After our visit to Manly Beach, we were keen to see Bondi Beach in Sydney to compare the two. We decided the best way to make the 7 km trip from the Rocks to Bondi would be the Hop On Hop Off Bus, aka the HO HO Bus or the Big Bus Sydney. The $55 AUD ($38.50 USD) ticket for one day was pricey but we thought it was an efficient way to travel throughout the city and see all the highlights. We hadn’t yet ventured outside our neighborhood in the Rocks and the HO HO would rectify that situation. The map below shows the routes for the HO HO Bus with white circles at stop 1 where we boarded the bus and our destination at Bondi Beach.
To change from the red to the blue line, we got off the bus at stop 3. Spotting St. Mary’s Cathedral nearby, we decided to have a look before the next bus.
Back on the bus, we listened to the narration about landmarks such as Victoria Barracks and Centennial Park until we “hopped off” at the stop for Bondi Beach on Campbell Parade, just a short walk to the beach.
Bondi, pronounced bond-eye, is an aboriginal word which means “water breaking over rocks” or “noise of water breaking over rocks.” The crescent-shaped beach is 1km (.62 mi) long and the largest beach in the Sydney area, attracting as many as 40,000 visitors on the hottest days in summer.
After a brief exploration of the Bondi Pavillion, we removed our shoes to walk through the sand and dip our toes in the warm water of the South Pacific.
So, how did Bondi stack up against Manly Beach? If you’re looking for a wide sandy beach with a broad boardwalk from which to enjoy the beach scene, Bondi is for you. On the other hand, if you prefer picturesque views with shade offered by pine trees surrounding the beach, you’ll choose Manly. (If you missed it, you can read my Manly Beach post here.) Both offer coastal walks through the area and plenty of shops and restaurants. I’m told surfers prefer the bigger waves at Bondi, but we watched surfers at both. In the end, Manly got my vote but, if you have the time, definitely visit both.
Back on the bus, we enjoyed views of the city skyline from Dudley Page Reserve in Dover Heights, an eastern suburb of Sydney. Many tourists flock here to photograph the city from this vantage point.
Soon after we transferred from the blue line back to the red line at the Central Railway Station, we spied one of the most striking buildings at One Central Park, in the suburb of Chippendale. The tallest vertical garden in the world, this 34 story residential building with 623 apartments was completed in 2013, winning an international award the following year for the best tall building in the world.
We got off the bus again at stop 14 for the Sydney Fish Market at Blackwattle Bay. The largest working fish market in the Southern Hemisphere, the SFM supplies and promotes sustainable seafood, trading over 13,500 tons of fish annually. We wandered around the area looking at fish we had never seen before and watching tourists eat local seafood prepared onsite.
Frankly, we were out of our element and not everyone in my group enthusiastically embraced the idea of eating local seafood at the Sydney Fish Market so instead we had lunch at a nearby pub, the Dunkirk.
Following a leisurely lunch, we boarded the HO HO again to finish the route. We passed through the Darling Harbor area, China Town, and Dawes Point before ending our tour where we began in the Rocks.
Day 3 in Sydney ended satisfactorily at Lord Nelson, another pub just around the corner from our condo where we enjoyed a cold brew and discussed all we’d discovered on our tour of the city.
Based on events from February 2019.