Exploring Sydney

While you’re exploring Sydney, the guidebook will give you a great map and show you the way to the icons of the city but it will not share the secrets. For that, you need to get a local to whisper in your ear. We know, we know, easier said than done. How do you know you’re asking the right local? How do you know what you need to know? What are even the right questions?

It’s a crisis.

Well, it was a crisis until we swooped in and saved the day. We got together with some of our favourite Sydney peeps and got them to share their secrets with us. Here they are:


  • Get the TripView app for your smartphone. Has all train, bus and ferry timetables on it. Brilliant!
  • Travel passes are the way to go if you are using public transport. You can get weekly passes to cover bus, train and ferry and if will be moving around a lot.
  • If there are more than 2 of you travelling from the airport to hotel then it is probably cheaper to get a taxi. The train leg from airport to the city is privatised so really expensive.

Food and Coffee

  • Best coffee – We’ve tried to give you one per main region:
    • Balmain – Delmain Providore
    • Bondi – Chapter One
    • Cronulla – Grind
    • Darlinghurst – Detour Espresso Bar
    • Glebe – The Wedge Espresso
    • Manly – Barefoot Coffee Traders
    • Mona Vale – Coffee Brothers
    • Sydney CBD – Joe Black X
    • Surry Hills – Single Origin Roasters
Did we miss an area near you? Check out Beanhunter for current reviews by the locals for the locals.
  • Hit Doyle’s at Watson’s Bay for Fish and Chips.
  • Grab the best croissant you will ever eat outside of France from Victoire bakery in Rozelle.
  • Local Surry Hills folk all go to the Bourke Street Bakery for coffee and pastries on the weekend.
  • Pizza from Cipro Pizza Al Taglio in Alexandria is a must.
  • Fatima’s on Cleveland Street, Surry Hills does THE most amazing Lebanese. Get one of everything.

Urbanspoon is a great online resource for eating out.

Nightlife, Pubs and Entertainment

  • See a band at the Metro or Enmore Theatre
  • Head to one of the smaller theatres like the Belvoir in Surry Hills or the Darlinghurst Theatre Company in Darlinghurst (just near the Cross). Many of these smaller places will have cheap ticket nights or cheap seats to early openings or last shows. Hunt around online for details.
  • The Annandale Hotel is one of the few pubs to still put on local bands playing original work. Pub has that old grungy vibe going on. It’s awesome and there is an Asian themed restaurant attached if you’d like a bite to eat.
  • Our favourite pubs in no particular order are Darlo Bar, Darlinghurst; Shakespeare Hotel, Surry Hills; Old Fitzroy Hotel and East Sydney Hotel, Woolloomooloo; and the Lord Dudley, Woollahra. Except for Darlo Bar these are all old school pub style which is our favourite. If you are looking for a different style of pub or one in a different area than Time Out has it all.


  • See Sydney by a series of Coastal Walks – it is the best way to capture the view.
  • Make the effort to head down south to the Royal National Park. You can do a coastal walk or a bike ride or swim at the beach or…you get the picture.
  • Choose Neilson Park, Vaucluse for a day at a Harbour Beach. There is grass and sand and an onsite cafe (with beers!).
  • Don’t miss the zoo. Even locals go there.
  • Once you’ve seen the main attractions, get out of the city. Things will be cheaper and more fun.
  • The Alternative scene is in Newtown, the hipsters are in Balmain and Surry Hills, the beach dudes and babes are in Bondi OR Manly (depends on your style of babe).
  • If Indie is your thing then make sure you check out the Inner West. GREAT markets, pubs and cafes pretty much across the board.

For a quick glimpse of some of Sydney’s most spectacular spots check out the video below:

HotelClub Sydney

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