Bondi Beach

Sydney's celebrated strand for all seasons


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Bondi isn't so much a beach as a seaside carnival, a never-ending cavalcade of Sydney sunseekers of every shape, size and predilection. There are muscular lifeguards in their old-fashioned swimming caps, veteran surfers hanging 10 and grommets just learning how to ride a wave, beach babes (of both genders), hipsters, senior strollers and bronzing backpackers. Local legend says the name Bondi means "water breaking over rocks" in a local Aboriginal language.

The gentler north end of Bondi is generally reserved for swimming; the rougher south end for surfers. A sunken shark net keeps the great whites and other deep-sea denizens at bay. The Bondi Icebergs Club features saltwater swimming pools, a throwback to Victorian days when nobody swam in the open ocean.

Beach volleyball and lifesaving competitions count among Bondi's other favorite activities. And so does chowing down -- dining at trendy beachside eateries like the Raw Bar (sushi), Panama House (modern Latin American) and the quirky Bondi Bowling Club. Bondi has long been on the front line of beach fashion and the battle over how much skin one can show at the shore. It's now legal for females to chuck their bikini top (but not the bottom).

Photos: Robert Harding Picture Library/National Geographic Creative/Robert Francis, Susie Adams/ Getty Images, Howard Harrison / Alamy Stock Photo, © 2013 Matteo Colombo

Did you know?

The Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club claims to be the oldest life saving club in the world, first helping beach goers in 1907.


Tourist mecca
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