"Mike in Sydney" aYankinSyd's Profile

Hello fellow travelers - I thought I would set up a page to maybe meet some people for future travels or treat some cool travelers to a beer when in Sydney!

I've lived in London and grew up in Chicago, so feel free to drop me a line about those destinations as well as my home town SYDNEY!!!

From Mt Everest to Vietnam to Fiji to Alaska to Spain...I've been around a little bit...so ask away or just send me a friendly email...

I'll throw in some of my top Sydney things to do...if you like to sit on air-conditioned buses and have tour guides announce the site to your left, and all night buffets on cruise ships make your mouth water, you should skip Sydney and try one of my fellow fat, lazy American cities. Sydney is a GREAT walking city, so get some sun and get out and about!!!!

Okay folks, here we go. Here are some top spots in Sydney, so enjoy!!!

1) Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach walk - AMAZING walk on the coast. It could be the best I've ever done in the world, and it's so close to the city centre. Do some "people watching" on Bondi, and then have a rest/drink at a Bronte Beach cafe, rest up and finish it off with an outdoor beer at Coogee Beach.

2) City walk - Okay, this is a GREAT walk through Sydney, CBD. Start out at Hyde Park in the city. Amazing trees/plants line the park all the way to the fountain. Continue onward and head down the stairs to Woolloomoolloo and walk down the amazing wharf (Russell Crowe lives at the end there). After that, head along to Lady MacQuarie's Chair where the Opera House/Sydney Harbour Bridge will create the perfect camera shots. Just don't trip over fellow tourists getting off those damn, air-conditioned buses. Before walking over to the Opera House, head into the Botanical Gardens. AMAZING!!!! Then get over to the Opera House, take some photos, and enjoy a drink at Circular Quay. Cruise Bar on the other side isn't too bad. The bartenders think their shi-t doesn't stink, but it's a good view to the Opera House. If you’re still healthy and ready for more, walk up George St and make it down to Darling Harbour. Tourists everywhere, but take your pick and you might find some fun shopping/drinks. Then, enjoy your nap, you'll need it.

A break from my travels...

Just a personal tid bit while I take a break from Sydney travels...

I simply adore Labrador Retrievers...about the only thing to stop me from traveling would be if I had my own puppy. And when I do, I will call him Spaulding...

Don't forget to support your local Guide Dog Association!!!

3) Drinks - Australians love to drink. It is quite a sport/leisure activity that they all take seriously. And the beauty of this culture (along with being a sunny city), is that SO many bars/restaurants are situated with 30% indoor space and 70% outdoor space. It's great! Here are some picks on places to drink (some are pretentious places to go, some are friendly pubs, all good fun in my opinion) -

a) Establishment - post work spot in the city...one of the prettiest bars in the city, but can be a bit of a pick up joint (so I've heard )
b) Paddington Inn - GREAT bar 10min from the CBD...cheap, excellent food, good people watching, relaxed atmosphere
c) Bungalow 8/The Loft - my local spots in the city...great outdoor seating, excellent music (House style)...Some are put off by the clipboard guy at The Loft, but they've been nothing but friendly to this guy...
d) The Tillbury - another must see in Wolloomoolloo...let's call it an upscale pub...superb perving/people watching on Fri/Sat night...
e) The Golden Sheaf - great spot in Double Bay...excellent Sunday Sessions
f) King's Cross - some think seedy, some think fun...I am from the latter opinion, but you just have to know where to go...the best spots are the ones nobody knows about, so I'll keep the secrets to myself...
g) Manly Wharf - a MUST after a day trip to Manly...great water views
h) Watson's Bay Hotel - another must for water views and some good fresh fish
i) Iceberg's - am sure you'll be at Bondi Beach - another great spot for a first class cocktail or go downstairs for a casual beer at the RSL and spend 1/10th the money with the same view
j) The Exchange in Balmain - Balmain is a must see neighbourhood...
k) THE IVY - this one's in caps because it's new. Establishment's owner spent $160million on this spot, and it's truly something to be seen. Queues to get into the bar, and once you're in, there are more doormen to get into the nicer bars-within-the-bar. Upstairs in the back is The Den - very nice spot for a drink/cocktail and some music.
l) Cargo Bar - Another spot in King St Wharf...good fun, hip crowd upstairs if you get in...skip the downstairs bit at night...
m) Got the idea??? It's endless in Sydney...so many places for fun drinks...personally, I'd stay away from Darling Harbour (south of the walking bridge) and the touristy spots in The Rocks...not my speed, but have a walk through and see how you feel...

