Tap and Go See the Sights of Sydney
Do you know why an Opal Card is a true gem? Helen Flanagan, filled with wanderlust, tapped away on trains, buses, ferries and light rail for minimal dollars but was very envious of those with senior’s cards because fares are capped at $2.50 a day.
No excuses needed. Anytime of the year is ideal to explore the exciting city of Sydney, see sights from Bondi to Barangaroo, sample everything from seasonal food, classic fare and at new foodie destinations, plus go to festivals such as Vivid, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas.
Four minutes from Wynyard is Barangaroo. Walk the streets, check out the architecture, envisage where the rich and fatuous will reside and decide on an eatery with menus to suit every global palate. Barangaroo House with chefs Matt Moran and Cory Campbell at the helm, is modelled on three plates stacked on top of one another, is clad with charcoaled timber and explodes with greenery including planter boxes filled with organic produce. On the ground floor, patrons will find House Bar; a casual bar serving drinks and bar food; Bea Restaurant on the second floor, promises "fun dining rather than fine dining"; and on the top level is Smoke Rooftop Bar, with a world-class cocktail menu and finger food.
Old Town Hong Kong is one of the fancier yet still great value Cantonese restaurants. Order up plates of dim sum, roast duck, mud crab or a banquet and be impressed with everything even if you are a vegetarian. Oh and don’t forget to book especially if you’re a party of say eight who love a lazy Susan!
The refurbished 1904 Harold Park Tramsheds, located a few kilometres from the CBD, where Glebe meets Annandale is a now a European-inspired food destination hosting 12 of Sydney’s leading food operators. Alongside restaurant names like Mama's Buoi, Bodega 1904 and Southern-inspired diner Belle's Hot Chicken are Flour Eggs Water by A Tavola, a middle eastern-fusion restaurant Bekya, Garçon, Butcher and the Farmer, Sir Chapel Brewery with bistro-style food, and a selection of Australian craft beers, including one brewed on-site, also Fish & Co where all the fish here is wild-caught using sustainable fishing practices. Try the beer-battered fish with the rosemary chips.
Circular Quay is a colourful port where ferries and cruise ships board and depart, and boat watching can be as good a pastime as people watching. Café Sydney has some of the best views in the city with a huge balcony jutting straight over Circular Quay with a bird's-eye view of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Sydney ferries choofing their way across the sparkling blue water. It’s a short walk to the Museum of Contemporary Art where a sculpture garden on the roof is as much a view as the waterways below, ditto the must-do Opera House, legendary restaurants such as Bennelong, Quay and Aria. Taking a giant leap forward in the food scene is the new three-level extravaganza of eateries, Gateway. More than 25 respected names reside alongside flagship eatery Salt Meats Cheese, known for its excellent wood-fired pizza and artisan pasta. Neighbours include Neil Perry’s Burger Project and dessert heavyweights Zumbo and Gelato Messina.
Take the slower version of the ferry north of the harbour to Manly which was discovered by Captain Phillip in 1788, is surrounded by the ocean and harbour on three sides and is very Aussie. Walk from the wharf along the café-filled mall to the Norfolk Pine-fringed long beach, where screeching seagulls are ready to swoop on visitors sitting on the sand or at a seat near the lovely1933 bathing pavilion eating fish and chips. Alternatively on the ocean-side along The Esplanade is the Manly 16ft Skiff Club. Life, seafood and cold beers or wine, don’t get much better.
Colonial steps link the fascinating heritage of elegant Potts Point and Woolloomooloo, where naval ships first moored in 1856, the Finger Wharf is one of the longest timber wharves in the world and the famous pie cart Harry’s Café de Wheels, remains today. Take a ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay and alight at Garden Island to visit the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre. Admire art deco buildings in Potts Point, such as Carisbrooke and Carinthia in Springfield Avenue and Franconia and Macleay Regis in Macleay Street. Nearby, in Orwell Street, is the Happy Feet movie studio in the old Metro Theatre, which staged the opening of the musical Hair in 1970.
A grand testament to colonial architecture is Tusculum, one of the original Potts Point mansions on Manning Street. An architectural bookshop is at the rear. Stroll east from here to the beautifully preserved Elizabeth Bay House, which in the 1830s was known as the finest residence in the colony.
The harbour-side neighbourhoods also share an enviable reputation for acclaimed restaurants, bars, boutiques and theatres such as Hayes Theatre in Potts Point where clever evocative plays are de rigueur.
Nearby is Kings Cross. Infamy is almost a thing of the past, however the most photographed monument is still the El Alamein Fountain and on Sunday the best meeting place for locals and visitors is the Kings Cross Market. Great food vendors, coffee, flowers, hand-made jewellery, the best collection of cookbooks in Sydney and anyone looking for an Elvis costume, a Prada dress or a vintage Gucci hand bag in good condition, could be in luck.
No rest for the wicked or wise Opal Card users. From King Cross the Watsons Bay bus takes the scenic route through the eastern suburbs past all the swanky mega mansions with the final stop near the Watsons Bay Hotel’s beer garden, also Doyles where Sunday lunch is in full swing. Alternatively from Kings Cross with beaches, restaurants and sightseeing in mind, a train and/or a bus to Bondi or even Cronulla are easy options. Bless you Opal. www.opal.com.au/
Feature Supplied by: www.wtfmedia.com.au
Words and Images: Helen Flanagan
1 Harold Park Tram Sheds
3 Cocktails at Café Sydney
4 El Alamein Fountain
5 Birds eye view from Potts Point
6 Circular Quay
7 Cronulla Beach