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Guidebook for Surry Hills

Daniela

Guidebook for Surry Hills

Food Scene
Some of my favourite cafes and restaurants in easy walking distance from my house
Voted Best Cafe in Sydney by Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2013 - and still going strong! Unusual, South American inspired menu and coffee roasted on the spot
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Reuben Hills
61 Albion St
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Voted Best Cafe in Sydney by Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2013 - and still going strong! Unusual, South American inspired menu and coffee roasted on the spot
Cool little tapas bar offering flamboyand and delicious food - hard to get in, come early!
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Bodega
216 Commonwealth St
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Cool little tapas bar offering flamboyand and delicious food - hard to get in, come early!
This Mediterranean cafe is one of my personal favourites for brekkie or lunch. Tell owner Felicity that Daniela, the runner. sent you and they may be extra nice :)
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Rustic Pearl
415 Crown St
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This Mediterranean cafe is one of my personal favourites for brekkie or lunch. Tell owner Felicity that Daniela, the runner. sent you and they may be extra nice :)
Possibly the quirkiest and tastiest gelato you may ever eat. Don't believe me? Just ask the people in the 10-15m queues on weekends...
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Gelato Messina Surry Hills
389 Crown St
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Possibly the quirkiest and tastiest gelato you may ever eat. Don't believe me? Just ask the people in the 10-15m queues on weekends...
A laid-back cool cafe serving delicious, innovative food, great coffee and great music. Check the details from a menu on album covers, the Woodstock photo to the hand-picked collection of rare records
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Suzie Q Coffee & Records
18 Hutchinson St
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A laid-back cool cafe serving delicious, innovative food, great coffee and great music. Check the details from a menu on album covers, the Woodstock photo to the hand-picked collection of rare records
Don't be put off by the name. Some of the best burgers and salads around. Good for healthy lunch as well
Mad Spuds Cafe
479 Crown St
Don't be put off by the name. Some of the best burgers and salads around. Good for healthy lunch as well
Excellent Argentinian-style, cool restaurant, finally risen back from the ashes after a kitchen fire burnt the place down. Used to have queues out the door waiting for a table - but maybe things will quieten down a little... Time Out says: "Call it Rockabilly Bar and Grill. Call it the new lounge room of the cream of Sydney hospitality. Call it the best South American restaurant Sydney's ever seen." Check the upstairs bar also
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Porteño
50 Holt St
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Excellent Argentinian-style, cool restaurant, finally risen back from the ashes after a kitchen fire burnt the place down. Used to have queues out the door waiting for a table - but maybe things will quieten down a little... Time Out says: "Call it Rockabilly Bar and Grill. Call it the new lounge room of the cream of Sydney hospitality. Call it the best South American restaurant Sydney's ever seen." Check the upstairs bar also
Considered one of Sydney's best Thai restaurants (do try!) but also a cool bar with DJs playing Thur-Sun. That it has been going strong for 14years despite Sydney's fickle 'what's new' punters speaks for itself
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Longrain Restaurant
85 Commonwealth St
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Considered one of Sydney's best Thai restaurants (do try!) but also a cool bar with DJs playing Thur-Sun. That it has been going strong for 14years despite Sydney's fickle 'what's new' punters speaks for itself
Owner Lou Hunt won Best Sydney Barista 2014 so make sure you try a coffee. And the rustic, British inspired food is amazing - though not exactly slimming. Definitely worth trying
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Orto Trading Co.
38 Waterloo St
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Owner Lou Hunt won Best Sydney Barista 2014 so make sure you try a coffee. And the rustic, British inspired food is amazing - though not exactly slimming. Definitely worth trying
Amazing Japanese bar and restaurant - but pricewise rather one for special occasions. The map tool always puts it in a completely wrong spot. Sadly the location won't display correctly in this. It is actually at 490 Crown Street, just a couple hundred meters away from the house
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Toko Sydney
490 Crown St
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Amazing Japanese bar and restaurant - but pricewise rather one for special occasions. The map tool always puts it in a completely wrong spot. Sadly the location won't display correctly in this. It is actually at 490 Crown Street, just a couple hundred meters away from the house
Another place for extremely yummy breakfasts and coffee. Menu has a few less usual items with a hint of middle Eastern / Jewish food
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Four Ate Five
485 Crown St
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Another place for extremely yummy breakfasts and coffee. Menu has a few less usual items with a hint of middle Eastern / Jewish food
Delicious small Japanese restaurant with more than just Sushi. I particularly like it on balmy Summer nights, when you can sit in the courtyard
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Zushi Surry Hills
285A Crown St
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Delicious small Japanese restaurant with more than just Sushi. I particularly like it on balmy Summer nights, when you can sit in the courtyard
FOr LOve NOt MOney - these guys are giving 100% of their profit to charity. The food is super yummy to boot. And last not least, one of the owners is a friend of mine :) Also have Gratia cafe next door for breakfast, brunch and lunch.
