Where to Shop, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.
I'm sure by now you have all seen my Instagram spam of Sydney, a glimpse into all of the fun things Zane and I got up to over east. I think it's fair to say that I am a Sydney holiday expert by now, considering the amount of times I have made the bicoastal trip, paired with the fact that it is the place where my dad's side lives and where I was born. It is my home away from home. I thought it was time to show Zane where I technically come from, and why I am so obsessed with the amazing city. Sometimes we are so blindsided by the 'stardom' or 'wow' factor of international cities such as New York, London and Paris that we forget what lies on our doorsteps, that millions of people travel the world to see. Sydney isn't just another Aussie city, it is the perfect mashup of what international cosmopolitan cities have to offer with a laid back, beach side atmosphere. It's New York and Los Angeles in one. You can be a high-rise city worker by day and by the evening be dipping in the ocean and having sundowners. It isn't all that different from Perth, but it is also so much more - when I am there, I feel most like myself. Can you tell I am itching to move or what?
So, as someone who hasn't lived in the city for 15 plus years, but who visits regularly, I think I have enough authority to inform you of the best places to shop, to visit and where to stay. Not everything is included, but I think I've nailed the top things to do in say a week long trip, and a few to pick and choose from for a weekend getaway. Before I get into it, I should let you know that I made a VLOG of the trip which is included below, if you'd rather sit back and give that a watch and read the nitty gritty stuff next time you are planning a trip.
1. Where to Shop
Of course, I had to start with this, because I know it's what you all look forward to the most. For me, Sydney shopping is all about taking advantage of the vintage scene. I don't really see the point in spending your days at Westfield, because you may as well just be at your local shopping centre back home. Of course, if you have a bit of spare cash, go for it. Sydney CBD has amazing arcades and shopping if you want to stay on the beaten track, so definitely hit up Westfield Sydney/Pitt St Mall, and for a piece of history, visit the Queen Victoria Building or the QVB. That is more than just a shopping arcade - it is such a beautiful building that deserves to be seen, and is connected to the Town Hall train station, so it is easily accessible.
However, if you are keen to delve into the vintage scene, I would highly recommend visiting Surry Hills, my favourite part of Sydney, which is just a short walk from the CBD. On Crown St I have found some of my all time favourite purchases, from a variety of vintage specialist stores. And trust me, these aren't just your local Good Sammies. The buyers from these stores have an amazing selection, with the perfect curation of quality pieces from around the world. If you're in the Inner West, definitely hit up King St in Newtown for more of the best vintage. If you would like to find out the specific stores that I visit or have a sneak peak at some of my recent vintage purchases, have a watch of my recent vintage haul here. I would also recommend visiting the Glebe Markets on a Saturday morning, for a more relaxed vintage shopping experience. I 110% recommend buying vintage as often as possible, because it slows the fast fashion cycle, and furthermore, you know you are buying quality when you buy vintage - if the piece has lasted since the 70s, it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Trust me, if I can convert Zane to recycled clothing, I can convert anyone - and plus, you'll save a lot of $$$.
2. Where To Eat
Now I'll be the first to admit it - recently, my vegan life has gone down the drain a little into vegetarian land. At this time of year I just find myself surrounded by holiday events and with the increase of socialising and the festive season upon us, I have allowed myself to just enjoy a bit of cheese and chocolate every now and then. However, whilst in Sydney, staying with my vegan cousin Rosy, I was able to fall in love with vegan choices all over again. Rosy and Ben are based in Newtown, which should actually be renamed Vegantown because it is the literal capital of veganism in Australia. There were so many vegan and non-vegan options available along both of the main streets, Enmore Rd and King St, with every cuisine under the sun, from Egyptian to Thai, Mexican to Turkish. Instead of giving you a list of restaurants, I am honestly just going to recommend catching the train to Newtown Station, and having a wonder down either of these streets - there are far to many amazing options available. However, if you are a committed Vegan, I would highly recommend Gigi's, a vegan pizza restaurant, and I have heard amazing things about the Golden Lotus.
If you really want your mind to be blown, after visiting the Glebe Markets on a Saturday morning, you need to go to Soul Burger. This completely plant based burger joint almost converted Zane, Mr Bacon, to veganism. I have never tried vegan burgers that tasted so much like the real thing. No beaney aftertaste here. I had the Cheeseburger, which somehow tasted exactly like a HJ's Whoppa, and let me tell you it has been a long time since I've had one of those, and I was loving it. Zane and Rosy got the Southern Kentucky Fried Chicken burger, which quite literally tasted like KFC, it even had Facon that I am honestly sure was real bacon. I have no idea how they make them but those burgers were heaven, and dare I say, better than the real thing.
3. Where to Go + Where to Sleep
Sightseeing wise, I am going to point out the main three - Circular Quay, The Rocks and Bondi Beach. Thank you Captain Obvious. But seriously, if you've never seen them before, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House really are beautiful. Sometimes, you've just got to do the touristy stuff, because it is touristy for a reason - it is pretty amazing. Zane and I made a day of it and walked through the Botanical Gardens to Circular Quay to see the sights and then enjoyed a bev and some fries at Opera Bar, which I would also recommend, but expect tourist prices. The Rocks, which is the historical heritage area under the Bridge, are also a great place to just get lost in and enjoy a romantic dinner or lunch. If you're in the mood for a swim, you simply have to visit Bondi - I would recommend going in the late afternoon on a hot day and parking yourself at the North end, near the kiddy pool. It is calmer and far less packed, and with the Bondi Lifeguards looking over you, you defiantly feel more like a local than a tourist down there. Head to The Bucket List for a few cocktails and dinner after a dip and watch the sun fade over the water. If you're not keen on Bondi, definitely try Bronte for the scaled-down version, or visit Clovelly for snorkelling and calmer waters.
And last but not least, where to stay. If you haven't got family in Sydney, I would definitely say take the Airbnb route. By having your own kitchen, you can save money by making your own breakfast and having a few pre-going out drinks at home. But where? We stayed in Newtown with my cousins as previously mentioned, which we were so lucky to do, and we had an absolute ball of a time. Their beautiful terrace house is available on Airbnb, so if you would like the link, get in contact with me. The Inner West or Surry Hills is definitely the way to go, both are just a stones through (literally a couple of train stops) from the city, and each have their own restaurant, bar and shopping scene. They are both also easily accessible from the airport, and aren't as touristy as the CBD, so you truly will feel like a true Sydney Sider staying here.
It is confirmed. I'm Sydney obsessed. I hope this post helps you out planning your next trip, or encourages you to go back to the place that you visited that one time when you were five. Thank you to my amazing Sydney family for looking after Zane and I and ensuring we had an amazing trip. If you want to see what we got up to, have a watch of the video below x