Text Natalie Walton/Real Living Additional text Mandy Allen Photographs ACP Syndication Eat It is a fitting start to a weekend of discovery to eat a hearty breakfast under a painting by one of Australia’s most prolific Aboriginal artists, Minnie Pwerle. Set on trendy Macleay Street, Yellow Bistro & Food Store (57 Macleay Street, Potts Point, 0061-2-9357-3400) is open for breakfast every day. While dessert after breakfast is a bit sinful, we couldn't leave without tasting pastry chef-and-owner Lorraine Godsmark’s famous date tart. For the ultimate gourmet food store, Simon Johnson (55 Queen Street, 0061-2-9328-6888, simonjohnson.com) features the finest selection of oils, vinegars, cheese and cocoa. We’re addicted to the fig-and-barberry sourdough loaf at the Bourke Street Bakery (633 Bourke Street, corner of Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, 0061-2-9699-1011). The homemade pies and sausage rolls are also legendary, as is the ginger brûlée. Lunch in Sydney is all about sitting back, enjoying great food and admiring the view. North Bondi Italian Food (118–120 Ramsgate Avenue, North Bondi, 0061-2-9300-4400, idrb.com/northbondi) boasts panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Co-owner Maurizio Terzini’s flavoursome food is popular with both patrons and critics. We recommend the spaghetti arrabbiata with crab, cooked in a paper bag, or the rainbow trout. Yum! Even though you can’t book, cocktails in the bar at Longrain (85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, 0061-2-9280-2888, longrain.com.au) will quickly and happily pass the time while you wait for a seat at one at the long communal tables in this converted-warehouse restaurant. Executive chef Martin Boetz’s fantastic Asian-fusion food is definitely worth the wait. If you need proper guidance in this foodie mecca, book a food tour with Gourmet Safaris (gourmetsafaris.com.au). My Sydney Mia Freedman, former Australian Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief and bloggerabout-town, mamamia.com.au One of my top places for drinks is Icebergs Dining Room and Bar (1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach, 0061-2-9365-9000, idrb.com/icebergs). For furniture, homeware and fashion stores, Surry Hills is a must-visit. I love Spence & Lyda (16 Foster Street, 0061-2-9212-6747, spenceandlyda.com.au). My favourite architectural landmark is the Sydney Opera House (sydneyoperahouse.com). There are some great little oyster bars underneath it that overlook the harbour. The place to see and be seen is The Ivy (330 George Street, 0061-2-9240-3000, merivale.com). Book dinner at Uccello, the Italian restaurant on the rooftop by the pool. For low-key but fabulous food, Sean’s Panaroma (270 Campell Parade, Bondi Beach, 0061-2-9365-4924, seanspanaroma.com.au) is the ultimate spot (make sure you book). The best view in Sydney is from the Park Hyatt (7 Hickson Road, The Rocks, 0061-2-9241-1234, sydney.park.hyatt.com). For a luxury spa experience, visit the Observatory Hotel (89–113 Kent Street, 0061-2-9256-2222, observatoryhotel.com.au). For marvellous organic and vegetarian fare, head for The Bamboo Café (45 Gould Street, Bondi, 0061-2-9365-7599) – it’s one of Nigella Lawson’s favourites. Shop It’s easy to while away the best part of a day in the homeware shops on Bourke and Crown streets in Surry Hills. First stop should be Chee Soon & Fitzgerald (387 Crown Street, 0061-2-9360-1031, cheesoonfitzgerald.com). Owners Casey Khik and Bryan Fitzgerald collect 20th-century furniture and decorative arts, such as designs by Marimekko and Georg Jensen. Don’t miss mother-and-daughter collaboration Vividshop (558 Crown Street, 0061-2-8399-1210, vividshop.com.au), which stocks homeware from India and Asia, designer baby gear and fashion accessories. Pop into the beautifully presented Ici et Là (588 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, 0061-2-8399-1173, icietla.com.au) for