Folonomo
370 Bourke St
FOr LOve NOt MOney - these guys are giving 100% of their profit to charity. The food is super yummy to boot. And last not least, one of the owners is a friend of mine :) Also have Gratia cafe next door for breakfast, brunch and lunch.
Hard to get in but try if you can - reservations through their website. Another favourite of mine for special occasions. According to their own blurb, Nomad is a cellar door in the city where the food and wine showcase the best produce.
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NOMAD
16 Foster St
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Hard to get in but try if you can - reservations through their website. Another favourite of mine for special occasions. According to their own blurb, Nomad is a cellar door in the city where the food and wine showcase the best produce.
Great cafe with a quirky menu (personal favourite: One flew over the cuckoo's nest) and one of the best spots around to soak up some mid-morning or afternoon sun with seating on a little square right opposite the fancy Surry Hills Library, which won many eco-architecture awards. I ticked 'great views' for the snapshot of Surry Hills life you see rolling by :)
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Cuckoo Callay on Crown
413 Crown St
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Great cafe with a quirky menu (personal favourite: One flew over the cuckoo's nest) and one of the best spots around to soak up some mid-morning or afternoon sun with seating on a little square right opposite the fancy Surry Hills Library, which won many eco-architecture awards. I ticked 'great views' for the snapshot of Surry Hills life you see rolling by :)
In our opinion one of the best pizzas in Sydney, simple food made well with great ingredients. But you have to come early (we often do Sundays before 6pm) or be prepared to wait.
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Vacanza Pizzeria
414 Bourke St
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In our opinion one of the best pizzas in Sydney, simple food made well with great ingredients. But you have to come early (we often do Sundays before 6pm) or be prepared to wait.
If you are looking for some light food, Konakara offers simple, traditional Japanese fare. Try karaage fried chicken, steamed piping clams or their light, miso and chicken stock based ramen.
KONAKARA
96 Fitzroy St
If you are looking for some light food, Konakara offers simple, traditional Japanese fare. Try karaage fried chicken, steamed piping clams or their light, miso and chicken stock based ramen.
If you really can't be bothered to go far, the pub diagonally across the road offers some decent although certainly not unforgettable food. A somewhat strange mix between a classic Aussie pub and an American pizzeria, the pub mostly has a friendly neighbourhood feel. Just avoid it on weekend nights or when there's a soccer, cricket or footie match on. It is a popular meeting spot for fans on their way between the sports fields in Moore Park and Central Station.
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The Forresters
336 Riley St
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If you really can't be bothered to go far, the pub diagonally across the road offers some decent although certainly not unforgettable food. A somewhat strange mix between a classic Aussie pub and an American pizzeria, the pub mostly has a friendly neighbourhood feel. Just avoid it on weekend nights or when there's a soccer, cricket or footie match on. It is a popular meeting spot for fans on their way between the sports fields in Moore Park and Central Station.
Awesome vegetarian food and great craft beers
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Yulli's
417 Crown St
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Awesome vegetarian food and great craft beers
Trendy cafe in a revamped art deco building. There's also a beautiful rooftop terrace with fare more geared towards clients of the boutique fitness club they have up there. Both worth a visit!
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Paramount Coffee Project
80 Commonwealth St
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Trendy cafe in a revamped art deco building. There's also a beautiful rooftop terrace with fare more geared towards clients of the boutique fitness club they have up there. Both worth a visit!
Essentials
Where to buy groceries etc
Italian owned and run, this is where you get the best coffee on the block. Watch Surry Hills roll past the windows over a piccolo before shopping for some delicacies
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Crown Street Grocer
365 Crown St
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Italian owned and run, this is where you get the best coffee on the block. Watch Surry Hills roll past the windows over a piccolo before shopping for some delicacies
Easy walking distance shopping with a reasonable range of items
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Maloneys Grocer
490 Crown St
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Easy walking distance shopping with a reasonable range of items
Closest supermarket if you really need one
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Woolworths Metro Surry Hills
413-417 Bourke St
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Closest supermarket if you really need one
Another Woolworths right on the corner opposite central station - easy for popping in on the way to or from the train. Normal supermarket range but also very much geared towards the 'grab a snack or lunch' clientele.
