May 7, 2021
5 min read
A City Guide to Sydney
If, like us, you’re usually traveling from the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney feels and
far from reality. So, it’s always worth planning some real time out there, whether you’re working digital nomad style, or have the luxury of a longer holiday.
Beyond the central spots in Sydney, your time is best spent in some of the more suburban neighborhoods like Surry Hills, Paddington and Woollahra. These three boroughs are all walking distance from the CBD, but give you a better feel of authentic Sydney away from the tourist traps.
The suburbs of Sydney are where the real magic happens. Bondi Beach, Watsons Bay, Manly and Coogee are dotted with stunning beaches, beautiful trails and brilliant cafes. Start there, and the rest will follow, as is the easy Aussie way.
Where to stay in Sydney
Five-star luxury outside Sydney’s CBD is limited, hence the inclusion on this more mainstream hotel. What we love about it is the amazing rooftop area, with an infinity pool looking over Double Bay (usually crowded with yachts, so you‘ll have plenty to look at). And the restaurant, Saké, boasts some of the best Japanese food in Sydney.
If you’re looking for the not-so-obvious luxe option, Medusa is a bit more eccentric, but maintains that level of personal service you’d hope for in a boutique. It’s also perfectly located in the Darlington district. and is one of the best boutique hotels in the city.
Paramount House Hotel
Paramount House Hotel is located in the former HQ of Paramount Picture Studios; alongside Golden Age Cinema, Paramount Coffee Project, The Office Space and Paramount Recreation Club. Mixing heritage and modern, it has a cool industrial feel to it. Plus, Aesop products in the rooms – always a winner.
This is our go-to place in Bondi Beach. Decorated in pastels that feel retro yet modern, it has the exact type of personal touches we love. All products, even in the mini bar, are locally produced and you can find silk eye masks in tropical prints and hand-drawn playing cards in your room.
Where to eat & drink in Sydney
Head over to Five Ways crossing for breakfast. You’ll find a lot of cafés to choose from – this is our favorite. It serves great coffee, alongside their famous avocado toast, plus a delicious coconut smoothie.
Chiswick Woollahra is a must. They have really elevated the garden-to-plate experience, and it’s the type of place we can walk in for lunch and hours later find ourselves still there for dinner.
The Butler in Pott’s Point has great food and an even more amazing view. Sit on the outdoor terrace and soak it up.
If you’re in the city, look no further than Restaurant Hubert. A classic French bistro, it’s one of Sydney’s best.
If you are in the Bondi area, booking dinner at Ode will set you up for a pretty magical evening. Expect romantic interiors and a fantastic natural wine selection.
After dinner, skip the dessert and go to your closest Gelato Messina. It’s extremely hyped and that hype is entirely justified. This beats Italian gelato any day of the week. Then, head over toPalmer & Co
for after dinner drinks.
Best bar in Sydney
You enter this bar through a barber shop (hence the name) – the clue is in the great drinks the guys are sipping while getting their buzz cuts. It’s the perfect setting for a date, with well-made drinks and ample seating.
Where to get a coffee in Sydney
Aussies love their coffee and the standard is high, so you don’t have to look far to find a great cup. Most likely, there’s a place right around the corner from wherever you’re staying. If we had to select just one, though, this speciality coffee roaster stands out. Go to Frankie’s for the perfect cold brew.
Where to get a hit of culture
Sydney Opera House
Ok, forgive us this obvious one, but if you’ve gone all the way to Sydney, you really can’t miss it. The Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – walk around, take some pictures, catch a boat from the quay and take in the iconic view from the water. If you want to take it to the next level, book in for a show.
Where to work out
In short, people are obsessed with health and wellness in Sydney. There’s a gym around every corner, but we prefer to make the most of the fantastic weather and take our workout outdoors. Run along one of the coastal walk paths like Bondi Beach to Congee or Watsons Bay. Or, if you’re starting in Manly, you can run/jog/walk to Spit.
Surfing is also synonymous with the Australian lifestyle. If you’re more of a beginner, take a course at Bondi Beach. Or leave the boards to the experts and head to theBondi Icebergs Club
, right next to Bondi Beach, to swim some laps.
Where to party
There are a few spots in the CDB that open late:The Golden Sheaf
is open until 2am from Thursday to Saturday. And in Newtown, you’ll findThe Bank
which is open until 4am.
Where to work remotely
We wouldn’t mind sitting in the French provincial courtyard atIntercontinental Hotel
, sipping on a flat white, and sending a few emails. Wouldn’t mind it at all.
What to do in Sydney
Go on as many day trips as you can handle. We can’t get enough of Bondi Beach: have lunch atBennet St Dairy
, buy a book atGertrude and Alice Café
, and go shopping atTuchuzy
If it’s the height of summer and feeling hectic at Bondi Beach, we head to Tamarama. After a few hours relaxing on the sand, walk to Coogee and have lunch atCoogee Pavillion
Watsons Bay is another great day trip option; take a boat back to the city at sunset. Or, stay the night at theWatsons Bay Boutique Hotel
and head over to Manly the next day. In Manly, go to Shelly beach and have lunch atThe Boathouse
Also worth a visit are Palm Beach, Blue Mountains, and the surrounding vineyards.
Where to shop
Right by Bondi Junction, head here for a great selection of boutique premium brands, almost all of which are local. On a Saturday, you’ll also findPaddington Markets
on Oxford Street, hosting up and coming designers and artists, selling everything from jewelry to candles to sunglasses and sun hats.
Former fashion director Pip Vasset has curated throws, pyjamas, bath towels, kitchen kit and hand-made ceramics for her beautiful store. A Sydney must-see.
You may recognise this womenswear brand (there are stores all over the world), but this neighborhood is where Zimmerman started. Expect floral prints, feminine dresses and soothing fabrics.
All the cosmetic products here are prescribed by leading dermatologists. If you want to try one of their sought-after facials, book in advance as there’s usually a very long waitlist.
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