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If you are looking to spend your vacation someplace unpretentious, incredibly gorgeous and all around irresistible, consider Sydney. Aside from hikes up to high places and the iconic koala, Sydney offers a laidback lifestyle that you will certainly fall in love with. Imagine great weather all year long, beyond friendly people, breath-taking beaches and first-rate restaurants uniting to create sophistication minus the stuffiness found in typical cosmopolitan areas, not to mention the best oysters in the world—and you have dreamt up Sydney.
Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design
415 Bourke Street
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9361.4555
Surry Hills is the up and coming arts district in Sydney and Object is a great gallery to see newly discovered designers. The group even has its own magazine and travels the world putting Australian design on the map.
Sydney Opera House
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9250.7111
Nearly 15 years in the making, this spectacular building opened in 1973, but doesn’t look a day over 4. Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzan, it is home not necessarily to the opera, but to the ballet, symphony, jazz, drama, special events and even bars and restaurants. As if the building itself isn’t inspiring enough with its sail-like rooflines, it is also covered with more than a million gleaming Swedish ceramic tiles, soaring at 220 feet. You cannot leave Sydney without seeing it.
Corner of Argyle and Playfair Streets
Tel. +19 (0) 2.222.222
The landing of the First Fleet took place here in 1788. This historic district features Sydney’s oldest building, Cadman’s Cottage. An easy walking tour will lead you to several museums, including the Geological & Mining Museum, many other historic buildings, restaurants, crafts and fine shopping.
Sydney Bridge Climb
Sydney’s bridge climb may not be for the acrophobic, but for the rest of us, it’s a unique chance to get the lay of the land. The only climb of its kind in the world, enjoy the views as well as the experience.
Bonza Bike Tours
Sydney Opera House Car Park
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9331.1127
Rent a bike and tour wherever you like or go on one of the arranged guided tours. It’s an excellent way to see Sydney and more fun than spending an hour at the gym for a work out.
Sydney Harbour Escapes
Tel. +61 2 9328 4748
Sydney is one of, if not the best, harbour city in the world. There are small islands and secluded beaches that can only be visited by private transport. Sydney Harbour Escapes offers a variety of crewed or uncrewed motor and sailing vessels ty the day or hour.
Sydney Picnic Company
Tel. +61 4 2094 3670
Sydney is a wonderful outdoor city filled with ideal places to bring a picnic. Two expats from the U.K. will put together the perfect lunches in a hamper.
Lyne Park (Rose Bay
Tel. +61 2 9388 1978
Take a day trip to Palm Beach (Hamptons of Sydney) and do it in style. Sure, you can drive up the coast but Sydney Seaplanes can organize an easy and really great day trip to see another side of this very sophiticated town.
The Book Kitchen
255 Devonshire Street (Surry Hills)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9310.1003
Tetsuya of London’s David Campbell brings organic fare to this spot, built in an old garage. It’s a cozy place to read books on food and wine, while snacking on fresh organic produce.
19-21 Pirrama Road (Pyrmont)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9518.6677
Dine on seafood from around the Australian continent while surrounded by waterfront views. Designer Michael McCann has created this uber-cool new restaurant/bar from what used to be a giant wooden warehouse at Pier 21, Jones Bay Wharf. Get your crab prepared straight from the indoor tank by chef Peter Kuruvita and staff.
529 Kent Street
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9267.2900
Tetsuya’s, a Japanese/French eatery with beautiful decor, overlooks a Japanese garden. If you only go to one gourmet restaurant in Sydney, make it this one. Some say the best ocean trout in the world can be found here. Be sure to taste the sweet corn soup and the basil ice cream for dessert. Reservations are a must.
4 Liverpool Street (Darlinghurst)
Tel. +61 2 9331 4358
Think Milanese hadmade pasta and risotto in very comfortable setting.
4 The Esplanade (Balmoral Beach)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9969.5050
If you like long, relaxing lunches this is the place to go. Imagine a summer on the beach, the waves rolling outside and the sun coming through the window—now add produce grown from local farmers and seasonal menu changes and you have Bather’s Pavilion. It will remind you of what coming together for a meal should be.
Longrain Restaurant & Bar
85 Commonwealth St. (Surry Hills)
Tel.+61 (0) 2.9280.2888
Although surprising to some, Australia has some of the best Thai food in the world. As one of the best Thai restaurants anywhere, one can understand why Longrain only takes reservations for lunch. For a cocktail, be sure to try the Bloody Longrain.
Spice I Am
Victoria Street (Darlinghurst)
Tel. +61 (0) 2 9443.2445
Another Thai restaurant favored by locals, Spice I am offers the type of Thai food you won't get back home.(In Thailand) Green curry chicken stuffed with apple eggplant, crispy pork belly with chilli jam, cherry tomato and spring onion.
The Rocks NSW
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9252.1888
Neil Perry's award-winning dining room still impresses. The prix fixe of AUD150.00 per person includes tax and service and is well worth the experience of enjoying marvelous food in this equally attractive setting. If you don't get there you can taste his food on Qantas International First Class on the flight home from Sydney.
