Insider's guide to the best cafes and day spa in Sydney's famous Bondi Beach

An entrepreneur and champion of natural beauty celebrates living beachside in Sydney’s heart of health and wellness.

There's so much more to Bondi than its beach.
  • Chey Birch
  • July 2019

Its crescent-shaped stretch of sand is famous around the world as the place where laid-back beach culture meets off-duty celebs but beneath the surface, there’s so much more to Bondi Beach than glitz, chai lattes and spotting the latest Insta influencers. Local Chey Birch, the founder of Black Chicken Remedies, lets us in on her favourite spots in this beachside Sydney suburb that attracts almost three million visitors every year.

Bondi resident Chey Birch shares her favourite local haunts.
Bondi resident Chey Birch shares her favourite local haunts.

What is the Black Chicken Remedies brand all about?

It’s a range of natural products made with therapeutic botanical extracts and essential oil blends for the face, body, mind, hair and oral care. I founded it here in Bondi in 2000.

Describe a typical day for you.

I’m up at 6am to check the weather, tide, wind apps and drink tea. Then I have a quick ocean swim, shower, get ready and eat breakfast at a café in Bondi before work at Black Chicken HQ in Waterloo. My day ends at about 7pm with a bath energised with drops of our De-stress Essential Oil Blend opens in new window (AUD $29.95) – a ritual I can’t do without.

How do you relax?

I hop on my paddleboard with Simba – one of my two Burmese cats. The seagulls go crazy when they see us but Simba keeps it all “cool cat-like” by ignoring them. The locals take a second look though and I often hear them saying, “Oh my God! It’s a cat on a paddleboard!”

What do you like most about living in Bondi?

The friendly casualness. On hot summer mornings, I can walk out my door wearing only swimmers, thongs and a towel flung over my shoulder, stroll down Campbell Parade and onto the beach.

Campbell Parade is lined with top restaurants and trendy stores.
Campbell Parade is lined with top restaurants and trendy stores.

What’s your fave local day spa?

Sage Beauty. It’s just a wonderful, inviting and relaxing place.

What are your tips for tackling the Bondi to Bronte walk?

Go early to avoid crowds and take money for breakfast along the way. A great spot to stop is near Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club, where rocks jut out over the water near a big surf break. I enjoy watching surfers catch waves.

Which are your favourite Bondi cafés?

Porch and Parlour is a local gem located a short stroll from North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club. Enjoy brunch here until 3pm, feasting on French toast and a healthy banana and turmeric smoothie. I like to stop for croissants and coffee or toasties and tea with ocean views at The Crabbe Hole. It is only accessible through the Icebergs swimming pool but don’t worry – diners are not charged admission. I also love Bondi Massive - with organic free-range eggs and smashed avocado served on sourdough toast, it doesn’t get more Sydney than this. This beachy hangout is located opposite the famous Icebergs swimming pool.

For a Bondi-style brunch, try local café Porch and Parlour
For a Bondi-style brunch, try local café Porch and Parlour.

Any travel beauty secrets?

Hydration; I drink lots of water and use products from our Travel Skincare Kit opens in new window (AUD $74.95). In particular, I use the multi-remedial Balm of Ages to keep nasty bugs at bay.