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Woolworths Metro Central
302-306 Elizabeth St
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Another Woolworths right on the corner opposite central station - easy for popping in on the way to or from the train. Normal supermarket range but also very much geared towards the 'grab a snack or lunch' clientele.
Shopping
Held on the first Saturday of every month, the quirky markets are an essential fundraiser for the Surry Hills Community Centre. Handmade, second-hand and recycled goods.
Surry Hills Markets
Held on the first Saturday of every month, the quirky markets are an essential fundraiser for the Surry Hills Community Centre. Handmade, second-hand and recycled goods.
Cream’s three Sydney stores are known for their reconstructed denim and an abundance of cowboy boots. As the original location, Cream on Crown remains the ultimate vintage-shopping spot.
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Cream On Crown
277-285 Crown St
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Cream’s three Sydney stores are known for their reconstructed denim and an abundance of cowboy boots. As the original location, Cream on Crown remains the ultimate vintage-shopping spot.
In the 2010 postcode there’s a close-knit community of vintage and repurposed clothing stores and Miss Brown’s is one of the newer ones. Head here for modified ’60s beachwear and daggy Minnie Mouse pullovers from the ’90s.
Miss Brown Vintage
332 Crown St
In the 2010 postcode there’s a close-knit community of vintage and repurposed clothing stores and Miss Brown’s is one of the newer ones. Head here for modified ’60s beachwear and daggy Minnie Mouse pullovers from the ’90s.
No one does vintage quite like Zoo. With two floors devoted to their craft, Zoo’s entire ground floor is devoted to sale items only. The store specialises in ’70s and ’80s funk and retro tees.
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Zoo Emporium
180 Campbell St
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No one does vintage quite like Zoo. With two floors devoted to their craft, Zoo’s entire ground floor is devoted to sale items only. The store specialises in ’70s and ’80s funk and retro tees.
A treasure trove of bits and bobs from Paris and beyond. The space is stacked to the rafters with industrial furniture – steel chairs, old army modular bedside tables and colourful metal lampshades – mainly sourced from private collections in France and Belgium. You’ll find everything from vintage bikes (hanging from the ceiling), giant tanks of old buttons and stacks of books and encyclopaedias from yesteryear, to plush red velvet armchairs and original French art deco signs for your boulangerie - if you happen to have one!
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Ici Et La
7 Nickson Street
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A treasure trove of bits and bobs from Paris and beyond. The space is stacked to the rafters with industrial furniture – steel chairs, old army modular bedside tables and colourful metal lampshades – mainly sourced from private collections in France and Belgium. You’ll find everything from vintage bikes (hanging from the ceiling), giant tanks of old buttons and stacks of books and encyclopaedias from yesteryear, to plush red velvet armchairs and original French art deco signs for your boulangerie - if you happen to have one!
For those who prefer to flip through CDs, rather than simply hit ‘download’, Title is a must. From mid-century jazz to current-day funk, all genres are covered. Hard-to-find vinyl, films and music-themed books are also on offer.
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TITLE Store
499-501 Crown St
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For those who prefer to flip through CDs, rather than simply hit ‘download’, Title is a must. From mid-century jazz to current-day funk, all genres are covered. Hard-to-find vinyl, films and music-themed books are also on offer.
Drinks & Nightlife
Laid back venue somewhere between cafe, restaurant and bar. With vegetarian fare and a proud range of microbrewery craft beers (ask them for their own brew!) this is worth exploring
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Yulli's
417 Crown St
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Laid back venue somewhere between cafe, restaurant and bar. With vegetarian fare and a proud range of microbrewery craft beers (ask them for their own brew!) this is worth exploring
You need to book ahead. But if you want to see one single drink turned almost into a theatre performance, drop in for a pre- or post dinner appearance of the 'green fairy'
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Absinthesalon
87 Albion Street
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You need to book ahead. But if you want to see one single drink turned almost into a theatre performance, drop in for a pre- or post dinner appearance of the 'green fairy'
High quality drinks in this quirky bar which is stylishly pirate themed. Executed by a renowned team, your biggest problem will be to find the unmarked door... Tip: it is at number 65 Foveaux, even if this map tool doesn't give it away ;)
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Button Bar
65 Foveaux St
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High quality drinks in this quirky bar which is stylishly pirate themed. Executed by a renowned team, your biggest problem will be to find the unmarked door... Tip: it is at number 65 Foveaux, even if this map tool doesn't give it away ;)
This favourite of mine is actually in the little laneway north of Oxford Street, near the corner with Crown. The door is completely unmarked but just look for the security guy in front. This 'secret entrance' already sets the scene for the experience. Its easy to feel as if you stepped into an illegal bootleg bar with lots of atmosphere and amazing bartenders.
