Beach Bondi Beach is located 7 km east of downtown Sydney and surrounded by the most densely populated part of Sydney. It is NSW’s most popular and best known beach. In the 19th century it was a sandy wilderness, but the Bondi tram and rapid urban development put an end to that in the 1900s, which lead to the formation of two of Australia's oldest surf life saving clubs, North Bondi and Bondi, both established in 1907. The beach is located 7 km south of South Head, with steep rocky coast in between. The northern Ben Buckler headland forms the eastern boundary of 800 m wide south-facing Bondi Bay, with McKenzie Point to the south. The wide 900 m long beach curves between the two headlands and faces southeast (Fig. 4.238). It is backed by a continuous seawall, walkway, beachfront car park and large grassy foreshore reserve including the two surf clubs and bathing pavilion (Fig. 4.239). Houses and apartments dominate both headlands and the backing valley, with small parks on the tips of each headland, and rock pools at each end of the beach. The southern headland is the base for the Bondi Icebergs swimming club.
Swimming The lowest waves and best swimming is in the northern half in the patrolled areas. However rips are always present so use care at Bondi and stay between the flags and well clear of the boundary rips and rocks. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards year round, as well as the surf clubs during the summer.
Surfing Bondi picks up all southerly swell and usually has persistent beach breaks. During big swell the northern point, Ben Buckler produces a good left. The central portion is closed to boards, leaving the higher waves and strong rips of south Bondi to the board riders. The beach breaks are of variable quality with the left into the southern headland rip holding waves up to 2.5 m.
Fishing Owing to the popularity of the beach most fishing is restricted to the rocks to each end, both ends having permanent gutters.