The small patch of grass in North Bondi – known to locals as the grassy knoll – is a kaleidoscope of tanned bodies, tattoos and towels.
Ask a Sydneysider to reveal their favourite beach and they will almost certainly have a particular spot in mind. They’ll also be willing to tell you, while assuming a smug air of superiority, all about why summer doesn’t exist without it. Today I will adhere to my own stereotype and tell you all about why I love the North Bondi Grassy Knoll.
Mentioning an upcoming beach day at the Grassy Knoll usually evokes mixed reactions amongst my friends. While a core few are already shoving bikinis in bags at the thought, others give a sort of shudder and suddenly have plans. I can understand why some people prefer a serene quiet spot, but I am just not one of those people. Every time I go, my excitement starts building in the car, even as we negotiate the tedious traffic. I get enthusiastic about spotting parks, which most of the time up being driveways. I am reminded of a game of tetris when we finally squeeze into a spot on the narrow Bondi Streets. As we wander to our destination, the anticipation overwhelms me and I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes: ‘Let’s hurry up so we can relax’.
The North Bondi Grassy Knoll is an unassuming hill sloping up from the far north end of Bondi Beach. It’s the scene of every wonderful summer memory in my recent history so obviously I’m a little biased in singing its praises. However, from a visitor’s perspective I firmly believe the Grassy Knoll still embodies the perfect beach experience. For example, if you stick to the beach, there’s a lot of sand. It looks pretty, and provides that amazing soft cold feeling when you sit on it on a summer’s evening. However, it also flies in your face, sticks to the sunscreen on your skin, and manages to find its way into everything you own. We on the Grassy Knoll do not suffer in this way. Swimming (amazing) is a matter of strolling down carved-out stone stairs to the actual beach, where the sand begins. A conveniently placed shower provides refreshment at the top of the stairs. The day continues without sandy frustration.
Sunbathing is one of my many vices and there is nothing more annoying than deliberately getting to a beach early in order to snazzle up a good spot in the sun, only to watch the shade move over your head as the shadows move. I imagine the reverse is true for all those shade lovers out there (I know, I know… sunbathing is wrong), but this is my story and I can excitedly report that the Grassy Knoll is in full sunlight all afternoon and I love it. There is still a good reason to show up early though: Fellow sand-hater-sun-lovers arrive throughout the day until there is little space left. At this point, the Knoll comes alive with pockets of music and chatter.
Contemplative gazing out into the ocean is another way to enjoy the Grassy Knoll. There is something magical about this particular view of the beach. Being so high up, it’s a perfect spot for sitting back, enjoying a cider, and watching the world go by. Alternatively, you can have a few more, pump out some tunes, appreciate some phenomenal bodies, and generally get a bit silly.
Staying right to the bitter end is mandatory. Eventually the sun slips down over the south end, providing breathtaking views. By then, the combination of sun daze, a few drinks, and that beautiful beach always make me feel in complete awe of not just my country, but the world we live in.