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Shady Pines Saloon
256 Crown St
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This favourite of mine is actually in the little laneway north of Oxford Street, near the corner with Crown. The door is completely unmarked but just look for the security guy in front. This 'secret entrance' already sets the scene for the experience. Its easy to feel as if you stepped into an illegal bootleg bar with lots of atmosphere and amazing bartenders.
The line between restaurant and bar here isn’t so much blurry as it is indistinguishable, so not sure I put this in the right category. I guess great for a drink and if you don't want to move anymore, good food as well. Note that address on map is wrong. The place is much closer at 413 Bourke Street
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Dead Ringer
413 Bourke St
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The line between restaurant and bar here isn’t so much blurry as it is indistinguishable, so not sure I put this in the right category. I guess great for a drink and if you don't want to move anymore, good food as well. Note that address on map is wrong. The place is much closer at 413 Bourke Street
Feel like a traditional pub and hearty, cheap but not bad pub food? The Shakespeare is a local institution. I personally prefer the food over the Forrester's diagonally opposite my place.
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Shakespeare Hotel
200 Devonshire St
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Feel like a traditional pub and hearty, cheap but not bad pub food? The Shakespeare is a local institution. I personally prefer the food over the Forrester's diagonally opposite my place.
I recommend the upstairs areas for a much nicer atmosphere. Maybe even secure a coveted seat on the balcony upstairs for a nice view over the Crown Street scene. Good selection of beers and cocktails and - for a pub - surprisingly good though not exactly cheap food.
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The Clock
470 Crown St
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I recommend the upstairs areas for a much nicer atmosphere. Maybe even secure a coveted seat on the balcony upstairs for a nice view over the Crown Street scene. Good selection of beers and cocktails and - for a pub - surprisingly good though not exactly cheap food.
Liveley pub behind an iconic air deco exterior. Pretty decent modern Italian food and a great courtyard. Happy hour 6-8pm with $6 pints. If you are gay, don't miss Sunday afternoons/evenings in the courtyard at 'The Bero'. The party will go on in the nightclub upstairs.
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The Beresford
354 Bourke St
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Liveley pub behind an iconic air deco exterior. Pretty decent modern Italian food and a great courtyard. Happy hour 6-8pm with $6 pints. If you are gay, don't miss Sunday afternoons/evenings in the courtyard at 'The Bero'. The party will go on in the nightclub upstairs.
Parks & Nature
For that little bit of breathing space
Especially if you need to beat jet lag, I recommend a walking tour for your first day to be out in the sun: walk down Surry Hill's main Crown St window-shopping the funky boutiques, cross through Hyde Park with the ANZAC memorial, Archibald Fountain and St Mary's Cathedral, and cross into the beautiful Botanic Gardens to ultimately enjoy an iconic view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. You can finish with a drink at Opera Bar or the Museum of Contemporary Art before you take any train home from Circular Quay in three stops.
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Royal Botanic Gardens
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Especially if you need to beat jet lag, I recommend a walking tour for your first day to be out in the sun: walk down Surry Hill's main Crown St window-shopping the funky boutiques, cross through Hyde Park with the ANZAC memorial, Archibald Fountain and St Mary's Cathedral, and cross into the beautiful Botanic Gardens to ultimately enjoy an iconic view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. You can finish with a drink at Opera Bar or the Museum of Contemporary Art before you take any train home from Circular Quay in three stops.
If you are an avid jogger and prefer green space, you can get to this massive park via Moore Park running less than a kilometer on roads. Once around the inner circle will give you just under 5k, so there, once around and back is nearly a 10k jog. Personally, I prefer avoiding the crowds by going 'cross-country' with this park also offering a couple of cafes, horse riding, bicycle hire, a few nice lakes (no swimming) and some rare habitats including a massive grey-headed flying fox colony.
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Centennial Park
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If you are an avid jogger and prefer green space, you can get to this massive park via Moore Park running less than a kilometer on roads. Once around the inner circle will give you just under 5k, so there, once around and back is nearly a 10k jog. Personally, I prefer avoiding the crowds by going 'cross-country' with this park also offering a couple of cafes, horse riding, bicycle hire, a few nice lakes (no swimming) and some rare habitats including a massive grey-headed flying fox colony.
