Bondi Beach is synonymous with Australian beach culture, and indeed, the 1.5km-long curve of golden sand must be one of the best-known beaches in the world. It’s also the closest ocean beach to the city centre; you can take a train to Bondi Junction and then a ten-minute bus ride, or drive there in twenty minutes. Big, brash and action-packed, it’s probably not the best place for a quiet sunbathe and swim, but the sprawling sandy crescent really is spectacular. Red-tiled houses and apartment buildings crowd in to catch the view, many of them erected in the 1920s when Bondi was a working-class suburb. Although still residential, it’s long since become a popular gathering place for backpackers from around the world.
The beachfront Campbell Parade is both cosmopolitan and highly commercialized, lined with cafés and shops. For a gentler experience, explore some of the side streets, such as Hall Street, where an assortment of kosher bakeries and delis serve the area’s Jewish community, and some of Bondi’s best cafés are hidden. On Sunday, the Bondi Beach Markets, in the grounds of the primary school at Campbell Parade and Warners Avenue facing the northern end of the beach (10am–4pm), are good for fashion and jewellery, or there’s the Bondi Beach Farmers’ Markets (9am–1pm). Between Campbell Parade and the beach, Bondi Park slopes down to the promenade, and is always full of sprawling bodies.