Living in Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is part of Waverly Council and is located in the Eastern Suberbs, 7 kilometres of the Sydney CBD. North Bondi and Bondi Junction are neighbouring suburbs. If you want to see rich, toned guys and girls cruising around in their beach cars or if you want to shop, surf or sunbathe then this is the place to be.
Bondi Beach has a few hostels by the beach but the ones I stayed in weren't ones to write home about. The Bondi Beachhouse YHA Hostel is probably the cleanest one and then there are places like Sinclairs Hostel and Surfside Bondi Beach which are livable. If you are a backpacker, it is a good idea to get a job in the Bondi hostels as you only have to work between 30 minutes to 2 hours per day in exchange for free accommodation. This usually means your own bedroom and bathroom (luxury!) and possibly a bit of money per week too and this can work round another job if need be. This arrangement is great around Christmas time as hostels in Sydney, and particularly around Bondi, charge extortionate rates to travellers.
House shares around Bondi range from $150-$200 per person per week and you will be sharing a room with at least one other person in the bedroom. Bondi is one of the most desired place for travellers to stay in Sydney so rent is very expensive. For example, a studio bedsit is approximately $450 per week and that's just a room with a bed and kitchen. You normally have to share the bathroom with other studios.
You see more of the working class local people around Bondi Junction and North Bondi areas but Bondi Beach, one of the major attractions in Sydney, is swarming with Aussie surfers, tourists and rich locals. Thousands of people spend their time on Bondi Beach sunbathing and it is not uncommon to hear loads of different languages and accents while walking across the beach or sitting in a cafe. Bondi Beach is a tolerant place and topless sunbathing is common as well as gay and lesbian couples displaying affection.
Pubs, Clubs and Entertainment
There's a place that operates as a bar, restaurant and nightclub at the south end of Bondi beach called Bondi Icebergs which is one of the places frequented by locals. Its named for the brave swimmers who compete in the sea pool below during the winter months. There are many other restaurants and cafes on Campbell Parade. Bondi Surf Seafoods is a great fish and chips place and even serves fried mars bars for the tourists.
The two biggest bars in Bondi are Beach Road Hotel and Bondi Hotel but they're a bit expensive. Backpackers generally take the bus into Bondi Junction and drink here for less. The Cock 'N' Bull and Tea Gardens are popular bars at the Junction but are heaps of places in this area with discounts and deals displayed outside or in the hostels.
If you want to 'be seen' then go for Ravesi's on the corner of Hall Street and Campbell parade. It attracts the beautiful people... or at least those who think they are beautiful. Bondi locals will tend to go to BBs. BBs is hidden down an alley next to the Mambo surf shop on Campbell Parade. Live music, surf videos and a more relaxed vibe than other places.
Entertainment on the beach can not only involve playing games such as volleyball but there are also music events all year round (more so at Christmas time and New Years) which you should look out for as they provide a great vibe. Also, people tend to go 'beach hopping' where you can walk along the coastal line and end up in Coogee, Bronte, and even Maroubra if you walk far enough.
Bondi Park is a large grassed area sloping down towards Bondi Beach and is the most popular park in the area. The views are lovely and there is a pool, kiosk, toilets and shady areas. There are barbeques as well so you can enjoy a good Aussie barbeque whilst on Bondi.
Memorial Gardens, next to the Council Chambers on Bondi Road, is a flat, grassy area with trees, benches and an Anzac Memorial. Waverley Park consists of the Oval with its grandstand and turf cricket pitch as well as a grass training area, netball courts, a Bocce court, public cricket nets, a dog exercise area, and a tree-lined hillside with glimpses of the ocean and the Memorial Gardens. Dickson Park, a small park on the corner of Edward Street and Wellington Street, also has netball courts and a green area where you can sunbathe.
Shops, Restaurants and Takeaways
The few shops at Bondi Beach tend to be somewhat expensive but offer great brand names and surfboards if this is what you are looking for. Westfield shopping centre at Bondi Junction is a massive attraction and you can find plenty of bargains there. The Sunday markets are always a popular attraction too, they are at Bondi Beach Public School.
Tickets are available to Bondi Beach from any train station. This includes the train to Bondi Junction and a 10 minute bus transfer from there to Bondi Beach. From central Sydney take the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line trains from Central, Town Hall or Martin Place stations to Bondi Junction (10 mins). The train ride takes 10 minutes from Town Hall to Bondi Junction.
Buses (lines 380, 381, 382, L82) run to Bondi Beach every 5 minutes from Bondi Junction during the day (6am till 9pm) and then at 15 minute intervals from approximately (9pm till 1am) then every half hour during the early hours. Or you can walk from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach which is about 2 kilometres downhill.
Areas of Sydney