Rockpool Bar & Grill
66 Hunter Street
Tel.+61 (0) 2 8078 1900
Does Sydney need another Neil Perry restaurant? The reviews are in and the answer is an absolute yes. The space, once the lobby of an insurance company, is done in a art deco style with enormousely high ceilings. More important, everything we sampled was not only super fresh (one expects that in Sydney) but beautifully prepared. Try their amazing version of creamed spinich and mack & cheese. This is comfort food Oz style. Famed Australian publicist Patti Mostyn dined with us and her approval is gold in this town.
One Notts Avenue
Bondi Beach (Bondi)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9365.9000
The dining room is impressive and the fresh fish is even more so. Choose from a variety of catches each day while looking out over the ocean. Go for lunch on a clear day after you've spent the morning on the beach. Pricey but worth it, this is not your average beach restaurant.
North Bondi Italian Food
118-120 Ramesgate Avenue
Bondi Beach (bondi)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9300.4400
This Italian restaurant shares an owner with Icebergs. On the opposite side of the beach and the opposite side of the food spectrum, it is another success of a restaurant. The more casual Italian menu is rich and authentic. As if you needed another reason to come to Bondi.
188 Victoria Street
Tel. +61 (0) 2.8354.1400
Casual Thai food as only the Aussies can do in rooms with traditional, communal tables. The tables are long enough to avoid rubbing elbows with those seated next to you, but enable socialization and chitchat between patrons. This is a local place foodies will love and with no reservations needed.
One Macquarie St.
East Circular Quay
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9252.2555
For first time visitors, this classic, international restaurant is a must at least once. The decor is contemporary and comfortable and the views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge are spectacular.
10 Oxford St. (Woollahra)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9331.2325
This french restaurant has been around for over 30 years and has gone through numerous changes. The one constant is the exceptional Aussie inspired food.
24 Hickson Road
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9252.6285
Owners Adam Humphrey and Lovaine Allen have taken British standbys and modernized them for todays tastes. This is a micro trend in Sydney. Cooking old world mainstays in new ways.
Bronte Road Bistro
282 Bronte Road (Charing Cross)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9389.3028
Set half way between downtown Sydney and Bondi, this French style bistro serves up standards like steak frites and grilled fish Provencal.
31 Alfred Street
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9251.8683
Sunday afternoons are particularly good at this Sydney estblishment. The fine view of Sydney Harbor Bridge with the ferries coming and going at Circular Quay compliment live music. Great place to try Sydney Rock Oysters (pricey) but many say the best oysters anywhere. (plump and buttery)
354 Bourke Street (Surry Hills)
Tel. +61 2 9357 1111
Tuscan food by chef Gabrielle Taddeuci that got great reviews by all. Atmosphere is relaxed trattoria.
The Queen Victoria Building
455 George Street
Now affectionately known as the QVB, this glorious domed structure fills an entire city block. It was originally a concert hall, then the city library, and is now the home of some of the finest shops in Sydney, including jewelers, perfumers, arts, antiques, fashion and much, much more. More than 100 shops and restaurants are ready to serve your every taste.
Simon Johnson Quality Foods
181 Harris Street
Tel. +61 (0) 2.8244.8220
Here you’ll find the most exquisite gourmet foods, a select range of homewares and kitchen apparatus, recipes and information on chefs and restaurants.
Aboriginal Art Shop
Stage Door, Sydney Opera House
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9247.4344
Conveniently located next to the Stage Door, the Aboriginal Art Shop has a wide selection of indigenous Australian paintings, artifacts and products as well as masks and sculptures from Papua New Guinea. The shop specializes in quality gift items such as jewelry, scarves, books and T-shirts.
City of Sydney
This site is a great resource for locals and tourists alike, giving weather and business information, as well as a list of events happening in the city.
1 Notts Ave. (Bondi Beach)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9365.9000
Also one of our favorite restaurants, we have put it up again in the night life section because the bar is such a hot spot and they have an enormous swimming pool, directly on the beach. Icebergs also offers a prime location in a vintage, but very up and coming Sydney neighborhood, right on Australia's most famous beach.
Corner Playfair & Argyle Streets
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9247.7785
Here the beer and fun flows freely every day--open late, seven days a week. Menu includes German delicacies such as bratwurst, schnitzels and mouthwatering strudels, plus one of the largest ranges of beers from all over the world, including original Lowenbrau and Franziskaner beer on tap.
The Pontoon Bar
North Promenade, Cockle Bay Wharf (Darling Harbour)
Tel. +61 (0) 2.9267.7099
The perfect Sydney location and a stunning view of Darling Harbour are what make The Pontoon Bar stand out in a sea of restaurants. Futuristic interior decor, swanky menu options and a vibrant atmosphere ensure it will maintain its place on the nightlife radar.
13 Burton Street (Darlinghurst)
Tel +61 2 9380 7002
Wonderful Mojitos in a shabby chic setting.
Eau De Vie
229 Darlinghurst Road (Darlinghurst)
Tel. +61 2 2226 3226
Tucked in the back of boutique Hotel Kirketon this low lit speak easy kind of bar exudes ambiance. The ginger beer is is home made and the ice hand cut. This bar needs a reservation so call ahead.