Hidden Treasures – South Bondi
The first view of Bondi Beach from the bus as you approach from Bondi Road always has the same effect. No wonder Bondi has its iconic reputation – the sun was sparkling on the water, surfers in their dozens were bobbing around waiting for that perfect wave and I was excited at the prospect of discovering South Bondi before hitting the beach.
The little strip lining Campbell Parade as it sweeps down into the Bondi basin abounds with cafes, bars and bikini shops. Things might have been quite different if the 1935 Ordinance had not been repealed in 1961. The Ordinance set the exact dimensions for swimming costumes, which had to cover the front of the body from a line at the level of the armpits to the waist, be held up with shoulder straps and have legs at least three inches long!
Arriving as I did in the cooler months, bargain swim suits were to be had in every size and colour from a range of shops, as well as sunglasses, towels, sarongs, goggles and boardies – in fact, the whole beach experience kit and caboodle. It was just the incentive I needed to get going on the diet and fitness regime I had been “gonna start any day now”.
What better way to kick-start my good intentions than with an indulgent visit to Jurlique. Did you know the company has its origins in South Australia and they grow and test the plants used in their products on their own biodynamic farm down there? I positively glowed after the fantastic facial and massage and my rejuvenated body demanded to taken out not only for coffee, but lunch, cocktails and dinner as well, which is not a problem on this strip, although deciding where is always tricky.
There’s the laidback, beach cool Birchiana, or perhaps funky Bondi Massive with its amazing tapas and wine list (not to mention cocktails!), or perhaps Vue Bar with its amazing views and cosy fairy-lit balcony. In the end, I went to all three just to check them out and some time later stumbled back onto the strip feeling replete and decided a good walk before dinner was needed.
I crossed the road and joined the flow of walkers, joggers and sightseers, all making their way along the coastal walk towards Tamarama and Bronte beaches. I challenge anyone to disagree about the awesomeness of that walk. It’s the stuff that lifts the spirit and makes everything feel better. How fit must those swimmers be, not only swimming from Bondi to Bronte but back again, and in the middle of winter to boot?!
All that walking and watching others participate in vigorous activity gave me an appetite for dinner. A quick stop at The Crabbe Hole for a pre-dinner coffee and another view over the beach was required while possible dinner venues were mulled over. Unfortunately I had not come suitably attired for the uber cool Icebergs but there were still lots of other options all within walking distance.
Bondi Social, with arguably the best view of any restaurant in Bondi, would be a great place to watch the sunset over the beach while sipping on a cocktail, perhaps followed by an aperitif at the newly opened 36 Degrees South in their underground bar, which is rumoured to feature groovy live sounds. Then there’s the tapas and sangria option at Mojo’s, which also appeals, or Bondi Trattoria with its Italian fare and interesting wine list. I could even go for something simpler like one of the twenty exotic burgers on offer at Moo Gourmet Burgers. I think the diet may have to wait a while!
I’ll definitely have to start doing daily coastal walks, just so I can come back to sample every balcony, café and restaurant in this special place, especially at nightfall when the Bondi Winter Magic lights twinkle so alluringly.