Our magnificent hometown sure doesn’t lack popular highlights and iconic sightseeing spots. For someone who wants to have a taste of the true spirit of Sydney it is mandatory to mix and mingle with the locals. That is a great way to feel like a part of the community and there are a number of places and events that should be on any visitor’s bucket list.
My family and I do our best to discover yet another new corner from time to time. We always go back to those that are our all-time favorites.If you’re a first-time Sydney explorer, or even a veteran traveler, feel free to stop by some of these atypical, non-touristy neighborhoods and festivities to get a better insight into Sydney!
Time-traveling in The Rocks
The infamous convict district is now a vivid collection of cobbled streets meandering below the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It maintains its curious, laid-back vibe with a selection of old pubs, museums and vibrant cafes. While you’ll see most tourists hanging around the Bridge, the surrounding neighborhood offers a unique glimpse of the local life. Friday morning is the best time to visit the Rocks Foodies Market, while Saturdays and Sundays are a perfect opportunity to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts, hand-made art, clothes and truly Aussie jewelry.
The local hotels, including the famous 1824 Australian Heritage Hotel, have beer and wine lists every connoisseur will adore. Think one hundred Australian craft beers and pizza with crocodile meat! Glenmore Hotel from 1921, on the other hand, is a hotspot for after-work gatherings. Their rooftop is my personal favorite when it comes to having my favorite beer with a view.
Animal lovers’ paradise – Super Furry Festival
A relatively new tradition that’s celebrating its fourth birthday this year, the Super Furry Festival is a dream-come-true for those of you who love animals. And even if you’re not traveling with Fido, the festival, which happens on Saturday, October 14th in Surry Hills, makes sure that all visitors will have plenty of fun. If you’re an Aussie, perhaps you’re looking to adopt a pooch or a similar furry friend?
Yes, there truly is such a thing as the Bunny Snuggle Tent and the Kitty Cuddle Tent. They do require a reservation beforehand, so hurry up to get your dose of stress-relieving nestling with these fuzzy creatures. Trust me, the kids aren’t the only ones who go nuts over all those animals having fun in a single place!
Two-wheeled fun during Sydney Rides Festival
If you’re a fan of outdoorsy activities, but still crave for a more communal experience with a view, then exploring the city streets on a bike should definitely be your go-to solution. What’s more, the Sydney Rides Festival has about 30 different events and fun routs for you to enjoy. Keep in mind that you can also rent a bike in case you don’t own your own, or you simply haven’t brought it with you to this trip.
We’ve turned this into a family tradition – every Halloween is reserved for putting on our costumes and our Shimano safety bike gear, and heading to one of the earlier, and as they say, almost calorie-neutral foodie ride. It’s a guided tour of hidden chocolateries and ice-cream makers, as well as little-known patisseries. This makes it an incredible experience even for us who live in the city.
Dining out Sydney style in Nielsen Park
The suburb of Vaucluse is another less-visited area for the tourists. Naturally brimming with locals, it is an incredible way to immerse yourself in the local culture. A top summer spot is the Nielsen Park. Many cool picnic areas are meant for a chill at Shark Beach or the park’s rocky shore. There is a separate, netted swimming area as well. You can cool off at any moment in the sizzling heat of summer months.
Unlike Bondi and Coogee, this nook is not as popular among the many visitors who visit the city during summer. Just take your picnic blanket, pack your favorite sandwiches, and spend some time just relaxing, reading a book or bonding with your family.
Sculpture by the Sea
Of course, Sydney has so many worthy museums. Make your stay in the city filled with nothing but artsy exhibitions. But in all fairness, it would be a pity not to experience the colorful vibe found in the streets and green nooks of the city. Don’t spend all those beautiful sunny days indoors. Have your cultural boost in the Bondi area.
For over two decades, the stretch between Bondi to Tamarama Beach is filled with sculptures created by artists from all over the world. It’s two kilometers of vivid education, and the backdrop of ocean waves, sunsets and sandy beaches will only enhance your enjoyment and takes the art to a new level of beauty. This truly is the best way to dive into the authentic spirit of Sydney. Certainly one of the best ways to preserve its culture for all those who are eager to experience it.
Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. She is a mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is a passionate writer, a traveller and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.