We are often playing tour guide for our friends and family from oversees in Sydney, always searching for some unique experiences and places to try ourselves. So we decided to create a ‘Staycation Series’ , starting with Sydney. So if you’re fresh to Sydney or just want some inspo on some of the go-to ‘Eat, Stay, Play and Shop’ destinations… look no further.
We can’t wait to get your weekends spiced up with some unforgettable Sydney recommendations.
EAT: We know we know! So many places so little time, and who to trust?? These are the big questions with unknown places. Well heres a helping hand for places to eat for any occasion!
Inner City Fine Dinning:
Mr Wong’s is a classic must for reliable authentic modern Chinese cuisine (well the was a mouth full). This quaint little restaurant has people raving for weeks! We’re a fan of the ambiance, add some dim lighting and jazz music and we’re happy, so this place hits the spot! Remember to book in advance though, this gem is a tricky squeeze!
If you love a good french, jazz and candle lit atmosphere, we found the perfect little hole in the wall. Crawl down the dusty bottle stairs to find Hubert’s. The perfect date night location or even after work cocktails accompanied by live jazz music and french food that will make your mouth water for more! The fried gruyère, dijon mustard and dill pickle, disappointed I had to share 🙂
Click around on their events page for info on their private dinning shows, they have this amazing theatre, with live entertainment! We know we can’t wait to go back!!
Well of course you have to dine in Sydney views, day or night this its a must! Aqua dining is a favourite. Be up and away from the buzz but still have the picture perfect up close view of the Harbour. This little restaurant will take your breath away and so will the food! Enjoys a two hatted, contemporary Italian and sit back enjoy the experience and enjoy all Sydney has to offer! You can pop to Lunar Park after if you fancy some more thrills.
Aqua Dinning, Sydney
Now for a idilic water view, we want to take you to Catalina in Rose Bay. Spectacular ocean views , definitely a day time vibe that will take your breath away. We recommend booking a table outside it make the whole experience unforgettable! Or a place just as good Empire Lounge at Rose Bay shares the same views for a more causal experience. We also recommend their Sunday Sesh their DJ is sensational so is that first class view. We all know how much we love our tunes.
Empire Lounge, Rose Bay
If you want to get away from the city rush but still experience some of Sydney’s water views The InterContinential in Double Bay is the perfect choice for you. Feel at home in the unique little village in the heart of Sydney, close to exclusive beaches, cafes and a buzzing nightlife. An experience you won’t forget! Fabulous rooftop and pool for a sunset cocktail.
A quirky boutique hotel you need to check out it the QT Sydney. Entertaining a blend of Gothic, Art Deco, and Italianate influenced decor, combined with the dazzling exterior of the building are a must visit.
The interiors designed by David Bromley, add a little mystique with vintage suitcases, dressmaker’s mannequins throughout the lobby, ominous hands holding the room numbers and a little surprise around every corner. It is fun to explore. In the heart of the Sydney CBD, why do anything ordinary, we want you to have a stay you’ll never forget! The hotel bar and restaurant are also great options when looking to wind down or wind up. Whatever your preference.
*Tip – listen to the music in the lifts as it often plays tunes relating to the number of people in the lift and the time of day. I always have a giggle.
Lots of other fun lounge bars and restaurants are also only a hop skip and jump from anywhere in town.
Now we’ll share with you one on our wish list! We have visited the bars and local restaurants but the contemporary, historical and one of a kind The Old Clare Hotel suites, are a stay we can’t wait to share with you. What was once an abandon building now refurbished and remains of old walls combined with a modern touch. They also have a rooftop pool and four different dinning areas or bars to choose from. A great way to learn about the history of the local breweries in Chippendale too.
Living Like A Local:
As they say when travelling, to be like the locals you have to live like them too. Thats where the Airbnb experience is a great option.
Sydney is large and where to stay is the big question, remember though you’re always going to be ok if you pick somewhere near the water. We love Airbnbs because you also get to meet the owners and hear their personal tips and recommendations for the area, which is a huge plus! So if this sounds like your ideal stay, Airbnb is for you!
We’ve linked a couple Airbnbs you might fancy.
Vaucluse – stunning views and a pool to die for.
The Rocks – Quirky and right in the heart of Sydney’s historical centre. Also our pop-up is only a hop, skip and a jump away.
Freshwater (Northern Beaches) – six beds and family ready with a view
Manly (northern beaches) – Beach chic 2 bed, just a short walk away from some of Sydney’s iconic surf beaches.
Having a night out in Sydney heres some little hot spots that are worth your while as we know some out there can be hit and miss.
The Glenmore The Rocks: Views & Cocktails
Experience Sydney’s gorgeous view from a prime location with to die for cocktails! The Glenmore is classic old pub in Sydney Rocks thats buzzing any night of the week! Venture up to their rooftop and take it all in!
The Swinging Cat: Jazz it up
Having a low key night but could use a drink and or two, this little jazz bar will provide the good which some cracking tunes to accompany your beverage you’ll be tapping your foot all night! A must is their cocktails and cheese grill (we coudln’t help ourselves).
