I spent 3 months living and working in Sydney before moving on to other areas throughout Australia, on my last visit to the city. In that time I managed to get a much more in depth view of what life was like from a local’s perspective there than I could have otherwise.
Equally, I was still there as a backpacker, and I feel this has given me a unique perspective of the city from both a local and traveller’s perspective:
1. Have lunch at Circular Quay
Every time you see a picture or postcard of Sydney it usually has either the Harbour Bridge or Sydney Opera House in it (or both!) Usually when I see pictures of landmarks, and then see them in real life, they are a real let down and not much to write home about. Sydney however, was a real surprise for me in this aspect. Almost everyday of my time in Sydney, I would walk down to Circular Quay (where the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House is) I would sit down with my lunch and just wonder how I ended up half way across the world in such an awe inspiring place. When the sun is shining in Sydney, which is just about every day, this place is stunning. Sometimes it’s just the simplest things which make you’re trip special, and having lunch down here every day was one of them. It’s also costs no money to just come hang out here. I recommend to anyone to come down by the harbour at Circular Quay at least once. You really start to realise why everyone talks about these landmarks, and is just a cool place to hang out.
2. Go to the Newtown Festival (and hang out in the area)
Newtown is a really cool district of Sydney which is kind of like Camden Town in London, only better! Everybody here dresses very alternative, and there is strong community of vegetarians and vegan’s, shown through the many great restaurants here geared towards this market. Newtown is actually one of the few places in the world where McDonalds had to close down due to lack of business, something which I quite like about the place! The best thing about Newtown however, other than the great cafes and restaurants (there is an amazing Italian on Kings St you should definitely check out), is the shops! Newtown is an alternative hub in Sydney, and as a result there are some amazing independent shops here. I absolutely love shopping in Newtown! Everybody you meet here seems to be an artist or a musician, and there is just so much to see and do for such a small area. If I ever decided to stop travelling and settle down it would be in Newtown. Other notable highlights include the little independent art house cinema, and the centre for promoting the rights of Indigenous Australians. If you are here from 7th – 22nd March, you should also check out the Newtown Festival. It is completely free to enter, has live bands playing, great little clothes & food stalls, and is generally just a cool, laid back place to hang out and meet like minded people. It’s one of my favourite festivals anywhere in the world in one of my favourite places, and I highly recommend it!
3. Do the Coogee to Bondi walk
There is a really beautiful walk from Coogee to Bondi beach in Sydney which takes in lots of rugged coast line, a cemetery by the sea, peaceful sea views, and cool sculptures and artworks along the way. I never really use guide books, but this was one gem that a friend of mine discovered via the Lonely Planet that we went on, and was really stunning. At the end you get some views of Bondi and all the people on the beach, and although it would be terrible to sunbathe on such a packed beach, it was incredible to see the view from afar, with all the tiny dots of people. Sort of a bit like when you see the view of a city from high up. The view is incredible, but being down by all the concrete will eventually get you down!
Written and contributed by Run Away Jane