G’DAY BONDI

Back­packer hang­out and glam­our hot spot, here’s how to ex­pe­ri­ence Bondi Beach in style

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BONDI BEACH - PAUL EWART

From back­pack­ers and bil­lion­aires to surfers and sun­bathers; the charms of Bondi’s golden cres­cent of sand, turquoise wa­ters and surf breaks knows no bounds. But there’s more to this beach­side sub­urb than sand, surf and ocean air.

Now one of Syd­ney’s most ex­cit­ing emerg­ing food and drink hubs, its bur­geon­ing bar scene, award­win­ning restau­rants, luxe ho­tels and yoga schools have seen it trans­form from dodgy back­packer haunt into one of the city’s most glam­orous neigh­bour­hoods.

And with sum­mer just around the cor­ner, there has never been a bet­ter time to plan your visit to Aus­tralia’s most fa­mous beach.

IS THERE A WAY TO AVOID THE MASSES ON THE BEACH?

If you want to see it at its best – and to avoid the crowds, blar­ing sound sys­tems and South Amer­i­can vol­ley­ball play­ers – then fol­low the lead of lo­cals and go early. Bondi gets busier as the day wears on, so for beach time that errs more on the idyl­lic side set your alarm clock for dawn and join the early ris­ers.

I’VE HEARD ABOUT THE COASTAL WALK ...

The short, yet spec­tac­u­lar 4km Bondi to Bronte coastal walk shows off the best of Syd­ney’s coast­line. Best un­der­taken in the early morn­ing, you’ll be en­er­gised by the spec­ta­cle of crash­ing waves, panoramic ocean views, beau­ti­ful beaches and nat­u­ral rock pools.

Plan ahead for break­fast at Bronte’s cafe in­sti­tu­tion, Three Blue Ducks. The orig­i­nal out­let (the brand now boasts cafes in Syd­ney’s Rose­bery and By­ron Bay) has been packed with hun­gry din­ers since open­ing in 2010.

Pulling in large crowds, the al­ways chang­ing menu in­cludes the muchloved scram­bled eggs with black sausage. An­other must-try is the home­made veg­emite.

Make sure to pay a visit to the cafe’s back­yard kitchen gar­den filled with home­grown vegeta­bles, bee­hives and chooks.

THREEBLUEDUCKS.COM

WHAT SHOULDN’T I MISS?

Ice­bergs. A bot­tle­neck point for walk­ers be­gin­ning the Bondi to Bronte trail, Ice­bergs is home to the grandaddy of all ocean pools.

Ca­sual en­try is only $6.50, which gives you ac­cess to the pool, gym and glass-fronted sauna. And post-surf, swim or walk, make sure to ease tired mus­cles by book­ing in for an ex­pert mas­sage at Ice­berg’s the Body Spot.

A sta­ple at the land­mark for more than 20 years, it has three mas­sage rooms pool­side, staffed by some of the best ther­a­pists in the city who are trained to loosen knots and re­duce ten­sion. And with the sound of crash­ing surf in the back­ground, you can eas­ily for­get you’re in Bondi and not some trop­i­cal is­land par­adise. ICE­BERGS.COM.AU BODYSPOTATBONDIBEACH.COM.AU

WHERE CAN I WORK OUT?

In Bondi Beach the out­doors is your gym. No mat­ter what time of the day you’ll en­counter run­ners, swim­mers, surfers, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

If you’re an ex­hi­bi­tion­ist – or you just fancy a perv – then check out Bondi’s seafront out­door gym (the Syd­ney ver­sion of the famed “mus­cle beach” in LA). But be­fore you even think about hit­ting the sand, start the day the right way by hit­ting the mat. Bondi is syn­ony­mous with yoga and there’s an ar­ray of op­tions, one of the best is BodyMindLife. A yoga in­sti­tu­tion in Syd­ney for the last 15 years, their stu­dio on Hall Street (the main thor­ough­fare in the sub­urb) of­fers both restora­tive yin and dy­namic vinyasa classes taught by some of the best teach­ers in the biz.

All lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence are catered to and there are show­ers, lock­ers, free herbal teas and an in-house pi­lates re­former stu­dio too, just in case yoga isn’t your thing.

BODYMINDLIFE.COM

HOW ABOUT A SURF?

Shel­tered by head­lands, Bondi’s pro­tected wa­ters are a great place to surf. Whether pro, be­gin­ner or fair­weather surfer, there’s a break for ev­ery­one. As such, lo­cals, tourists and even celebs (don’t be sur­prised if you end up shar­ing surf space with Chris Hemsworth or Hugh Jack­man) pad­dle out daily.

If you’re a new­bie, head to the area’s most renowned surf school, Let’s Go Surf­ing. You can rent boards and wet­suits here too. LETSGOSURFING.COM.AU

WHAT’S A GOOD OP­TION FOR BRUNCH?

Suf­fused with en­ergy from surf­ing or down­ward dog-ing, you’ll need a good feed. Thank­fully, Bondi gives great brekky and there are more cafes here than you can shake a stick at.

One of the best (and new­est) ad­di­tions is Rocker. Part-owned by celebrity chef, Dar­ren Robert­son (of My Kitchen Rules fame) this all-day North Bondi cof­fee spot, cafe and restau­rant has an­other celebrity touch in the form of chef, Stu­art Toon, who worked as a butcher with Jamie Oliver for a decade.

Us­ing fresh, lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, win­ners from the short break­fast menu in­clude the maple-cured ba­con sand­wich and house-made HP sauce and The Buck­ler – aka the best fry-up you’ll ever have.

