In Travel

24 Hours In Bondi: A Local’s Guide Of What To Do, Eat, And See

Visiting Australia's most famous beach? Here's how to plan your visit.

Ah, good ol’ Bondi. After the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach with its kilometer-long stretch of white sand and blue-green ocean is hands down the most well-recognised Sydney sight by international travelers.

But the beautiful beach and the adjacent main drag of Campbell Parade, which sees hundreds of visitors deposited in busloads daily, is only a tiny sliver of what the suburb has to offer. Beyond that, Bondi’s also home to charming, family-owned restaurants, hidden swimming spots, and an exclusive shopping street. If you’ve only got 24 hours there, here’s how to spend it.

9am: Breakfast at The Depot, North Bondi

Breakfast at The Depot. Photo: Facebook

Begin your day with breakfast at The Depot in North Bondi. The small bistro at the very top of Campbell Parade is a favourite among residents in nearby three-street peninsula Ben Buckler, giving it a quaint neighbourhood feel. Co-owned by Youtube star Chef Guy Turland, The Depot has ocean views from its outdoor seating, a tongue-in-cheek menu featuring meals like ‘Green eggs & ham’ and ‘Hipster breakfast bowl’, and, most importantly for the day ahead, strong coffee.

11am: Coastal walk to Mackenzie’s Bay

Mackenzies Bay Photo: Maurice van Creij/Wikimedia

After a relaxing breakfast, you’ll no doubt be itching to jump in the glimmering blue water for a swim. If you can hold that urge for half an hour longer, make your way along the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk to the quiet nook just before Tamarama called Mackenzie’s Bay. Occasionally a beach at low tide, but most often only a bay, Mackenzie’s can be reached by taking the stairs down from the path and climbing across the rocks to the right. The lesser-known spot is usually filled with locals and their dogs, soaking up sun or jumping in to cool off.

1pm: Lunch at Icebergs Terrace

Damn, Bondi Photo: Icebergs Terrace

When you start feeling peckish again, walk back along the seaside path to Bondi’s iconic Icebergs for lunch. The massive building next to the pool houses three eateries – a swanky dining room, a low-key RSL, and a new outdoor café called Icebergs Terrace, only open during the warmer months. Perched above the pool, the artificial grass-covered balcony with chic white picnic tables and matching umbrellas has sweeping views of Bondi, a seafood-focused menu, and an array of summer beverages.

3pm: Shop on Gould Street

Doughnut Time on Gould St. Photo: Doughnut Time

Post-lunch, stroll down to central Bondi’s Gould Street for some retail therapy. Parallel to Campbell Parade, the narrow side street is lined with designer shops, trendy boutiques, and a few chain stores. Highlights include Tuchuzy for high-end fashion, Bondi Wash for natural Australian products, and newly-opened Saturdays NYC for quality men’s shirts and board shorts. Before leaving, be sure to grab an artisan-crafted doughnut from dessert chain Doughnut Time. Not only will the sweet treat tide you over until dinner, but it’ll also up your Instagram game.

5pm: Drinks at The Bucket List

The Bucket List’s Fishbowl. Photo: The Bucket List

Time for cocktails! The Bucket List in Bondi Pavilion serves some of the best in an indoor-outdoor setting directly across from the beach. Every summer weekend without fail, the venue is packed with a mixed crowd of still-sandy beachgoers and dolled-up scenesters. In fact, Bucket List gets so busy that if you don’t arrive early enough in the afternoon, you’ll more than likely find yourself waiting in a long line. Don’t be deterred, however – once inside, any impatience will dissipate quickly as you’re swept up in the contagious buzz of the place.

7pm: Dinner at China Diner Bondi

Snacks at China Diner. Photo: Facebook

After a couple (or more) drinks at The Bucket List, wander down Hall Street to China Diner for dinner. The sophisticated yet laidback hot spot puts a healthy and modern spin on the usually sodium-heavy Chinese cuisine with a share-style menu of dumplings and mains. Inspired by the social ambience of American diners, China Diner has cosy booths, open tables, and fixed stools running along its long, hardwood bar.

9pm: Dessert at Gelato Messina

Scooping. Photo: Gelato Messina

Hopefully you’ll have managed to save room for dessert because a stone’s throw away from China Diner is Gelato Messina. The cult brand, which produces all its gelato and flavour ingredients from scratch, began in Sydney’s Darlinghurst in 2002 and has since expanded to locations across Australia. You can choose from classics like salted caramel or strawberries and cream or, if you’re looking for something different, opt for one of their five weekly specials they announce on their social channels.

11pm: Stay at Hotel Ravesis

It’s safe to assume that by now, you’re likely exhausted and ready to call it a day. Luckily, Hotel Ravesis is only a few minutes walk away from Messina, at the corner of Hall Street and Campbell Parade. Above the recently-refurbished, pink-and-white-painted restaurant and bar, Ravesis has 12 luxury boutique rooms and suites overlooking the beach. All complete in early 2018, the accommodation is light and airy with furniture and décor in similar muted pastels as the building’s exterior.

Published 20 November, 2017