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There are over 100 beaches in this town, including several secret spots that locals hate sharing, but none are as famous – or as fiercely loved – as Bondi. The creamy sands here are a siren call for Sydneysiders just as much as they are for tourists, where a self-sustaining mini-universe exists beside mineral-green waves. Barefoot surfers, eastern-suburb princesses, long-limbed yogis, wannabe bloggers and real-deal celebrities walk the grubby streets here, and there are so many restaurants and bars to explore that you could easily dedicate an entire holiday to the Bondi bubble. Or just a day…
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is located in its own waterfront village in the exclusive suburb of Vaucluse, a seven-minute taxi ride from Bondi. The little bit of distance isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here you can take a direct ferry to the central business district (CBD), enjoy prime access to secret beach Camp Cove and have somewhere to retreat to when the Bondi crowds get a bit too much.
It’s best to start with an early-ish walk along the iconic Bondi to Bronte track. This begins at the south end of Bondi Beach alongside Icebergs’ two iconic pools and winds around spectacular cliffs to more of Sydney’s favourite beaches – Tamarama (known as ‘Glamourma’ for its popularity with the local social set) and Bronte (home to the world’s first surf lifesaving club) are the two closest. Stop at Bronte for a dip in the gorgeous little ocean pool. Sydney is dotted with these free pools and they offer a classic Australian experience.
Bondi runs mostly on kombucha and goji berries, but coffee is also taken seriously here. You’ll find an excellent cup (and brunch to match) at long-time local favourite Bills, located on Hall Street.
Next wander to the main shopping strip where the Bondi dress code – an aesthetic centred on well-worn cotton and ‘I woke up like this’ beach hair – is on display at low-key boutiques. Check out labels Museum and Jatali and head to Tuchuzy for luxe local designers, alongside everything from Acne to Missoni. Don’t miss Aquabumps gallery – Bondi’s very own Eugene Tan has been shooting the area for over a decade and his prints have a global cult following.
Whether the sun is out or not, your lunchtime priority should be joining the ever-present queue at Gelato Messina. Sydney is currently in the grip of an affair with all things frozen and sweet, and Messina – with its eccentric flavours – is right at the top of its game. If you’ve not yet eaten anything savoury, grab a takeaway falafel from street food specialist Sabbaba just up the hill, then mosey back to headquarters with your ice cream in hand, ready to start prepping yourself for the evening. Don’t miss out on a doughnut and milkshake from Speedo’s Café.
Grabbing sunset drinks at the Icebergs Dining Room is definitely one to tick off the bucket list, and the aforementioned local dress code here – made famous by it-girls such as Pip Edwards, the former head designer at Sass & Bide – can take hours to perfect. Once you’ve toasted the sunset, head to Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta for amazing Italian food by Maurice Terzini. Everything he touches draws support from Sydney’s biggest movers and shakers, so this is a surefire spot for people- watching. And more importantly, the pizza is mind-blowing.
You can finish up your evening with a drink at Bondi Hardware or get gritty at The Anchor, but don’t expect to kick on after midnight – most of Bondi is deep in beauty sleep by then and besides, don’t you want to go soft sand running in the morning?
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
Icebergs Dining Room
Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta
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