Getaway Fact sheets
You are here: ninemsn > Travel > Getaway > Fact sheets

Bondi with Ben Lee

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A few years ago when Catriona was filming a story for Getaway in Hollywood, she was chuffed to see Australian singer/song writer Ben Lee being pursued by paparazzi. They recently caught up in the madly popular Sydney suburb of Bondi — the one with the beach every tourist wants to see.

Ben was born in Sydney and broke into the music scene as a 14-year-old with his band Noise Addict. He had a monster hit in Australia with 'Catch My Disease'. That single won him the Aria Single of the Year award.

Ben hasn't only been in the recording studio. He's also tried his hand at acting, starring with Garry McDonald, Miranda Richardson and Rose Byrne in the Australian film The Rage In Placid Lake — and the critics loved him.

With all the fame, however, Ben is a Bondi boy at heart: it's where he grew up and went to school, and he was happy to show us his Bondi.

The Bondi Pavilion Community Cultural Centre dates back to 1928 when the local council responded to visitors' needs to built and promote it as the Playground of the Pacific. It housed Turkish baths, a ballroom, Palm Court and changing sheds.

It is still a core part of the community and these days has a theatre, gallery, rehearsal area, meeting rooms, art workshop, pottery and studios. It is the centre for festivals and performances throughout the year. It holds classes for a huge range of interests, and holds various workshops and school holiday activities.

Martin Smith's bookshop is a mecca for discerning book-lovers (and the first drummer in Ben's band is Martin's son). The small space houses a dynamic collection, packed almost to the ceiling — as good bookshops should be. It has books of literary fiction, art, science, philosophy, biography, history, the classics, cuisine and children's books. It also has a selection of artistic cards.

Captain Billy's Crab Shack sells clothing for skaters and people who like cool clothes. They stock new- and old-school skateboarding clothing, shoes and accessories. They do have quite a bit of fun with tourists who think the shop is a seafood restaurant!

The owners are light years away from their previous occupations — a plumber and a scientist. They've decked their shop out in a tiki theme with bamboo board walls, pufferfish lamps and New Kids on the Block action figures. It just brings a smile to your face, even if you went there expecting a huge plate of blue swimmer crab!

Bondi Beach is one big eating area. Choose from high end restaurants to a simple meal of fish and chips on the beach and lots in between.

One of Ben's favourite food places is tucked away in a side street and is a treasure known to locals: the Earth Food Store. It has a huge range of fresh organic fruits and vegetables and they stock organic products such as yoghurt, noodles, breads and cakes. They have a hearty take-away selection and their fresh juices are second to none.


Bondi, Sydney's most famous beach.

For more information

Bondi Pavilion Community Centre
Queen Elizabeth Drive
Bondi Beach 2026
Ph: (02) 8362 3400
Fax: (02) 8362 3420

Martin Smith Bookshop
3 Hall Street
Bondi Beach 2026
Ph: (02) 9365 1482
Fax: (02) 9365 5596

Captain Billy's Crab Shack
75a Gould Street
Bondi 2026
Ph: (02) 9130 4336

The Earth Food Store
81 Gould Street
Bondi 2026
Ph: (02) 9365 5098

User comments
i am currently trying to organize and find accomodation along bondi but cant find anything that not the normal run of the mill hotel chain can you advise me of some hidden treasures. thanks sandi
Just reading the above made me feel homesick for my Bondi Beach backyard.
What, doesn't Ben get out there in the break? Like the cafes, but what about the beach?
Ben Lee is a sellout who will be never recognised in Australia becuase he failed to get thier acclaim first. He's like Fosters. Overseas people think it's all australians drink, when they wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. As far as ben's Bondi is concearned, it was never and never will be his.
naahhh u boys know ben....from footy....used to work permanent part time at the tab, hang out with 50 cents and do a bit of cage fighting outside the bondi hotel on saturday nights with dad
Thankyou so much for the story on Ben Lee , I learnt so much , things I didn't was cool. Thankyou again, Kathryn Toomey

Related links


Brochure Search

Free electronic brochures with information, resources and holiday ideas for unique getaways.

Select a destination:
Sign up nowTo Receive the free Getaway newsletter