P L A C E S / H O T d e s t i n a t i o n s
10 REASONS TO GO:
BOASTING SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST BEACHES, A CUTTING-EDGE COSMOPOLITAN SCENE AND A WEALTH OF INCREDIBLE RESTAURANTS TO DISCOVER, SYDNEY IS SIMPLY ONE OF THE BEST CITIES IN THE WORLD. WE REVEAL TEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE HEADING TO SYDNEY RIGHT NOW.
1. DESIGN HOTELS
Sydney is no stranger to glamorous hotels and cutting-edge design …
… and has seen a recent wave of hotel openings that has raised the local hospitality stakes. The heritage-listed 1888 Hotel blends soaring exposed brick walls with head-turning contemporary furniture and Australian art works – all set within a cleverly converted former wool warehouse. At the Hotel QT, theatricality is a way of life. Door staff dressed in wigs, stockings and berets meet-and-greet their guests before directing them to the hotel's Mad Men-esque Gilt Lounge or the sultry Spa Q. Establishment Hotel opened in 2000 yet remains one of the city's trendiest design hotels with chic yet comfortable modern living spaces. Offering the ultimate in waterfront luxury, the Park Hyatt Sydney is Sydney's most opulent 5-star hotel address. By day, guests can lounge around the rooftop pool as yachts skim over the water below; by night, the hotel's The Dining Room restaurant showcases spectacular views across Sydney Harbour to the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
2. BREAKFAST CAFES
Sydney is the breakfast capital of the world ...
With the coolest beachside brekkie spots, ultra-healthy cafes and seriously gourmet foodie gems, Sydney's breakfast scene offers something for everyone. You'll also find world-class coffee being served, where there's nothing quite like sipping your first expertly crafted flat white of the day while soaking in the aromas of freshly roasted coffee beans. Or feasting upon farm fresh eggs cooked any way you like. Or sipping a fresh fruit smoothie while watching the waves crashing on the beach. Serving one of our favourite breakfast menus in Sydney, Three Blue Ducks cafe is run by a handsome team of friendly surfers who deliver a creative spin on breakfast staples using top-quality ingredients sourced from their on-site garden and fresh eggs laid by their own chickens. Don't miss their coconut and lime rice pudding with strawberries, rhubarb and chia seeds. Located close by is another top Sydney cafe, Ruby's Diner, which is renowned for its top-notch coffee and its healthy-yet-hearty dishes, such as the Raw Breakfast Salad with avocado, kale, hazelnuts, feta and two perfectly poached eggs. Credited for placing Sydney's breakfast scene on the international radar, Bill Granger is the talented chef behind Bills, a local institution with three Sydney outposts. Expect lengthy queues, and make sure to try his famous ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter. Head further inland to Sydney's Inner West and you'll find a district booming with fantastic foodie cafes – our favourite breakfast spot is the hip and friendly whole food canteen, Bread & Circus.
3. SPECTACULAR BEACHES
Sydney is spoiled with some of the world's most beautiful beaches ...
… which you can discover by walking along the picturesque Bronte to Bondi coastal walk. Arrive early to Bronte Beach to enjoy an alfresco breakfast at one of its animated waterfront cafes. Then wander along the scenic coastal path and stop off at either the cosy-yet-glam Tamarama Beach, or walk all the way to the surfer-meets-hipster North Bondi Beach. Escape the crowds by diving off the rocks of the nearby Ben Buckler headland for a seriously exhilarating swim. To discover the patchwork of picturesque beaches dotted along Sydney Harbour, charter a boat for the day with Sydney Harbour Specialists, and drop anchor at whichever beach takes your fancy – we recommend Camp Cove Beach in Watson's Bay. Adventure-seekers will find one of Sydney’s most private, hidden beaches by driving 30 minutes south of the city to the Royal National Park. Hike through the forest to discover the spectacular Burning Palms Beach, which many Sydney-siders don't even know about, so don’t be surprised if you’re the only person in sight.
Bronte to Bondi Coastal Walk Start from Bronte Beach
Tamarama Beach Tamarama, Sydney
North Bondi Beach North Bondi, Sydney
Camp Cove Beach Camp Cove, Sydney
Burning Palms Beach Royal National Park, Sydney
4. CULTURAL SCENE
Sydney is a thriving hub of culture and creativity ...
