Sydney Off The Beaten Path Tips by aussiedoug
Sydney Off The Beaten Path: 414 reviews and 553 photos
Rozelle Public School with weekend markets
For seven years I was lucky enough to be Assistant Principal of Rozelle Public School in the suburb of Rozelle, just 2 kilometres from the very heart of the city.
These two suburbs have a fabulous array of eateries with great food and coffee in quality abundance. Lots of interesting shopping for clothes, homethings, books & lots more.
They also have a great range of real aussie pubs with some good entertainment options. Check out the website below.
I will put some of these places that I know well into my Sydney page as Shopping or Restaurant tips.
To get here from the city it is only about 5-10 minutes over the Anzac Bridge using any of the 500 buses or a 440, 433 or 445 bus which take you on a more circuitous route through the inner west.
To just confine yourself to the city and the usual touristy places of Bondi and/or Manly is to really do yourself a disservice. Bondi and Manly are worth a look, I'm not meaning to put them down. I lived in Manly quite some years ago & still really like it. It still has an interesting diversity to it, especially if you scratch below the surface. However Balmain & Rozelle are even more interesting in a genuine way.
View south from the sundeck of Coogee Sands Hotel
I have to start by saying that I've always been a northern beaches man, been surfing them since I came to Sydney well over 20 years ago & also lived at both Manly (southern end of the northern beaches) & also Newport (part of the "insular peninsula" - see my Avalon page for a bit more).
I dare say you can hear a "BUT" coming on & you are absolutely right. I've been to Coogee a couple of times over the years, the most recently just yesterday & last night & this morning & I have to admit I've quite fallen in love with this beautiful little village by the sea & would move there tomorrow
I'm building a separate "Coogee" page with a range of tips so please come visit it to learn some more about this beaut' area.
So why have I fallen in love with Coogee? Well, anywhere you can smell the salt air & walk along the beachfront (especially where there is a nice green park running along the beachfront) looking at the waves breaking onto the lovely pale golden, almost white, sand is a good starting point. When you add to that very good coffee indeed from a few different places, excellent cafes & resaurants & a few different nightlife spots you're really getting there.
If you're coming to Sydney to visit & you love the beach then I'd strongly suggest staying here. There are a number of accommodation options ranging form a number of Backpacker places that seem o.k. though to flats etc, up to the Coogee Crown Plaza Hotel which is eithr 4 star rated. You are only about 15 minutes drive from the city, but I'd suggest it'd take a bit longer in a bus although you can get an express bus with first stop in Bent Streeet in the City. I wonder if they only run in peak commuter times in the morning & late afternoon/early evening.
The only danger if you stay here (& love the beach & ocean) is that you may well be tempted not to go into the city at all. lol!
Feel freet to visit my Coogee page for more specific info'.
Just a small chunk of Balmoral Beach
Balmoral is a fantatstic place for a day out at any time of year.
It's a great spot for families as, being a Harbour Beach & not an Ocean Beach, there are no waves to speak of. Also there is an enclosed swimming baths section if you are concerned about sharks, which, I must admit have been sighted in the Harbour on the odd occasion over the years.
It has a good park area running along for most of it's length & there are a number of play areas for children & also a couple of sporting fields at the southern end. These have a fitness track running around the perimeter with different exercises suggested on posters at various points around it.
There are a number of nice cafes & take away food places as well as a couple of upmarket dining options. We had gr8 fish & chips at "Bottom of the Harbour Fish & Chips" then sat overlooking the water eating it before we had another swim, after letting our food digest a bit.
You might also be interested in the little bit of history when the trams used to run right down to the beach. There are a couple of tracks with just the last few rails left & a memorial plaque on one side of the cutting in the rock. I love this sort of history of Sydney.
This is a genuie off the beaten path tip as you either need a rental/hire car to get here or else you would need to catch a bus from the city. I'll have to do some research on what number bus this is & from where in the city you'd need to catch it.
All in all a great spot to spend a day relaxing, or being a little bit of a daredevil like my friend & his kids & me & my girls were jumping off the pool enclusure into the water about 2-3 metres below. My wife took some photos of that so when she gets them developed I'll add on here.
From the air
In my "Beaches" tip amongst the things to do tips I've already mentioned the northern beaches.
Please click on the accompanying photo to see most of what is described by many Sydneysiders as "The Insular Peninsula". I haved a stand alone bunch of tips on Avalon which you can see amongst these beautiful beaches in this photo.
From the north to the south we begin with Palm Beach which is holiday home to some rich & famous Australians, but in summer the beach is home to Aussies from all walks of life. Palm Beach is a long beach. The nthn tip with it's large headland crowned by the lighthouse is actually a "tied island", meaning that it's an island joined by the build up of sand over mllions of years. You can walk up for a fabulous view & check it out. Really worth it.
Then we move south & I think the order goes Whale Beach (fabulous beach * nice wave when it's working), Bilgola Beach (another beauty) then Avalon which has excellellent dining & shopping opportunities) & lastly, in this photo Newport another lovely beach. I actually lived here quite some years back so have a bit of a fond spot for it.
If you're wondering about the Insular Peninsula then it's how many Sydney people see thosewho live here & quite frankly many of them don't mind being viewed that way. Over the years Ive met more than a few people from up here who are proud of the fact that they've never been over the Harbour Bridge & into the city. Mind you when you live here there's not a lot that can tempt you to leave it.
You can catch a 190 bus from Wynyard Station in the city to get here, but I'd really recommend hiring a car so you can have genuine flexibility & even stay overnight somewhere & make sure you have a swim.
Village Sign on Waterfront
Yes Watson's Bay is this, but also the scene of VT lunch meets.
If visiting Sydney you really must take a ferry ride past our gorgeous (& very wealthy) harbourside suburbs to Watson's Bay.
On arrivng there you can do a walk around the harbour & to the Historic Lighthouse (yet to do that with my girls). Then I'd suggest coming back to have lunch.
There are 4 options for lunch & I'm pretty sure they are all owned by Doyles the famous Restaurant name. There is a rather upmarket restaurant on your right as you get off the ferry. At the landside front of it is the least expensive option where you can buy take way fish & chips etc to enjoy either on the sand or along the parklands fronting the harbour. On the couple of occasions that I've been here we have eaten at Doyle's Palace in the Watson's Bay Hotel. Doyle's Palace is not what I'd call "Gourmet Food", but it's quite o.k. & reasonably substantial servings.Lastly there is a cafe/restaurant just to the left of the Watrson's Bay Hotel on the waterfront which is your fourth option.
Now after you've had your coffee or last beer/wine or whatever you absolutely must go for a short walk to see, "The Gap", a famous, or perhaps, infamous Sydney landmark. Yes, dear reader the scene of quite a few suicides & what police still aren't sure were suicides or murders. Now on a lovely sunny day you shouldn't be tempted to jump, but you abxolutely must take lots of photos. It is an excellent spot for taking photos back across & up the Harbour to the City. You'll see a photo I took from there in my intro above. The cliffs themselves make for good photos too.
You catch the Watson's Bay ferry from Wharf Number 4 at Circular Quay. If you're wanting to have lunch & haven't a reservation you'll be lucky to get a tabel if you don't catch the 11:00 a.m. ferry or an earlier one.
All in all a gr8 spot to spend a day.
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