Ahh Sydney... Australia's most cosmopolitan and visited tourist destination. When most tourists come to Sydney, they'll take in the popular sights like the Harbour Bridge, Opera house, Darling Harbour, Queen Victoria Building and The Rocks. Now these are all excellent places to see, but if you want a real taste of Sydney from a locals perspective, then I have a few suggestions for you that will make you appreciate my birthplace even more.
Bronte to Bondi Walk
Everyone has heard of Bondi beach, but fewer tourists have heard of the neighboring beaches of Bronte and Tamarama. The walk along the cliff face from the more neighborly vibe of Bronte beach, past the small but equally stunning Tamarama beach is nothing short of spectacular. You end the walk above the famous "icebergs" lifesaving club on the southern edge of Bondi beach that also allows you a gorgeous view of the entire bay.
Once in Bondi, check out the great graffiti along the promenade and pick up a delicious Acai bowl from the Bondi Pavilion while enjoying the view.
Enjoying a sunset at the mosaic wall in North Bondi.
Watch out for the seagulls, they like to steal your chips (and they get pretty big).
The Bondi Pavillion
Awesome spot to freshen up, get some shade, and have a mind blowing Acai bowl from the Seaduction cafe.
*Tip: As an added bonus, there are body weight exercise stations along the coastal walk if you want to work out,
and if you look closely, you might see some water dragon lizards sunning themselves on the rocks.
Located a few minutes walk downhill from Milsons Point station on the Northern side of the bridge. In this day and age of mega-loop roller coasters and high-tech theme parks, it's a nice change to visit this vintage style fun park overlooking the Harbour. The rickety coasters, classic games and interactive fun house makes this an enjoyable day or night out for the whole family (without feeling like you're going to bring up your lunch).
Talk about bright teeth. I wonder who his dentist is...?
*Tip: taking a ride on the ferris wheel gives you an unparalleled view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Wendy's Secret Garden
Located at the end of Lavender Road in Lavender Bay (about 1km away from Luna Park), this is a glorious secret indeed. Trust my mum to find this little haven on the north side of the Harbour (she loves nature and does a bush or beach walk almost every day). The story goes that, when well known Australian artist Brett Whitley passed away, his ex-wife was so distraught that she channeled her grief into clearing a large plot of overgrown public land below their house. As years passed, she cleared, planted and tended what is now an amazing oasis and mini botanical garden, with a beautiful view of Sydney Harbour. It is open to the public and a perfect spot for a picnic or quiet reflection.
"& we shall walk and talk in gardens all misty and wet with rain,
& we shall never never grow old again"
Sydney Harbour Views
Perfect spot to just relax and enjoy the sounds of nature.
A beautiful spot for a picnic.
*Tip: if you keep your eyes peeled, you may often see Wendy Whitley pottering around the garden maintaining it.
Located just off George street near Martin Place station in the city, it's one of those "blink and you missed it" locations. There are no signs or anything, but if you happen to look down this little alleyway you may notice hundreds of birdcages hanging between the buildings. Go closer and you'll hear the sounds of thousands of birds, which is piped in through a hidden speaker system. It's probably my favorite piece of installation art in the city.
The Central Coast
Ok, so this isn't technically Sydney, but it's where I spend a lot of time when I go to Australia because my brother and his family live there. If you happen to rent a car in Sydney, I highly recommend taking the trip up and exploring this part of Australia. It's about 2-3 hours drive from the city, and has some truly amazing beaches. My favorite is Soldiers beach, which is spotlessly clean, family-friendly, and a good, uncrowded surf spot. Make sure you take a walk among the rockpools at either end of the beach, they're really quite beautiful. The beach, cliffs and rockpools are all great spots to take photos too, rain or shine.
Just another gorgeous day at the beach.
A cloudy and colorful sunrise overlooking Norah head lighthouse from Soldiers Point.
*Tip: If you're hungry, the small cafe near the main carpark on the cliff does amazing food and coffee.
These are just a few of my favorite spots around Sydney, but if I kept going I'd end up writing an entire book... One of the best things about Sydney is the food (and coffee!) of course, and in that regard, my next article is going to be all about my favorite hidden eating spots in Sydney, so get ready to whet your appetite! ;)
Special thanks to my Mum Carol Nelson and my Sister Yolla Saw for introducing me to some of these amazing spots.
** All photos taken by my @powermaccenter iphone7 in a @lifeproofph waterproof case.
Special thanks to @rudyprojectph for my eyewear, @piquadroph for my luggage and @theheadware for my all-purpose tube scarfs.