The city's arts scene offers an ever-changing program of cutting-edge exhibitions and arts festivals. The Museum of Contemporary Art is currently showcasing the works of Chuck Close, one of the world’s greatest portrait artists, until March 15, 2015. From the intricate precision of his early photorealist work to his meticulous prints of recent years, this exhibition is set to be one of Sydney's cultural highlights in 2015. The Pop to Popism exhibition at the NSW Gallery is another must-see event, bringing together a unique collection of more than 200 works curated from around the world. Discover the cultural explosion of Pop Art featuring works of Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol and David Hockney. Part of the eclectic Sydney Festival 2015 line-up, the thought-provoking installations of artist Bill Culbert use light and found objects to challenge our perceptions of the everyday. The exhibition is hosted at the National Art School Gallery until March 7, 2015.
Eco-conscious eateries are creating a true garden-to-table experience for Sydney's foodies …
Taking fresh ingredients to the next level, The Grounds of Alexandria offers delicious seasonal cuisine in a cool, industrial-chic setting, where you'll be surrounded by a verdant edible garden. Guests can also visit the restaurant's resident animals, including chickens, sheep and pigs, making this a popular weekend hangout spot for families. Many were surprised when top chef Mike McEnearney went from cooking for A-List celebrities to serving affordable, honest fare at his canteen-style restaurant, Kitchen by Mike. However, the restaurant's rooftop garden full of homegrown ingredients and menu packed with fresh and seasonal flavours make the local neighbourhood glad that he did.
Shop 'til you drop at Sydney's coolest boutiques and best upscale department stores …
where one of the city's best one-stop-shopping experiences can be found at David Jones, one of Sydney's oldest and most exclusive department stores. Nestled alongside the upscale Westfield Shopping Center in Sydney's Central Business District (CBD), David Jones showcases the collections of leading Australian fashion labels such as Ellery, along with a wide range of stylish accessories and homewares. Don't miss a visit to its incredible gourmet food hall. Located close by is The Strand Arcade, a beautiful historic shopping arcade first established in 1891 and home to stylish boutiques such as The Corner Store, Dion Lee and Dinosaur Designs.
David Jones 65-77 Market Street, Sydney | davidjones.com.au
The Strand Arcade 414 George St, Sydney | strandarcade.com.au
Sydney-siders just love to party all day and all night long …
… and with piercing blue skies and endless sunshine, Sydney delivers an incredible al fresco bar scene. A classic institution perched on the waterfront of Bondi Beach, Icebergs Dining Room & Bar is the ideal venue for sophisticated yet low-key pre-dinner drinks. The Opera Bar is another iconic outdoor bar nestled beside the landmark Sydney Opera House, where you can enjoy a front row view of Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge. For a more fun and playful party atmosphere, head to Merivale's rooftop Ivy Pool Club, where you can sip cocktails in your own private cabana or take a dip in the swimming pool while dancing to live DJs. Jump on a local ferry to enjoy sunset drinks at the happening Beach Club bar in Watson's Bay, or at the stylish Hugos bar on Manly Wharf – both popular places to enjoy magnificent sunset views of Sydney Harbour with the city's party-loving crowd.
Icebergs Cocktail Bar 1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach | icebergs.com
Opera Bar Sydney Opera House, Sydney | operabar.com.au
Ivy Pool Club Level 4, 320 George Street, Sydney | merivale.com.au/poolclub
Beach Club 1 Military Road, Watsons Bay | watsonsbayhotel.com.au
Hugos Manly 1 Manly Wharf, East Esplanade, Manly | hugos.com.au
8. HOT RESTAURANTS
Sydney is filled with a wealth of fantastic dining spots. Here are ten of our favourite places to eat in Sydney right now …
1. Mr. Wong One of Sydney's hottest dining venues, this fashionable Merivale Group restaurant has been a smash-hit since opening its doors. In the kitchen, renowned chefs Dan Hong, Jowett Yu and Eric Koh (ex-Hakkasan London) deliver an explosive menu oozing with rich and sumptuous modern Cantonese flavours.
3 Bridge Lane, Sydney | merivale.com.au/mrwong
2. Rockpool Celebrated Australian chef Neil Perry has the Midas touch when it comes to opening award-winning restaurants. His seductive upscale Sydney eateries – Rockpool, Rockpool Bar & Grill and Spice Temple – never cease to impress, delivering sophisticated dishes, striking interiors and highly professional service.
11 Bridge Street, Sydney | rockpool.com/rockpoolsydney
3. Momofuku Seibo This award-winning foodie hot spot by rock-star American chef, David Chang exploded onto Sydney's dining scene in 2011 and has been attracting discerning foodies and rave reviews ever since. It's also one of the most difficult tables to book in Sydney, but it's well worth the effort.
