“Sydney – nights are warm, day time telly, blue rinse dawn
I see buildings, clothing the sky, in paradise”
From the Power and the Passion – by Midnight Oil
Sydney turned on the balmy, warm evenings when I recently returned for a short a week-end visit. There for no other reason than to catch up with an old friend, Sydney is one of my favourite Australian cities. Often host to special events, Sydney offers an abundance of places to shop, eat out, walk, swim and hit the beach. As I grabbed my cabin bag and left the airport behind on the city train, I felt Sydney’s vibrant energy.
I wondered if others also felt this Sydney vibe?
Sydney always leaves an impression which differs with each trip. Only there for a couple of days, there is no time to feel jaded. My itinerary is full, intending to return to a few favourite places, but flexible enough to enjoy discovering new ones. Sydney means many things to others, but this is a snap shot of my Sydney regulars.
Night Noodle Markets
Emerging at St James station – I headed to Hyde Park where the Night Noodle Markets were gearing up for the evening. Many people looked to be enjoying their Friday evening, tasting foods from the various stalls, drinking at the tables dotted around the park. This was a social evening, patrons happy to soak up the balmy weather.
On my flight to Sydney, I read an article in Virgin’s Voyeur magazine about the Sculptures by the Sea exhibit in the Bronte Bondi beach area. Gave me another reason to make sure I fitted in a Bronte to Bondi coast walk – another favourite activity when in Sydney. I was blown away by the exhibit. The sculptures placed in unique locations throughout the walk were diverse, fun and thought provoking.
The walk was crowded. Apparently about 10,000 other visitors were thinking the same as me – see the Sculptures by the Sea. But this is popular beach art – heavily advertised – combine this with amazing views and a perfect day, of course it’s going to be crowded!
Two new discoveries this trip:
Gelato Messina. One word: sensational! Sydney-siders were lining up outside the shop and up the street. Usually a good sign when people are prepared to stand in polite queues waiting. I confirm this ice-cream and gelato is worth the wait. (I returned twice over the week-end!) Not only does gelato messina have many flavours, it’s also reasonably priced.
Prior to my Bronte to Bondi walk, breakky was at Bellagio Cafe, in Waverley. Breakfast was so good we went back and had lunch there (post-walk!) Their clientele is diverse – on our morning I recognised an ex QANTAS CEO dining and a large group of MAMILS with their bikes close – restoring the carbs after a morning bike ride.
Another new discovery this visit (not food for once) was the Andrew Boy Charlton Pool adjacent to Woolloomooloo Bay in the Royal Botanic Gardens – known as the (ABC) Pool. This outdoor saltwater pool ($6 entry fee) was the perfect place to say good morning Saturday – farewell calories from last night’s fine dining. Heated with eight lanes, for fast, moderate and slow pace swimmers, this pool is also a great place to people watch! Fit and not so fit all seem to co-exist nicely. If you don’t feel like swimming the Poolside Café seemed popular, a place to enjoy panoramic views of Wooloolmooloo and watch the swimmers below. Why not let others do the exercise as you relax and read the paper over breakfast?
Visit the Paddington Markets. By walking up Oxford Street, you can leisurely enjoy the smaller boutique stores and pop up shops. The Paddington Markets are a collection of typical market stalls, some craft, many hand made. Try the hand made chocolate inside the church hall. Most stall holders are friendly (even if some, in my opinion are a little over-priced.) I have my favourites: Kate Sandford jewellery (is one!) A stall at the entrant sells beautiful orchids for reasonable prices.
And if you have time – slip into a couple of the quieter side streets off Oxford Street to view some of the character terrace Paddington houses.
Sydney Opera House
For the first time in over 20 years of visits to Sydney, I finally attended a play inside the Opera House – a real treat in itself. The play was brilliant, just not my thing so we left at interval to have a few cocktails and steamed dim sums by the harbour. Another beautiful, balmy evening, gentle breeze blowing over the Harbour – the iconic Bridge and festive Luna Park shining brightly in the background.
With so many culinary delights, walks and delightful scenery ready for the taking, just let your feet do their thing.The skies were clear, the days (like the nights) were warm. Whatever Midnight Oils’ Power and the Passion lyrics conveys to you, pay homage to Sydney.
Andrew Boy Charlton Pool 1C Mrs Macquaries Road., The Domain
Phone: (02) 9358 6686
gelato Messina shop 1/241 Victoria St, Darlinghurst
Bellagio Cafe 285 Bronte Road, Waverley www.bellagiocafe.com.au (02) 9387 1562