As the weather turns increasingly Autumnal here in the UK, it is warming up on the other side of the world, with a trip to Sydney scheduled for Kelly in January our Australian based foodie and travel contributor Jo Starr gives us the lowdown of where to go and what to see if you’ve got a couple of days there.
‘For the newbie in Sydney there are plenty of obvious spots to hit – Opera Bar for drinks in one of the most iconic landmarks in the World, Bondi for the people watching and Palm Beach for Home & Away fans! But here are my tips for the seasoned traveler looking to explore:
Brunch at Boy Charlton Pool
It’s a beautiful walk through the Botanic Gardens from Circular Quay to work up an appetite and the view is stunning. The cafe has a great brunch menu (Sydney’s favourite meal) and they hand out sombreros to keep diners safe from the sun! It’s a very cool spot to start your day even if everyone around you has just swum 100 laps of the pool and you’ve just turned up for the food!
Long Lunch at Watson’s Bay Hotel
Confusingly pubs and bars are called hotels in Australia. Hotels are also called hotels. So if someone suggests meeting you in a hotel – you can never be entirely sure if they are suggesting going for a drink or something a little more risque! In this instance Watson’s Bay Hotel is a fab beach club on the harbour. Get the ferry there early to get a top spot – the perfect place for a long lunch or drinks with the girls. The food is fun, the view is gorgeous and as the sun goes down the atmosphere is buzzing. Definitely an excuse to get out one of your best maxi dresses and some wedges to take you into the evening.
Taronga to Balmoral Walk
The Bondi to Coogee clifftop walk is a well trodden path, but for those who have been there and done that, or want to see another side of Sydney, one of my favourite walks is the Taronga to Balmoral Walk.
Get the ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo and take the footpath towards Balmoral. It will take a couple of hours but not only do you see some of the best views of the harbour looking back towards the City but you get to peek at some of the best houses in Sydney! The endless little coves and harbour beaches are beautiful and you end up at Balmoral Beach one of the best places in Sydney. Indulge in fish & chips from Bottom of the Harbour (you’ve earned it after that walk!) or a glass of wine at the Boat House. If you don’t fancy the walk Balmoral is still worth a trip for an afternoon swim and sunset drinks.
Cocktail Crawl Around York Street
When my husband and I first moved to Sydney we lived at one end of York Street and worked at the other – it was a pretty straightforward commute! It took me about a year to realise that contained within that short walk were some of Sydney’s coolest bars – all hidden underground – out the back of shops, down fire escapes (yes really!) there is quite literally an underground bar scene that has emerged in Sydney over the last few years that has really brought the City to life.
Each bar has a speciality, it might be a cocktail, a particular spirit (Baxter’s Inn is the coolest whisky bar I’ve ever seen) or a theme (Cuban sugar plantation anyone?) They are all tiny and packed with in-the-know Sydneysiders.
Sydney is a pretty straightforward place – it’s all about beaches, the harbour, the views so these hidden bars add a really exciting new dimension. Definitely worth spending an evening knocking on unmarked doors and clambering down fire escapes! My favourites are: The Barber Shop, Lobo Plantation, Baxter’s Inn, Uncle Mings, Mojo Records and Stitch Bar.