Bondi Markets

Autumn has rolled around. I find it really funny to kick my way through fallen leaves in April, as opposed to becoming ridiculously excited by the spring blossom & daffodils back in the UK. It has finally stopped raining and now the days are a perfect temperature of 23 degrees, great for chilling out in the sunshine without sweating through your clothes!

With this change in seasons there is a definite change in the atmosphere. Bondi has been transformed from summer mania – non-stop beach, people constantly walking around bare footed and in their ‘swimmers’, always a party going on somewhere- to more of a breathtakingly beautiful, secret village vibe.

(Even the trees are getting ready for winter!) 

 

One thing that hasn’t changed is the markets that happen every weekend. They are constantly buzzing away, filled with locals buying their weekly groceries, catching up over chai or having a relaxed breakfast.

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The Bondi Markets are held in Bondi Beach Public School, overlooking the ocean with huge murals painted on the wall. If there is one place in the world to go to school, this is it.

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On Saturday the stalls are more foodie centered, with incredible healthy treats, coffee and fresh fruits & vegetables. There are to die for sweetcorn fritters I always get, and a massive chai tent with carpets for people to relax on and drink their tea.

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Sunday’s are more of a fashionable affair – the clothes are invariably great quality & you can find some excellent bargains there. There’s shopping for everything you can imagine, from dream catchers to leather jackets to books. 

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There’s everything from tarot card readings.. 

 

To body art.

And everything in between! 


Bondi Markets perfectly embody what it’s like to live here – the friendly, spiritual, happy vibe of the community. It’s a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon before popping over the road to the beach and appreciating what an incredible world we live in!❤️

On weekends, Bondi Beach Public School, 10-2pm

Wattamalloa Beach

This weekend we went on an adventure to the royal national park, which is out-of-this-world beautiful. It also happens to be HUGE so it’s good to go early and spend the whole day there, exploring the bush walks, natural pools, beaches and waterfalls.

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It’s about an hour and a half’s drive from Sydney, but it’s well worth the trip. I would advise renting a car (if you don’t have one!) as the park is so huge it’s impossible to walk around from the station. That way you can nip from one side to the other, zipping through the forest and mountains.

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The Royal National Park is home to the famous Figure 8 pools, which we didn’t get to see this time because they require an hour’s walk from the carpark and two hours back! So make sure you go prepared for a hike, or a ‘bush walk’ as they are called here in Australia.

That is, unless you are in a lazing around in the sun mood, which the park caters for with lots of stretches of grass, beaches and bays. After a heavy night the night before, we were definitely in the ‘eating amazing food on the beach with a glass of rose’ vibe.

So we drove down to Wattamalloa beach which is about a 20 minute drive from the entrance to the park. It boasts not only unbelivable nature (think palm trees in the forest style) but a gigantic waterfall AND a beach.

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A top tip – when you first get down to the beach, you are faced with a stunning panoramic view of the waterfall, white sand bank and ocean. However it’s not quite clear how to get across to the visionary beach, and we were very close to hoiking our bags up over our heads and wading across the water. Luckily someone advised us to walk down the secret five minute path, through the trees, mini waterfalls and cocktaoos to be faced with a much easier passage over the shoreline. We watched a LOT of people make this mistake!

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It is a heavenly place. It feels like you’re on holiday in Africa, surrounded by pure nature and beautiful views. You can watch lots of people climb the rope up the waterfall cliff monkey-style and dive off into the water below.

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I massively recommend taking along a picnic and spending the day lazing out, a dream mini holiday away from home (which is pretty difficult to achieve when you live on Bondi beach!) Then you have the perfect excuse to go back for activities – we had planned to go kayaking but spent so much time dozing in the sun we missed the closing time of 5pm!

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But luckily, we still had a sunset to catch. We stopped off at Cronulla Sand Dunes on the way back to Sydney for the most gorgeous sunset I’ve ever seen. It looked just like a painting.

The beach itself isn’t bad either!

A dream day, definitely a must-do when you’re in Sydney.

 

SUP Manly!

It’s easy to get caught in the ‘Bondi Bubble’ living in Bondi, because everything you could possibly need is within walking distance – great food, coffee, beaches and friends. Manly is the perfect reason to burst that bubble.

One of my favourite things about Sydney is the fact that the ferry is so widely used, that peoples’ daily commute involves a boat trip through the Sydney harbour for under $7.  The ferry trip alone is enough to coax you out of the Eastern Suburbs – it is stunning.