4) Some cool touristy things to do...I don't mean to be anti-tourist, but there are some cool things that tour companies have set up good trips for...

a) Harbour Bridge climb - expensive, but so worth it...if you're not up for it due to the cost, walk across the bridge and you can climb the stairs of one of the bridge supports and enjoy similar views...
b) Matilda cruise - take an hour and a half catamaran cruise and lay outside and enjoy the sun/sites of Sydney...don't do the dinner cruises...I can't see the point of being locked inside a huge boat that looks like it should be on the Mississippi River with 200 other tourists...ugh...
c) Top of the AMP tower - great views where you can get a perspective of the whole city layout
d) Jetboat - pretty fun I guess...speed around the harbour in a boat and get a little wet...or skip it - your choice
e) Aquarium - not as great as I'd expect being in Australia, but worth the trip

5) The Zoo - what an amazing ZOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Short boat ride from the city, and you reach the most amazing zoo...take a gondola ride up to the top, and the zoo is a twist/turn downhill walk with amazing animals, beautiful places to stop for a picnic, and amazing views of the city...do NOT miss Taronga Zoo...

6) Manly - a 30 minute ferry ride (public transport) or take the 15min JetCat if you're in a rush, and you'll have one of the most beautiful boat rides in the world...arrive in Manly and stop for a gelato in the Manly Wharf (banana please), and then head up the Manly Corso...fish and chips, surf shopping - do you as you please. Make it down to Manly Beach, and head for a walk...enjoy the people watching, play some volleyball, take a surf lesson, or just have a rest and get some sun and enjoy a swim. Another MUST in Manly...walk to the south and head down to Shelley Beach. Take a peek at the homes with views, and Shelley Beach is a small, beauty of a beach. A lot of families are there, but it is a good spot for snorkeling, and you must head up to the nature preserve up the hill...peaceful spot for ocean views and some great pictures...and like I said above, as you head back to the city, stop for a beer at Manly Wharf Bar...you'll enjoy...

7) Food - Oh my...where do I start...I won't write too much about this as there are so many spots to check out...from a

a) first class feed with views at Otto in Wolloomoolloo to
b) the cheap/best Thai food at Thai on Wok in Glebe to
c) a simple fresh squeezed juice anywhere in the city/suburbs to
d) fish and chips at the fish markets to
e) the endless good eating spots in Balmain
f) to paella/sangria in the Latin quarter on Liverpool Street to
g) a pie at Harry's Cafe de Wheels
h) to all the good sushi take away joints in the city...

Just be wary of some of the crap spots in Circular Quay...however I have had some good meals at Doyle’s and a few of the spots just north as you walk towards the Hyatt Hotel...

You can’t go wrong...you'll be walking heaps, so eat well and work it off the next day...

8) Cremorne - Okay...so much to do but little time to relax, eh? Such a nice spot is in Cremorne. Simply take a ferry from Circular Quay and arrive at Cremorne with your wine/picnic set...enjoy the views, relax in the grass, and take a 20min stroll around the Cremorne point there and see some amazing Sydney homes with views of the bridge/Opera House. I don’t do this enough myself, but hey - the dating is going a bit slow...quite a romantic spot in Cremorne.

9) Bridge Walk - make your way through The Rocks, and head up to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The views are amazing...keep it short and head right back into the city, or venture over north to Kirribilli and around the bend to Luna Park and McMahon's Point...a quiet, nice walk with endless views of the bridge/Opera House...

