Cate Palmer is a writer, world traveler and a self-professed “huge geek”. Her fields of expertise could be summed up to lifestyle, travel and art related topics. Her interest ware wide and ever-evolving, and she is the author of “Travelling Sydney: Places to Go, Foods to Eat, Stuff to Buy”. To follow Cate, check out her Twitter page for more information.
Sydney is a beautiful city that just makes you want to keep coming back. You never seem to run out of things to try there and it offers such a unique range of experiences, from completely casual ones like soaking the sun on its beautiful beaches, to adventurous expeditions and finally to fine dining and fancy rooftop cocktails. The Australian metropolis has it all! And hopefully, you can stay long enough to do it some justice. Here are some things to definitely try for an authentic Sydney experience.
Sydney is soaked with amazing views, but there’s nothing like going for a coastal walk to actively absorb all the beauty along its harbourside cliffs. One of the absolutely favourite trails for Sydneysiders is the Spit to Manly walk which starts at Spit Bridge and goes along coastal cliffs for 10km all the way to Manly Scenic Walkway. There are plenty of other trails to try, such as the one from Bondi to Bronte (or past Bronte, all the way to Coogee, where you can treat your successful trek at Coogee Pavilion’s rooftop bar). I did both of these on my first visit and was completely awe-struck the whole time, not to mention I slept like a baby afterwards.
Your Sydney Culture Fix
Get to know the city’s history and its true soul in its numerous galleries of contemporary and indigenous art. The Art Gallery of NSW is one of Australia’s primary cultural institutions and a must-see when visiting Sydney, but there are also many other galleries with exciting exhibitions year-round. Find out what’s in town while you’re staying and feel this wonderful city’s artsy pulse.
Also, make sure not to miss out on Aboriginal art. Speaking of that, an absolutely unique and priceless Sydney experience is offered with Splendour Tailored Tours, where you meet an Aboriginal elder and get a glimpse into the actual culture. (I won’t say anymore because the experience really has to be lived.)
Sydney has a glorious, unique take on pubs, and first comes to mind the Clovelly Bowling Club, where you can bowl barefoot outdoors (or even get coached) on a platform with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Inside, you have draught beer and even barbecue facilities for those with bookings. Another beloved pub that really caught my eye is the Huntsbury in Petersham, which offers hearty meals at affordable prices and pool tables in a very casual, local atmosphere.
Whenever travelling, buying little souvenirs doesn’t have to be reserved only for the people back home – it’s good to treat yourself with something that will always bring back memories of the place. And Sydney is just way too interesting to be bringing back fridge magnets! By pure chance, Australia has become the place where people buy shoes as souvenirs, as it is the home of UGGs, R.M.
Williams boots and a refreshing novelty that has become all the rage, the Menorca Sandals (I ordered mine online for quick delivery while I was staying in Sydney, and to this day I get brought back to summer whenever I look at them). Hit the Birkenhead Point shopping centre, which is the best outlet in the city and carries some brands you’ve probably never heard of before. For souvenirs, you can bring back tea from T2 or some unique Aboriginal arts and crafts (just make sure it’s the real thing).
There are so many great restaurants to try, it’s best to follow a food trail. You’ll surely eat hamburgers with beetroot, a delicious meal that reflects the Australian practice of slipping in a neat slice of beetroot wherever possible. Try the Barramundi fish, vegemite on toast for breakfast like a true Australian and of course, the classic Australian meat pie, colloquially known as “dog’s eye”. Also, it will be easy to find Anzac biscuits, the Australian biscuits with history. They were made by wives in the First World War for the soldiers of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and are still made today in commemoration.
As Sydney has so much to offer, this covers just a small portion. But that’s the great thing about it – once you see it, you will always have an excuse to go back and explore further!