Don't visit the Glenmore's rooftop bar if there's a cruise liner parked in Circular Quay. But on other days this is the only rooftop bar with a view of the Sydney Opera House. There's also the glass and steel offices of the central business district, the hump of the harbour bridge, and the busy green and cream harbour ferries (one for each of the eleven ships of the first fleet). The location is as Australian as a Vegemite sandwich.
The evening clientele is young - office workers enjoying the late sun and having fun over a schooner or two.
At ground level its a classic Australian pub- patterned carpet, slot machine, sport on the television. Climb the narrow stairs to the roof top terrace and you're high above the Rocks, seemingly eye to eye with the sails of the Opera House. You can sit back with a cold schooner of beer to watch the traffic of Sydney ferries coming and going. At this height the intrepid Harbour bridge climbers look less like ants and more like people. Best of all, its the closest pub to the Bridgeclimb so you can celebrate with your foolhardy friends who've braved the climb whilst you've enjoyed an effort-free view of Sydney Harbour.
The locals use the serpantine road winding to the Northern Beaches (Palm Beach, Avalon, Bilgola, Whale Beach) as almost a last deterrent to mainstream tourism. But after a few turns (and really, its no more than that) you come across the most magnificent and laid back part of Sydney. Awesome village life, some spectacular sites, brilliant food from fine dining to a pie and chips. This is one of Australia's best places to visit and you can spend a long time just chilling out, surfing, eating, walking, watching and it's only about 40 mins from the city (with lots inbetween to see along the way). Not many hotels, but great private villas - most with amazing views.
40 mins north of Sydney, over the bridge. Stayed in Kamekura Residences. A beautiful house and pool overlooking Pittwater. www.kamekuraresidences.com
+61 412 953980
This is iconic Australia, plenty of tours on offer. Our one included a cruise on Sydney Harbour after the tour which was good although it made the day very long. If you're only here for a few days it is well worth it.
‘And here’s ya free beer tickets’ begins this walkabout in Australia’s first streets. We’re good for schooners in the oldest pub (hearing too of the infamous ‘six o’clock swill’); the Irish pub where U2 launched an album; and on the Glenmore’s roof terrace where architect Jørn Utzon may once have sketched and we’ve one of the best views of his sensational Opera House.
Pub Tour is early evening also daytime tours, both bookable at the vast Sydney tourist information centre on the edge of The Rocks. Many other good pubs and restaurants and a good museum.
We joined an "I'm Free" walking tour by the anchor at Sydney Town Hall and despite the pouring rain we had a really informative and interesting three hour walk around the city centre led by Ross and the brewery he recommended to quench our post-walk thirst was perfect!
Forget the Sydney Opera bar, Scubar and the party buses driving you around Darling Harbor.
I’m taking you for a day out to the alternative and indie kids paradise, Newtown. Although only one station from Central, backpackers and tourists tend to miss this lively area.
Here is my guide to a place often forgotten for the Bondi sunshine and lifeguards. So put away you boardies and pick your favorite pair of skinny jeans.
Newtown is amazing for food. Every time I went to Oz, I ended up piling on the pounds because I lived so close to so many delicious places. I am actually slightly drooling when I think of it. Get me there now.
To start the day right, one of my favorite places for breakfast is Café Sophia on Erskenville Road. You have to try their banana raspberry melon smoothie with salmon and eggs benedict or their French toasts. Actually try everything. Just go every morning for four months like I did.
For lunch, I would generally go for one of the many Thai restaurants on King’s Street, Newtown's main road. Most of the places are vegan/vegetarian and although I'm neither, I did get a little bit addicted to the fake duck, pak choi and rice $6 lunch boxes.
To walk off all this food, shop around! Newtown has lot to offer when it comes to retail therapy, whether it’s one the many vintage stores or young designers’ outlets, you will find everything you need to look like the Sydney hipster crowd.
Then head to the art gallery “Oh really?” on Enmore Road. Oh really? is a collective/magazine/gallery presenting the latest street artists around. They regularly organize openings and you could find yourself having a beer with artist Ears while nodding to some breakbeat. Check out what’s going on at ww.ohreallymagazine.com
Then it’s time to wind down. Head down for a cold long neck at The Court House (“The Courtie”) on Australia Street. Cheap drinks, a lovely beer garden decorated with fairy lights, a lively atmosphere and very important, a pool table.
Then move on for some cocktails on the Zanzibar Roof. You will find a cosy terrace and the staff there are always lovely (and not too shabby looking either).
If the schooners have gone straight to your head, then it’s time to go and pull some shapes on the dance floor. I have to say this is not in Newtown. On a Friday I’ll head to Mum at World Bar in Kings Cross to watch live music and listen to the latest indie-electro. Check the coming up MUM nights on MusicFeeds. On any other night check out Sydney promoters and all around cool kids UPTOOUR HIPS for the best nights in town (seriously).
