Sydney is my favourite city in the world.

It has amazing experiences for travellers and locals alike.

Photo by Ethan Ou on Unsplash

The trick to Sydney is getting deep into it and trying to be there an experience it like a local.

Here are my tips:


Australia has some of the best food in the world. And I’m not being parochial here – our produce is fresh, chefs focused and experimenting at the top of their game and they cater to a very discerning audience.

Food is diverse, fresh and fantastic in this city.  While you are here you must go to at least one “Hatted” restaurant.  Go to the best one you can afford.

The authority on amazing food in Sydney is The Good Food Guide – check it out for all the best that Sydney has to offer including

For the best in experiences in Sydney (and elsewhere) use Broad Sheet Sydney – the guide the locals trust.

Queen Chow Manly Sydney

Even outside the expensive restaurants you will find food to die for.

Walk down King Street in Newtown and find a Asian, vegetarian, burger, Ethiopian and every other type of food that is exotic, affordable and amazing.

Please, for the love of God do not walk into a McDonalds.

Bruch at Bills in Darlinghurst or Bondi is a quiescently Sydney experience but there are dozens of fantastic brunch spots as well that aren’t as busy or popular.

Some other must do’s in Sydney.

Sydney Opera House - ethan-ou

The Opera House and the Opera Bar

Sunset drinks at the Opera Bar is one of the most wonderful things you can do on a summer’s afternoon.  But also take the time to do a back-stage tour of the Opera House – it has an amazing story.

Climb the Bridge

Ok, so it’s expensive and a bit over rated but it’s still amazing to be at the top of the “coat hanger” with the wind in your hair and Sydney stretching out below you.

If that’s too much there is a little-known alternative – a short walk up the Pylon lookout and that’s free.

Play Barefoot Bowls

This is a genuine Aussie thing!  And if you want to meet the locals this is a great way to do it.

Just about any local Bowls Club will have an evening or a day where they open their greens to everyone to take the shoes off, grab a beer and play, usually with stalwarts of the club there to help you if you really want to do it well.


Bondi to Coogee Walk

Sydney Bondi Bathers Sacha Styles

Any given day you will find hundreds of locals and tourists alike doing this walk.

It’s not too hard and it’s a beautiful way to experience the beaches of Sydney’s East.  Frankly I prefer just the Bondi to Bronte walk and I time myself to finish so I can have lunch at one of the fantastic café’s in Bronte.

If you come in October / November you find Sculpture by the Sea which is amazing.


Ferry to Manly (or anywhere really)

Sydney Ferry

The Harbour has always been an essential part of Sydney living and people use the ferries as day to day transport.  Do not get on an expensive tour which will be boring and confining when you can do as the locals do and get the Ferry to Manly.

Take the old Green and Yellow ferry and sit outside if you can.  Smell the salt and get a bit wet it will be worth it.

When you get to Manly walk through the Mall to the beach where you will find lots a great restaurants and locals sunning themselves.  But also take the time to get a cocktail at one of the great restaurants on the wharf.


Remember the Name Justin Hemmes or Merivale

If you want a glamorous dining / drinking / party experience in Sydney there is only one name to remember – Merivale.  The group, owned by one of the coolest young guys in Sydney has a bevvy of great places to eat and imbibe.


Sea Plane to Palm Beach

Sydney Sea Planes

Speaking of Glamour one of Sydney’s best experiences involves getting a seaplane to Palm Beach or any of the other great stops in the Northern Beaches.

You get an amazing view of Sydney and get to hang out on the low key but glam places where the Sydney elite have their beach houses.  Plus “Home and Away” is filmed there!  LOL


Wednesday Afternoon Sailing

Sydney Sailing

If you really want to experience the Harbour like a local sign up for Wednesday afternoon sailing where you can join in on one of the “races” that happen every Wednesday afternoon as crew.  Work as hard or as little as you like.

The crews take it semi seriously (after all there is a cheap plastic cup on the line) but it’s more an opportunity to have fun, meet new people and drink wine!


Art Galleries

Outside the major culture capitals Sydney has one of the best art collections in the world.

Take a stroll through the Art Gallery of NSW, MOCA, or Artspace

Sydney also has a thriving private art gallery scene.

Go to Church

St Mary's Sydney

St Mary’s Catholic cathedral is one of the most beautiful in the world and any fan of architecture, music (it has the largest pipe organ in the Southern Hemisphere), or culture should schedule an hour out of their visit to pop in.

Attend an Auction

This might sound ridiculous to suggest to a visitor but I’m telling you if you want to experience Sydney like a local go to an onsite property auction in the Eastern Suburbs.

Sydney siders are obsessed with property.

They talk about it all the time.  At dinner parties, functions or any time two or more people get together property comes up.

So get out there and see what it’s all about!


Australia has the best coffee in the world.  Controversial I know but true.  We have a large population base from every coffee culture in the world.  And we have better access to the best ingredients and equipment in the world.

To be honest the coffee capital of Australia is Melbourne but don’t tell them that because it’s one of the few things they have over Sydney!  LOL

All tourists (and anyone else) who buy that sludge they call coffee Starbucks should be taken outback and beaten.

Having said all that you will find amazing coffee in Sydney.  The inner city suburbs of Darlinghurst and Surrey Hills will have the highest density of anywhere apart from the city and are probably more accessible.

Try Single O thought by many to be the best coffee in Sydney or either of these: Reuben Hills or Gumption Coffee


A word about getting around.

Sydney is a car town.

But in peak hour most people use the train.

If you are on a budget get a train to the closest point to where you are going and then get an Uber.

Nobody apart from tourists and business people in the CBD use Taxi’s in Sydney any more – they are rude, expensive and poor quality.

Uber X is half the price of a taxi and usually better.

Avoid travel in Sydney at peak hours – it’s a nightmare.


Oh and Check This Out…  “Sydney” the film.

The whole point of this was to introduce you to my favourite and fabulous home city of Sydney but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own personal ode d’ cite, the short film Sydney.

Look out for it at festivals world wide.

Enjoy your time in Sydney!


Written by Peter Spann

Peter Spann – Film Maker | Director | Business Coach | Writer | Public Speaking Coach | Presenter | Investor.

© Copyright: 2018 Peter Spann – All rights reserved

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