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Manly takes between 20-40 minutes to get to, depending on which ferry you take and it is a beautiful ride. As you arrive, you can see how many tiny beaches there are dottted around, only available to get to by boat.

Manly has a great ‘holiday away from home’ energy, it’s a stunning place with lots of tourists, market stalls, cafes, shops and restaurants dotted in between the incredible artwork everywhere.

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However if you want to do something really cool, try stand up paddle boarding. The Manly Kayak Centre hosts all kinds of boards – we hired the BIGGEST paddle board imaginable, the ‘XL’.

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It can fit up to four people on it, and there is much less chance of falling off. We tied all of our belongings onto the board and set sail, weaving between the yachts, catamarans and .. dogs.

 

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Remember those tiny deserted beaches? You can paddle over to them and set up camp for the day.

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We happened to have a picnic to hand so laid down some towels, cracked open the wine and ate lunch on our own private beach. For dessert, an ice-cream-boat came by. The best thing I have ever seen! Think ice-cream van, on water.

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We rocked up to Store beach, which is home to penguinsI had no idea that penguins existed in Australia, but they do. They are hiding out during the day in caves though, so we didn’t catch any this time but definitely something to keep in mind!
After you are suitably beached out, work off your lunch by paddling back over to the dock. Grab a coffee, head down to the beach & watch the surfers catching waves.

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Then make sure you catch the last ferry back to the East, get there early to avoid the crowd and get yourself a seat outside..

 

It’s got some pretty unreal views.

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A great reminder of what an incredible city we live in.  This was my favourite day in Sydney so far, make sure you try it out!

Newtown

Newtown is Sydney’s answer to East London – filled with vintage shops of all kinds, incredible graffiti artwork, great eateries and very cool people. It’s got the cool, nostalgic Shoreditch vibe down perfectly.
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King Street is the main strip boasting every hippy shop imaginable. Dream catchers, typewriters, incense, ornaments, artwork, crystals, herbs – and vintage clothes galore. Get lost down the little side streets filled with incredible art daubed on the walls and quirky coffee shops.
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Newtown, Sydney, Australia:
You can literally spend hours exploring all of the shops here – there are some great book shops especially (see Gould Books below). Newtown brims with an energy that reminds me of Brick Lane – everything here is great quality, whether it’s food, massages, coffee or shops.
Gould's Book Arcade, King Street, Newtown (Sydney):
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 Newtown is overflowing with cultures – Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, British pubs, Japanese, Thai – everything you can think of, it’s there. It’s a world of food on one street.
I was heavily recommended to go to Mary’s Burgers and it didn’t disappoint. With a hidden entrance (with just a little skeleton hanging above the door to mark it out), it is like entering into an underground burger rave party.
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Rock music blasts, the walls are daubed in graffiti, (fake) human heads hang from the bar and it’s unlike any other burger place I’ve been to. Their burger is definitely the best I’ve had in Sydney so far – make sure you try the mash & gravy too!
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Exploring Newtown is the perfect way to spend a day as autumn rolls around, you can spend hours here! Head down on a Sunday and catch the Glebe Markets too – this is still on my to do list!

Aquabumps

 You may have heard of Aquabumps – particularly if you live in Bondi.

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Before I moved to Sydney, I obsessed over Australia. I stalked all of the Instagrams related to Sydney, particularly Bondi. Naturally I came across Aquabumps pretty fast – with a cool 110k Instagram followers the daily photography mainly showcasing Bondi Beach is flawless enough to make anyone move down under.

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The photography is of anything from the infamous Icebergs, surfers catching waves, people enjoying the sunshine to stunning beaches spanning across the world depending on where the photographer, Uge is that day.  It’s a great way of seeing the world from your desk, or bed!

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Now, as a Bondi local Aquabumps has become part of my daily routine. The free, week-day daily Aquabumps email newsletter comes with a small blurb about the day – anything from the weather, surf reports or to the dangerous tides out at sea. Then of course has lots of incredible photography which remind me how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.

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They also have a few posts under a ‘noticeboard’ included in the newsletter with random announcements from Bondi local’s which give it a real community feel, they’re anything from dreamcatcher making workshops to room advertisements.

