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Tips for Enjoying Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea 2019

Planning a visit to Sculpture by the Sea? We have been attending since the very first year and have made 20 of the 23 years. We went along this morning to check out the 2019 works and share my tips for how to enjoy this often crowded, but always fabulous exhibition. 

Sculpture by the Sea is one of the biggest outdoor events on the Sydney calendar and is the biggest free public art exhibition in the world. This year there are 111 sculptures by artists from 18 countries.

This year 10 Czech and Slovak artists feature in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution which ended communist rule in these countries.

Sculpture By the Sea begins on Thursday, 24 Oct 2019  and runs until Sunday, 10 Nov 2019.

Now in its 23rd year, the exhibition has been steadily growing in popularity, attracting over half a million visitors during its 3 weeks run last year.  

This year a new but equally impressive batch of sculptures lining the 2 km walk, it’s a lovely way to spend a few hours in the Sydney spring sunshine. While the Bondi to Coogee walk is always popular at this time of year the track becomes a slow stroll rather than the usual brisk walk/jogging track it usually is.

Sculpture by the Sea unofficially, for me at least, marks the beginning of “beach season” which in Sydney starts offically on 1 December. 

Transcience Artist: Cave Urban

We went along this morning, the first Saturday and day three of the event. Arriving at 7am after 40 minutes trying to find parking we were surprised at how few people were actually walking on the path considering the parking nightmare. I think many of the cars were there for surf lifesaving events. Sundays might be a better bet.

Some of this years work – 2019

Precious Moments Artist: Sue Corbett
The Elements of Time Artist: Markus Hofer
The Vague but slightly illuminated eye of perception Artist: Stephen Harrison
Thru Artist: Katja Grinling
David Černý PinkTank Wrecked
Pinktank Wrecked Artist: David Černý
Statue of Mad Liberty
The Statue of Mad Liberty Artist: Wang Kaifang

The best thing about going on the first weekend is that lots of people don’t realise it has started.

Sculpture by the Sea 2015 path between Bondi and St Marks Park
Things get pretty crazy in the last weekend so try not to leave your visit till then.

My advice for having the best day possible at Sculpture by the Sea

  1. Go early in the morning – The sunrise over the ocean is worth the early wake up even without the sculpture, but you will be rewarded with a lot more space to enjoy the works if you make the effort to arrive before 8 am!
  2. Try to go on a weekday if you can.  Avoid the last weekend if at all possible.
  3. Do not take your car – If you do expect to park several blocks from the ocean and walk the last part.  Buses operate from Coogee, Bronte, and Bondi so there really is no need to experience the headache of parking here during the festival. You can view a map showing all your public transport options and plan before you go.
    There are also free shuttles between Bondi and Tamarama on weekends.
  4. Consider going on a day that is a little overcast – the sculptures can look fantastic with a dramatic stormy sky and the less hardy will stay away waiting for better weather.
  5. Don’t expect to walk quickly, people stop to take photos in the middle of the path, some are considerate, some not so much – just expect it and keep smiling.
  6. Try not to touch the sculptures – as inviting as they are some may be easily damaged so pay attention to the warning signs.
  7. Watch your footing when exploring the works on the rocks, one man today got so carried away with capturing the perfect shot he almost ended up in the ocean.
  8. If you or anyone in your group has trouble with stairs check out this map showing which parts of the walk are most accessible and where the staircases are.

A selection of my favourite sculptures from previous years.

Artists talks take place each Saturday and Sunday of the exhibition from 10am-3.00pm in Marks Park or Tamarama.

Sculpture by the sea Bondi 2015- Winner
Winning Sculpture 2015

Where: Along the Bondi to Tamarama section of the walk
When: Thursday 24 October – Sunday 10 November

Check out our full Bondi to Coogee walk guide if you want to walk the entire 6km track

How to get to Sculpture by the Sea

  • From Bondi Junction – The 380, 381 and 333 buses run between Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach.
  • From Bondi Junction to Tamarama – the 361 will take you to Tamarama, Beach if you would prefer to end your walk in Bondi.
  • Fancy a longer walk take the 378 to Bronte Beach and the 360 – Clovelly to Bondi Junction

If you are planning on a special meal at somewhere like Icebergs or before or after your walk it is recommended to make a booking. Check out our insider’s guide to Bondi for ideas,

If you have any questions about anything to do with Bondi or just want some more general tips for your trip to Sydney head over and join our Plan a trip to Sydney Facebook Group.

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If you’re are a local who like to keep up with what’s happening in Sydney our Facebook page is probably for you.

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