Everyone does the Bondi to Bronte Walk. Personally, I think this one is even nicer. If you end up doing both, let me know your thoughts. Take a ferry and get off at Watson's Bay. Here you can see in a short stroll the stark difference between the protected harbour beaches and the Pacific Ocean side. First, climb to The Gap which unfortunately is infamous for suicides. Google the story of Don Richie, the Angel of the Gap, for a more positive spin on this. Don't forget to walk down along the South Head Heritage trail which has something for everyone: incredible beach and harbour views, military remnants giving you a glimpse into history, and excellent whale watching opportunities. Starting at Camp Cove in Watsons Bay, this short walk (30min - 1 hour) takes you on a stroll along an 1870s cobblestone road past Lady Bay Beach, before reaching historic Hornby Lighthouse with its distinctive red and white stripes. Take some time to explore the gun emplacements and keep your eyes open if you’re there during whale watching season. The views of Sydney are spectacular, with Sydney Harbour to the west, Middle Head and North Head to the north, and the expansive Pacific Ocean to the east. Glance across the tiny entrance into massive Sydney Harbour. Alas, you still have to try and see it from the sea to fully understand why it is so darn easy to completely miss it and just sail past. Return by bus or ferry.
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South Head
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Everyone does the Bondi to Bronte Walk. Personally, I think this one is even nicer. If you end up doing both, let me know your thoughts. Take a ferry and get off at Watson's Bay. Here you can see in a short stroll the stark difference between the protected harbour beaches and the Pacific Ocean side. First, climb to The Gap which unfortunately is infamous for suicides. Google the story of Don Richie, the Angel of the Gap, for a more positive spin on this. Don't forget to walk down along the South Head Heritage trail which has something for everyone: incredible beach and harbour views, military remnants giving you a glimpse into history, and excellent whale watching opportunities. Starting at Camp Cove in Watsons Bay, this short walk (30min - 1 hour) takes you on a stroll along an 1870s cobblestone road past Lady Bay Beach, before reaching historic Hornby Lighthouse with its distinctive red and white stripes. Take some time to explore the gun emplacements and keep your eyes open if you’re there during whale watching season. The views of Sydney are spectacular, with Sydney Harbour to the west, Middle Head and North Head to the north, and the expansive Pacific Ocean to the east. Glance across the tiny entrance into massive Sydney Harbour. Alas, you still have to try and see it from the sea to fully understand why it is so darn easy to completely miss it and just sail past. Return by bus or ferry.
Sightseeing
The absolute Must-Dos
What can I say... It wouldn't be Sydney without it! There's a nice outdoor bar there as well on the lower concourse with iconic views of the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay. If you want to go inside, it usually isn't impossible to buy tickets to one of the shows in advance: https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events.html. Or go for one of their guided tours to hear more about the construction dramas.
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Óperuhúsið í Sydney
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What can I say... It wouldn't be Sydney without it! There's a nice outdoor bar there as well on the lower concourse with iconic views of the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay. If you want to go inside, it usually isn't impossible to buy tickets to one of the shows in advance: https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events.html. Or go for one of their guided tours to hear more about the construction dramas.
Yep, can't miss it. For an unusual view of it with the city in the background, I recommend getting across the bridge on the train or - even better - ferry to Milsons Point and either take a swim at North Sydney Pool (pretty unique view for your laps!) or, for the less sporty, just enjoy the view while sipping coffee at Ripples (see there)
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Sydney Harbour Bridge
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Yep, can't miss it. For an unusual view of it with the city in the background, I recommend getting across the bridge on the train or - even better - ferry to Milsons Point and either take a swim at North Sydney Pool (pretty unique view for your laps!) or, for the less sporty, just enjoy the view while sipping coffee at Ripples (see there)
Arts & Culture
Just my favourites
One of my favourites. Good collection, also of indigenous art - and often even better exhibitions. Nice to browse without being totally overwhelmed. But I also just love the building in its stunning setting and the outdoor cafe is nice to watch the tourists roam by on ;)
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Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
140 George St
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One of my favourites. Good collection, also of indigenous art - and often even better exhibitions. Nice to browse without being totally overwhelmed. But I also just love the building in its stunning setting and the outdoor cafe is nice to watch the tourists roam by on ;)
Tiny art gallery Tap is one of Sydney's longest-running artist-run spaces, and sometimes it's worth having a quick peek into what's on at the moment. The space is available for hire for exhibitions, events and classes.
Tap Gallery
259 Riley St
Tiny art gallery Tap is one of Sydney's longest-running artist-run spaces, and sometimes it's worth having a quick peek into what's on at the moment. The space is available for hire for exhibitions, events and classes.