A local guide to Sydney

Sydney is an iconic, beautiful, fun, eccentric, entertaining and exciting city. It is a stop not to be missed when visiting Australia and a stop every Australian should make. Our great friends, Brooke and Dean, have been living in this vibrant city for a while now so we thought it was best to put their knowledge on paper! Go see Sydney as the locals do!
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What are your top brunch spots?
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West Juliett, Marrickville – Fresh, big and delicious brekkies, giant sandwiches, house made soda’s and a salted choc chip cookie that even New York would be proud of.
Brewtown Newtown – A pretty new kid on the block, they do awesome brunches with a slightly more refined touch. Sparkling water on tap and cronuts freshly baked in house. It’s also just a great space, with a vintage-style homewares store upstairs. Upstairs is the affogato shack, run by the same team, serving awesome coffee with local artisan gelato by Cow & Moon. If you’re feeling brave you can get the Cronut Affagato. Say no more.
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Jo & Willys Depot, North Bondi – For a typical laid back Bondi atmosphere, delicious and super healthy food head here. Breakfast menu runs all day.
What are your favourite places to eat?
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GiGi’s Pizzeria, Newtown – This is our local pizza joint and it’s pretty darn good. It is one of the few places in Sydney that have the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana signature, which means they make everything according to the traditional Napoli style. The huge wood fire oven keep things warm and cozy making it perfect to bring a bottle of red to and just hang with friends.
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Din Tai Fung, Sydney City – If you are craving some fantastic Chinese food then this place serves up the best dumplings/Shanghainese food in town.
El Loco, Surry Hills – For margaritas, tacos and “ariba” get down to El loco for a night of Mexican food and tequila!
What are the best spots to get sweet treats?
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Black Star Pastry, Newtown – This institution never has a spare seat, so you’ll have to get takeaway. Famed for its Watermelon cake, you can pretty much get anything here and be a very happy camper. If you feel like savory too, their meat pies are next level stuff – the most buttery pastry ever!
Cow & the Moon Gelato Bar, Enmore – This Award winning Enmore gelato shop not only has some of the tastiest gelato around but also does a mean Affogato. Pick any flavour you want and smother it in fresh espresso (I recommend Sticky Date Pudding).
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Gelato Messina (various locations) – The most famous gelato shop in Sydney, and deservedly so. Whilst there may be more traditional Gelato in town, Messina will always give you something to think about with whacky specials changing almost daily. And it’s the good “omg why didn’t we think of this before” kind of whacky, not the for novelty sake whacky. It’s just…awesome.
Where are your favourite bars in Sydney?
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The Baxter Inn, Sydney City – This is a really cool whiskey bar with a great vibe and music. The bartenders are a little on the hipster side with big beards but don’t let that lead you astray – they know their shit!
Shady Pines Saloon, Darlinghurst – This is just a great place to enjoy a whiskey with its deep-south/American vibe. Taxidermy galore!
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Watson Bay Hotel, Watsons Bay – For the picture perfect place, an amazing view of the yacht club and gorgeous sunset make your way here. Ideal place for a Sunday sesh.
Where are the best shopping areas?
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Oxford Street, Sydney City – If you are looking for Australian designer stores definitely go here.
Bondi markets, Bondi – I love shopping here for food, flowers, clothes and jewelry.
Factory Outlets, Rosebery – If you have time and a car head out to Rosebery for fashion outlets like Zimmermann.
If we want to be a tourist for the day what would you recommend?
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Do a beach walk – Coogee to Bondi is a popular one, and is perfect if you have brunch at the start, spend a few hours stopping off for swims at the different beaches and arrive in Bondi in time for a late lunch! Alternatively, the Bondi to Bronte walk is great for a beautiful coastline and cute cafes to enjoy as well.
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White Rabbit Gallery – A nice neighborhood gallery with an Asian flavour to it. If you’re in town during the Biennale then catch the ferry to Cockatoo Island. The timelessness of the island and it’s buildings usually outdo the art itself, plus you can sit at the Island Bar and enjoy a drink or too with a view of the harbor.
Vivid –
If you can come to Sydney during the Vivid light festival you will NOT be dissapointed. It’s busy, but pretty amazing.

What are your top ‘get out of town’ adventures from Sydney?
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Blue Mountains – I can’t get enough of heading out here on a weekend. We hike out to camp at Acacia Flats, near Blue Gum in Grose Valley. It is right on a creek and one of the best spots. Start at Govetts Leap and do a cliff canyon walk before heading down into the valley to set up camp. On the way back go through Junction Rock and do the vertical climb back to Govetts Leap. It may sound tough but it is the most magical part of the whole trip.
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Mollymook Beach – If you need a break from the city head down to this south coast beach with a really small town chilled vibe.
Canberra – Yes this may sound like a joke but it’s not. Canberra is only a 3 hour drive away from Sydney and it has some awesome museums, wineries and a pretty good (albeit smaller) food scene. There is plenty of stuff to keep you entertained here for a long weekend.
What is the best ’do before you die’ experience you can have in Sydney?
Attend the Sydney Mardis Gras – This festival is attended by hundreds of thousands of people and is one of the largest festivals around the world. Don’t miss one of the best parties on the planet!
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Climb the Harbour Bridge – Climb to the top of one of the most famous bridges in the world and get the best view of the Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. Oprah did it, why not you?
Attend an Ashes test at the SCG – Cricket is Australia’s sport and the Ashes is one of the biggest matches you could attend! Soak up the atmosphere of the Sydney Cricket Ground with fans, mates and beers.

All photos by Brooke Monahan and Dean Vowles. 

 

 

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