Sydney, Bondi Beach and hidden treasures..

Sydney has a population of about 4 million people, and nearly as many tourists in summer. Almost everyone is looking for a beach… and Bondi Beach is the most famous.

… the best kept secret is dawn on a summer’s day on Bondi Beach………the soft sky and pearl-coloured beach make this a magical time….and so few people see it..

I came to Australia, from Central Africa  when I was 19 years old, and very briefly spent some time in Bondi with my brother before I went to University to train to be a teacher…

In those days, the beach seemed wide and empty most of the time…

One of my brothers, Neil, has lived in the Bondi area all of his adult life. Walking along the beach and swimming in this lovely Icebergs pool is a routine he has continued into retirement.

He now walks and/or swims every day  with the same group he has known for years.  They have lived through all the ups and downs of life together, and, Neil says, can almost finish each others’ sentences.

(My Dad walked with a similar group in Port Macquarie, and they called themselves ”Dad’s Army”)

Neil and his lovely wife Jo very generously lend us their house during the Christmas period.  This means our two daughters, our son-in-law, and new granddaughter have a comfortable home in Sydney for Christmas, and we can visit Paul’s big exended family.

On Christmas morning we get a smoothie inside the Bondi Pavilion. The morning is warming up and the people are gathering in swimmers and Santa Hats…

Inside the Pavilion are some wonderful old photos of Bondi beach..

and it looks as if it was always popular and crowded with cars…today you need  a special permit to park here..

Paul always says Sydney has a special kind of blue sky, and here it is…

Good to see Sydney is using the sun for recycling… the small print on the rubbish bin says..” I use the sun to squash your rubbish and fit five times more in…'”



These days Bondi has suntanned locals, backpackers, European travellers escaping the winter, movie stars and celebrity chefs….Bill Granger’s restaurant in Bondi is lovely for coffee and cake.

Despite the mix, Bondi still has a kind of casual friendliness that I like…perhaps it is the combination of sun and space and colour….

The bougainvillea winds itself around garden fences as we walk back up the hill


Morning glory spills over the edge of the cliff and onto the footpaths that we walk on…

Our daughters look out for the Frangipani, and always remind me that my Mum used to make necklaces for them out of the flowers in their home, the equally beautiful Port Macquarie.

My neighbour often says she gets ”postcards”  (memories) from her mother…same here..


The sheer tenacity of some flowers blowing off the cliffs around Sydney is amazing..

Sea Hibiscus Hibiscus tiliaceus

This one has a mix of yellow and pink blossoms, and they all flower away, while weathering the blowing winds and storms that are felt in these exposed coastal parts of Sydney..

Even the beetles in Sydney are pretty cool…

Cotton Harlequin Beetle

and of course the cliffs around Bondi are a real delight..

… it is possible to walk along most of the coastline and enjoy the same views seen for centuries…without noticing the crowds in shops and on beaches…. don’t be fooled, Sydney has lots of hidden gems…

These cliffs deserve their own post, one day soon!

I hope you can visit Canberra’s Green Spaces for my next post, which is our visit to the exhibition of Pollination in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.









28 Replies to “Sydney, Bondi Beach and hidden treasures..”

  1. What an interesting and well photographed view of that beautiful beach and its magnificent surroundings. I was there as a tourist once in the 60s and can still remember it. I look forward to your next post, always a pleasure to read.

    1. Thanks Susan, I did think of you when I was taking photos of two of my favourite bridges in Sydney, I’ll have to write a post around the inner city and the bridges as well.

  2. Everything in this post is just like eye candy – gorgeous blooms, skies, beaches, water, and cliffs. Another amazing postcard from your beautiful country. I can only imagine your family had a wonderful holiday. Now the big question is – how many more sisters would your brother like? 🙂

  3. Holy guacamole! Such beautiful pictures, so much to admire, and so very different from January in Maine. Magnificent blue sky, flowers, the beetle, and oh those melons, especially the bright orange one. Wonderful!

  4. I have Just spent a couple of days with Neil and Jo. Neil traced these exact steps with me – all of them – so this is a very personal post today. Great memories to take away. I even have a picture of the sea hibiscus taken at what looks like the same spot. So special.

    1. Lovely to hear that, it is an amazing place really & still possible to enjoy quiet moments on the beach. The sea hibiscus must be two plants that have grown together…very colourful! Glad you enjoyed it.

      1. Hibiscus tilleaceus, usually known as the coastal hibiscus, has the same strange colouration habit as Rosa Mutabilis in that the both change coulour markedly as they age. The hibiscus opens yellow, changes to orange and then to red all in a day, so probably only one plant?
        Your article raised great feelings of nostalgia for my 22 years in Sydney. Although I lived in Neutral Bay and Mosman you evoked wonderful memories of early morning walks before the heat became prohibitive. And, as all remark, your photographs are outstanding, whatever your subject. Thank you for the memories!

        1. Thank you. I’m pleased to learn about the coastal hibiscus, as it has come up in conversation during our visits to Sydney. I lived in Neutral Bay for a while, and it was a joy to catch the ferry to work every day, and look at the Opera House, and the Bridge.

  5. Thanks for sharing this part of Sydney. As my in-laws are on the northern beaches, I think I have only been to Bondi once since my first visit back in 1985. I always think of Manly when I think of the busy Sydney beaches. Looks you like had a lovely christmas there with your family. Hope your granddaughter is growing well.

    1. Thanks Ruth, yes our little granddaughter is doing well and fortunately is a good traveller, so we had lots of fun with her. I hope you were able to spend some time with you little grandson over the Christmas period.

  6. Lucky, lucky you having such a lovely place to stay over Christmas. Jack was born in Sydney, but 85 years ago a very different city to today. A lovely selection of photos and you have captured the spirit of summer in Bondi. Must go again soon. But will wait till it gets a bit cooler

    1. Glad you enjoyed a glimpse of Bondi these days. I agree about the weather … It was getting hotter as we left…. Too hot!

  7. A wonderful post, it must have been a treat to spend Christmas here with your family. The coastline looks fantastic, my great,great, great grandfather used to sail into Sydney on one of the clipper ships, it must have been a relief to arrive after the long crossing. Sarah x

    1. How interesting to have that historic link with your 3x grandfather … I do not know how they survived those sailing journeys around the world …. They must have been hardy folk! So he would have been looking right at the cliffs in the photos, as it is not far from the headland. Amazing to think of it.

      1. Thanks I went back to relook at the cliffs! Some of his family set up a department store in Sydney. I have recently been reading how tough the sea crossing was, it must have been a relief to be on dry land and catch up with some of his family. Sarah x

        1. I think the voyage out there was very tough, a wonder anyone survived really. I wonder what the name of the department store was? There was quite a well known one called Mark Foyers…but I don’t know when it was opened.

  8. Your sea hibiscus is also a wild flower here. I have one in my garden – a cutting from Porterville where it bloomed. Still waiting for the plant to decide it is big enough to bloom!

  9. How I wish I was back there! What a way to spend Christmas, you lucky girl!!! That blue sky and gorgeous blooms are giving me a heartache, just fantastic, especially the Frangipani, I can smell it from here! I just loved this post!xxx

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, (as I love the English gardens in our winter)..the Frangipanis are really lovely aren’t they?

  10. Wonderful photos, Gerrie. Looks really gorgeous there. I envy your brother Neil keeping the same group of friends for all these years and spending so much time together at the beach. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sylvia, and I agree, nothing nicer than having a group of life long friends, and walking on the beach every day…

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