Bondi Beach, or Boondi (an Aboriginal word meaning “the noise of water breaking over rocks”), hardly needs an introduction—its fame has spread beyond Australia’s shores. Bondi, on the southern shore, is the iconic surfer beach where the lifeguards ply their trade, pulling out unsuspecting swimmers who have underestimated the riptides or swallowed a little too much water while off their surfboards.
But it’s all good, and the popularity of this beach speaks for itself. In the summer and on the weekends it is sometimes difficult to see the sand between the people, but the beach is wide enough to accommodate everybody, and there are dedicated parts of the beach for surfers and swimmers. Get changed into your swimming costume at the beach pavilion, and head off to learn to surf or play beach ball or even beach volleyball.
One thing that is a must-do, even if it will take you away from the beach, is the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. Start off in Bondi, to the right if you are facing the sea, and start to ascend past the iconic Bondi Icebergs (1 Notts Ave., tel. 02/9130-3120, daily 11am-late, adult $5.50, child $3.50, spectator $3), a swimming club that has been in place since 1929 and has the fantastic location overlooking the entire beach and bay, while allowing you to swim both in a pool and the sea. (How, you might ask? There is of course the pool, a neatly laned rectangle of green water, but it is built so close to the rocks that in regular intervals the natural waves from the ocean crash into the corner of the pool, offering some refreshment.)
To continue on the walk, simply follow the coastal route and you will walk past stunning coastal views, with regular stop-off points. Each year in and around October-November the Sculpture by the Sea festival displays sculptures all along this first stretch of the walk, offering modern art set off beautifully by the natural surroundings.
Have a brief drink at the beach café on the quaint little Tamarama Beach, then continue on to beautiful Bronte Beach (maybe stop for lunch) and past the Waverley Cemetery, with the best views to be had anywhere, then finish up at the great sandy expanse of Coogee Beach. The entire walk should take you around two hours to complete. It is some six kilometers long, and the difficulty level is easy to medium, but it does undulate from steep inclines to softer hills, and there are a few steps along the way. You’ll be rewarded with some of the most amazing coastal scenery Australia has to offer. You can then either walk back or take the bus back into Sydney from Coogee. Be sure to bring some water and sunscreen.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Sydney & the Great Barrier Reef.