Justine Tyerman spends 48 hours exploring Australia's 'Riviera'.

The 'Bondi Bubble' is just seven kilometres from Sydney's CBD but it may as well be a separate planet.

In fact Bondi-philes seldom feel the need to go into the metropolis at all, apart from that necessary evil: work. Everything else they desire is inside their own sheltered oasis, a beautiful beach resort just beyond one of the world's busiest cities.

In dire need of a touch of unreality, I ran away to Bondi for a weekend to visit my daughter, who lives there.

After a mere three hours in the air - barely time to watch the latest movie, have a meal and a quick snooze - I found myself in Australia's 'Riviera', a sun-drenched land where bronzed gods and goddesses lope easily along sand the colour of rich clotted cream and ride perfect silver-green waves edged with frothy lace.


We stayed at a Luxe Houses beachfront apartment in Notts Ave, which was like being ensconced in a private box seat at the opera, overlooking the Bondi stage.

The plush modern two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment over-delivered in every respect, and even came with a concierge and in-house chef service, a novelty for Kiwis.

The spacious living/dining space opened onto a large balcony within spray drift of the beach. The kitchen also looked straight out to sea so while preparing food, we were at risk of becoming distracted and chopping off fingers as our eyes followed a surfer or paddle-boarder catching a wave, the spray streaming off the crest of the breaker.

I took up residence in the best seat in the house, an armchair beside the floor-to-ceiling glass doors which opened onto the balcony.

The tiled bathrooms with mirror walls were divine, the sheets and towels were so thick and luxurious I thought they were doubled and the feather pillows were like resting my head on a cloud.

I slept with the doors and curtains wide open to the balcony, lulled to sleep by the soothing sound of the waves and awoken by the pale apricot glimmer of the pre-dawn.

The sun rising over the sea was magnificent, the golden rays warming the famous stretch of sand, raked to perfection overnight by a platoon of beach-grooming machines.

My daughter put together a perfect weekend programme of pure escapism but the Luxe Houses concierge can also oblige with an itinerary tailored to your interests.

Hit the Bondi to Coogee walkway before breakfast to avoid the throngs who stream along the spectacular six-kilometre coastal path later in the day, grab a coffee or a fruit smoothie at pretty Bronte Beach, then head back to cool off in the surf.

After breakfast at Bill's, a Sydney cafe institution which has recently opened in Bondi, stroll along the promenade or walk the length of the beach to the Bondi weekend farmers' market, where you can graze on delicious cuisine from around the world. Pick up some fresh fruit, olives, salads, bread and rosé for lunch, direct from the growers and farmers.

Call in at Aesop on the way home and sample its gorgeous skin and haircare products. Beware - they're addictive. Pop into the Aquabumps Studio where you might be lucky enough to meet the famous Eugene Tan, who has been photographing Bondi scenes every day for the last decade.

Have lunch on the rooftop balcony at the apartment before opting for a snooze in the sun. Or you can peruse the fashions at the many boutiques along Gould Street and listen to the Bondi hipster banter - it's a bizarre, entertaining language all of its own.

Dress for drinks at North Bondi Fish Restaurant in time to watch a legendary Bondi sunset, then head to Sean's Panorama for fine dining with a beach view or MissChu, Mr Moustache or China Diner for funky Vietnamese, Mexican or Chinese cuisine.

On a fine evening, shop for fresh produce at Harris Farm Markets - the place has high-quality everything - and cook at home in the fabulously well-provisioned and fully-equipped marble kitchen at Notts Ave, watching the last of the surf addicts reluctantly drag themselves from the water, well after dusk. If night surfing was possible, it would happen at Bondi.

Next day, pick up fresh fruit and yoghurt from Fruitologist for breakfast on the balcony, then "harmonise the body, mind and soul" at Yoga by the Sea - an essential element of the Bondi fitness regime.

Have a dip in the Bondi Baths along with veterans in their 80s and 90s who swim all year round, before dining at the prestigious Icebergs restaurant.

For an extra-special occasion, you can ask the Luxe Houses concierge to arrange an in-apartment beauty, hair or massage treatment.

Then sink into a bubble bath with a glass of bubbles ... in the Bondi Bubble.

Justine Tyerman was hosted by Luxe Houses, which offers accommodation at more than 200 spectacular properties in Australia and New Zealand.