Stunning Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi

The annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition is on again

This is one of my favourite times of the year, as spring is turning into summer and the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk hosts over one hundred stunning sculptures. With a backdrop of beautiful beaches, and ocean all the way to the horizon, it’s no surprise that hundreds of thousands of people visit it over 18 days each year in late October/early November. You should too.

Gallery of the sculptures.

City2Surf in Sydney, not just for runners

London marathon, New York marathon, Sydney’s City2Surf, fun runs in just about every major city in the world – these are iconic events which tens of thousands of people compete in every year, and which I have never, ever, aspired to do. Until this year!

I’m not a runner, and I don’t enjoy running – for me it’s all about walking and I currently walk around 40 kms a week. And I live in Bondi, which is where the 14 km City2Surf race finishes on the beach every August – it is billed as the world’s largest race and regularly has 80,000+ entrants. I’m a big fan of the sausage bbq on the beach at the end, which is just as much appreciated by the spectators as the participants. But this year, completely out of character, I decided I wanted to actually enter the City2Surf, and one of my friends , who has run it before, agreed to join me in the walkers group.

One of the great characteristics about the City2Surf is that it is both competitive and egalitarian (a good reflection of the national character perhaps). The 85,000 entrants this year included some of the worlds best runners at this distance, plenty of serious runners, lots of fun runners, a surprising number wearing superhero and animal costumes, and around 20,000 walkers as well. The start groups for the City2Surf are split by speed, starting with invitation-only seeded and preferred runner groups, followed by runners with previous race times under 70 minutes, runners with previous race times under 90 minutes, an open entry running group, an open entry jogging group, and finally an open entry “Back of the Pack” group for walking, using a wheelchair or pushing child strollers.

Yes, it was definitely the back of the pack group that attracted me, and because the race is so large, we snake along amongst a huge crowd for the whole 14 kms, which is quite awe-insipring every time we breach another hill and see the size of the crowd in front and behind. Of the 85,000 entrants this year, around 70,000 actually turn up on the day and finish the course. In addition, another 120,000 spectators plus dozens of bands and DJ’s line the entire course, and it is quite surreal (and awesome) being cheered on from the sidelines for the whole race. The sun is shining, the views are sparkling, the participants are all friendly and positive, it’s a real feel-good factor event. Now that I am a convert I would say that everyone should give it a go, at least once! We aimed to walk it at a fast pace, with a fair bit of ducking and diving to overtake through the crowds, and ended up finishing in 2 hrs 27 minutes, beating 11,000 other walkers and a fair few stray joggers who ran out of puff. The race winner did it in 41 minutes and the average runner took about 1 hr 30m so we’re very pleased with that. And then we retire to a bar overlooking the beach for a cold bevy and some yummy fried foods. I think I may just have to do it again next year – who’s going to join me?

a day before winter in Bondi Beach

It’s the last day of the autumn months (Mar/Apr/May) and one day before winter sets in (Jun/Jul/Aug) and the weather is phenomenal, don’t you wish you were here in Bondi?

Bondi Beach iphoneography
stunning weather at Bondi in the day before winter

It’s not really a secret that we have a pretty good climate here in Sydney. Some years it’s just better (or worse) than others. The current weather is bright blue skies, highs of 20&#8451 -23&#8451 , crisp overnights at 10&#8451-14&#8451, on the coast at least. I’m loving it – here’s some more of today’s iphoneography to enjoy:

Bondi Beach iphoneography
the ocean pool at Bronte in stunning sunshine the day before winter
Bondi Beach iphoneography
Attack of the killer seagulls (I really don’t like seagulls)
Bondi Beach iphoneography
fishing off a ledge near Tamarama
Bondi Beach iphoneography
light filtered through this leafy street

And here’s a few more shots of the rest of this week of Bondi in the evening sun, in the gallery below.






