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Bondi's golden crescent beach is famous for its sun and surf

© Creative Commons / penreyes

Bondi Beach

Best known as Sydney's most notable surf beach, this world-famous 1km (0.6 mile) crescent of sand blessed with rolling surf, sun and thriving beach life captures the very essence of Sydney. Bondi Beach is home to the oldest surf life-saving club in the world, and is both a local and international mecca for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, jogging, beach volleyball and people watching. Bondi Beach is only 7km (4 miles) from central Sydney and is named after an Aboriginal word meaning "noise of water breaking over rocks." One of Sydney's eastern suburbs, Bondi is a thriving resort year round, with surf carnival, topless sunbathing, vibrant nightlife, outdoor film festivals, cafes, shops, and scenic cliff walks.

Beach

Bondi is one of the best surfing locations in the world, and is patrolled by the Bondi Bathers Surf Life Saving Club. There is something for everyone at Bondi - topless bathing, surfing lessons, beach volleyball, safe swimming between the flags, an underwater shark net, and quiet rock pools. The southern end of the beach, where the riptide is strongest, is reserved for surfers. Boogie boards and surf boards can be rented from the Bondi Surf Company. Pods of whales and dolphins may be sighted during migration season. Watch Bondi Icebergs Club members ritually plunge into the icy outdoor pool every Sunday morning throughout winter, or enjoy festivals, theatre, films or craft shows at the Bondi Pavilion. A spectacular coastal walk extends 6km (3.6 miles) southwards from Bondi through several scenic beaches to picturesque Coogee.

Beyond the beach

Sydney is one of the world's most energized cities, with a splendid harbour, extensive waterways, bushland, historic districts, galleries, museums, art, culture, beautiful beaches and a national fervour for outdoor activities, boating and water sports. Spend all day cruising the harbour by ferry or hydrofoil, climb Sydney Harbour Bridge for a view unlike any other, or take in a concert at the Sydney Opera House. Kids will enjoy the Aquarium at Darling Harbour, or a day spent at Taronga Park Zoo where Australia's unique bird and wildlife can be seen up close. Dinner cruises aboard grand old sailing ships depart from the historic convict-era Rocks District. Nearby national parks offer great hiking in semi-tropical rainforests filled with waterfalls and wildlife.

Family fun

Bondi offers surfing lessons for all ages, and safe swimming on life-guarded beaches. Central Sydney is a smorgasboard of family activities. Ride the ferry to Taronga Park Zoo or Manly Fun Park and Oceanworld. Darling Harbour, a short monorail ride from the ferry hub of Circular Quay, showcases marine life at the Sydney Aquarium, tours of submarines and tall ships at the Australian National Maritime Museum, a new Wildlife Centre, IMAX Theatre, and the Harbourside Festival Marketplace.

Exploring further

To the west explore Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, cut with deep valleys, waterfalls and fascinating flora and wildlife. Descend into the nearby Jenolan Caves and explore underground rivers and spectacular formations in Australia's most outstanding cave system. Rent a sailboat or cruiser and navigate the beautiful waterways of the Hawkesbury River to the north, or take a flight in a float plane over Pittwater, criss crossed with every imaginable watercraft throughout the long summers. A trip further north to the Hunter Valley wine region holds many delights for sampling some of Australia's award-winning wines.

Splashing out

Time your trip to Bondi for the September Festival of the Winds, and enjoy a beach spectacular of kite flying, music, dance and beach volleyball. Take in a concert at Sydney's famed Opera House, a mere 7km (4 miles) away overlooking Sydney Harbour. Keep your eye out for celebrities at Bondi's legendary Icebergs Dining Room and Bar while sipping on one of their signature cocktails.

Edited by Jane Duru
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