80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont | momofuku.com/sydney/seiobo
4. Quay With highly creative and refined modern Australian flavours and breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, its easy to see why chef Peter Gilmore's restaurant has been consistently voted as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world. This is a fine dining experience worth waiting for.
Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks | quay.com.au
5. Cho Cho San The top-notch team at this trendy and creative modern Izakaya reinterprets the rich heritage of Japan's culinary and drinking culture. Set within a hip and minimalist dining space, expect delicious sharing dishes such as tempura asparagus, miso cod, beef tataki, fresh udon noodles and great cocktails.
73 Macleay Street, Potts Point | chochosan.com.au
6. Oscillate Wildly Located in an unassuming street in the vibrant Newtown district, this intimate foodie gem serves modern and creative Australian cuisine. With serious cooking credentials, chef Karl Firla creates an inventive tasting menu based upon premium seasonal products sourced from top local producers.
275 Australia Street, Newtown | oscillatewildly.com.au
7. Longrain Set within a minimalist, modern warehouse space in Surry Hills, Longrain is a Sydney institution serving inventive modern Thai cuisine with impeccable fresh ingredients and bursts of intense flavour. Arrive early to sample an expertly crafted Asian cocktail or two before settling in for the evening.
85 Commonwealth Street Surry Hills, Sydney | longrain.com
8. Porteno The tattoo-covered, rock-star look-a-like Sydney chefs, Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz, are the talented duo behind this action-packed Argentinian steakhouse. It's renowned for its perfectly flame-grilled cuts of meat which are prepared by the chefs in a fiery asado right in front of you.
358 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills | porteno.com.au
9. Coogee Pavillion With a prime beachfront setting and a brand-new, multi-million dollar renovation by the Merivale Group, the historic Coogee Pavillion has never looked better. When you enter within this Alice-in-Wonderland-style haven of eating, drinking and socialising, you may never want to leave.
169 Dolphin Street, Coogee | merivale.com.au/coogeepavilion
10. Nomad Nomad will take you on a journey around the world with its eclectic menu of international flavours. Its wine list highlights a fantastic selection of small Australian wine producers which pairs perfectly with its menu. Don't miss the succulent Moroccan-style BBQ lamb rump or the baba ghanoush.
16 Foster Street, Surry Hills | nomadwine.com.au
Sydney is home to a seductive selection of world-class cocktail bars …
You'll find everything from glamorous designer lounge bars to ultra-hip underground dive bars. One of Sydney's first serious "speakeasies", Eau de Vie has raised the bar of Sydney’s cocktail scene over the years and is now recognised as one of the leading bars in the world – the team are also planning a new Sydney venture in early 2015. As one of the city's most anticipated cocktail bar openings in recent years, The Baxter Inn has been attracting Sydney's hip nightlife crowd with its winning mix of sultry candle-lit interiors, top-notch service and a potent whiskey collection to match. Another rising star of the local cocktail scene is the award-winning Bulletin Place, a pocket-sized gem with exquisite cocktails and attentive service. Hidden away down a narrow alleyway is Palmer & Co., where guests descend within a subterranean world of brick arches, funky warehouse lighting, vintage photos and beautiful tiled floors. Make sure to settle in and slowly work your way through its soul-satisfying cocktail list.
Enjoy the ultimate escape at these stunning luxury retreats …
If you're looking to escape Sydney and enjoy a truly unforgettable weekend away, then discover one of the New South Wales region's stunning hotel retreats. Reserve a trip on a local seaplane and enjoy a scenic flight over Sydney's beautiful harbour and northern beaches, then spend the night at Jonah's at Whale Beach boutique hotel, a chic and intimate romantic hideaway. Foodies will love the gastronomic haven, Cottage Point Inn, which is nestled on the riverbanks of the picturesque Hawkesbury River. For a taste of the Australian wilderness yet with the ultra-exclusive comforts of a 5-star luxury escape, the Wolgan Valley Resort is set within its own 4,000-acre private conservation and wildlife reserve, where you'll see a wide variety of native Australian animals in their natural habitat. Further afield, discover one of Australia's most spectacular protected islands, Lord Howe Island. Located only two hours flight from Sydney, you'll nonetheless feel far removed from the urban crowds when escaping to this World Heritage-listed island paradise.
O T H E R T R A V E L I D E A S . . .
O U R C I T Y G U I D E S . . .