We love to travel, in an around Australia and all over the world. We love this world of ours, and we love exploring and learning about different places, histories and cultures. But our hearts lie in Sydney, Australia.
Here are 10 things we love about Sydney:
- The people
“Gidday mate” isn’t really said as often as is touted, but it does reflect the casual friendliness of Sydney. When we’ve had overseas visitors stay, and we’ve asked what they think of Sydney after a mere day or two, invariable they say, “the people are so friendly!” I always find it intriguing that they can ascertain this just from a wander around the city, but they do. They get it right away. And when you consider the next things on our list of what this city has on offer, it’s no wonder the people that live here are so happy.
Most people have heard of Bondi Beach, but with over 100 beaches(!!!) in Sydney, there are many others we love more. And if you’re not catching some sun on the sand, laying right on your beach towel, swimming, surfing, boating, or luxuriating over a long lunch overlooking the beach, you can walk the many amazing walkways connecting beach to beach around the coast.
The parks and the bush and the creatures
Although the largest city in Australia and the most populated, Sydney is interwoven with National Parks of bushland, and dotted with many recreational parks. There are bushwalks less than 30 minutes away from the most innercity homes, still within Sydney. We live 35 minutes from the city centre, and across the road from one such national park where we feel connected to both the suburbia of our big city and the natural world. Parks, sports ovals and playgrounds are literally everywhere allowing for kids and adults to enjoy the outdoors.
- The coffee and café’s
OK, so we are unashamed coffee lovers, and one of the things we look forward to when returning from overseas is the coffee in Sydney. Actually the coffee throughout Australia is pretty much on par. The first to make “Flat Whites” (although my countrymen in NZ also claim this as their own), and the best to make our favourite “Piccolo”, Sydney barristas are stars.
Café’s for all day brekkie, or a long lunch are wonderful here too. Smashed avocado on toast, poached eggs, amazing salads, the best specialty pressed juices and smoothies – Sydney café’s do it so well. Check out The Grounds of Alexandria for one such example.
- Restaurant food variety
In Italy you eat Italian (ok you may find some sushi, or other types of food, but 90% of the restaurants serve pasta, pizza or bistecca). In Greece, you eat Greek food – moussaka, Greek salad, dips and octopus. Yes, there are other varieties too, but not that easy to find. In France you mostly eat French food….you get the idea. But in Sydney, you can eat some of the best Chinese (try Mr Wong), Lebanese, Italian, French, Greek, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean BBQ, Mexican, Indian….pretty much every country’s food is here and you can find outstanding examples of each. Why? Because Sydney is a young and cosmopolitan city, filled with immigrants from all over the world, and that’s the way we like it!
- The casualness
Even at top restaurants, there is barely a dress standard. I mean, thongs and shorts wouldn’t probably cut it….well…..unless…..they were leather thongs maybe, and smart shorts with an unbuttoned shirt or polo shirt. Sydney generally doesn’t stand on ceremony, and with such a beach-going, outdoor culture, people are pretty casual and so are the dress standards. Business attire is still business attire, but it’s certainly a lot less formal than many other parts of the world.
- The weather
Summer seems to last forever in Sydney, and right up to the end of Autumn, there are often clear blue skies, and mild temperatures. Winter doesn’t go much below 10 degrees celcius, and even though the air is crisp, the sky can often be blue and sunny. Sudden and spectacular thunderstorms are a thing in Sydney, often lighting the night sky with thor-like lightening bolts, or bringing flash flooding or golf-ball sized hail stones on an otherwise hot day.
- Jacaranda trees
In November every year, Sydney turns to a soft purple with thousands of Jacaranda trees coming into flower. Flying over Sydney at this time of year gives a stunning view from above the trees’ canopies. And when the flowers finally fall, a carpet of purple petals lies on the streets and lawns around the city.
- The festivals – NYE, Vivid
New Year’s Eve in Sydney is special. In fact, I’m not sure of anywhere else I’d rather be to ring in the new year. A spectacular ($7mil) fireworks display explodes all along the harbour and Parramatta River, and at smaller displays around the city’s many beaches. Summer keeps the night warm and most of the city is in holiday-mode.
A new festival, Vivid, is fast gaining attention from Sydneysiders and visitors and we love going to this. At nightfall, from the end of May til mid June Sydney hosts a creative lightshow of epic proportions. The Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Contemporary Arts Museum, Town Hall and a number of other buildings around the city centre light up with video, music and changing images, taking the viewers on a magical journey of ‘light, music & ideas’ as the tagline reads. Along the Circular Quay area, there are many fun and interactive installments, making this a fun Sydney experience for all ages. Streets are closed and stalls erected for this growing festival.
- The constant changes
Having lived here forever (Mark all his life and myself for over 20 years), we are always amazed to uncover new development after new development. A whole new waterside area named Barangaroo has recently been added to Sydney’s inner-city. With it’s cool restaurants and bars, shopping , residential towers and it’s massive harbourside reserve (perfect for a NYE celebration family picnic), this is a great new addition to an already pretty cool city. Darling Harbour is also currently being renewed and extended, and the number of new and amazing restaurants, shopping areas, sports arenas, and entertainment venues that keep on being erected or redeveloped keeps this city vibrant and interesting.