Bondi... it’s a name as Australian as koalas, kangaroos, meat pies and Holden cars - a name that conjures up images of sand, cascading waves and bronzed surfers. And if a Melanesian named Tommy Tanna chose to use the waves of rival Manly to demonstrate the art of body surfing in 1902, Bondi can lay claim to being the birth beach of the world’s first surf life-saving club.
The establishment of the Bondi Lifesaving Club in 1906 was the catalyst in the formation of the unique Australian surf life-saving movement which not only protects every major beach on the Australian coast, but which has led to the development of such spectacular international sports as board surfing and the Ironman competition.
The Aborigines knew Bondi as the 'place of the sound of breaking waves,' and rock carvings at both ends of the 1km beach underline the importance of this coastal strip to the first Australians and the national psyche.
White Australians have stamped their culture on the beach in the form of the Bondi Pavilion, the Mediterranean Georgian Revival-designed changing room that was built at a cost of $200,000 in 1929 and currently serves as the Bondi Pavilion Community Cultural Centre.
The peerless beach apart, Bondi is an excellent swimming, walking and sea-side jaunt just 20 minutes from the Sydney CBD with its many cafes, restaurants, shops and Sunday markets.
Festivals of note
City to Surf Fun Run - August, where thousands of Sydney residents run from the city to Bondi Beach
Festival of the Winds - September where you can go and fly a kite
Things to do
Bondi Pavilion - a magnificent building by the sea
Walks - from the eastern end of the beach along the coastline to Tamarama and Bronte beaches and thence to historic Waverley Cemetery
Swim and surf - on one of Australia's best known beaches
Aboriginal Rock Engravings - on the golf course at North Bondi
Bondi Beach Markets - each Sunday at Bondi Beach Public School, Campbell Prde