Upon moving to Australia in 2016, after living in a desert for most of my life, I could not wait to hit the beaches. Luckily for me, Sydney has no shortages of those to visit. Little did I know, one of Australia’s most iconic beaches, Bondi, would be the place that I would soon refer to as my home away from home. Over the course of six months of living, working, and exploring the Bondi Beach, I have come up with a little local guide that I believe are essential for backpackers to experience.
Things to do in Bondi Beach
Bondi Icebergs Club
Bondi Icebergs is one of the most photographed spots in Bondi Beach… and for good reason! With two different sized areas, swimming in the pools is as refreshing as going for a dip in the sea, but without the rough waves and dangerous riptides. The saltwater pools stay about the same temperature as the ocean and provide a picturesque environment to go for a swim. Just above the swimming deck is a relaxing hot rock sauna and if you are anything like myself, hopping into the pools immediately after spending some time in the sauna will be one of the best ways to start your day. Inside the club, you will find a beautiful dining area with stunning views and a cosy cafe to sit and sip on a cappuccino whilst chatting with your friends. Entry into the club is just $7 for guests and has optional year-round membership deals for locals.
Bondi to Coogee Walk
This six-kilometre coastal walk is home to a vast range of beaches to stop and relax at as well as an infinite amount of stunning views. The walk itself takes around two hours, however, I like to make it a full day affair. Pack a picnic and have a BBQ at Bronte Beach, enjoy the underwater life by snorkelling in Gordon's Bay or Clovelly, and surf or play volleyball on Tamarama. End the walk at Coogee Beach and grab a drink and some food at one of the many restaurants and pubs in the area. The beginning of the walk is right past Bondi Icebergs in South Bondi Beach and carries on through a scenic walkway all the way from start to finish.
Restaurants and Cafes to visit
Bagel 2 Go
Right in the heart of Bondi Beach sits my favourite place to grab my morning coffee and a bite to eat. I am not ashamed to admit that in the six months that I lived in Sydney, there was only a handful of days that I did not visit Bagel 2 Go. This locally owned cafe has nine different types of bagels, seven spreads, and 18 in-house made cream cheeses to create a unique bite to suit any customer's taste. It doesn't end there – they also offer a variety of bagel sandwiches and recently added a decadent ice cream bagel for those with adventurous taste buds. Whether I was getting my morning coffee or a quick snack before work, I was never disappointed after I stopped there.
Breakfast is my favourite meal to go out to eat for, so it was essential to find a hearty breakfast joint that wouldn't make my bank account suffer. I explored a lot of different venues in Bondi Beach, but I always found myself right back at Skinny Dip cafe. The plates are large, the food is tasty, and the variety of different meals is almost exhausting. On top of the mouth-watering menu, they offer freshly squeezed fruit juices and smoothies, frappes and shakes, and of course, for those of us that are more traditional with our morning drinks, tea and coffee.
Bondi Tony's Burger Joint
I cannot express the deliciousness that is found in a mouthful of burger from Bondi Tony's. This locally owned restaurant was by far where I had the most satisfying burger during my two years of living in Australia. The beef burgers are rolled fresh every morning in-house and the buns are freshly made by a bakery and delivered daily. The restaurant itself is tiny, friendly, and has such an enjoyable atmosphere, you will feel like you are sitting in your own living room. The menu is a bit on the pricey side, but it was a delightful present for myself everytime I ate there.
Bars and nightlife in Bondi Beach
Bavarian Bier Cafe
I don't know about anyone else, but I am a huge advocate for cheap drinks and a good time. Located right on Campbell Parade is Bavarian Bier Cafe, a German-style pub with my favourite happy hour deals going on Monday thru Friday. Grab your friends and go there from 4-6pm for $5 beer, house wine, and basic spirits PLUS $1 chicken wings. It became a Friday afternoon ritual for my friends and myself to sit around and decompress after a long weeks work. To add to the fun, they also have board and card games to get the weekend started. Every Monday night at 8 pm, Bavarian Bier Cafe also hosts karaoke for anyone with the guts to belt out a song in front of a crowd.
Beach Road Hotel
Anyone who gets stuck in the Bondi bubble knows that Wednesday night is the night to go out and let your hair down. Beach Road Hotel is home to four separate bars and an outdoor patio area. Play a game of pool, watch the big game, or relax in the garden during the day. Come nightfall, get ready for a live music, DJs, drinks, and dancing. With two full floors of clubbing, Beach Road is ideal for any group of friends looking for a guaranteed night to remember.
The Bucket List
Last but not least, one of the best days that I had in Bondi was spent sitting at The Bucket List, right on Bondi Beach with a group of girlfriends surrounding me. The Bucket List is the picture perfect beach bar. The seating outside has comfortable cushioned couches, large umbrellas to protect you from the sun, and an incomparable view of the beach with a drink in hand. The Bucket List has four different rooms, two fully function bars, and a DJ booth to get the evenings going with good music. They typically have an awesome beer bucket deal and fun, fruity cocktails that quench the thirst of anyone on a hot day.
Why Bondi Beach?
Bondi Beach is one of more than 10,000 beaches that Australia has to offer. Some people believe Bondi to be too touristy, however, it is clear as day why this beautiful gem is as popular as it is. Many of the shops and restaurants are locally owned, the vibe is relaxed – a stark change from the hustle and bustle of the city, and it has its own little community within Sydney. Whether for a day, a week or for six months, Bondi Beach is a wonderful way to spend time whilst visiting Australia.