all know how painful that is.
Swim and surf in designated areas. I once rescued a distressed swimmer who was stuck in a riptide ― it’s a terrifying experience for everyone involved.
This is not New York City, so breathe. I came straight from NYC and found it difficult to adapt to the slower pace of things, but I was on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Did it really matter that my coffee wasn’t delivered in 5.9 seconds?
Know that the chances of having a blast when you travel to Bondi Beach are 100 percent. So are the chances of meeting amazing “mates” and returning home with plenty of saucy stories.
My first Christmas in Bondi was an especially magical time. It was my first Christmas spent away from my family, and my moving to the other side of the world didn’t make them happy. Luckily, my anxieties about the holiday melted away when I was welcomed by such a fun-loving, hysterical, talented, and kind group of friends.
We had a potluck style Christmas feast ― which, in Sydney, consists of a lot of seafood. It’s not the fixings this Southern gal is used to, but neither was the heat. The feast was an occasion to wear costumes ― and the costumes were hilarious!
After we ate, we opened our crackers (a traditional present wrapped up like a French Bon Bon, with little gifts inside). We opened presents and played games, and we even did a few keg stands. At one point, I looked out the window and noticed all of the people on the beach wearing Santa hats ― and I just had to be part of it.
A few of us ran out into the ocean ― costumes and all ― for an epic festive dip in the Tasmanian sea. A few hours later, it was boxing day and another great celebration!
Now that you have exciting opportunities for what to do in Bondi Beach, Sydney, head to our store to choose the clothing and accessories you need to hit up Australia in style. Shop Packed Perfectly today!