Sculpture by the Sea @ Bondi

(or how I sat in a tangle of tentacles and made fun of a white man’s winkie.)


Warm and sunny greetings to you, my Beach Loving Vagabonds

For the past year my daughter has been talking about wanting to revisit Sculptures by the Sea @ Bondi one day. And a slight miscalculation in how early we needed to get up in order to make it to the Opera House in time to see a screening of Neil Gaiman short films, coupled with all the road closures in the city afforded us the opportunity to turn the day into an unplanned adventure.

We arrived starving and parched having left the house without breakfast and quickly found a cafe to please us all amongst the myriad of eateries along Campbell Parade. It was a blustery day, however the chance to eat in the sunshine and fresh air won out over nature’s plans to keep me indoors.

Ash: “It’s hard to believe we’re so close to the beach”
Me: “Yeah, it’s quite busy and touristy.”
Ash: “No. It doesn’t smell right.”
…and you know what? She was right. The smell of salt and seaweed was curiously absent from the air. It was almost unsettling once we noticed its absence.

Fed and watered we headed towards the iconic Bondi Icebergs Club to begin our arty adventure. I had never done this particular coastal walk before, but I could soon see that this walk would be stunning at any time. While I think that beaches like Bondi, Surfers and Manly are overrated due to the sheer volume of people trying their best to find personal space in an outdoor sardine tin, I have to admit that the small town South Australian girl in me was thinking ‘how cool is it that I live so close to somewhere so iconically Australian’ as I walked towards the Bondi Icebergs Club. I still get excited by the sight of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as we drive into the city.

Flanked by craggy rock formations and jaw-dropping ocean views, the two-kilometre cliff-side walking trail played host to over a hundred public artworks. Scattered throughout grassy parklands, rocky cliffs and sandy beaches between Bondi and Tamarama Beaches, artists displayed their talents in one of Australia’s largest free public sculpture displays.


I can’t pretend to intrinsically understand all art, but there were pieces I enjoyed just for the sheer fun of them, intricate sculptures that were stunningly beautiful, as well as pieces that snuck up and sucker punched me with emotion. Both my daughter and I agreed that our favourite artwork was a collection of black marble sculptures called Chronic Series. Depicting people inside black trash bags, hugging their knees to their chest or curled up in the foetal position, the artwork was challenging and heart-rending to look at.

With plenty to entertain you visually, a large white man’s winkie to gaze upon if you’re ‘lucky’, a beautiful beachside setting and nearby amenities a day out at Sculpture by the Sea @ Bondi is something I highly recommend to everyone.

Cost: Free, however there is opportunity to donate and program guides start at $12. On a side note, drinks are available along the trail, but bring cash as there is no eftpos available in the pop up tents. Cafe’s with eftpos facilities are located at either end of the trail.

When is it? In 2016 Sculpture by the Sea @ Bondi was from 20th of October – 6th of November and is held around the same time each year.

Where is it? Traditionally things with the place name in the title are held in that place. Sculpture by the Sea @ Bondi is no different. The artworks are located between in some of Sydney’s most beautiful Northern Beaches suburbs of Bondi and Tamarama in New South Wales, Australia. The following March Sculpture by the Sea undergoes a small change in the name and is relocated to Cottesloe in Western Australia.

Tell me something cool I don’t know: Tactile Tours are free tours designed to give people with a disability the opportunity to experience the modern art on show. Find out more here.

Now tell me if there are toilets nearby. This is a major priority for me: Yes. Don’t panic. There are toilets at Bondi Beach, at the Icebergs Club, Mark’s Park and Tamarama Beach.

I made it to Tamarama and now I’m tired and my car is back at Bondi. Should I sulk? No. Sulking is unattractive and unnecessary. Major sponsor of the event, Hyundai, offer a free shuttle with stops at Notts Avenue, Bondi and Tamarama Beach.

Where do I find out more?

As always

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