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Side note – if you live in Bondi, make sure you’re in the Bondi Local Loop group on Facebook,  it provides hours of entertainment as well as lots of helpful advice, local sales, rental adverts and general information.

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I was super excited to be mentioned in one of these newsletters when I almost drowned doing mermaid swimming and had to be rescued by a lifeguard – not an advisable way to feature!

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Aquabumps also has a gallery in Bondi and a new one which has opened up in The Rocks where the images are blown up. Definitely worth checking out – the pictures are like nothing else I’ve seen before. The Rocks is also a cool area of Sydney to check out, with lots of little shops, markets and places to eat.

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They’ve been going since 1999 and currently have 45,000 readers on their mailing list. Set up by Eugene who had the idea of giving his friends a daily update of the world outside their office, all of the images are taken by him and Aquabumps remains completely original and non-commercial. He has brilliant concepts, such as giving the Bondi Icebergs an Italian makeover recently (below).

The Aquabumps Icebergs Project comes alive!

New lanes, follow the umbrellas

Compare the above with the below shot of the Amalfi Coast, taken by Uge in Italy.

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The website is great, complete with blog detailing the latest adventures and showing how to buy the artwork online. If you live in Sydney, or anywhere in the world, I would definitely recommend signing up here for a daily reminder to remind you what a beautiful world we live in.

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* All of the images here are from https://www.aquabumps.com/ Sign up to the newsletter – it’s free!

Underwater Silent Disco

Silent Disco’s may be my favourite thing to do in the world (after No Lights No Lycra). There’s something about having a pair of headphones on being able to control your music, and whipping them off to hear everyone screaming out different lyrics and dancing to different beats.

Now – imagine this underwater. Silent Sounds has had the magical idea of putting on a silent disco among the sharks, fish and penguins.

There is a huge room perfectly set up for dancing, with huge floor-to-ceiling windows so you can find Nemo at the same time as singing your heart out.

There are three channels of music, with your normal sing-a-longs, hip hop and older, perfectly danceable-to tunes. The music was impeccable, with three DJ’s set up outside the fishes.

 What I really liked about this disco was that everyone’s headphones had lights on them matching the songs they were listening to, meaning you didn’t have to have a huge shouting/signalling match to get your friend to listen to this A-MAZING song. You could just reach over and change it for them!

The Aquarium itself is also awesome – we didn’t get to see the whole thing but we got to walk through the happy penguins which was more than enough!

To make things even better, there was alcohol involved. It is advisable not to drink too much of it though – at $8 per glass of wine, it was pretty easy to do – because you end up pretty sloppy, fish-out-of-water style.

It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and has sold out so quickly that more dates have been added. There are still tickets available for 28th & 29th April, make sure you’re there!

Check out tickets and more info here.

Govinda’s & Eau De Vie

If you’re looking for a good date night in Sydney, this is it.

Govinda’s is a restaurant and cinema in Darlinghurst – combining excellent food and great movies. It also has a Lotus room, offering  yoga, chanting (kirtan) and meditation classes – it’s the ultimate bohemian institution.

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A highly acclaimed vegetarian restaurant, there is a huge buffet of incredible food to feast on as much as you like for $22. Plates are piled high with salads, pastas, curries and bakes, and I can confirm they are all dangerously delicious. You can go back up as many times as you like, preparing for the ensuing food coma.

The cinema is fully equipped with sofas and beds to handle all types of food comas, complete with cushions and blankets. It’s the most comfortable cinema ever, it feels like you’re at home watching a movie on a huge screen. Stretch back and watch the latest films – I saw Lion which was amazing.



Afterwards, pop over the road to Eau De Vie, hidden in the back of the Kirketon Hotel. Eau De Vie is also infamously good, being named The World’s Best New Cocktail Bair in 2011 and ranked among the top 50 bars in the world.

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We stumbled upon it by accident, incredibly stumbling into the 1920’s with jazz music being blasted through the speakers and fires, sparkles and steam everywhere we looked. It’s a magical bar, with one of the best cocktail and whisky menus I’ve ever seen.


Every cocktail is a marvel, having it’s own recipe, design and presentation. The drinks arrive in seashells, tiki cups, with burnings wedges of fire and ash, dry ice, fire – you name it, Eau De Vie definitely has it.

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It’s a small, nostalgic bar that has great quality drinks, service and music. Definitely a must do in Sydney.

Find Govinda’s here and Eau De Vie here. Book ahead!