Fly to: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
Flight time: 9.5 hours (Cathay Pacific and Qantas fly daily from Hong Kong to Sydney).
If you are looking for a mini break that you can jam pack with food, fashion and an endless supply of Insta-worthy sights then look no further than Sydney. An easy overnight flight down under will have you sipping some of the world’s best coffee before our friends in the 852 are even awake! What I love most about Sydney is that for a bustling, international city it’s super easy to access great food, fashion and some pretty spectacular scenery. All in a day’s work!
You can take a dip in one of the city’s famous (or lesser known, they are ALL pretty amazing) beaches in the morning, hit the pavement for some midday boutique shopping, stop for a delicious late lunch, tick off some big ticket sights and be sitting at a swanky cocktail bar by happy hour. If you’re like me, you’ll want the insider knowledge from a local, and that’s where I come in. Born and bred in Sydney here are a just a few of my favourite things… I hope you love them as much as I do.
Read more: A Local’s Guide to Cape Town
Where to Stay:
You need a great base in Sydney to really experience it. I have been banging on about living like a local for years and now Airbnb have made that a legitimate reality. And on that note here are my hot spots to look for said Airbnb:
– Surry Hills – inner city, hipster, café and bar laden and seriously cool. Of the same vein Elizabeth Bay and Paddington are a little more fancy/ grown up.
– Your own terrace house in Paddo aka Paddington.
– Bondi or Manly both beachy chic yet easily accessible via public transport. – Go for views in Manly!
And if a hotel is more your thing then look no further than Ovolo Woolloomooloo, the newly opened Spicers Retreat in Potts Point and The Primus. All chic and boutique options centrally located to all of my favourite things.
I’ve lived abroad several times and can never find the boutique quality that we have in Australia! Maybe it’s just me but I simply think we have outstanding designers in Australia that deliver something special! If you want to see what I’m so hand on heart about, head no further than the intersection Paddington! Ahhhhhh the damage one can do here…
I warned you!
An interesting insight is many an Australian designer pre ‘the internet’ started out at local markets (Zimmermann, KITX, Sass & Bide to name a few). Whilst they are less fashion focused these days and more a mix of home, design, art and food they remain iconic. Paddington and Glebe markets are held on Saturdays and Bondi on Sundays. They all boast gorgeous locations, some solid people watching and plenty of yummy food to snack on as you wander through.
Where to Stroll:
There are some spectacular walks in Sydney, similar to Hong Kong’s hikes they vary in effort level but are consistent in their cinematic scenery. Pack your athleisure wear and take in the fresh air and several hundred pics because it’s so damn pretty.
Bondi to Bronte is a crowd pleaser, my personal favourite is Spit to Manly and if you are feeling super adventurous head south to Bundeena for national park peace and quiet that may just have you saying, “I’m packing it all in and moving here!”
Restaurants & Dining:
Sydney is without a doubt a foodie Mecca. It’s a place where quality produce marries perfectly with the down to earth yet world class chefs who set up here. The calibre of our restaurants has really put the Harbour City on the international foodie bucket list in the past few years. My favourites are the simple, neighbourhood haunts however if you’re looking for a flash, fine dining experience ‘can do’ also…
For a casual yet chic night out, I like to go Italian. Fratelli Paradiso, Bar Machiavelli or Pendolino are all romantically lit establishments that deliver on both experience and food. The wait staff are also very easy on the eye! If you’re working your way through the hot list, Apollo, Chiswick and the new Neil Perry number Rosetta all live up to their reps.
For fine dining Bennelong in the famous Opera House and Icebergs Dining Room overlooking Bondi Beach both offer that special occasion feeling with their show stopping views. Another fabulous option is Rose Bay’s Catalina – if you are looking to impress, Sydney Seaplanes does a fabulous package that includes a 45-minute loop in their world class aircraft, this city from above is something really special. And even though I now live in Asia I can’t not recommend China Doll, Cho Cho San and Mr Wong because they will all knock your socks off.
Finally, Sydney does café breakie like no other, join the Avo toast revolution at my hands down favourite Porch and Parlour, overlooking Bondi Beach I would move into this gorgeous space if I could! Also in Bondi Rocker, Bills and a few beaches down the coast, 3 Blue Ducks in Bronte.
Bars & Hangouts:
Sydney’s bar scene is continually evolving and improving. I like to pair a drink with a view, either some spectacular Sydney scenery or some innovative design… or both! Whilst a little touristy, Opera Bar on the concourse outside, you guessed it, Sydney Opera House is an outdoor watering hole with views for days and a fun, mixed crowd or after workers and camera toting visitors.
Palmer & Co, a prohibition style, underground haunt in the CBD is buzzing with beautiful people including the staff who are dressed in flapper style outfits, serving drinks from some of the most beautiful glassware I ever did see. If you are looking for something edgier, get your grit on at Kitty Hawk, Ramblin Rascals or Archie Rose a boutique gin distillery, a little further out of the city in Roseberry it’s worth the Uber if you are gin fan.
And finally my hands down favourite…Henry Deane at the Palisade Hotel. Wow, city views, decor, drinks, can I move in? You can actually stay here too.
Feeling inspired yet?