Bondi / 2026

(Interviewer: H. Renwick, Photos: V. Kravchenko)

Locally and internationally, Bondi is recognised as one of Sydney’s most iconic suburbs. Its culture has undoubtedly been greatly enriched by the presence of immigrants and tourists. Swedish nationals, Ella Ullmann and Maja Bergström, are in Sydney on working-holiday visas. They have resided on Beach Road since the start of December 2011. I arranged to meet them in the afternoon in North Bondi to discover how they are finding life here:

Ella: ‘When we first came to Sydney, we were excited of course. But the first few days it was cold and rainy, not much different to Sweden actually. We were like, bad weather is not why we came here.’

Maja: ‘We were actually disappointed at first. We were staying in a backpacker in Chinatown and cities are the same everywhere. Sydney is even worse than Stockholm in many ways. The shopping is a bit crap, I mean, there’s no one big place where you can buy all your good clothes like H&M or Monki. You have to go to like ten different places every time.’

Ella: ‘And there’s so much commercials on TV and they are so stupid, why would I want to buy anything when a scary man screams at me and it just looks so cheap? Back home it’s the commercials  is very chic and you never see stuff like life-insurance and funerals. I just don’t want to think about that when watching TV-’

Maja: ‘Yeah and at Chinatown there just weren’t any Aussies. Seriously, it’s very hard to find any [Ella laughs]. We were like “we didn’t come here to discover the mysteries of the orient.”‘

Maja and Ella

After the first three disenchanting weeks at Haymarket, Ella and Maja moved to Bondi Beach and found the Sydney they were looking for. I asked them whether Bondi Beach reflected their vision of Australian culture more accurately.

Ella: ‘Yeah, Bondi is the only place where you will find in Sydney that Sex and the City lifestyle, which European women want. The city of Sydney has the “infrastructure”, I mean, the city and the corporate professions which makes women independent, but it doesn’t have the most important thing – the hot men.’

Maja: ‘Bondi has something much more alive about it, much more summer, something tutti frutti – it’s almost tropical but somehow still cosmopolitan.’

Ella: ‘The only annoying thing is that there are so many people from Sweden and they all just spend time together, you cannot learn anything new this way. We hear people around Bondi speaking Swedish often and we always are saying “ugh another Swedish person” and French too, there’s so many French.’

Ella: ‘We do a lot together. Of course, we need our space but that’s normal. What’s really good at Bondi is that it’s such a healthy lifestyle. I really wanted to learn surfing back in Europe and I thought that it was so hard but I tried it and on the first day I could stand up on the board and catch waves. For someone who’s done eight years of snowboarding like me I think surfing is very easy.’

Maja: ‘I learnt surfing when I was seventeen on holiday in Senegal. But it’s so much better here.’

Ella: ‘But for surfing we like to go better to like Tamarama or Bronte. It’s just better waves there and not so many Japanese tourists who cannot surf and get in your way.’

I asked Ella and Maja what constitutes a normal day at Bondi Beach.

Ella: ‘Ummm … we spend half our time getting a tan and the other half looking at the hot guys here [laughs]. We often do some exercises in the gym area on the beach, that’s where so many good-looking guys go everyday.’

Maja: ‘Do you mean Sam? Ella always talks to this guy who gives her advices on how to do the pull-up well hahaha’

Ella: ‘Shut up, it’s not true – he’s just cute. But we also like to go to the Beach Burrito in the afternoon. It’s so yummy and we love the decoration. And at night we of course go out.’

Bondi is also well-known for its vibrant nightlife. I asked Ella and Maja to share their going-out experiences and compare Bondi’s night-time destinations to other Sydney venues.

Ella: ‘It was so difficult to find good places to go when we first came. In the hostel in Chinatown we were given some really bad suggestions from people in our hostel room.’

Maja: ‘The worst was Scubar, so many backpackers-’

Ella: ‘No no, the worst was that Ching-a-ling place.’

Maja: ‘Yeah, that was stupid and so dirty. I don’t know why that guy Anton suggested. Every guy wants to get into your pants just because you are blonde and foreigner. Like, one guy came up to me and said “You don’t look like a Ching-a-ling girl”. And I was like, how lame, what’s this girl mean to look like?’

Ella: ‘yes at the beginning it was not so great. And we went to some clubs in Kings Cross  but the guys there were really either so slobbish  or Turkish-looking. But then we came to Bondi and it was super. Everyone’s friendly, all the local people come out and it’s very fun.’

Maja: ‘We usually start off the night at the Bondi Hotel. Just chilling, having beers after the hot day and looking at people. Then we go to the White Revolver or upstairs of the Beach Road after for lots of fun. They play all great music and the guys are all very good-looking and relaxed. People just come up to you and say “Hey, how you doing?” and you just meet so many nice, interesting people.’

Ella: ‘Not like the skinny rock-n-roll wannabes at other places. This one time, a guy came out of the toilet and tried and gave me his hand to shake and then said “hey there, can I buy you breakfast?” And I was like, “have you even washed your hands?” I mean, come on! Such stupid pick-up line. How old are you, dude?’


This entry was posted in Their suburbs, Their tribes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Bondi / 2026

  1. Justin says:

    Another ‘great’ one, sydneysiderblog! I haven’t seen something as empty and superficial in ages! If this is what Sydney is to you then I sincerely pity you… There are so many nice things you could have said about the real bondi beach culture and you chose to focus on two dimwits!

  2. Adrian says:

    They like shopping at big box retailers, have spent lots of time watching tv, are in Asia but surprised to find lots of people form “the Orient” and are put off by Turkish looking people.

    What horrible humans.

  3. troll says:

    nothing quite like slightly racist arians complaining about too many asians. i wonder if they would vote for pauline hanson if the could?

  4. Matty says:

    Jesus Christ. Someone please deport these douchebags urgently.
    Oh wait, theyre hanging out in Bondi. At least i’ll never run into them.

  5. Ugh says:

    this is embaressing. so disgusting

  6. Joe says:

    HA! Do Newtown next!

  7. slasha says:

    “and are put off by Turkish looking people” Ouch… sometimes the truth really hurts..chill out..thats how they feel live with it!!

  8. G says:

    The truth may hurt but it needs to be put in a more defined way. To outright say that Turkish people look bad and the like is discriminating and it’s most definitely not a truth, not even their truth since they have no way of knowing that people from turkey all look as off-putting as each other. A good way of defining it might be “There where lots of people who seemed to come from Turkey and weren’t at all pleasant”.

    Overall, this interview feels really condescending and a great tip for the future would be for these girls and those like them to wait with their judgement. Sure lots of guys just want to get in your pants, it’s a fact, but this doesn’t mean you have to assume it from the beginning. What can it possibly hurt to hear a person out for a sentence or three? The worst that you could get from it is an educated choice to ignore him or her ;)

    Peace & and spread the joy that you all have within!

  9. Gustav Vasa says:

    They must be from Norway.

  10. Will says:

    I cannot believe these two bitches typical bondi scum. I sware most of the europeans in bondi are always complaining about somthing. if they hate it so much they should go home!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>