10) Neighbourhood Treats - Balmain and Paddington are two inner city suburbs not to be missed...Saturday morning markets in Paddo along with the hip/trendy shopping, cool cafes/bars and people watching will keep you busy. The Light Brigade, Paddington Inn, and The Centennial are all fun drinking stops. Balmain is also a lovely city suburb...it's a short ferry ride and the suburb is filled with excellent/affordable restaurants and loads of lovely shops. The Monkey Bar, The Exchange, Town Hall are all fun spots for drinks...

11) Shopping...of course the shopping is in Sydney...QVB in the city centre is a beautiful building to check out, and it spills right into the city shopping on Pitt Street. More boutique shopping is found in Paddington, and the new Westfield Mall in Bondi Junction truly has it all. Also, don't forget about the Sydney markets all over the city...from The Rocks/Paddington Markets, to the stalls by the Opera House - I'd recommend these places over the tourist traps with the "I went all the way to Australia and all I got was this damn Kangaroo t-shirt".

12) Day trips -

A) Hunter Valley...amazing wine country and a laid-back little paradise a few hours outside of Sydney. Of course there are big bus tours leaving from the city...I do NOT recommend these tours. You will be taken to the biggest wineries in the Hunter - all of which you can already buy wine at your local shop in your respective country. Check on the net for purchasing JUST the return bus ticket, and then find a "day tour" in the Hunter. Most are $35 per person, and they will take you to any winery you want...if you don't know? They recommend the small, tasty wineries where you will be chatting with the owner, eating good cheese, and enjoying the beautiful views in the valley. Get plenty drunk and stay over night at some beautiful resorts.

B) Blue Mountains - first recommended as "Australia's Grand Canyon" so my first thought when I arrived was "Well, where is it?" But, it does have a different charm...great views of the bush and new/interesting wildlife...a day trip is my recommendation, but I do look forward to a hike/overnight trip one day.

C) Terrigal - The Central Coast is only an 1.5hr drive from Sydney...and what a paradise...the beaches are stunning, and the towns are fun/laid-back...a whole new charm not too far from Sydney at all. I stayed in Terrigal and thoroughly enjoyed it. Again - beach, drinks, sun, and more drinks...my kind of getaway.

So, that's it...maybe I'll leave it there and you can email me for more recommendations...hotels, fair prices, etc...hope you enjoy!!!


  • Intro Updated Apr 24, 2008
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Comments (78)

  • new_hope30's Profile Photo
    Jun 22, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Moved to TX from Chicago, via Londonjust a few years prior. Lucky you (and me!) to have lived in so many wonderful places!! Adore labs as well (see my home page). Warmest wishes for a happy birthday and wonderful year ahead!! ~ Camille

  • Ramonq's Profile Photo
    Jun 23, 2009 at 7:47 AM

    I used to live in Sydney! Happy birthday greetings from Africa.

  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo
    Jun 23, 2009 at 5:39 AM

    Happy bday Michael!

  • vpas's Profile Photo
    Jun 22, 2009 at 10:27 PM

    Happy Birthday!

  • aussiedoug's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2009 at 11:31 PM

    Hey Michael. What a shame we didn't get to enjoy your company yesterday at Watson's Bay. A fantastic day was had by all - good food, good drinks and good company..., not to mention the view. Perhaps next time I hope.

  • Marie-France's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2009 at 8:23 PM

    Hi Michael. Thanks for writing this page. I'm already planning to visit several of your suggested sights. I was planning to skip the zoo but now reconsidering... :-)

  • sheherezad's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2008 at 1:42 AM

    Greattips! Been here 5.5 weeks and yet to do the things you suggest I do :-( But will get round to it the next 2 weekends! Work, work during the week :-(

  • Pixiekatten's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2008 at 6:32 AM

    Thanks for the compliments on my homepage, cool that you liked it! :o)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2008 at 1:33 AM

    Hi back at yr pg again - the writeup on Sydneys things to do is as good as ever - hear its been a bit cool over yr way lately!warm here thankfully but we are enjoying it while it lasts!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jul 7, 2008 at 4:15 AM

    thanks for the add

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Michael J
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