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Experience Sydney Like a Local

Like any city, Sydney is best enjoyed with a little local knowledge.  Beyond the harbour and Bondi Beach, this city has a lot to impress visitors.

  • Head to the fringe suburbs of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills to sample a range of trendy restaurants and bars, which are always buzzing. It is joked that Surry Hills has a hip new restaurant opening every week, and this observation is not far off. Both of these urban nooks offer a slew of great drinking spots down little laneways and side streets where you’ll discover that you don’t need to head to Kings Cross for a big night out.
  • Further east in Paddington, you will find charming nineteenth century terrace houses scattered among fashion boutiques and fine pubs. Strolling through this suburb makes a relaxing day out, especially on a Saturday when the Paddington Markets are on and you can check out a selection of arts, crafts, second hand wares and clothing.
  • Grab a bite at the Sydney Fish Markets in Pyrmont, near Darling Harbour. This seafood mecca has everything from the freshest sashimi to delicious fish and chips, with an outdoor area to enjoy the beautiful weather. Foodies can also try their hand at the famous Sydney Seafood School while they’re there.
  • Bondi is Sydney’s most famous beach and the crowds that flock there on a sunny day are a testament to this. But well-known doesn’t necessarily mean the best. Sydney’s beaches shine all the way from Palm Beach on the northern peninsula down to Whale Beach, Avalon, Bilgola, Newport, Narrabeen, Dee Why, Curl Curl and Manly. If you’re not heading north, Camp Cove just past Watson’s Bay in Sydney’s east is a great little spot with access to Sydney Harbour National Park. Coogee is also another quintessential Aussie beach nearby.
  • While Darlinghurst and Surry Hills are often touted as ‘bohemian’ areas, things have changed in recent times as these spots become increasingly gentrified and ‘hip’. A trip to King Street in Newtown offers well-priced cafes and restaurants as well as an abundant source of second-hand and vintage stores, all with an edgy, alternative vibe.
  • The Sydney Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park are a fun way to spend a balmy evening in the last few weeks of October each year, with authentic Asian hawker markets creating a great atmosphere beneath glittering fairy lights.
  • Open air cinemas are a popular way to enjoy summer nights, with Bondi and Mrs Macquarie’s Point providing stunning backdrops for a quick flick. You can also try Centennial Park's open air cinema, which is less crowded and often easier to get tickets to.
  • In January each year, the city comes alive with “a bold cultural celebration based on the highest quality art and big ideas” through Sydney Festival. This involves music, dance and visual spectacles in the streets and parks of central Sydney and is a great time to experience Sydney when the temperature is warm and the city is transformed.

Of course this doesn’t even come close to being a definitive list of must-dos in the harbour city, but we think part of the fun is discovering your own to make for a truly unique Sydney experience!

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Sydney
Thursday, April 21, 2011
See more Tips from
Sonia Taylor