From the beaches to the bars and everything in between this is your local guide to Sydney.
When your relatives or friends from abroad come to visit, you will be faced with the question… where do I take them? Of course, you have to visit the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach. But after you’ve done all of that, where to next? Whether they are coming for one day or a few weeks, here is how you show off the best of Sydney to an out-of-towner.
As you can see the Harbour Bridge from the Opera House, it’s easy to knock off two icons in one visit, so make the most of it with a few drinks harbour-side. The Opera Bar or Opera Bar Cafe sit on a sunken platform next to the Opera House and boast one of the best views of the Bridge. Or you can enjoy a meal at Aqua, an iconic restaurant where you can sit and eat whilst gazing upon the Harbour.
We know that spending time exploring Circular Quay can be quite expensive, so if you are looking for a budget friendly day, pack a picnic and sit in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Walk through the gardens and make your way to the free exhibitions at the Art Gallery of NSW. The Rocks are another wonderful location for a quick guided tour on Sydney’s history or take an hour or so to look at the exhibitions on at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Where to EAT
In the CBD, there are so many choices, that it is hard to pick just one. Most tourists love a good vantage point, so finding a beautiful meal and view is Sydney is a high priority. The views are spectacular and the food is tasty at 360 Bar and Dining.
There are a number of noteworthy restaurants sitting along the Harbour – including the iconic Darling Harbour and King Street Wharf. For an affordable, casual dining experience try the oldie but a goodie, Bungalow 8.
Across the Bridge, you will find many restaurants and cafes perfect for showing off Sydney. Ripples at Milson’s Point is an award winning restaurant with dishes to write home about.
From Circular Quay, take the ferry to Manly, for a day of sun, beach and best of all great food. As you step off the wharf, take a seat on the deck at Hugos Manly, try their handmade pizzas and extensive cocktail list. There are plenty of beachside restaurants to choose from including Daniel San for great Japanese food with a view.
For a memorable lunch looking out on the water at Bondi Beach, make a reservation at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Renowned for it’s stunning view and fantastic flavour combinations, the high price point is definitely justifiable. On a sunny day, Coogee Beach is packed full of backpackers and locals all trying to get the best spot on the beach or at their favourite cafe. Head to the Black Pony cafe, for stacks of pancakes with caramelised bananas and praline, the perfect way to start a day of sight-seeing. Finish with sundowners on the rooftop at Coogee Pavilion.
If you are in the Inner West, try Devon on Danks, with their freshly baked ‘cronuts’ or any of their healthy daily specials. Or try the Affrogato Gelato, at the World’s best gelateria – The Cow and the Moon in Newtown.
Where to DRINK
Small, hidden bars are all the rage in Sydney, the CBD is full of them. Some of our must-try bars include Baxters Inn, Bulletin Place, Since I Left You, and Lobo Plantation. If you’re after a late night dance in the CBD look no further than Frankie’s for whisky and fresh apple juice, pizza by the slice and some grungy rock-n-roll.
Head slightly out of the CBD to Darlinghurst and enjoy a night of dancing and tomfoolery at The Soda Factory. Each day of the week has a new food or drink special, featuring the likes of Dollar Dogs, Movie Mondays and $10 cocktails and more! The Cliff Dive on Oxford Street is another good place to dance and Hello Sailor is not far from there for more late night drinking.
Where to PLAY
Instead of hopping on a bus and heading straight for Bondi Beach, take the coastal route. Head to Coogee Beach and embark upon the 1.5 hour walk to Bondi Beach via the Coastal Walk (Bondi, Bronte, Coogee), that weaves along the Eastern beaches of Sydney. Make a slight detour and pit stop at Three Blue Ducks in Bronte, to enjoy a coffee before continuing on to Bondi for an ice cream at Gelato Messina and a swim.
If the sun is out, grab a towel and jump into one of these 6 great swimming spots in Sydney.
Just 45 minutes south of Sydney is the Royal National Park, a natural reserve that transports you away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. There are plenty of hikes that range from a few hours to a day of trekking. It’s the perfect park for an extended picnic, bbq, swimming or jumping off waterfalls (Wattamola).
Sydney also has a variety of gourmet food markets that happen each month including the Eveleigh Food and Produce Markets or Bondi Farmers Markets.