Best for sun-worshippers: Bondi Beach

I once spent six months working in television in Sydney, and that's when I first visited Bondi Beach. Back then, it was a bit unloved – there was nowhere to eat and the beach was run-down and grubby. In spite of its close proximity to the city centre, Bondi just wasn't fashionable. Nowadays, things are very different – the neighbourhood has been reinvented and Bondi has become the most vibrant beach in Australia; perfect for a fun weekend break from the city. The combination of a beautiful bay, golden sands and a cosmopolitan crowd ensures that this is a beach for everyone – surfers, serious swimmers, hikers, sunbathers and families enjoying communal picnics. Once frequented by backpackers, junkies and down-and-outs, the cleaned-up, restored Bondi is chic, and boasts, among other things, award-winning chef Sean Moran's Panaroma on Campbell Parade, a great neighbourhood restaurant where he offers organic produce, delicious roast chicken and fresh fish, all served simply. Think River Café, Aussie-style.

Fed up with the sand? Try some shopping – funky boutiques, health-food shops, and places selling serious sports equipment and beachwear line the surrounding streets. There's a rather ugly big new hotel which dominates the esplanade, but I prefer chilling out at Ravesi's, bang on the seafront. Don't be put off by the noise from the heaving bars on the ground and first floors (where you can drink cocktails lounging on sofas on the long terrace) – they've spent millions of dollars on sound-proofing. You can get a studio apartment with a little terrace to lounge on in private and your own fridge to keep your chardonnay nicely chilled. Bliss!

You could brave the waves, but I prefer to swim at the beautiful outdoor seawater pool at the southern end of the beach run by the Bondi Icebergs, a real Sydney institution. To become a member, you have to swim 3 out of 4 Sundays during the Aussie winter – or you can just pay for daily membership – there's a café for coffees, a restaurant for lunch and dazzling white terraces to lie around on and ogle the hunks ... you could almost be on Mykonos! There are outdoor yoga classes as well as swimming lessons on offer. In rough weather big waves crash right over the outside lanes – too frightening for me, but diehards love the spray.

The main Bondi shopping street is Hall Street, and on Gould Street, just parallel to the sea front, the Earth Food Store makes the best organic juices. You can buy a pineapple and they'll turn it into an instant drink packed with vitamins. A short walk inland down Bond Road brings you to more shops and Remo General Store, a no-frills establishment which sells really eclectic T-shirts, bags and office stuff. Great for presents – and they have a website ( There's also a weekly farmers'/food market on Saturdays at Bondi Beach Primary School. On Sundays it sells junk and bric-à-brac.

Waverley Council have just opened up an extension of the coastal path, so now you can work up an appetite by hiking over the headland from Bondi to Bronte Bay, all the way down to Waverley Cemetery, passing the exquisitely beautiful Tamarama Cove en route. My weekend in Bondi encompassed walking, swimming, drinking, eating and finally a trip to the Sydney Opera House (just 15 minutes away by cab) for the annual Drag Show starring Amelia Airhead, Vanity Faire and Tess Tickle. The costumes were better than anything in Vegas, and I laughed till I cried. They'll all be on display again at the Mardi Gras in March. If you're visiting Sydney, Bondi is a lot more fun than staying in a soul-less downtown hotel. After all, this city is all about the beach.

Ravesi's, 118 Campbell Parade, Sydney, NSW 2026 ( ). Rooms from A$249 (about £140). Sean's Panorama, 270 Campbell Parade, Sydney, NSW 2026 ( )

Superb sands

# Mozambique is out of the wars and into the tourist brochures, with hundreds of miles of pristine beaches, a burgeoning crop of eco-hotels and several protected island archipelagos. Try Coral Lodge 15.41 ( ), a new dune-top luxury retreat in La Varanda nature reserve. From $295 (£180) per person, per night all-inclusive.

# El Palmar, on the Costa de la Luz, has expanses of golden sand that beg you to turn cartwheels. Add superb surf, affordable al fresco restaurants and lots of pan-Europeans to splash around with and you've the makings of a fabulous Spanish family beach holiday. Villas from

# New York. Yes, you read that right, the Empire State has some gorgeous yellow sand beaches, with arguably the best found on Fire Island ( ), a 32-mile-long spit of protected National Seashore, backed by dunes and fronted by the rolling Atlantic, all just two hours' drive from Manhattan.

# Oman has 1,000 miles of pristine coastline stretching from the Musandam Peninsular to the Empty Quarter desert. If you want something really remote, with squeaky-sand beaches and lavish service, try Zighy Bay ( Doubles from £416.

# Or closer to home, why not try a luxurious break at Hawke's Point, a chic and tastefully appointed new apartment complex with fabulous vews overlooking St Ives' Carbis Bay. Stroll on the beach, stop off the Tate – and while you're out the concierge service will even stock your fridge with Cornish goodies. From £250 for a long weekend, based on two sharing. See

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map