Imagine a gigantic 24-metre frying pan sizzling on the sand, soaking up the rays on one of Sydney’s spectacular beaches.
It might seem like a strange sight, but once a year thousands flock to Sydney’s eastern suburbs to see sights like this at Sculpture by the Sea. Andrew Hankin’s crowd-pleasing frying pan was just one of 109 sculptures scattered along the coast from Tamarama to Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach last year, with this year’s free event set to dazzle again when it kicks off 22 Oct.
Even better, by taking the Sculpture by the Sea route you tick off one of the top "must-do’s" for any visitor to Sydney. That is, traipsing the stunning coastal walk that winds from Bondi to neighbouring Bronte, where it’s not unusual to spot dolphins and even whales frolicking in the waters.
But the buzzing coastal suburb isn’t just about looks—although, let’s face it, those views are something—with Bondi being the playground of sun-soaked surfers, foodies, celebrities and fashionistas alike. It’s where local grommets can be seen tackling the ramps at the skate park, while celeb-spotters might glimpse Hugh Jackman having a swim, and you might even catch some of the tanned lifesavers from TV series "Bondi Rescue" on patrol.
On the activities list, swimming is an obvious no-brainer. Bondi Icebergs Club is famous for being a winter swimming club, where members have to freestyle its icy coastal pool to keep their membership. Thankfully, the water is more bearable by October, but for something a bit more adventurous, try your hand at catching waves with a surf lesson from Let’s Go Surfing.
What’s that? You want something a bit more zen? Yoga by the Sea offers a calming hour-long class, where you can do your warrior poses while staring into the dazzling blue horizon, soothed by the sound of the waves.
If you’re starving after the thought of all that exercise, you’re in luck, as Bondi is brimming with some exceptional eateries.
The most famous is probably Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Gaze through its glass windows at the shimmering view while enjoying a spot of elegant regional Italian cuisine. Or on the opposite end of the beach, with just as good real estate, sits culinary delight Seans Panaroma.
For something a bit more laid back, The Bucket List is smack-bang in the middle of Bondi Beach – make a beeline for it during the day if buckets of prawns, tacos and burgers are more your scene. And the seafood at Matt Moran’s North Bondi Fish is also worth a look-in.
Foodies who want to get to know local producers can head to Bondi Beach Public School on Saturdays for the Farmers Markets. Whether it’s cheese, honey, spices, or the freshest fruit and veg, there’s a plethora of mouth-watering wares. If fashion is more your thing, head to the same spot on a Sunday, where the Bondi Markets have been running for the past 22 years. As local legend has it, this is where the talented designers from Ksubi kicked off, but it’s not just fashion that’s king. The market stocks vinyl records, handmade jewellery, candles and everything in between.
Once the sun sets you’re again spoilt for choice. Much like the rest of Sydney, small bars have been popping up across Bondi, which now has an assortment of fun, unique joints to grab your favourite tipple.
If you like your sports, head over to The Stuffed Beaver, where a North American-style bar has been happily planted on the Aussie coast, complete with beer, hot wings, and even that delicious classic Canadian dish poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds).
A favourite of locals is converted hardware store Bondi Hardware. All exposed brick and potted plants, it offers up sliders, share plates and even a spot of brunch on the weekends, while on the beachfront, drop anchor at The Anchor, where the crew will rustle up some lobster rolls, margaritas and old-school tunes. Aye, aye Captain.
Whether you’re a fitness junkie, on a date night, or just after a bit of R&R, you can find it all in Bondi, set against the backdrop of one of the country’s most famous stretches of sand.