From its amazing surf breaks, to its bohemian population, Sydney’s most iconic beachside suburb is one of the most fabulous locales in the country. Situated 7km from Sydney’s CBD, Bondi is the heart of the Eastern suburbs.
With a population of only just over 20,000 residents, the suburb is home to celebrities, surfers, families, travellers, artists and everything in-between. To locals, Bondi has many monikers. “The bubble”, “the valley” and “2026” are three that spring to mind readily. Here you’ll find some of Sydney’s most prime and prestigious homes alongside a raft of backpacker accommodation and family homes.
The lay of the Land
Bondi’s architecture is a melting pot of shiny newly built dwellings, federation homes, 70’s apartment blocks and a touch of old art deco buildings. Over 70% of the dwellings are apartments adding to the sense of community here.
Bondi opens onto the truly beautiful Bondi Beach. It is defined by the bustling Campbell Pde that runs adjacent to the beach and a series of residential streets running down towards the water. Locals understand the suburb in terms of South Bondi and North Bondi, with Hall Street as the demarcation point.
From the south to the north, Bondi is crammed with bars, restaurants, hotels, fashion boutiques and everything that the hipster generation requires for survival. It has been said that Bondi possibly possesses that highest rate per capita of yoga studios and gyms of anywhere in the country.
Fuel for the Hipster Generation
The suburb pulses with coffee addicts and fitness enthusiasts side by side. There is a focus here on healthy eating and the enjoyment of fine food. Cafes abound throughout Bondi, as do organic food establishments.
Alongside this, Bondi has experienced an explosion of burger joints:
BL Burgers at the Beach Rd hotel
Oli’s Chicken Burgers
At the higher end of the scale, Bondi is home to some truly amazing fine dining establishments. Perched at the top of the famous Bondi Icebergs ocean pool is Bondi Icebergs Dining Room. A hangout for celebrities, it has an intimate bar and dining room overlooking the crashing waves and a vista from the south end of Bondi to the north.
At the opposite end of the beach, the simply named North Bondi Fish is a high end seafood restaurant boasting a very cool balcony overlooking the south side.
In between, Sean’s Panaroma on Campbell Parade is a years long fine dining establishment in an intimate space.
Newly opened Fonda with its South of the Border cuisine leads the pack for casual dining with a bar like atmosphere. It’s rivalled by Rocker at the North Bondi interchange featuring twists on local produce and ethically sourced ingredients.
Bondi is the pinnacle of café culture in Sydney. Locals are passionate about their coffee choices and the surroundings it is served in.
The craftily named “Coffee” on Curlewis St is Bondi’s only local roaster. But don’t go there for your standard latte. There is no dairy or sugar at all on premises. Each coffee is a handcrafted work of art, made with their own nut milk.
Gertrude and Alice on Hall Street is a bookstore first and café second. Sip on your coffee in the comfort of a velvet armchair whilst you delve into a great vintage read.
Head to CaliPress on Hall St if you’re curious about what a $10 coffee tastes like. Go for their “BulletProof” a concoction of coconut oil, cayenne pepper and maybe just a hint of actual coffee.
There are far too many cafes to mention – each with its own edge.
Pubs, Bars, Clubs
There is a thriving bar and pub scene in Bondi. It’s best understood by breaking down the ways you can enjoy a tipple locally.
Nightclubs as such don’t exist in Bondi due to stringent local licencing laws. Bars do. Of these there are many. Here are a handful of must-visits:
The Bucket List – festooned with fairy lights and featuring fresh stripes just about everywhere, this indoor/outdoor bar is right on the drive along the beach. Great food, cocktails and spotting position.
Bondi Hardware – was actually once the local hardware store. Now, however it is a dimly lit, intimate cocktail bar and restaurant positioned amongst all the normal suburban amenities on Hall Street.
Mamasan – directly opposite the local’s local – The Beach Road Hotel, Mamasan is a pumping cocktail bar with an Asian inspired vibe.
Now that we’re talking pubs – Bondi is home to surprisingly few. Of these, The Bondi Hotel on Campbell parade is the most frequented by tourists. The Beach Road hotel, with its rooftop bar, beer garden, awesome burger bar and ever evolving line-up of DJs and bands is the local’s choice.
The Beach is top and tailed with two Clubs of considerable notoriety. At the south end is the world famous icebergs club. Featuring the stunning ocean pool, fitness centre and high end Icebergs Dining Room, it is one of the best clubs to take in the entire Bondi vista. At the south end is North Bondi RSL, a fabulous local institution, well known for its live entertainment and truly spiritual view.
Bondi is host to several community events during the year.
Flickerfest – short film festival in January
Bowl-a-Rama – international skating competition at the Bondi Skate Bowl on the beach
Festival of the Winds – International Kite Festival on the beach in August
The Winter Festival – featuring an Ice Skating Rink open air by the beach
Sculpture by the Sea – Sculptures all along the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte
Living in Bondi
Bondi is a safe, chilled suburb. The police station is right in the centre of the suburb and the crime rate is relatively low. Walking the streets late at night is a safe pursuit. The suburb hums with life all day and night.
It’s a harmonious suburb comprised of residents who are largely respectful and community based. 50% of the population is Australian born, with 22% of the residents identifying as having an English background. The median age within the community is 33% and over one third of the population list themselves as having no religious beliefs.
A very high percentage of the population rent their homes, particularly apartments. The average rent per week is $640 according to the 2016 census. But in 2017, that would be considered nothing short of a bargain. The median house price in Bondi is currently $2.7million for a house and $1.6 million for an apartment.
Public, private and religious school are all within Bondi.
There are no notoriously bad schools. Public schools provide free education and the private schools range in price based on the facilities they provide.
Bondi Beach Public School – Campbell Pde
Bondi Public School – Wellington Street
Montessori School – Wellington Street
Galilee Catholic Primary School – Blair Street
All the above are co-educational. Many other schools exist on the boundaries and surrounding suburbs.
There are two high schools within Bondi itself. But within the Eastern Suburbs are some of the most prestigious and expensive private schools in the country. Locally, the Public High School – Rose Bay High is co-educational. It is a large campus and also houses a selective (high achieving) stream of students.
Reddam House is located on Blair Street and is a co-educational private school. It is one of Sydney’s most expensive high schools and is ranked within the top 10 of schools in the state.
Services in the Suburb
Medical – There are many local medical clinics and doctor’s surgeries in Bondi. Some will and others will not bulk bill. Bondi Doctors on Hall Street Bulk Bills for children but not adults. The closest public hospital is St Vincents in Darlinghurst or The Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick or Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. The Childrens Hospital is also in Randwick. Randwick is 5km from Bondi.
Here is a list of local practitioners:
Bondi Doctors – Hall Street 9365 2833
Bondi Physio – Curlewis St 02) 9130 6914
Bondi Dentist – Curlewis St (02) 9365 7187
Bondi is well serviced for public transport via our bus system.
Grabbing a bus from Bondi to Bondi Junction is about a 10 – 15 minute exercise. The 380, 386,387, 333, 389 all work these routes.
From Bondi Junction Train Station, you can access the State Rail Network.
You can also access the ferries by taking a bus from Bondi to Rose Bay ferry stop.
Bondi also has just seen the introduction of a new public bicycle companies, ofo. Push bikes are scattered throughout Sydney (particularly Bondi). You access them via an app and can hop on, ride around and leave them wherever you like for the next client to pick up.