Having 'lived' in Sydney for just over 2 months may not quite grant me the title of local just yet, but I'd like to think I've learnt a thing or two since my first week Down Under.
When my nights out were all about Scubar and SideBar and the only thing on my ‘to do’ list was to pet a koala (which you can’t actually do in NSW).
8 Tips for Sydney
To save you from wearing the tourist tag, here are my top tips on how to culturally assimilate ASAP.
1. Subscribe to TimeOut Sydney
From things to do, to where to go and upcoming events, TimeOut has you covered from top to bottom. Sign up for their newsletters or just check the website out every now and again when you need a little extra inspiration. Some may say it’s taking the easy route, I say it's using your resources wisely and learning from other peoples' mistakes without having to make them yourself!
2. Don't be afraid to start a conversation
Get talking! 9 out of 10 times, Australians are as friendly as they come. Start a conversation with someone at the bar or on the train, whether they're local or end up being a fellow traveler, there's no easier way to pick up some tips and suggestions. Make an effort to meet new people, you're here for a good time not a long time!
3. Step outside the backpacker/tourist trail
Whether you’re a backpacker who frequents the bars around Central Station or a couple vacationing, dining out at Darling Harbor and Circular Quay nightly, be bold and explore a new area. Check out Surry Hills for trendy spots and higher end bars. Or head to Newtown for a night out instead (with the benefit of being outside the lockout zone). Mix with Sydney Uni students and make friends who are locals, you'll have fun with the added bonus of stumbling upon the best travel guides you'll find.
4. Figure out public transport and make the most of it
Sydney’s public transport system can be, at times, frustrating; nevertheless, as a visitor to the city it will end up being your best friend as time passes. Take 8 paid journeys in a given week (this sounds like a lot but it adds up faster than you realize) and the rest of your travel is free. If you don’t reach this threshold, plan your big adventures for Sundays, when there’s a $2.50 cap on travel for the day.
5. Scrap breakfast, do brunch
If there's any meal you need to splurge on whilst in Sydney, it's going to be brunch. Not simply because it tastes amazing, but the atmosphere that accompanies the food is great as well. Most spots serve fresh and healthy brunch. Check out some of my personal favorites - The Farm Wholefoods (Potts Point), FourAteFive (Surry Hills), Bondi Wholefoods (Bondi and Surry Hills) and Speedos Café (Bondi) - for memorable meals.
6. Utilize social media
Don’t just post your own wanderlust inducing travel snaps, use instagram and twitter to help discover secret local spots and special deals. Give instagram accounts like @breakfastinsydney @twogirlsonefork and @timeoutsydney a follow.
Or check @sydney_sider @SydneyFun and @destinationnsw out on twitter. There’s plenty more, and they’re all a great tool, offering insight in to tips from locals and travelers alike.
7. Alcohol is expensive
There’s no way around it; getting drunk in Sydney costs an arm and a leg (plus the pain medication you’ll have to purchase the morning after to nurse your hangover). The city has high alcohol taxes, which makes drinking at home expensive but drinking out even more costly. So stock up on duty free goodness at the airport pre-arrival or make sure to pre-game/pre-drink at home before a big night out so only you and not your bank account are suffering the next day!
8. Branch out from Bondi
Bondi’s beautiful; I’m guilty of spending most of my beach days there. Half of it is convenience and ease of getting there, the other half its undeniable appeal. But don’t be blinded by love at first sight, Sydney has over 90 beaches and they’re all worth visiting. From Camp Cove/Watson’s Bay and Balmoral in the harbor, to Bronte, Tamarama, and Coogee just down the coast, make sure to test different waters at least once or twice.
Travel tip shared by nextstepto