It's the iconic Australian beach known throughout the world that attracts a cool two million visitors per year.

But despite Bondi Beach being a tourist magnet on a par with the Opera House, the beachside suburb has been slammed as "overrated", "ugly," and being so dirty it was in need of "a complete hosing down".

On Sydney radio station 2UE's breakfast show on Wednesday host Garry Linnell went on a furious rant bashing Bondi and calling its residents "tossers".

"It's one of the ugliest eyesores in this country, Bondi, this haphazard conglomeration of crappy looking buildings, tight streets, appalling traffic and a grungy, dirty beachfront which just needs a complete hosing down," Linnell said on air.

Advertisement

But locals have come out in support for the sun-kissed suburb, which has counted Oprah Winfrey and Justin Bieber among visitors, saying they "barrack for Bondi".

The bashing comes at a troubled time for Bondi Beach, located 9km east from Sydney's CBD, with an angry dispute in the community about a controversial new development.

On Tuesday night, Waverley Council voted in favour of a $38 million redevelopment of the landmark Bondi Pavilion which will see modern extensions to the structure torn down, the theatre within the building moved, and cafes and eateries added.

Actor Michael Caton in front of Bondi Pavilion: does she really need $38 million spent on her? Photo / News Corp Australia
Actor Michael Caton in front of Bondi Pavilion: does she really need $38 million spent on her? Photo / News Corp Australia

Actor Michael Caton, famous for his role as the stubborn Darryl Kerrigan in 1997 film The Castle, had thrown his weight against those fighting the plans saying, "She's looking a bit shabby ... but does she need $38 million spent on it?"

Waverly Mayor Sally Betts said she had even received death threats at a recent community meeting.

Tatty and Crappy

Queen Elizabeth Drive in Bondi is a car magnet. Photo / News Corp Australia
Queen Elizabeth Drive in Bondi is a car magnet. Photo / News Corp Australia

Talking about the redevelopment, co-host John Stanley said he grew up around the suburb and the Pavilion was "tatty" and needed "dressing up".

The discussion set Linnell off: "Let's admit it, it's the most overrated beach in Australia, the most overrated suburb in Australia."

You could almost hear the bubbles of froth gathering around his mouth as the rant continued.

"I'm just saying something you're not supposed to."

'What a bunch of tossers'

North Bondi RSL has some pretty fancy views. Photo / News Corp Australia
North Bondi RSL has some pretty fancy views. Photo / News Corp Australia

Stanley, who had been keeping schtum on his view of Bondi's failings then chipped in. He lamented the beach's lack of a train link to central Sydney which had made it almost an exclave of the city.

"They opposed, years ago, the extension of the railway down at South Bondi," he said.
"Clearly a lot of people down there thought, 'hang on that's going to bring a lot of people from other parts of Sydney, we don't want that.'"

To Linnell, it was red rag to a bull who gave his thoughts on what may have been going through the minds of Bondi locals at the time.

"'We don't want that. We don't want westies coming down to our end of town," he said.
"What a bunch of tossers down there in Bondi. You know it's true."

Barrack for Bondi

But Steve Lovat, the manager of the suburb's iconic North Bondi RSL, situated at the end of the sand's enormous sweep, said there was no need for brickbats to be thrown at the beachside 'burb.

"I barrack for Bondi," he told news.com.au.

Mr Lovat said Stanley and Linnell liked to "rev things up a bit" but he didn't agree it was overrated or ugly and said maybe the style of the buildings just don't suit all tastes.

"Obviously, there are parts that are being redeveloped and areas that don't look as architecturally appealing, but it's part of the character."

As for it being dirty, Mr Lovat begged to differ.

"I wouldn't say it's pristine but it's clean and pretty. Bondi's cleaner now that it's ever been."

Perhaps the pair hadn't visited for a while, he wondered.

"If John and Garry want to have lunch on the balcony and look at the beach they are more than welcome."

Mayor Sally Betts told news.com.au she had lived in Bondi for years and loved the place.
"I'm sorry John and Garry don't like Bondi but that is fine. Thousands of other people would love to live here and many more visit from all over the world.

"It has been spruced up a lot but of course there is a lot more to do," she said pointing to a new plan to improve Campbell Parade, the main drag.

"There is no other city beach in the world that has pure white soft sand like we do. We have crystal clear water, terrific surf and we are nestled between magnificent cliffs but the best thing about Bondi is its people.

"We all live in harmony in this vibrant little town where everyone is welcome and that is what makes Bondi truly special."

Bondi attracts on average 2.2 million tourists a year, according to Destination NSW, roughly spilt between international and domestic visitors with the two most popular activities being eating out and heading to the beach.

Almost half the international visitors to Sydney include Bondi in their sightseeing but only around five per cent actually stay overnight in the suburb, preferring to head back to the city as the sun sets on the golden sand.