The Unbearable Lightness of Bondi Beach

I know, I know, it’s a very lame pun. But a daily view of Bondi Beach is a marvellous thing to live with. And no matter how hectic life gets, there is rarely a day when I don’t spend at least a few seconds just soaking in the view – and somehow it is different every day. Sunny or rainy, day or night, my dear old Bondi keeps coming up with another light and colour combination to keep me interested. So I thought it was time to share a few with you.
Bondi in the changing light

I have only blogged once in the last two months. Why so long without blogging? – well that would be the rugby and the beer and the flights every weekend and the parties in NZ and all the work in between – and time just disappeared. So to get myself started again, I am literally posting about what is on my front door.

Bondi in the changing light

Bondi in the changing light

Bondi in the changing light

Have you checked out Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea yet?

It only lasts for a quick two weeks, it’s already half over for this year, and it is a highlight of Bondi that I look forward to every year. It brings out the crowds – even with all the rain this year. Today it is glorious sunshine, and it’s a Sunday, so it is really, really packed – not surprising when you think that approx 400,000 people visit it every year, over 16 days!
Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2010

Why do I like it so much? – well it’s partly the location  – a stunning seaside walk around headlands and bays, with the ocean as a backdrop to the sculptures –  that is pretty amazing. And then there are the many dozens of sculptures, in a huge array of styles and sizes – although ‘big’ always looks good in this environment! Everyone will have their own favourites, there are plenty to go around. Oh, and it’s free – can’t get much better then that. (but programs cost $10 if you want to know what it is you are looking at). And then there are the many Bondi cafes and bars for a restorative bite or drink at the end.
Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2010

It’s so good it has now spread to WA (Cottesloe Beach) and Aarhus in Denmark.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2010

Weekend Warning.

If you have a choice, try and visit on a week day. Early in the morning or later in the evening are both particularly good if you want to maximise the amount of open space around each sculpture – sneak out of work a bit early and you can have an hour or two to wander before it gets too dark. I want to say that even on the crowded weekends it’s still well worth a visit, but I am struggling to!  If you must come on the weekend, bring a water supply and lots of patience.

Parent Warning.

If you are bringing your young kids with you, (and you should, they’ll enjoy it), keep an eye out for signs on some of the sculptures asking us not to touch them, climb in or on them etc. The majority of the sculptures are robust and touchable, but some are not, or may be dangerous to play on. I am amazed at the number of parents who read the signs out or point them out to each other – and then send their kids off to play on them anyway, or to pose on them for the “perfect” photo. Theres a playground in Marks Park as well, so no excuses.
Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2010

So just one question then – have you walked the Sculptures yet?

Photofriday: Round: Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi

sculpture - round

I love the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in October every year, with the sculptures all displayed along the Bondi to Bronte cliff walk, with he gorgeous ocean as the backdrop. This sculpture from 2006 was one of my favourites.

This will be my last blog for 2-3 weeks, I am off to Tanzania, to parts without wifi and internet access – talk about taking me back a decade or two!

The Bondi Beach Drag (Queen) Races – Photo Friday – Stand Out

Bondi Beach Drag Queen Races

In a sea of bright spandex and stiletto heels, the competitors prepare for the main events of the afternoon – the handbag discus, the 3-legged stiletto race, the feminine posing section, and then the big finale (for any contestants that haven’t already twisted their ankles wearing stiletto’s in wet sand) the Dainty Dune Dash.

The Sydney Mardi Gras reintroduced the Drag Queen Races for 2010, and a crowd has gathered to cheer on their favourites. Unusually for this summer’s day on Bondi Beach, the grey clouds have rolled in and it has started to rain, which may make a mess of the carefully applied makeup. I can’t help but think that running in stiletto’s in wet sand must be even more difficult than in dry powdery sand, not that I am likely to try either. But these are professionals, and they are not going to let the weather interfere with their plans to outlast their competitors.

It looks like the contestants’ favourite event is the feminine posing, as they each get their 60 seconds of fame in the spotlight, posing and voguing as only Madonna fans can. So who ended up winning? I have  no idea, as the skies opened and the mild rain turned into a torrential downpour, the audience sprinted for shelter and the contestants sprinted for the after-party.