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Things You Must Know about Bondi Beach

May 24, 2008
Bondi Beach is one of those postcard, picture-perfect kind of places that if you go to Sydney, obviously you are going to want to go there. So you want to get down there, take your photos, take in the sights and sounds of Bondi Beach.

Bondi and Bondi Beach in particular is originally named from an aboriginal name, which was Bondi or Boondi, which meant to the aboriginals, who were the original people prior to the British settlement; that meant water breaking out of the rocks or the sound of water breaking over rocks. And when you go down to Bondi Beach you will understand why it was called that; because the surf crashing on the beach and on the rocks is really something quite spectacular.

Bondi Beach today is a pretty interesting place. Campbell Parade is the main commercial area and that runs along going to the beach. The beach itself is around 1-kilometer long, it runs roughly north-south and it is divided for surf club purposes. Divided into 2 halves, North Bondi and South Bondi; two separate patrolled beaches. But it is one continuous beach.

If you decide you are going to swim, please swim between the red flags. The red flags, like most beaches in Australia are patrolled by lifesavers, who are there to get you out of trouble. If you swim between the red flags that is both the safest area in the beach, and that is the area that the lifesavers are guarding and monitoring to help you if you get into any sort of trouble.

Historically Bondi was a working class suburb or a working class area; now it is a very eclectic mix. There is still a degree of the original working class inhabitants, but it is very much a place for the rich and famous to hang out, to live, to be seen and to see. There is a very strong cafe and restaurant scene, there is also some great bars there; both by the day and by the night as well.

If you are going to Bondi Beach, you will probably want to leave your car at home and get public transport. There is parking there, but it is all metered parking-relatively expensive, and the council parking inspectors are pretty common around there. If you are going there by public transport, the nearest hub for trains is Bondi Junction. Bondi Junction is around 2-kilometers up the hill from Bondi Beach. There is a major train station there at Bondi Junction and you can get a train just about anywhere in the city. From Bondi Junction you will want to jump on a bus that runs down to the beach.

During the days, those buses are very frequent; they run roughly every 10 minutes. After 7:30pm you will probably wait 15 up to 30 minutes for a bus to get down to Bondi Beach. Every bus that you get from Bondi Beach will run up to Bondi Junction. So you cannot really go wrong there.

One of the biggest attractions that people find at Bondi Beach is the People Watching. It is very much a hangout for the rich and famous, and you will see all sorts of movie stars and celebrities, Australian and otherwise. In and around Bondi Beach, people enjoy the night life scene and being seen. But you will also see some very interesting people and a good mix of the population. So People Watching can be an attraction.

Bondi Pavilion is the big cream-colored wedding cake kind of building, right there on Bondi Beach. It was built in the late 20s, early 30s, when swimming at Bondi Beach or surf bathing as it was known then became really popular. And the local council recognized that there was a need for some sort of building a formal establishment where people could bathe, could change, go to restaurants and take care of all those kinds of things. That is why Bondi Pavilion was formed.

Today Bondi Pavillion is a cultural center for Bondi and the eastern beaches. There are restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and many cultural events, short film festivals are held at Bondi Pavilion. So if you happen to be in Sydney at the right time, you get down to Bondi Pavilion and you really do not know what you could come across. It is well worth a look.

The Bondi Icebergs was originally, and still is a swimming and social club; was started off in the 30s by a group of 8 or 9 dedicated locals. They took very seriously the idea of swimming all year round, especially through the winter months, when obviously swimming is not all that popular.

Everyday of the year, the Bondi Icebergs are out swimming on Bondi Beach. And gradually from those very humble beginnings, that has morphed into what now the largest swimming club and social club in the world, and probably amongst the most impressive businesses, bars and restaurants in the Bondi area.

Bondi Icebergs is now a large licensed club perched right on the southern end of Bondi Beach, with enormous roof-to-floor glass windows that allow you to look out and enjoy Bondi Beach. You can look straight over the beach at the waves crashing in, the surfers and the sea pool that is down there as well. You can take all that in, while enjoying a nice cold drink, or dining in one of the restaurants. Well worth getting into the Bondi Icebergs for a little bit of history, and a meal or something to drink as well.

You can actually get full membership there, but the problem is that to earn full membership in the Bondi Icebergs Club, you've got to swim three Sundays out of four, all through the winter season. So 3 out of 4 Sundays, you've got to swim at Bondi Beach and you've got to do that for 5 consecutive years in order to become a full club member
About the Author
Garry Searle has lived in Sydney, for 15 years. His podcast, The Sydney
Visitor, is the free authoritative guide to experiencing the sights and sounds
of Sydney Australia. To
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