Winding Down in Bondi

Several months ago I planned a solo vacation to Australia and Bali. This was BS: Before School. Before my life's steady rhythm would change significantly for the next 21 months. The timing would end up working out ideally, as I had no idea just how badly I needed to truly vacate and decompress until I arrived in Sydney, right eye twitching and shoulders weighing heavy.

Bondi Beach

I chose Sydney and Bali because Australia and that tropical island had long been on my travel list. The Sydney Morning Herald's half marathon on May 17 pleasantly anchored my travels, and Bali was then just an easy 6-hour flight north. I ultimately chose to stay in Bondi versus the city, a decision for which I was grateful, as it expedited my vacation of city living and transitioned my brain to the freeing impact of beach-fresh air and the sound of waves crashing.

Bondi Beach Stretch

Bondi was surprisingly navigable to me. I expected arriving and getting TO Bondi and then getting around town to be much more difficult - it's not. My Bondi Bubble arrival was an easy 35 minute-drive from Sydney airport, and walking around town is safe and easy. (And easy on the eyes.)

Bondi Airbnb

I opted to stay in a wonderful Airbnb owned by a lovely young couple who welcomed me upon early-am arrival. Ranking the best hosts to date, Michelle and Paul adorned their home with fresh orchids and fruit (aka shower decor and mimosa materials).

Gusto Espresso Bar

Gusto Espresso Bar was a first stop for me to load up on caffeine and get some reading done to slow down my racing brain. (Thanks, Colin, for the Shantaram reading rec!)

Bills @ Bondi

My Airbnb hosts left me with PLENTY of recs for local activities and restaurants. One of these was Bills Australia's Bondi location. OMG. I came here after my half marathon. I'd never had scrambled eggs that lovely. (I've also continued to try and match these eggs on a daily basis since returning to the States.) It was also here (and Harry's) where I discovered how Aussies do toast. Order toast of your choice, which is coupled with perfectly done eggs, and anything you'd like to add (gravlax, avocado, you name it).

Stairs at Coogee

The best rec I got across the board activity-wise was to do the walk from Bondi to Coogee beaches. The 8-mile round-trip walk is stunning and can continue past Coogee to Maroubra if one desires.

Bondi to Coogee walk

The views along the way are mesmerizing. Passing through Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly beaches, you see a number of coves as you climb steps and walk along paths positioned on cliffs overlooking the ocean break.

Coogee Pavillion

I capped the extent of my walk along the coast at Coogee Pavillion. I expected a sandy, casual establishment and was pleasantly surprised with a mini SF Ferry Building with a restaurant and a couple of bars (including one of the rooftop variety!). I waited until the bar opened at 11am and replenished with a vodka/coconut water beverage :D

To rest my body post-beach walk and to prep for the run, I enjoyed a flow class at Body Mind Life Yoga. The setting, just blocks up from the beach and with a deck overlooking Hall Street, was invigorating yet serene.

I spent the rest of my time in Bondi enjoying the wonderful bubble. This included shopping.

Uashmama in Bondi

This included visiting Italian company Uashmama's Bondi flagship store. The brand specializes in highly durable (and washable) paper goods, including bags and travel accessories.

I also reveled in items from Muchacho, which specializes primarily in item designed and/or made in Central and South America and Bali and sold in this charming, beachy Bondi base.

Around Bondi

Miscellaneous shots from around Bondi, including The Bucket List, the view through a window at Ravesi's and flowers at the Saturday market.

Another serious highlight for this tourist was sipping wine at the bar by the famous Bondi Icebergs. The skies started to get ominous that evening, which was super fun to watch as we watched the waves break just below the bar.

Bondi Beach

In the effort to not flood this blog post with gratuitous shots of the coastline, I leave you with just one more <3. Subsequent volumes over the next couple of days will span the Bali leg of my travels.

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Stay. I LOVED staying in Bondi. With limited hotel options, I'd highly recommend an Airbnb. I had a tough time choosing. If I were to stay in the city, I'd opt for either the Four Seasons or The Langham (hint: AMEX Platinum holders do the FH&R option!)

Shop. Bondi doesn't disappoint. Platypus for a generous selection of Converse, Vans and more. Matt Wise for stunning gold and silver jewelry adorned with beautiful gemstones. Muchacho Clothing for beach-inspired (and -appropriate) wear. Uashmama for unique paper-made accessories. Tuchuzy for an Intermix-type of shopping selection and experience.

Savor. Harry's was a stellar daily coffee/breakfast joint. Once I discovered Bills, I got addicted to the eggs (and everything else). Raw Bar for splendid Japanese food. The Bucket List offers Brussels sprouts to boot.