Ahhh Bondi – once an outpost for the vain and backpacking, now one of Sydney's most exciting emerging food and drink hubs. Suddenly, there's a reason for the bus-train-bus trip east to the beach.
We're loving the transformed Gould, Hall and Curlewis streets, with their nook-y cafés for coffee and their relaxed, comfortable bars for a tipple. And does beachside dining get any better than a drink at Icebergs or the Da Orazio? Or a piece of fresh fish at Matt Moran's North Bondi Fish? (The answer is a no, if you were wondering). Sean Moran is still serving his tasty guilt-free plates at Sean's Panaroma if you want it fresh and local; Darlo favourite A Tavola is making pasta here now; and Neighbourhood is one of the cosiest neighbourhood bars in town.
Even the junction – long infamous for thick and tasteless ham and cheese sandwiches and some of Sydney's ugliest concrete blocks – is lifting its game. Admit it, you too love a bit of a guilty designer shopping spree in the east's own Westfield.
Bondi has always been a suggestive temptress, never shy of showing a bit of leg, sun baking topless, or sashaying sassily with the sand between her toes. She's tarty and glamorous, rough and ready, drinking beer from a champagne flute, attracting Hollywood celebs and backpacking hobos alike as they all slap zinc on their noses. Located only 7km from Sydney's CBD, the fine vanilla sand of its crescent-moon shape is Sydney's - nay, the world's - most famous beach and is loved for its faults as much as its well-displayed charms. To the natural beauty, man has added concrete catwalks, graffitied promenades and art deco architecture. Step beyond the chipped veneer of Campbell Parade and you'll see a suburb spectacular enough to balance the horrendous weekend traffic, the lack of parking, the grimy fast food joints and the hordes of people. "As locals, we call Bondi the capital of the world," says president of the Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club, Rob Harvey. Created 100 years ago after a spate of drownings, Bondi Surf Bathers is the oldest lifesaving club in the world, currently with 1,000 members - the oldest being 97. In 1938 Bondi had its worst day, Black Sunday, when hundreds of people were washed out to sea, with five people losing their lives. But the guys and gals who wear the red and yellow caps have ensured that such a disaster has never been repeated. The origin of Bondi's name is keenly contested. Some believe it to be the Aboriginal word for "noise of water b
The best bars in Bondi
Based on Instagram posts alone, you'd be forgiven for thinking Bondi was only about sunrise yoga, surfing and high intensity cardio session. But this beachfront 'burb also possesses an ace collection of bars for when the old exercise you want to be doing is bending the elbow.
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No Lights No Lycra Bondi
The weekly dance party in the dark takes up residency in Bondi