Sydney does excellent European cuisine, particularly Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, but its south-east Asian cuisine really surpasses anything you'll find in Europe. Red Rock is a fine example of a good Vietnamese restaurant. Simple decor, excellent food. Spend $80 and you'll get a feast for two.
King Street, Newtown
Tim Winton is one of the best contemporary Australian novelists and certainly the most evocative. You can taste the country's west coast in Dirt Music, while his first novel, Cloudstreet, is a kind of Neighbours meets Middlemarch: gripping, interesting and a great insight into "the lucky country's" preoccupation with good - and bad - fortune.
That's not an Australian beer, but a little metal boat with a modest outboard motor. Go to Rose Bay, where you can rent one for about $200, hire some fishing tackle, and pootle out into the harbour. Navigating a busy shipping lane and dozens of ferries is not as daunting as it seems and you can always find a quiet, hidden corner of the vast harbour. I only caught some seaweed but there are plenty of focused fishermen catching serious sea creatures out there.
Rose Bay Marina, 594 New South Head Road, Rose Bay; Tel: +61 (0)2 9363 5930
Sydney's flashy modern bars are easy to find: chock full of beautiful people, but they can be a bit anaemic. Its old pubs are more interesting: try the Shakespeare, 200 Devonshire St, in Surry Hills. The pubs of Newtown are both gay-friendly and arty with a more local feel. If you're a homesick Brit go to the London Tavern, Underwood Street, Paddington.
Shakespeare, 200 Devonshire St, Surry Hills
When I asked two intelligent professional Sydneysiders they couldn't think of a cultural highlight, which doesn't look good does it? But the city does have some excellent galleries; the Art Gallery of NSW is one of the best.
Art Gallery Road, the Domain; www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/home/
"Mate, that's the ocean," a cabbie once reprimanded me when I directed him to Bondi "seafront". Bondi not only boasts a fantastic beach and Pacific views but it is one of the best places to people-watch as well. Forget the backpackers, Bondi still has a rich range of indigenous tribes from beatnik surf-poets to ridiculous skateboarding rich boys and anorexic ex-soapstars. Lambrock does eggs benedict on a croissant (mmm). Gusto on Hall Street and Sean's Panorama by the beach in North Bondi are also recommended.
Lambrock Cafe, Lambrock Ave, Bondi Beach
Every Sydneysider has a different favourite view. They are spoilt for choice. The skyscrapers in the CBD offer classic aerial views. Catch any ferry and a series of bay vistas will unfold on your journey. The spot from the ferry station at Cremorne Point is lovely. Alternatively, take a drive up into the Eastern Suburbs: stop in Elizabeth Bay, Double Bay, Bellvue Hill and behind Kingcoppel school at Rose Bay, and you can collect steadily more distant views of the Opera House and skyscrapers.
Where do you start with views of Sydney? Hundreds of luxury apartments claim to have framed the best one. Millions of tourists snap it up around the Opera House. But my favourite is the peace of the Dudley Page Reserve, a little-known reservoir up on Dover Heights, the towering cliffs at the end of the eastern suburbs. Go there and watch the sunset over the harbour bridge with the whole city laid out before you.
Take Military Road up out of Bondi and it is one mile on your left
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