Bondi To Bronte ocean swim
Sun, 1 Dec 2019
The 2.2km Bondi To Bronte Ocean Swim is one of Australia’s iconic swim events, taking place on the first Sunday of each December, between two of Sydney’s most famous beaches.
It’s a way to take in the best of Sydney’s most beautiful and renowned beaches, and an achievement every Sydneysider should look to tick off the bucket list.
When you finally round that last buoy after your journey from Bondi, and get to shore at Bronte, you’ll be able to celebrate your big achievement with a barbecue, beers and the thousands of other swimmers gathered at Bronte on that first summer Sunday.
Behind the course
The event began in 2001 as a way for the Bronte Surf Club to raise funds to send a team to the World Life Saving Championships in Dayton, Florida.
They would have been stoked with 300 at that first event; they got more than double that.
Now, thousands gather each year for the Bondi to Bronte ocean swim with the proceeds still going to send Bronte’s life savers to the World Championships, as well as purchasing invaluable lifesaving equipment for the Bronte Surf Club.
The point to point event ranges between 2.1km and 2.4km, depending on ocean conditions. It starts at Bondi’s world famous Lifeguard Tower, before curling around McKenzie’s Point and coming in to Bronte Beach.
If the full two-kilometre course seems like an arduous task, fear not; the Bondi To Bronte ocean swim organisers have also developed a shorter 800m Bondi Bay course.
The 800m course is an inverted pyramid consisting of four buoys, and will be set somewhere between the lifeguard tower and the south end of the beach.
And for the younger competitors, or kids who are not yet feeling up to the 800m swim, there’s still the 400m mini event that is tucked inside the 800m course, loaded with water safety.
The 800m maxi course for junior swimmers (U11-U13) is the same course as the adult 800m, that being an inverted pyramid containing 4-buoys, set just off Bondi Beach. Swimmers will complete the course in a clockwise direction, keeping the buoys on their left.
For the youngest competitors (U9-U10, and combined U11-13) the 400m mini event is a great test of skills. The course sits inside the 800m, with only two buoys to locate and swim anticlockwise around. Surrounded by water safety and cheered on by family and friends, the junior event is the perfect introduction to ocean swimming for the youngsters. This event is only open to proficient nippers.
The 800m swim is a classic 4-buoy course. Swimmers head straight out from the beach, keeping the buoys to their left as they make their way around anticlockwise. After taking a quick second to admire the surroundings at the most seaward buoy, duck your head back down and head back to the beach, using a Bondi landmark to guide you.
The main event ranges between 2.1km and 2.4km, depending on ocean conditions. It starts at Bondi’s world famous Lifeguard Tower, before curling around McKenzie’s Point and coming in to Bronte Beach.
While you’re there
The eastern suburbs has plenty on offer for a day out for the whole family.
You can start with a BBQ and a beer at the Bronte surf club, while you’re in the club, check out the history over the walls – to this day Bronte and Bondi surf club’s fight for the very first surf club honours and they are both over 100 years old.
The coastal walk is on the Sydney tourist to-do list, and the views won’t disappoint. Head north to walk the swim track to Bondi and enjoy everything Australia’s most famous beach has to offer, or head south towards Coogee, passing by Clovelly and Gordon’s Bay.
For food and coffee, Bronte has a popular cafe strip behind the beach. There’s fish ‘n’ chips, coffee, refreshments or more sophisticated dining for the more discerning. Try the Bogey Hole and Bronte Bello for a good balance.
If you want to get away from the madness, the hot tip is Three Blue Ducks on Macpherson Street.
Travel and parking
Bronte is not renowned for it’s parking. Your best bet is to bus from Bondi Junction on the 378, or the 361 which will get you to Tamarama with a short walk on the end. If you drive, go early and hit the back streets. Most streets have 2-hour parking.
If you choose to park at Bronte, you’ll need to walk around the headland to Bondi. You can take gear to Bondi, and leave it with the baggage delivery van who will deliver it to Bronte while you swim.
If you park at Bondi, there is beach parking along Elizabeth Drive and behind the Pavillon, 2-hours parking within a couple of blocks of the beach, and free parking lightyears from the beach (but the walk to the beach will be a good warm up).
The buses to Bondi are the 308, 381, 333. The 389 also comes to Bondi, but you’ll need to get off on Hall Street or at the North Bondi terminal and walk.
If the weather is looking great, get there early as it’ll be heaving.