For anyone that knows me they know that my love for Sydney is almost unbearable, for them I mean, no doubt my constant over praise is tiring at best. Sorry.
Dare I say in a previous life I hated this place. I distinctly remember an 18 year old me here on a family holiday here wondering why on earth I ended up in this sorry excuse of a city (#angstyteenager). Sydney is somehow a dirty word to most Australians, even if they have never visited and is often negatively compared to Melbourne. For me the love began as soon as I moved here, fresh out of uni and excited to be going somewhere completely unknown.
I can no longer comprehend what people find to dislike about this place and, after a 6 year string of constant shifting spanning 3 countries and 2 hemispheres encompassing some of the most beloved cities around it seems that my heart is forever buried somewhere in the Surry Hills/Paddington/Bondi areas. I don’t know what makes a place home, what aligning of emotions and characteristics ground you to a place but this is certainly mine.
The common association amongst Australians outside this nature drenched heaven is that it’s a business city. A sea of grey concrete and uninteresting crowd of suits. It is true that money and success are a constant goal, necessarily so if you’ve recently spied the astronomical housing/rent prices (halp me I’m poor), but my view of Sydney is more akin to this….
The thing with Sydney is that it’s a city saturated with lifestyle. Sitting at an almost perfect latitude along Australia’s east coast it’s a city where summers are balmy twilight nights and winters are simply a second spring. The coast is a rugged sandstone beauty that encompasses beach after beach. There is an astounding amount of green; the inner suburbs laced with trees and and jungle like terraces. We boast an endless supply of far too tempting beer gardens and tucked away cafes. The food is fresh, the coffee is stellar (thanks Australia.)
What I love about Sydney is that is has all the trimmings of a 4.5 million population city without the feeling of being in a city. You can surf before work. You can run in botanic gardens during lunch break. You can ride in parkland post work. You can hike the coast on weekends.
What makes Sydney is the suburbs. They city centre itself is passable as best. From the beautiful old worker terraces of the Inner East, to the eclectic street art and off beat characters of the Inner West, and of course the beach side bliss that stretches endlessly along the coast, it’s hard to imagine anyone not being able to find their place here.
My pick is the east. From the ever trendy Surry Hills with the lively Crown street encompassing on-trend lifestyle shopping, all the #organic #cleaneating #vegan dining options you could hope for and some nicely tucked away craft beer joins alongside concept pubs. It’s somehow that expensive suburb filled with the young (all clinging on to creative dreams and parents purse stings (#artists)).
The upmarket Paddington was my first home in Sydney and still remains the favourite. It is a quiet suburb filled with the most beautiful terraces this city over with lush, green gardens spilling out over the wrought iron fences. Paddington is the place to shop. From Ellery to Goot to Acne, it’s a mix of the best contemporary Australian and international designers. Incu is the best place to grab some upmarket street wear.
Bondi is a mix of beach side bliss and cashed up entrepreneurs (plus the throngs of backpackers that make rent here impossibly high, please stop sleeping 6 to a room). Boasting ‘that’ beach it’s also nicely complimented by a bloody decent selection of cafes and restaurants plus some damn good shopping. Porch and Parlour is where you should make your way for a barefoot brunch post swim/surf. The Bondi markets on a Sunday are a great place to pick up some locally made clothing and homewares.
Glebe is a haven of calm. Glebe Point Road running the length of the suburb filled with the most wonderful cafes such as Well Co. and Sapphos. It’s dotted with bookstores, galleries and antique shops that will easily see your day slip away.
Newtown is the alternative area of Sydney where you’ll see a bunch of Sydney’s best and brightest dressed characters along King Street. The choice of food here is endless. Basil does the best pizzas around (and has a hella decent vegan selection), Brewtown Newtown is the place for your caffeine fix and Lentil as Anything offers vegan meals on a ‘pay what you feel’ mantra (one of the few things Sydney has adopted from Melbourne). For a beer head to The Courthouse (‘Courty’) for the best beer garden, veggie burger and delightfully undelightful bartenders.
That’s not all there is to Sydney. I adore Coogee Beach, the heartbreakingly perfect Bronte rockpool, I never fail to be amazed by the beauty of the Spit bridge to Manly walk and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park feels remarkably remote although only sitting just above the Northern Beaches. I must admit I also often take the city circle train the long way just to sneak past that harbour view.
I’ll never tire of eating my bodyweight in icy treats at Messina, brunching away mornings at Reuben Hills, Three Williams or The Grounds of Alexandria, and drinking away arvos at the likes of Cricketers, Tio’s and the Royal Albert.
Sydney is a special little place, and it will love you as much as you let it.