Hidden Treasures – North Bondi
Visiting Bondi Beach, many of us are drawn to the sand, the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk or across the road to the bustling hub of activity along Campbell Parade and Hall Street. I decided to be more adventurous and headed up the road to North Bondi shopping village, as I have heard that it’s truly a hidden treasure adored by locals who like to escape the madness of central Bondi, yet remain a stone’s throw from the beach.
So off I went, hopping on the bus for a quick trip up Campbell Parade and ending my journey at the North Bondi Bus Interchange, a place where the trams used to reside right in the hub of the village – how’s that for convenience!
Stepping off the bus I was in awe of the spectacular view of the beach and the array of cafes on offer. Each cafe has its unique look and feel but everyone is friendly and welcoming. I was tempted by the quirky Bru Café on Brighton Boulevard, little more than a hole in the wall where the locals congregate on a patch of funky outdoor grass outside, but I decided to settle in a comfy chair across the road at Porch and Parlour to be served a house favourite of ‘Smashed Eggs’ and a delicious chai latte. Totally satisfied, I popped in to their shop next door to view lovely artworks, jewellery and clothes and considered hiring one of their vintage bikes to cruise the area, but decided to meander on foot instead.
With a couple of hours to spare before lunch, I decided to fit in some pampering at Sage Beauty. Stepping into the salon I was automatically relaxed by their chilled music, scented oils and warm welcome, and further relieved to find that they had spare booking available.
Afterwards, it was time to wander down Campbell Parade to Warners Avenue to pick up a wonderful kaftan from Camilla, the world renowned ‘Kaftan Queen’. This colourful and bright store has something for everyone. If Oprah can find something to wear then so can I! The lovely ladies fitted me out in a flattering kaftan to hide all my wobbly bits – I’m in love with this store!
Minutes quickly turned into hours and in no time whatsoever I was ready for lunch. Across the road from Camilla, the uber cool Raw Bar does great sushi, so I called a couple of friends to come down for a long lunch. We sat at stools overlooking the beach and spent an hour indulging in fresh sushi and sashimi that melted in our mouths.
Full again, I bade my friends adieu and took a short cut down Scarborough Lane into Ramsgate Avenue to hire a surfboard from Let’s Go Surfing to work off my lunch. An hour of paddling, falling off and catching the odd wave certainly worked up a thirst, so I dropped off my board, said g’day to the staff at Speedos and Billy’s Wet Bar that reside in the same Ramsgate Avenue strip, then headed back up to Campbell Parade to the Hobbit for a coffee to warm up myself up.
As the sun began to set, I decided to show off my new kaftan at the North Bondi RSL, taking in the beautiful view as well as a wine or too. The RSL is a local hang so I bumped into many familiar faces and time again passed quickly. With dinner on our minds, we had to decide between the famous Sean’s Panorama, the laid back Beach Burrito Company or the trendy North Bondi Italian. As it turned out, nothing beats a burrito and a Mexican beer after a long day of shopping – arriba, arriba!