its fabulous fabric and furniture. Take a stroll through the boutiques and bookshops at the Darlinghurst end of Oxford Street in Paddington. Boutique-lined William Street is well worth a visit. The Corner Shop (43 William Street, 0061-2-9380-9828) showcases leading designers such as Miu Miu, Chloé, and local talent Willow, Josh Goot, Lover, Alice McCall and 18th Century Amendment. Further up the road find popular Australian fashion stops Sass & Bide (132 Oxford Street, 0061-2-9360-3900, sassandbide.com) and Scanlan & Theodore (122 Oxford Street, 0061-2-9380-9388, scanlantheodore.com.au). Queen Street in Woollahra is home to eclectic furniture and home decor store Orson & Blake (83–85 Queen Street, 0061-2-9326-1155) plus many galleries and antique shops. My Sydney Philip Carr, events organiser and ex-Jo’burger, Philip Carr & Associates, eventsconcepts.com.au Design aficionados should make a beeline for the Danks Street and Waterloo areas. The PYD building (197 Young Street, Waterloo, 0061-2-9319-7988, pyd.com.au) is a one-stop design and interiors destination. For art, head for Number Two Danks Street (2danksstreet.com.au) – it has several galleries under one roof. For lunch and fresh produce, visit Café Sopra and Fratelli Fresh (7 Danks Street, Waterloo, 0061-2-9699-3161, fratellifresh.com.au). For home buys, Macleay on Manning (85 Macleay Street, Potts Point, 0061-2-9331-4100, macleayonmanning.com); and Parterre Garden (33 Ocean Street, Woollahra, 0061-2-9363-5874, parterre.com.au) for contemporary and antique garden collectables. One of Australia’s most advanced green office spaces is 30 The Bond (30 Hickson Road, Millers Point, 0061-2-9236-6111, bovislendlease.com). Swish Sydney standouts include the Hemmesphere bar at Establishment Hotel (5 Bridge Lane, 0061-2-9240-3100, merivale.com) and the Beresford pub (354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, 0061-2-9357-1111). Bibliophiles will get their fix at Lesley Mckay’s (118–122 Queen Street, Woollahara, 0061-2-2733, lesleymckay.com.au), Berkelouw Books (19 Oxford Street, Paddington, 0061-2-9360-3200, berkelouw.com.au) or Ariel Books (42 Oxford Street, Paddington, 0061-2-9332-4581, arielbooks.com.au). See You can’t visit Sydney without a trip to its most famous beach – Bondi. If you’re after a natural high, the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte winds along the cliffs and is utterly beautiful. At an hour or two’s walk, it is good exercise, but you can turn around at any point or stop for coffee or lunch along the way. You might even be lucky enough to see dolphins or whales (usually from about June). The Brett Whiteley Studio (2 Raper Street, Surry Hills, 0061-2-9225-1740, brettwhiteley.org) is dedicated to the life works of this respected Australian artist. Don’t miss the preserved studio space upstairs. Also check out the Museum of contemporary Art, or MCA (140 George Street, The Rocks, 0061-2-9245-2400, mca.com.au). One of the best-loved galleries in Australia, the MCA always offers works that awaken the senses and make you think in new ways. Travel Tips
- Quantas flies directly to Sydney from Johannesburg. Economy seats are priced from R11 400 (return). For other airline options and details contact Sure Pro Travel on 011-465-0602.
- Although we share similar seasons, Australia is scorchingly hot in summer so late spring (November into early December) and early autumn (March to April) are pleasant times to visit Sydney. Slather on the sunblock all year round.
- South African holidaymakers will need to apply for a visa by calling 083-913-3636 or going to vfs-au.co.za.
- See australia.com, slick to navigate and packed with information; grabyourfork.blogspot.com, a fun food blog on Sydney, offering insiders’ views plus off-the-beaten track venues that you won’t find in the travel guides; and misociety.com.au, a social diary of what’s on in Sydney and surrounds.