Let readers be forewarned: the following article is extremely biased. How can one not be biased, when writing about one of the most livable cities in the world? The city is Sydney of course, my current home, which I have lovingly returned to after almost a year away. Oh, to be embraced in the tender arms of the big ‘B’s — the beach, barbecues, beer, warm breezes and the most beautiful blue skies this side of the hemisphere.
Beaches and barbecues
Arguably Sydney beaches are the number-one reason people flock to this city. Images of buff tanned bodies lying on silky-white sand at Bondi Beach — the city’s most famous beach — inevitably lure tourists from all over the world. But as a true local would dutifully inform you, there are many other less touristy beaches to visit, without fighting for beach real estate at overcrowded Bondi.Coogee Beach is Bondi’s lesser-known cousin, located only a short drive away, and is also in the eastern suburbs. The main advantages of this beach is that it is not overpopulated, and there is plenty of grass and sand to accommodate large groups of people. Here you will find Sydney-siders huddled around the free barbecue pits scattered at intervals along the lawn facing the beach, available on a first-come-first-served basis. So early birds, rock up with your swimmers, drinks, and beach towels, then snag a pit and ‘throw a shrimp on the barbie’.
Besides eastern suburb beaches, there are many other small and quiet local beaches in Sydney one can visit, especially along the upper north shore. My favourite picks are Palm Beach and Whale Beach, located north of the city centre.
Blue skies and breezes
This is one of biggest reasons why Sydney is super awesome. Forget gloomy winters in zero-degree temperatures. Even in winter, Sydney is a pleasant 15-20 degrees Celsius during the day. No more bulking up in woolly hats, heavy coats or thick scarves. Whip out your t-shirt and a light jacket, soak up the sunshine, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Enjoy the sunny weather and gentle wind in one of the city’s parks. One of the best, and biggest, is Centennial Park, which is a large parkland spread over two square kilometres. Here you will find something for everyone — not only free barbecues surrounded by lush gardens and ponds, but also space for multiple activities such as roller-blading, jogging, horse-riding or even bird-watching. Don’t forget the beer and barbecue equipment. It’s happy days.
La Perouse is located around 30 minutes’ drive from the city, at the headlands of Botany Bay in the south-eastern suburbs. Here you will find stunning landscapes and many excellent fish and chip shops. With a full stomach, stroll over to the snake pit where reptile shows are performed on Sunday afternoons, or head over to gawk at Bare Island, where scenes from the film Mission Impossible were shot.
The other ‘B’sWhat about bars, beer, and booze? Rest assured, there are also plenty of these around the city. There are bottle shops on just about every corner of every suburb, and Sydney pubs will welcome you with open arms, as will the cheap hotels in Sydney. Check out some in the trendy suburbs of inner Sydney, such as Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Newtown, Glebe or Kings Cross. You are bound to come across something you like. Some beloved chilled-out joints are Kuleto’s in Newtown, Melt Bar in Kings Cross, and the Roxbury in Glebe. The Rocks is also home to many historic and charming pubs, in an amazing setting overlooking the Harbour Bridge.
Sydney-siders, don’t be cross with me for giving away our little secrets. Good things are meant to be shared. Let the good times roll, summer’s just around the corner.