Australia: Bondi Beach

Australia: Bondi Beach

For many, Bondi is religion. From legendary sunrises to fierce surf, buzzy cafes to its irresistibly charming coastal culture, it draws worshippers from far and wide.

Whatever time of day you choose to dig your heels in here, the glossy appeal of Bondi never fades. Come at sunrise, and we promise the early alarm call will be worth it. Arising for an orange dawn in Sydney is almost a rite for passage for locals – the show of light and colours will leave you astounded. And you’ll barely see another soul. As the early morning hour creeps on, grab yourself a coffee and toasted banana bread from one of the cafes and mooch back over to the beach to watch as surfers launch themselves in to the cool blue. If anything’s going to inspire you to pick up your own board and paddle out, it’s at this golden hour, when the crowds are thin and the surfers are smashing every wave. When you’re riding that crest – or attempting to – you’ll feel part of the hub, and looking back to Bondi from your board, you’ll absolutely know you’re in Australia.

Early morning is also the classic time to walk the 12-km Bondi to Coogee coastal jaunt – a round-trip from Sydney’s Bondi Icebergs swimming club and along the headland to Tamarama, with pit-stops at historic ocean pools, smaller beaches, rock pools and parkland before arriving in Coogee. Come in spring and Sculptures by the Sea, the largest annual sculpture exhibition in the world, will illuminate your path from Bondi to Tamarama.

As the day rolls on, the beach begins to bustle. Bronzed bathers, backpackers, school kids, A-listers, Z-listers… they come for the sun, the surf and the enduringly cool scene. It may be a tourist hotspot but Bondi is definitely no trap.

Three more iconic Aussie beaches…

Murrays Beach (Jervis Bay): Sheltered by Bowen Island, home to a colony of penguins, the clear waters of Murrays Beach are calm and shallow and kids will relish padding around the sands of this white curve of sand in the Boodderee National Park. Walking trails wind away from the shoreline to bring sandy beachgoers closer to the beach’s flora and fauna, too.

Main Beach (Byron Bay): A hippie at heart, Main Beach sports a sweep of golden sand and epic surf that draws locals and tourists in their droves. The action is 24/7 with a rotating cast of free-spirited funsters getting stuck into sunrise bouts of yoga, pro surf lessons, dusky dance sessions and fire-spinning.

Manly Beach (Sydney): Catching the ferry from Circular Quay to the northern hood of Manly is worth a trip in itself. But mosey on over to this golden arch and you’ll see why it could easily go head-to-head in the style stakes with Bondi, dishing up world-class waves and an infectious laid-back surfer vibe.

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