Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Australia chapter on Sydney has to say about Bondi Beach:
“Bondi lords it over every other beach in the city despite the crowds, the crass boardwalk, the often-treacherous rips and the less-than-consistent surf breaks. Flanked by rugged rocks and multi-million- dollar apartments, the famous golden crescent attracts a daily cast of sunburned back-packers, bronzed locals, Botoxed mini-celebs and body-worshipping Sydneysiders who swarm over the sand, surrounding clifftop paths and beach-front park.
Perhaps it’s the contradictions of the place that make it so compelling – everyone fits into the Bondi scene as long as they’re wearing swimmers, sunblock and a smile. The suburb itself has a unique atmosphere due to its eclectic mix of traditional Jewish community members, dyed-in-the-wool Aussies, tourists who never went home and socially aspirational young professionals.
The simply sensational 5.5km Bondi to Coogee Clifftop Walk leads south from Bondi Beach along the clifftops to Coogee via Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly, interweaving panoramic views, patrolled beaches, sea baths, waterside parks and plaques recounting local Aboriginal myths and stories.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
Our first Sunday in Sydney was forecasted to be a scorcher so where better to go than to the beach? And what better beach to visit for the first time? Well, Bondi of course! This time we boarded a bus as Bondi was not within walking distance, despite the fact that we can certainly walk a very long way during a day. I read about the Bondi to Coogee Clifftop Walk, and I wanted to preserve ourselves for that hike along the ocean.
True to form, we didn’t get underway till almost 11:00am and it was noon when we reached Bondi. We brought along our swim suits, but weren’t really tempted to get into the water once we saw how packed the beach was. There was a lovely breeze, so once we’d taken in the scene a little we set off towards the right hand side of the beach to where the Clifftop Walk starts.
It was there that we first saw the large salt-water swimming pools that seems to have been built right into the sea. They looked amazing! Now that was much more to my liking, but in the end, we decided to continue on along the paved promenade, as Anil wasn’t at all keen on swimming. A short distance later, we rounded a corner and had the most fantastic view of the sea, the rocky shore and the upscale neighbourhood with homes that look out over the water.
A little further on and we came to a smaller, more sheltered beach with fewer swimmers and a quieter, more subdued vibe. We were very much enjoying the walk, but the mid-afternoon heat was starting to get to us. It must have been almost 40C that day, and there wasn’t a hint of shade anywhere. When the path wound its way closer to a residential street, we spotted a bus stop and decided it was time to call it quits and head back to our apartment.
We spent the balance of the day trying to cool off with the large fans our AirBnB hosts had provided us with. When I had written them about the fact that the apartment wasn’t air-conditioned, they assured me that Sydney rarely got hot enough for it to be needed. I’m sure that’s true, but it was pretty hot that Sunday so we stayed inside until the evening. We didn’t really mind as we were still working on adjusting to the time change, and we’ve always been ones to appreciate an afternoon nap.
By 7:30 we had made our way to the Circular Quay once again, however, this time we’d taken the bus because we’d purchased a day pass for the trip out to Bondi Beach and back. The sun had already set when we arrived at the ferry terminal, and the sky was aglow with the evening light. We chose a ferry that would take us across the harbour, under the Harbour Bridge and around into Darling Harbour.
The ride took an hour, and it was the perfect time to do it. We’d done something similar when we visited New York, and hoped that the setting sun would work its magic once again. I’m happy to say, it did not disappoint. The modern buildings along Darling Harbour were all aglow and by the time the ferry crossed back under the bridge, darkness had settled in and the city lights were coming on.
We discovered the amusement grounds of Luna Park all lit up, the Ferris wheel was spinning and it looks truly magical with the stone supports of the world-famous bridge as a backdrop. Then the ferry turned and headed back to Circular Quay where the tall buildings of the Central Business District towered above the harbour. The icing on the cake was seeing the Opera House lit up above the now-indigo sky.
The heat of the day kept the chill night air at bay, and we both agreed that it had been a very rewarding Sunday in Sydney.