Hacienda: Harbour and Opera House Views – Now you really feel like you are in Sydney
Need a good cocktail after a long day venturing around town! Pop on down to Hacienda, the relatively new cocktail bar in Sydney Harbour. This 1950s Cuban style bar with brighten up your evening with pink walls and dangling plants and of course a gorgeous view of the harbour. Try get there just before sunset and grab a seat by the window you’ll have picturesque views we promise!!
Charlie Parker’s – Speakeasy with delicious snacks – you will never want to leave… well we don’t.
Feel like you are going back in time, as you wander down the stairs via Fred’s restaurant (one of our other favourites) and find yourself in an intimate, prohibition like, basement bar. They blend seasonality with technology, creating innovative drinks and working with local producers, making sure the cocktail list is crafted around seasonal produce and botanicals.
“If you ever wanted to drink a cocktail that tastes like a bush walk after rain, this is where you can do it.” Rumour has it the bar tenders pick the botanicals straight from Centennial Park. How much more local could you get! Its an snug, dark and cosy little nook perfect for a cold winters night!
Charlie Parkers, Paddington
Museum of Contemporary Art
Spend the day in The Rocks where everything is just hop skip and jump away. Fabulous little bars, bakeries and of course classic little boutiques to bring back a souvenir. Even grab a meal and go sit on the grass over looking the water in the sun. If all fails the Museum of Contemporary Art is must, with free entry how can you say no. Be inspired by some of Australia contemporary artists and be engrossed in the culture.
Museum of Contemporary Art
MOULD, Sydney’s Biggest Cheese Festival is coming. At the price of only $40 for all you can eat cheese that’s a no brainer. Meet Australia’s local cheese farmers try all they have to offer!
When: MAY 24th-25th
Where: Carriageworks Eveleigh
Need a day trip in Sydney, Cockatoo Island is a gorgeous boat trip away. Learn about Australian history with convicts on the historical harbour island. Definitely worth doing the ghost tour and stick around for a bite at the restaurant accompanied by a drink. Also if you’re interested in wine and cheese (lets be real who isn’t) Fort Denison does a Australian wine and cheese expo on cockatoo island too. If that sounds like your cup of tea click here read more.
Another great idea in the chillier months of Sydney is go on a drive to the Blue Mountains, its only about a two hour drive and you get too see all the cute little country towns along the way. If its a nice day we recommend doing a walk there are plenty of trails to venture. Heres a little guide to the best ones. Not to worry if its a little too chilli, there plenty of cute old pubs and restaurants with glorious view so you can’t watch from the warmth inside. The Rooster is an award winning French restaurant in Katoomba that we highly recommend.
The Rooster, Blue Mountains
Want to be a bit more adventurer try a sunrise kayaking experience on Sydney Harbour, its always a glorious site to see up close! Here’s one we’ve tired, they are a ball of fun and a different way to see the Sydney harbour! Cracker of a way to start your morning I’d say!
Where: Neutral Bay Ferry Wharf to Sydney Harbour
Sunrise Kayak, Sydney Harbour
Now if you look up good walks in Sydney of course its going to give you the tourist hot spot walks, we want to avoid that and try something different! Head north to the Bradley Head to Chowder Bay walk!. Spectacular views and a fraction of people around. It will truely take your breath away. Water views and little beaches along the way! You’ll see Sydneys original military base and memorial area with all the original canons too! Its an easy 1 hour- 1hr and half walk.
Bradley Head walk (personal photo)
Want to experience the most of Sydney and shop at the same time! Prime shopping locations we’ve chosen are ensuring you’re still getting the most of the city so you’re not locked inside all day.
A personnel favourite is Paddington. Walk along Oxford Street Paddington where you’ll find gorgeous little boutiques and cafes. William Street is super cute and won’t regret venturing though those gorgeous little streets too.
William Street, Padington
Of course if you are in The Rocks you must come and visit our pop-up store! The Australian Designer Collective is full of Australian designers from bags, jewellery and beautiful garments.
Australian Designer Collective
Just near us is a great little strand of stores on Crown Street, Surry Hills. Personal favourite stores of outs are The Standard Store and Collector Store, both selling global brands of quality garments and homeware. Highly Recommend. Be sure to also check out all the vintage stores on the strip you’ll find some real gems we guarantee!
Queen Victoria Building is also a iconic location for niche little stores and gorgeous classic architecture. Explore this glorious old building in the centre of Sydneys town. Filled with contemporary retail and restaurants all within walking distance.
Queen Victoria Building
If you’re venturing further North of Sydney, Mosman shops are a nice break from the city buzz, if looking for a village feel. Some gorgeous Homeware stores and boutiques you won’t find anywhere else. If it all gets too much the beach it just a five minute drive away.
We hope you’ve enjoyed some of these recommendations, of course there are so many more we wish we could share but we’ll keep you updated! Comment down below your favourite Eat, Stay, Play and Shop destination in Sydney, we’d love to hear about them.
Next we hit Melbourne as we lived there for two years and venture regularly. Melbourne is another city we love and we can’t wait to share some gems.