Sydney is an ever-changing metropolis, with the new tending to overtake the old.  However, the classic essence of this city remains the same.  There is something magical about the harbour, with its arching bridge, the white sails of the Opera House, the old ferries and the glorious walks along the water’s edge. Each time I visit, I experience something different.  So, for 2019, here are my recommendations:

1. Eat Brunch

Australian cities are all about the brunches, and Sydney is no exception.  Nearly every cafe will have a huge selection of tasty feasts.  I would highly recommend Valhalla, in Glebe.  I have heard that the word itself refers to Viking heaven, so you can imagine it will be a hearty feast!  Don’t forget to wash it all down with a coffee.

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Brunch at Valhalla, Glebe

2. Surf at Bondi Beach

Hire a board, take your own, or simply go for a body surf at this world-famous beach.  With white sands and beautiful weather nearly all year round, you can expect crowds of people, but also plenty of good shops and eating places along the waterfront.

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Bondi Beach

3. Walk Through the Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens in Sydney are huge and you can spend all day walking around, picnicking in the shade of a large tree and listening to the kookaburras laugh their raucous tunes.  You can follow the harbour side all the way from the Opera House through the gardens and across to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, where you will find extensive views of the city.

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View of Sydney Harbour across the Botanic Gardens

4. Catch a Ferry

Down at Circular Quay, jump on one of the iconic green and yellow ferries to Manly, Mosman, Kirribilli or any number of locations. Try to get a seat at the front, where you will feel the breeze through your hair and see magical views of the harbour.  Be careful of the water splashing up the side of the boat – you may end up getting a salty shower!

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View from the Sydney Harbour Bridge

5. Visit the Art Gallery of NSW

There are plenty of paid and free exhibitions coming through this gallery, the most recent travelling all the way from The Hermitage, in St. Petersburg, Russia.  You can also find a wide variety of Aboriginal and Early Australian art, which gives you historic and cultural insight into Australia.

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Malevich’s Black Square from the Hermitage Exhibition

6. Feast on Seafood

Sydney is brimming with seafood – you just need to head down to the local fish market to see what all the fuss is about. Alternatively, sit down at any number of restaurants and pubs and you will be able to try fresh prawns, fish steaks, mussels and whatever your heart desires!

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Fresh fish with beans and potato

7. Check out Chinatown

Another popular eating destination, Chinatown is full of delicious cuisine, from Peking Duck to dumplings, spring rolls and …well, you can find just about anything (and at a relatively low cost)!

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Chinatown

8. Enjoy a Cocktail Bar

Sydney is full of bars with world-class cocktails and you can find them in any of the local neighbourhoods.  The Charleston in Glebe offers very tasty Espresso Martinis and highly knowledgeable staff – ask them about a cocktail and they will whip it up for you, even if it isn’t on the menu!

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Dark and Stormy Cocktails from The Charleston, Glebe

Have you been to Sydney?  Where are your favourite places?

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