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  1. Woman walking on road by beach
    Photograph: Unsplash/Patrick McGregor
  2. Tamarama kiosk 02
    Photograph: Anna Kucera
  3. Bronte Beach kiosk
    Photograph: Anna Kucera
  4. Bronte Pool
    Photograph: Daniel Boud

A local's guide to Bronte and Tamarama

These easy, breezy beachside burbs have so much more to offer than just a great day at the beach

Maxim Boon
Written by
Maxim Boon
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A visit to the beachside neighbourhoods of Bronte and Tamarama is about as quintessential a Sydney experience as you could ever hope to find. Sun, sand and surf – the holy trinity of life in the Harbour City – are perhaps the biggest draws, with plenty of foot traffic, via the ever-popular Bondi to Coogee Coastal Path, strolling through the area, and the ridiculously beautiful Bronte Baths offering one of the best saltwater lap pools in the city. But there’s more to this corner of Sydney than just a day at the beach. There are some of the city’s most charmingly stress-free brunch spots and it’s an ideal place to head for a blissful sundowner as dusk moves in from the west. Be sure to check out these under-the-radar waterfront gems the next time you find yourself in these chilled-out suburbs.

Recommended: A local's guide to Bondi.

The best places to eat and drink

  • Restaurants
  • Bronte

Three Blue Ducks may have now expanded to Byron Bay and beyond, but the original café was right here in Bronte. By day, the café offers the beachy 'burb an Inner West-style coffee bunker, covered in graffiti and staffed by hot folks. By night, it turns into a restaurant people are booking weeks ahead to get into. It's the sort of feel-good venture serving honest, elegant food in a laid-back setting.

  • Restaurants
  • Bronte
  • price 1 of 4

You’ve probably broken Iggy Ivanovic’s bread at one of Sydney’s top restaurants. This is bread you need to work at: the thick, chewy crust of the sourdough is a workout for the jaw, giving way to a slight earthy, sour flavour and incredible texture. Iggy’s bread deserves the best butter you can find, and that’s about all you’ll want to put on it.

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Broth Bar and Larder
  • Restaurants
  • Bronte

Eating out isn't getting much more wholesome and nutrient dense than the spread available at Bronte's Broth Bar and Larder. Not only can you stock up on activated nuts, cacao power bars and raw sokolata, kim chi, pâté, stock and tallow from Star Anise Organic Wholefoods, but now you can sit down to a hot cup of broth in four flavours (chicken, beef, fish or vegetable) that you can opt to add flavour bombs to (coconut milk, ginger, cumin etc). 

Café Salina
  • Restaurants
  • Bronte

A great little pit stop on the Coogee-to-Bondi coastal walk, Café Salina has views of Bronte Beach and park – bags a spot on the sidewalk and settle in. For breakfast, they're serving hearty takes on the usual suspects – ricotta hotcakes, all the Benedicts – and for lunch they have burgers, steak and plenty of seafood. They're big on juices and smoothies, too.

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The Bogey Hole Café
  • Restaurants
  • Bronte

So named after one of the local shoreline's most distinctive rockpools, this long-standing stalwart of the Bronte café scene has been the go-to when locals are in need of a fry up or some crumpets and jam, with a side of postcard-worthy views, since 1993. Humble and wholesome, this unpretentious brekkie spot delivers all the goods of its bougier counterparts without worrying about the frills.

Cali Press
  • Restaurants
  • Bronte

A local cold press juice brand inspired by a trip to California has opened its first store in Bronte. It's the place for a post or pre-swim juices, smoothie, wholefood snack or a coffee from AllPress.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Bronte

Hot tip for new players: on Sunday Bronte Beach is a madhouse. On those days during summer a sea of fluoro-pink nippers and their parents floods this petite beach for junior surf lifesaver training. Instead, you want to head down here for a sunrise swim, or after the lunch rush. That way it’ll be a breeze when you rock up to the jaunty blue-painted kiosk for a smoothie, coffee or slushie. They also do fish and chips and burgers, like all good canteens should, and you can surf a sugar wave after you’ve battled the breakers with cookies, killer pythons and ice creams.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Tamarama

After getting your gills wet, you can pop over to the architecturally designed pavilion for a smoked salmon bagel, grilled chicken burger, haloumi salad or a croque madame under the big outdoor umbrellas set up at the base of the cliffs. If it’s one of those blistering days when only liquid sustenance will do they also make smoothies, milkshakes, juices and iced coffee.

More to see in Bronte and Tamarama

Vinnies Waverley
  • Shopping
  • Op shops
  • Bronte

This unassuming Vinnies on Bronte Street is about a 20-minute walk from Bondi Junction, but well worth the stroll. We were expecting to encounter a cute collection of fashion and knick knacks along the same lines of our other favourite set-ups from the St Vincent de Paul Society, but this spot knocked us off our secondhand boot-clad feet. When you enter the little blue shop you're transported, Narnia wardrobe-style, into an expansive, magical land of pre-loved bargains. There are multiple levels and nooks and crannies to explore. Start by wading through the somewhat haphazardly packed racks of ladies' outfits. We found a treasure trove of snazzy numbers like a $12 pair of jungle-print capris and a black denim Country Road skirt we’ve been waiting our whole life for, and under $14. There are big-hitters in the jacket department – a sleek Sass and Bide coat will set you back $140 – and slightly pricier outfits on the retro rack. If you manage to tear yourself away from the cool threads, you’ll find a room dedicated to well-organised glassware, ceramics and wacky mantlepiece-making figurines. You could add a Viking-style set of four heavy-bottomed beer mugs to your kitchen collection for only $8. Then, head down a few stairs past the men’s clothing section – where you’ll find a healthy selection of T-shirts around the $10 mark and business button-ups for $15 – and check out very chic armchairs for $140 next to a small library of paperbacks starting at $2. Or, go up another set

  • Sport and fitness
  • Bronte

While its bigger, more beautiful neighbour often gets all the Insta-fame, these beautiful ocean baths are very deserving of a dip too. Built into the rocky cliffside, stairs lead down to a shallow-ish pool area, which is great for families and little nippers. There’s a small wooden barrier, which divides the pool up, so lap swimmers can do their thing (it’s not very long though, making it more suited to a leisurely few laps rather than a serious swim). Also try and get here before 7am – watching the sun breach over the ocean’s horizon from this vantage point is pretty special.

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Bronte Park
  • Things to do
  • Bronte

Bronte Park ticks the boxes when it comes to barbie spots: plenty of hotplates; a beach; and lots of green space for that essential game of cricket. Easily accessed via public transport, it's Sydney's best spot for a cook-up, so pack the family, the esky and everyone you know. (Insider tip: the park gets busy, especially on perfect summer days, so make sure you get in early for pan space)

The Writers' Studio
  • Things to do
  • Bronte

The studio’s alumni include Dr George Miller, the creator of Mad Max and Happy Feet, and Mary the Crown Princess of Denmark. Start with a four-week “unlocking creativity” workshop and move onto the ten-month Novel and Script First Draft course to break down the huge task of writing your life-long dream of becoming the next JK Rowling.

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