If it wasn’t cool enough, the Rocker re­cently an­nounced a part­ner­ship with hip co-work­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion Two Space, turn­ing part of the space into a hang­out for the dig­i­tal no­mad set dur­ing the day.

Hall St’s long-run­ning Bondi Hard­ware is an­other go-to. With a food phi­los­o­phy fo­cused on share plates with a seafood in­flu­ence, their brunch menu (served from 8am on­wards) caters to the health con­scious as well as those look­ing for a hearty feast with sig­na­ture dishes such as the restau­rant’s Fruit and Chia Cha Cha, Frank & Beans and the Full Hard­ware (for the very hun­gry only).

If you want a long lunch, try the newly launched bot­tom­less rose lunches. Served on week­ends, for $75

a per­son, you’ll get two hours of un­lim­ited French rose or rose san­gria and a share-style ban­quet menu.

ROCKERBONDI.COM.AU, BONDI-HARD­WARE.COM.AU

WHERE SHOULD I GO FOR SUNDOWNERS?

A long­stand­ing Bondi in­sti­tu­tion, Ice­bergs Din­ing Room and Bar is the place to see and be seen.

The lauded re­gional Ital­ian restau­rant comes with an ap­pro­pri­ately large price tag, but if you’ve got cham­pagne tastes on a beer bud­get, you can still ex­pe­ri­ence the vibe here, and the killer views, by book­ing into the bar for a few drinks.

The menu is drool-wor­thy, but you can’t go past the No. 147 on the “clas­sics” list – com­pris­ing Ciroc vodka, co­conut liqueur and pas­sion­fruit – and the Ne­gro­nis.

Per­ma­nently packed dur­ing sum­mer, it’s best to come early and se­cure a po­si­tion on the ter­race to take in the ocean breeze.

IDRB.COM

HOW ABOUT DIN­NER?

There are mul­ti­ple op­tions but a sure­fire win­ner is Drake Eatery. The cre­ation of Bondi lo­cal and award­win­ning chef Ian Oakes, this bustling venue has be­come one of the favourite din­ing des­ti­na­tions since open­ing two years ago.

Po­si­tioned in the thick of the ac­tion on the cor­ner of Gould and Curlewis streets, it spe­cialises in crack­ing mod­ern Aus­tralian sea­sonal dishes, pre­pared us­ing sus­tain­able lo­cal pro­duce. You can’t go past the panseared thyme gnoc­chi with hazel­nuts and Pec­ora blue cheese. Other ticks in­clude the brus­sels sprouts with truf­fle parme­san, the char­grilled Kobe wagyu and, for dessert, the deca­dent white choco­late and hon­ey­comb par­fait with salted caramel. So naughty, but oh so good!

For Mex­i­can, Taqiza is a must. Only a few months old, what this small restau­rant-cum-bar lacks in size it makes up for in at­mos­phere.

Packed with a fun crowd, you can work your way through the menu of mar­gar­i­tas as you sam­ple the “Mex­i­can gas­tron­omy” of eight taco va­ri­eties (in­clud­ing beef cheek, BBQ sal­mon and pulled pork) and larger dishes, such as the tuna ce­viche and grilled oc­to­pus.

Taqiza means “taco party” and you can def­i­nitely feel the party vibe on Tues­day and Sun­day evenings when a small band en­ter­tains din­ers with lively Latin beats.

DRAKEEATERY.COM.AU, TAQIZA.COM.AU

CAN I GET MY RE­TAIL FIX HERE?

Ab­so­lutely. If you visit on a week­end, head to the Sun­day Bondi Mar­kets – a mecca for home­ware-lovers and fash­ion­istas with pieces from lo­cal de­sign­ers, jew­ellery, hand-poured can­dles, vin­tage cloth­ing, retro fur­ni­ture and ex­otic im­ports.

BONDIMARKETS.COM.AU

WHERE SHOULD I STAY?

If you’re look­ing for slick ac­com­mo­da­tion that’s a sea breeze dis­tance from the beach then check into Bondi’s new­est, and eas­ily coolest ho­tel, the QT Bondi.

Spear­head­ing the new wave of Bondi de­vel­op­ment, it opened two years ago as part of the new Bondi Pa­cific com­plex.

The 69 stu­dios and apart­ments have plenty of luxe touches, from the su­per-comfy beds and fluffy robes, to the Malin+Goetz skin­care prod­ucts. A nice touch is the use of note­wor­thy lo­cals, in­clud­ing Bondi Res­cue’s Bruce “Hoppo” Hop­kins, as “ex­pe­ri­ence cu­ra­tors” of­fer­ing their ex­er­cise to vis­it­ing guests.

QTHOTELSANDRESORTS.COM

HOW DO I GET THERE?

Bondi Beach is 19km from Syd­ney air­port – roughly a 30-minute drive by car, taxi or Uber. You can also get a train from the air­port to Bondi Junc­tion and from there take one of many buses for the short jour­ney to the beach. Al­ter­na­tively, there are di­rect buses from the city.

PIC­TURES: ISTOCK, BONDI HARD­WARE, JONATHAN NG

ICE­BERGS POOL Bondi’s golden cres­cent and aqua wa­ters (main) are well known but the charms of the iconic lo­ca­tion are many, in­clud­ing fine din­ing and eclec­tic artis­tic events.

SCULP­TURE BY THE SEA

BONDI HARD­WARE

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