Sydney is a pretty huge city – with over 4 million people, there are plenty of things to do and see for everyone. However, when travellers visit, they often stick to a few destinations: The Rocks, Sydney Opera House, and Darling Harbour.
These are sights everyone should see, but why limit your trip to this? Sydney’s true gems are scattered throughout the city, and if you experience all this city has to offer, here are a few places you should go.
If you’ve got money to burn, live it up where those wealthy bay side Sydney residents like to indulge. The Quay Restaurant is one of Sydney’s most exquisite places for fine dining and the crème de la crème of eating establishments in Australia. Nibble on gastronomic art with views overlooking the spectacular Sydney Harbour to boot.
For something a little more low key, head to Bills in Surry Hills for some quintessential Sydney fare. Dine with the locals on a lazy Sunday morning for a modern breakfast with that special Bill Granger twist. He’s famous for his deliciously light scrambled eggs, so grab the Sun-Herald and park yourself in this buzzing Crown Street café.
Explore the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) and be captivated by the heritage stained glass, and cathedral ceilings for the ultimate retail experience. There’s everything from captivating Indigenous art galleries, chic homeware stores to clothes. Wander into Sydney label Herringbone and pick up a tailored shirt you’ll wear forever.
If you’re staying in Northern Sydney, there’s plenty of retail therapy to keep you going all day. Meander around the high-end Chatswood Chase where you’ll find everything from high-street stores to Australian designers and nail spas for your beauty fix.
On a quest for more down to earth places? Hunt through vintage stalls at the Manly Village Public School markets held every third Saturday. You are bound to pick up an eclectic souvenir or vintage treasure to add to your wardrobe. Grab a bite to eat and chat with local residents selling products at their stalls. It’s a great laid-back place to bring the family after frolicking in the ocean all day.
Swim, Kayak & Surf
If there’s one thing kids do growing up in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, it’s surf. Hit the waves and embrace your inner Kelly Slater with Manly Surf School. It’s been teaching grommets how to ride waves since 1983. While tourists flock to the famous Manly beach, the local Northern Beaches folk definitely embrace the active outdoor lifestyle they lead. On weekends, you’ll notice the locals cruising around on stand-up paddles near the wharf. Get into the local sport and hire stand-up paddles and kayaks across from the beach.
For a less crowded swimming experience, make a splash at Shelly Beach near North Head and Fairy Bower. This is where Sydneysiders love to picnic away from the throngs of people on the golden Manly Beach strip.
Famished after that swim? Forget eating kebabs and fish and chips on The Corso. Delve a little deeper down the side streets and be impressed by the delicatessen cafes smattered with local Manly residents catching up over coffee and their dogs happily drinking out of water bowls.
Hang out Surry Hills
Stay in Surry Hills for the ultimate urban Sydney experience. You can practically walk from the CBD to this leafy hipster’s paradise. Sydney residents head to the Belvoir St Theatre to get their cultural fix. This place is definitely worth a peek at and is renowned as one of Australia’s most distinguished theatres.
Savour cosmopolitan dishes at bustling restaurants and take to the on-trend wine bars. Surry Hills lets you savour exclusive tipples from Argentina to the Barossa. Budget travellers don’t despair! This area is brimming with tasty cheap eats to satiate that rumbling tummy.
Rebecca Parish is a freelance journalist who recommends Cambridge Hotel in Surry Hills to see the very best of Sydney’s trendiest neighbourhoods.