Avid walker and creator of The Bondi to Manly Stroll: The Definitive Guidebook, Tara Wells guides us by way of certainly one of Sydney’s loveliest coastal trails, traversing golden seashores, dramatic sandstone headlands, and stylish meals stops.

The two.3-kilometre stroll, stretching from Bronte to South Bondi, is an achievable precursor to the enduring (however considerably extra demanding) 80-kilometre trek from Bondi to Manly. After all, it is a gorgeous stroll in its personal proper, taking round 50 minutes from begin to end, and heaving with historical past.

Cease 1: Bronte

Bronte Baths, Sydney
Bronte Baths was carved out of sandstone rocks greater than 120 years in the past. (Shutterstock)

Bronte Baths (1897) is certainly one of 35 ocean swimming pools constructed – excavated, actually – into Sydney’s rocky shoreline. Bathers most popular a pool dip on the flip of the twentieth century: the swimming pools have been shark-safe, sheltered from wild surf and extra discrete than the open seaside.

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Swimming in sunlight hours, although, was not allowed: uncovered bathers’ our bodies have been thought to threaten public decency. However police had stopped actively implementing the legislation when Waverley Council repealed it in 1905. (Daylight bathing had been authorized for greater than a decade in Newcastle to Sydney’s north, and for 3 years at neighbouring Clovelly and Coogee.)

Growing numbers of swimmers then turned to the seaside relatively than prohibit themselves to the baths – even when they could not swim. Councils had a brand new drawback: how you can discourage bathers from the harmful surf when safer ocean swimming pools have been obtainable? Preferring that ocean swimmers weren’t there in any respect, they delayed making seashores safer, reluctant to supply security tools.

Security, then, was community-led. Bronte’s declare of being the ‘birthplace’ of surf lifesaving (as distinct from Bondi’s declare to ‘first’) is from community-minded swimmers gathering informally to patrol the seaside.

Seashores have been open however gender segregation remained on the ocean swimming pools: males had unique use of the baths on Sundays and public holidays.

Aerial Bronte Beach ocean pool / baths
The Bronte Baths provide a calmer various to the seaside swells. (Getty/iStock)


Bronte Seashore Kiosk proper on the seaside has predictable choices. The strip of cafes on Bronte Street, behind the seaside park, is nicely value a glance.


Go up the steep stairs on the finish of the promenade and comply with the trail.

On the subsequent seaside, Tamarama, select both the excessive or low path. The excessive path skirts the bay: not as scenic however simpler on the knees. The low path goes all the way down to the seaside then again up the steps on the northern finish.

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Cease 2: Tamarama

Tamarama S.L.S.C. surf club
Tamarama Surf Life Saving Membership as soon as contains a skating rink, seal pond and shark pool. (iStock/Getty)

One other seaside, one other try to present Sydneysiders one thing to do. The present Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club sits on the location of the Bondi Aquarium inbuilt 1887. Widespread for a couple of years, it featured a skating rink, seal pond and shark pool. However when curiosity in it declined, the brand new lessee had a imaginative and prescient to remodel the entire beachside space – seaside, park and gully – into the most important open-air amusement park within the southern hemisphere. It grew to become Wonderland Metropolis.

Wonderland City, Tamarama in Sydney' East. Pictured in 1907
Wonderland Metropolis in Sydney’ East pictured in 1907. (Waverly Library)

For some time, from its opening in 1906, it was a 20-acre surprise resembling New York’s Coney Island. A switchback railway, an early curler coaster, was elevated above the seaside to point out off Tamarama’s dramatic panorama, then moved to the park. It made approach for the Airem Scarem, an airship monitoring on a wire from cliff to cliff.

The catch in Wonderland’s unique lease was that 12 toes (3.6 metres) of seaside foreshore needed to be stored for public use. This induced fixed friction between native swimmers and Wonderland, which had erected a barbed wire fence throughout the seaside to cease individuals sneaking in with out paying. Declining recognition and rising unhealthy press led to Wonderland’s closure in 1911.

Tamarama was only one entrance the place the conflict between commercialism and free public entry was fought.


Tamarama Seashore Kiosk has location, location, location.


About 480 metres on from Tamarama Surf Life Saving Membership, eager eyes will discover an Aboriginal engraving of a basking shark or whale on an oceanside ledge shortly earlier than turning the nook onto the Marks Park headland.

Proceed in direction of Bondi Seashore. The monitor splits simply earlier than Bondi Icebergs Membership. The excessive route goes up stairs to Notts Avenue for a worthy seaside and pool lookout; the low is a public entry footpath alongside the membership’s veranda for an up-close peek on the famed ocean pool.

Close to the top of Notts Avenue there are stairs main all the way down to Bondi Seashore’s promenade.

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Cease 3: South Bondi Seashore

South Bondi, Bondi Icebergs Club
South Bondi, Bondi Icebergs Membership (Shutterstock)

By the Nineteen Twenties, the final group of Aboriginal individuals nonetheless dwelling across the rocks of North Bondi had been displaced, probably moved to the Aboriginal Reserve at La Perouse, south of Coogee.

The massive non-public land-holding used for grazing cattle had turn out to be public land in 1882, and the ‘bikini wars’ – a three-decade conflict (1935–1961) between seaside inspectors and bathers sporting swimwear deemed conceited or indecent – was but to occur.

In 1929 a bunch of male lifesavers shaped the Bondi Icebergs Club to take care of their fitness all through winter. Sixty-six years later, in 1995, the membership finally admitted ladies as members. The membership’s winter swimming custom continues to be going sturdy.

Cease 4: Bondi Seashore

Aerial view of Bondi beach in Sydney
One of many nation’s most iconic seashores, Bondi, from above. (Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

This one-kilometre stretch of golden sand is the epitome of Australia’s seaside tradition. It is house to the world’s first surf lifesaving membership, shaped in 1907. Volunteer lifesavers put on distinctive purple and yellow caps, matching the seaside flags that point out the most secure space for swimming. These colors echo the maritime flag for the letter ‘O’. Beneath the Worldwide Code of Indicators, ‘O’ signifies ‘man overboard’ and is represented by a purple and yellow flag divided diagonally.

The seaside can be the star of long-running actuality tv present Bondi Rescue. It options skilled lifeguards employed by the native council, who put on blue.

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Foodies and fad followers are nicely catered for on this consistently altering scene. A few of the finest eateries could also be behind the primary drag. Perpendicular to the seaside, attempt Corridor Avenue the place there may be nice people-watching at Le Paris-Go, or Bills for legendary breakfasts. Gould Avenue, parallel to Campbell Parade, is reliably good too. Take pleasure in sought-after seaside views from North Bondi Fish (‘NBF’ on the bottom floor of the North Bondi RSL) or Speedos Cafe, each positioned on Ramsgate Avenue.


Stroll previous the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club. On the foot of North Bondi RSL, go away the promenade to cross Ramsgate Avenue. Maintaining the RSL in your proper, go up the steps. Cross Brighton Boulevard then take the pedestrian crossing to your left. Flip proper on the opposite facet of Campbell Parade and head north uphill. After the outlets, this turns into Navy Street.

That is an excerpt from The Bondi to Manly Walk: The Definitive Guidebook (NewSouth Books) by Tara Wells, obtainable now in bookstores and on-line for RRP $34.99.

The Bondi to Manly Walk: The Definitive Guidebook by Tara Wells book cover
(NewSouth Books)

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