And there you go, I can assure you this will be hell of a good day.
Now there is a lot more to discover by yourself in Newtown and around. But it would take way too long to tell you all about it and I have still things left to see myself. It’s alright; I’ll be back very soon. I’ll see you at The Courtie.
PS: If you were still to be hungry on your way home, stop by Saray’s on Enmore Road for a pite (also called Laknore) ,a filled bread from Kosovo with lemon juice on it. Delicious.
Cafe Sofia: 7 Swanson St Erskineville NSW 2043, +61(0)2 9519 1565
Oh Really? Gallery: 55 Enmore Rd Newtown, +61(0)401 919 624, www.ohreallymagazine.com
The Court House: 202 Australia Street Newtown, 2042, +61(0)29519 8273
World Bar: 24 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross, +61(0)2 9357 7700 www.theworldbar.com
Saray: 18 Enmore Rd, Newtown, 2042, +61 (0)2 9557 5310
Both good places to get a cheap quick meal.
Guzman is a small chain of Mexican burrito bars. Get the mini veggie burrito and a frozen margherita for $14 before a night out ...
Sabbaba is similar, but a falafel joint. One also in Newtown, city end of King St, one at Bondi. Good falafel pitta pockets, again very reasonably priced. Don't bother with Sabbaba's frozen cocktails though, Guzman's are far better!
While I'm on about good food and cocktails in Newtown, there's a tapas bar called Soni's, five minutes toward the city from the station, which does good tapas and margheritas. Upstairs is Madame Fling Flongs which I have yet to visit but apparently does good cocktails in a slightly kitsch seting.
Guzman y Gomez
175 King Street, Newtown
+61 (0)2 9517 1533
Google map: bit.ly/ie72CA
148 King Street, Newtown, 2042
+61 (0)2 9519 8084
Google map: bit.ly/fXDfyV
169 King St, Sydney, 2042
+61(0)2 9565 2471
Madame Fling Flong
+61(0)2 9565 2471
Google map: bit.ly/enKyAC
No trip to this wonderful city is complete without a trip to its famous Fish Market - a real foodie's paradise. It is the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and auctions over 100 species daily. You can have a guided tour or you can take a course at the Seafood School. Best of all, you can eat delicious, freshly landed seafood on the quayside, but watch out - you may have to share your meal with the locals - cheeky pelicans that come right up to the table in the hope of a free lunch.
From the Spit Bridge you have the choice of paddling around to Balmoral Beach, or into Middle Harbour, a less well known and visited part of Sydney Harbour. Just dodge the yachts, though.
Catch the bus to Manly and get off at the Spit Bridge.
+61 (0) 2 9960 4389
Just two minutes from the poseurs of Bondi, behind a front so unassuming you will walk past it the first time, is this gem which calls itself a ‘bookstore café’. As to its dual identity, it is really a bookshop first, and you take your spiced chai latte to find a perch amongst the piled tomes. Photos and prints of favourite authors fill any remaining wall space. The owners put on events and sell antiquarian as well as cheap second hand. It is so deliciously unexpected it is worth the hunt. You can reward yourself with a hunk of cake when you find it.
This salt water pool has been built into the Bondi cliffs overlooking Bondi Beach. The pool was created to service local life guards wanting to maintain their fitness during the winter months. You can swim in the open air pool while taking in the amazing views of Bondi beach and afterwards head upstairs to relax in the fabulous restaurant.
This Malaysian roti and satay establishment may have a queue forming outside from the moment it opens but it's worth the wait. The freshly made rotis and Malang styled curries are spicy, authentic and ultimately, delicious.
This cafe is hidden away on a leafy street in Kings Cross. The Italian owner, Vittorio, loves to chat and laugh along with the clientelle and the coffee is superb.
6 Roslyn St, Kings Cross 2011 NSW
(02) 9368 1356
Google map: tinyurl.com/ycphksz
This is THE place to buy a monster sandwich in Sydney.
It's set back from Pitt Street in a small arcade. You'll recognise it by the huge queue out of the door and down the street. The sandwiches are huge - more than enough to keep you going for an entire day. The lemon chicken comes very highly recommended. We only found out about it from a friend who lives in Sydney. It seems that everyone that goes is a regular and is greeted by name on arrival. If I'm in Sydney again and hungry at lunchtime, I'll be back...
The only downside - just a couple of seats in the window. Best to take your haul elsewhere to munch.
250 Pitt Street
tel/fax 9283 4700
Google map: tinyurl.com/ye39xmp
This nightclub is located in Darling harbour, which is on the Western side of Sydney, not too far from the IMAX Theatre.
Pontoon is awesome on Saturday night and plays a mix of House and RnB.
Cover charge is $10.
The Rocks is a precinct of Sydney near the harbour that has an old English feel to it combined with the relaxed laid back Australian attitude. It has a huge range of pubs, bars and nightclubs that are definately worth checking out, in particular The Argyle Hotel.
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