Going Places: 10 Sydney highlights
A weekend in Sydney? Here’s what to do.
1. Shelly Beach, Manly
Escape the Manly crowds at this little-known cove, south of the iconic surf beach. Access is along the lovely Marine Parade. Wander along and stop for a coffee or a dip in the saltwater pool first.
10 Nield Ave, Rushcutters Bay. rushcutters.com.au.
2. Watsons Bay
Okay, so going to this picturesque bay and having fish and chips - either on the beach or in one of the restaurants (we recommend the fun Watsons Beach Club) - is a bit touristy. However, the ferry ride is a fantastic way to get out on the harbour and admire all the amazing waterfront properties - a spare $40 million anyone? - along the way.
Join the Woollahra ladies - and gentlemen - who lunch at this relaxed yet elegant restaurant owned by top Sydney chef Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan. Set in luscious grounds with an impressive kitchen garden, the seasonal menu is superb.
Recommended to share: the whole roasted lamb from the Moran family farm, cured ocean trout and the roasted blue eye with artichokes.
65 Ocean St, Woollahra. chiswickrestaurant.com.au.
4. Bondi Markets
Head here on Sunday mornings. Have a swim or surf first, grab a coffee from one of the back street cafes then while away a few hours in this market. It's a great place to pick up handmade jewellery and homewares, cute, casual weekend dresses, bags and bedspreads from India.
5. The Day Spa at The Langham
This subterranean haven of relaxation is just a hop, skip and a jump from the buzz of The Rocks (which also makes it a great place to stay). Wallow in the gorgeous 20m pool with twinkling stars above or indulge in a relaxing massage or spa treatment. Recommended: the Babor Facial - it feeds your skin and leaves you glowing.
89-113 Kent St, City. sydney.langham.hotels.com.au.
6. Salt Meats Cheese
Foodie heaven may just be in the aisles of this gourmet food warehouse. Specialising in imported and housemade gourmet foods, their pizza oil is literally the best thing ever. Next to popular cafe The Grounds of Alexandria - combine the two for a morning outing.
41 Bourke Rd, Alexandria. saltmeatscheese.com.au.
7. Kitchen by Mike
Gourmet counter food that's worth the wait. Line up with the locals and pick and choose from fresh salads, delicious meats, pizza and tarts. After eating, browse the attached Koskela boutique, brimming with home decor inspiration.
85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery. kitchenbymike.com.au.
Perfect for a relaxed long lunch with friends, this stylish restaurant serves up delicious plates to share which are all wonderfully generous in flavour and portion size. Our favourites from leading chef Martin Boetz's menu include sea scallops with cauliflower, rye crumbs and parsley;
twice-cooked pork hock with sage and lemon; and beetroot, watercress and goat's curd salad. Leave room for dessert. They're gorgeous, too. There is also a bar and deli area for a more informal gathering.
9. The Henson
A typical local at first look; walk through this recently revamped pub into the fabulous DIY-style beer garden to find sun umbrellas, picnic tables, a fiery open kitchen, craft beers and cheap variations on diner-style food - think sliders, tacos and pork belly. Expect local hipsters and their kids (who'll be in the very cool kids' zone).
91 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville. thehenson.com.au.
10. The Opera House and Botanic Gardens
No matter how many times we visit Sydney, the Opera House never fails to leave us with a sense of joy and respect for architecture. There's always a superb variety of theatre and musical events on - so make the effort to book.
The vibrancy of the bars along the water's edge add to the superb dynamic feel of the city, which really knows how to make the most of its public spaces. Speaking of which, another all-time favourite place to spend time is the serene Botanic Gardens, right next door.
Bennelong Point. sydneyoperahouse.com.