Chat with a Local – Sydney
We caught up with Emma who gave us the scoop on her city.
WITH ONLY 1 DAY IN SYDNEY WHAT WOULD YOUR ITINERARY LOOK LIKE:
Start the day at Darling Harbour and have a quick look around here, there is the Aquarium and Maritime Museum but if the weather is good I would keep these visits short, and head straight to Circular Quay, walk across the length of the Harbour Bridge stopping to for a photo of the harbour and Opera House, then back down to the Opera House to take a few photos of the Harbour Bridge.
From Circular Quay (near the ferry’s) take the 333 bus straight to Bondi and have lunch at Icebergs overlooking the beach, from here spend the day catching some sun and surf.
For dinner head to the Australian Hotel in the Rocks for a Kangaroo Pizza for dinner, and a night out at one of Sydney’s better clubs Ivy.
THE BEST WAY TO GET A TRUE TASTE OF THE LOCAL CULTURE IS TO:
Go surfing, then finish the day with a BBQ and some cold beers, it is a bit cliché but enjoying the outdoors is what Sydney is all about.
THIS FESTIVAL IS MARKED IN ALL LOCALS CALENDARS:
This is dependent on the time of year, but the fireworks for Sydney on New Year’s Eve are a must see, to do it for free its easy from most parks, but be careful as most parks are alcohol free and the police will empty your alcohol out or confiscate it, the ones that aren’t get busy at 10am with people taking up prime spots. Other options are expensive, there are boats to hire, or a dance party at Luna Park but be careful of anything at Darling Harbour as the view of the fireworks is average at best, and the prices high.
Vivid Sydney is a month long light show with patters projected on to the Sydney Opera House, Customs House and all around other various parts of the City.
Sculptures by the Sea turns the park at the southern end of Bondi into an amazing art installation at the beginning of summer.
The night noodle markets in Hyde Park are another great 3 week long festival in October, with Asian style stalls set up from some of Sydney’s better restaurants at reasonable prices with the backdrop of the city.
January 26th Australia Day, is the day for drinking on the beach and listening to JJJ (radio station), Tamarama, or South Curl Curl are two of the best beaches that allow alcohol, and usually have somebody with some portable radio.
WHERE THE LOCALS GO FOR A NIGHT OUT:
The small bar scene in Sydney is thriving now, with curfews making the former party hot spot of Kings Cross a ghost town, the problem is the small bars are often hidden down alleys with little signage and are continually changing, so pick up a copy of Time Out magazine
Alternatively any of the following are good options:
City – The Argyle
Bondi – Beach Road Hotel for a Sunday session
Manly – The Steyne or Wharf Bard
Surry Hills – The Norfolk, The Clock, or The Beresford
YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES:
Sydney is the kind of city that beckons you to go out all the time, from surfing at any of the beaches, we recommend the slightly less crowded Bronte or Tamarama, than Bondi, or if you don’t want waves check out Clovelly.
Kayaking in the harbour and visiting some of the small islands located there, or just going for a run through Centennial Park.
THE MEAL HERE I DREAM ABOUT:
The mid-priced restaurants in Sydney have food that is fresh and is generally better quality than I have found most places in the world, Australians generally make a big deal of Saturday and Sunday brunch. But I cannot go back to Sydney without stopping at the Sydney Fish Markets, for my Sushi fix, but there is a range of seafood here for great prices, and a fantastic view.
Coffee in Sydney is also generally great, the small unknown coffee shops with a line out the door are the best bet or look for hipsters with beards and you cannot go wrong, my list is way too long for this article
Another personal favourite is a few friends, some beers and a BBQ in one of the parks, the local councils have coin operated or sometimes free BBQ’s that make a great and cheap meal, just remember littering is frowned upon in Australia so make sure you tidy up your mess.
TO RELAX I ESCAPE HERE:
Sydney has a number of National Parks and green spaces, without venturing too far you can visit Centennial Park just south east of the City and well serviced by buses, or the Botanic Gardens are a 5 minute walk from the Sydney Opera House.
IF I HAD A FEW EXTRA DAYS IN SYDNEY WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND:
You cannot go past the ferry to Manly, and a trip to the Blue Mountains is a must, you can take a train out there and then a hop on, hop off tourist bus will take you to all of the sites, the natural beauty is amazing. There are also a number of adventure tours that will take you abseiling, rock climbing, or canyoning if you are more active.
If you have come in winter, or are a wine lover a trip to the Hunter Valley vineyards is another scenic (and boozy) day trip with plenty of options to stay the night.
In summer it might be a better option to camp on Cockatoo Island with pre-erected tent’s, and a huge camping kitchen for under $100 a night.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emma lived most of her adult life in Sydney but is currently travelling in Europe.