For an idyllic seaside holiday, it doesn’t get much better than the glistening, white sandy beaches down under. With a number of world class beaches in every major city, Australia dominates the beach scene like none other. Hidden in the shadows of Sydney’s larger, more iconic beaches, Bronte Beach on the East Coast may well be the region’s best kept secret.
Away from the crowds, this secluded paradise is fringed by green flora and sandstone cliffs. The stunningly beautiful escape is a breath of fresh air from other beaches that line the Australian coasts. At Bronte, the sun and surf trump the scantily clad bikini models effortlessly. String bikinis are few and far between in Bronte beach making it a popular family style recreational hotspot with plenty of fun options for both kids and adults.
It is a common misconception that the beach is named after the Bronte sisters when in fact, it is named after Lord Nelson, the Duke of Bronte in Sicily. The Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club formed in 1903 is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. The beach is very safe and patrolled by the Waverley Council full time and by volunteer lifeguards on weekends and public holidays.
The extremely poetic setting of Bronte Beach has inspired and shaped its fair share of literary works, the most famous being Katherine Stewart’s Spilt Milk in 1995.
Flanked to the west by hills, the beach often gets cool and windy by the afternoon. Fret not though, for once you’ve had your morning in the sun, you can tickle your taste buds at the many cafés and restaurants that line the strip opposite the beach.
You can get to Bronte beach by taking a train from Central Station to Bondi Junction . From here, bus no. 378 will take you to Bronte Beach. Alternatively, you can walk about 2 km south from Bondi Beach or a little distance north from Coogee Beach to find Bronte Beach. These three beaches are connected by a paved, coastal footpath along the hills which is a great place for a walk, a jog or a run. The beach is usually sunny all year round with pleasantly warm air and water temperatures. Visit in late January for the warmest temperatures.
There is a multitude of activities that the beach offers to its visitors.
The waters of Bronte Beach aren’t extremely swimmer friendly. There are large rocks and the waves often reach dangerous levels, so it is advisable to only swim if you are trained, experienced and confident. Make sure you don’t swim beyond the limits of the safety marker flags. However, the rocks duly make up for the inconvenience they cause by forming a natural rock pool called the Bronte Bogey at the south end. This pool offers one of the best saltwater swimming experiences in the world. Spend a day exploring its mysteries. The Bronte Baths have 5.30 metre swimming lanes. There is also a large, shallow rock sheltered area popular among children. Both these spots are safe and popular among visitors of all ages. Bronte Beach is a favourite for sunbathing amongst senior citizens.
The waves and winds at Bronte are absolutely awesome for surfing but amateur surfers are advised to keep away.
Visit the beach on the first Sunday of December to watch over 2500 swimmers battle it out for the 2.4 km Bondi to Bronte swim. Have a blast at the after party in Bronte Park with live music, street food and children’s rides. Try and catch the largest outdoor sculpture event ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ to feast your eyes on some of the finest specimens of modern art held between October and mid November.
The stunning green Bronte Park that lines the beach is the perfect place for a romantic or a family picnic throughout the year. During the summer, a model children’s train operates in the park. There are dining and coin operated barbecue facilities if you prefer to do the cooking yourself in addition to restaurants and cafés.
The shopping in the Bronte Beach area is limited to convenience stores but heading a couple of kilometres north to Bondi will provide you with one of the finest high end shopping experiences internationally.
Walking down Bronte Road will take you to the Gothic architectural masterpiece, Bronte House dating back to 1845. It is home to colonial gardens, grassed terraces, ponds, flower beds, arches, fountains, a mini forest and intricate rockery gardens. The house is open to the public on four weekends a year.
As if that weren’t enough, Bronte has its own enchanted forest, Bronte Gully. Enter it by descending a moss covered stairway flanked by the waterfalls and pools of Bronte Creek. It is kept in tip top shape by the Bronte Gully Bushcare Group who work every second Sunday to make it look like the ethereal fairytale that it is. Look out for blue tongue lizards, kookaburras and other aves on Wattle, Banksia and Giant Honey Myrtle trees.
With a delectable array of culinary indulgences, Bronte Beach is where you must head for a spectacular Sydney breakfast with good food and mesmerising views of both nature and people.
The cafés on the southern strip serve the usual eggs, bacon, French toast, coffee and your other daily breakfast preferences.
For something more avant grade, Swell Restaurant at the end of the strip as one of the swankiest and best restaurants in the city is a fantastic option.
Iggy’s is an artisan bakery where the naturally fermented artisan breads such as sourdough bagels, baguettes and foccacias are to die for.
Favoloso Café is popularly known as Bronte’s Little Italy. Come here for Fiat kitchen clocks, Limoncello aprons, prosciutto and the Pasta Alla Norma.
For a little breakfast à la Français, dig deeper into your pocket and head upto the Bronte Bistro. Here, you eat with your eyes and mouth and the flavours complement the presentation beautifully. Feast on shaved cabbage, Persian feta, pea and mint salad and the ever popular steak frites.
Vacanca Pizza is an excellent choice for rustic, old school, wood fired pizzas topped with triple smoked ham, provolone and San Marzano tomatoes.
Bronte Beach as a holiday destination offers spectacular views, awesome entertainment, leisure and serenity and food to die for. Come visit this secluded paradise for your next holiday. After all, the locals say, “A day away from Bronte is a day wasted.”