How To Do A Weekend In Bondi In Style
Gorgeous views, glamorous locals and that golden beach – it’s no wonder Bondi has long had a global reputation as a must-visit destination. But it’s only been in recent years that the Sydney outpost has seriously stepped up its luxury game.
Alongside its laidback cafés, you’ll now find fantastic fine dining. And between the backpackers, you’ll now spot chic boutiques.
Suffice to say, if you’ve yet to discover the lavish side of Bondi, you’re missing out. But not to fear, we’ve rounded up the best of it here.
Where to eat
When talking about Bondi dining, you’d be hard-pressed to a conversation that doesn’t mention brunch. Though other Sydney suburbs enjoy the meal too, Bondi does it like none other. Think picturesque presentation with the freshest of farm-to-table ingredients, and, in some cases, a side serving of sea views to boot.
Bills by famed Australian restauranteur Bill Granger on main drag Hall Street is a solid choice – if not the most well-known choice – for brunch. Though because of its quality offering, come Saturday or Sunday morning, you’re practically guaranteed to find a queue out the door and a minimum 20-minute wait.
If you are up for battling the crowds, however, and manage to make it inside, order the ricotta hotcakes. They alone will make the wait worth it.
And if your idea of brunch is a meal taking place after noon and consisting solely of savoury dishes (also known as lunch), head to North Bondi Fish, which opens daily at 12pm. At the far north end of Bondi, under the North Bondi RSL, the artfully-designed restaurant offers sweeping views of the beach and coastline and a killer Aperol Spritz.
Weekends see it packed with a cool crowd grazing on a mainly seafood menu. Summer months allow for spectacular pink and yellow sunsets.
On the other side of the beach, perched above the iconic Bondi Icebergs Club, is Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Attracting an equally swanky clientele as NBF, the Italian eatery features floor-to-ceiling windows, crisp white table clothes and a menu inspired by chef Maurice Terzini’s Italian heritage.
Other good bets are Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta, a warehouse-style, yet still somehow cosy Italian restaurant off Hall Street, Sean’s Panorama, a small, unassuming restaurant looking out over all of Bondi, and Totti’s, a Merivale venue which opened on Bondi Road late last year.
Where to play
Named after the beautiful beach fringing it, naturally, most of Bondi’s activities involve the sea. There’s sunbaking near it (which on a summer’s day can see you joined by 30,000 others). There are coastal walks along it. And, of course, there’s swimming in it.
And, for those daunted by the crashing waves, there’s Bondi Icebergs Club. For the cost of an $8 entrance fee, you can swim laps in its ocean pool – easily the most photographed pool in the world – and use its sauna. All white and brilliant blues, the Club is like a little slice of Mykonos.
But aside from those sun-soaking options, Bondi also offers activities that require a little more clothing too – like boutique shopping. Some of the country’s best brands are represented here, and sell everything from homewares and soaps to designer clothes and activewear. You’ll find most of them, including Bailey Nelson, Venroy and Tuchuzy, lining either side of one-way Gould Street.
Also around and worth a look are Gertrude’s Bookstore, Aquabumps Gallery and, of course, Bondi Markets, which sell fresh produce and local crafts on Saturdays and clothes, homewares and gifts on Sundays.
Where to stay
After a big day of exploring and food and drink indulging, you won’t want to have to travel too far to find a place to rest your head. Thankfully, QT Bondi, located in the relatively new Pacific Building, also home to a gym, handful of restaurants, and conveniently, a Woollies, is just steps from the beach.
But though the boutique hotel is right in the heart of Bondi, walking into its lime and coconut-scented lobby, you’ll feel more like you’re on a tropical island.
Another Campbell Parade option, a few doors door, is Ravesis Hotel. Even many locals don’t realise that above its two floors of restaurant and bar are 12 pastel-coloured suites spread across another two floors. Adina Apartment Hotel is also nearby, as are countless Airbnbs.
(Lead images: North Bondi Fish / supplied)
Published 16 August, 2019