Sydney, also called The Harbour City, is the oldest and the most populated city in Australia. Known for it’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on this planet, Sydney has become a destination for travelers all over the world looking to relax at hot beaches, gaze at amazing art and discover beautiful attractions.
But for those who are looking to experience Sydney like a local (and away from the crowds), then head over to these four hidden gems for some adventure, history, shopping and good eats.
Everyone who visits Sydney will usually end up at Bondi Beach, but if you want to surf, tan or swim with Sydneysiders, make your way down to Bronte Beach. This is the best beach away from the tourists, located 1.24 miles south of Bondi. Bronte is a great place to surf and is known to have the oldest surf lifesaving club in the world that established in 1903.
Aside from the sandy beach, you can also find one of Sydney’s finest ocean-fed saltwater lap pools located just below the cliff. This is a perfect place for those who are not very fond of swimming in the open water.
And if you want to take a step away from the sand and ocean, there’s a public park right beside the beach with picnic seats and barbecue hotplates.
St. Mary’s Cathedral
When you’re ready to take a break from the water, head over to St. Mary’s Cathedral on College Street. Here you will find the birthplace of Catholic Christianity in Australia, and inside you can see an exhibition on the history of Catholicism in the country.
The Cathedral was first built in 1851, but it caught fire and was destroyed in 1865. It wasn’t until 2000 that the modern-day building was finally completed when the spires were built.
If you’re there on Sunday morning, you can climb 120 tiny stone stairs up to a tight spiral staircase to the top of St. Mary’s Cathedral. Once you’re at the top, walk across a narrow walkway into the bell tower, where you can watch the bell ringers at High Mass. It’s an unforgettable and moving experience that you can cherish for years to come.
Glebe is a Sydney suburb that has wide, tree-lined streets, well-preserved colonial architecture, and pieces of inner-Sydney bohemia. The area was originally part of the 400 acres Glebe Estate given to the Anglican Church in 1790 and is home to the “largest stock of Victorian cottages and terraces, grouped in the same townscape, to be found in Australia” from the 1800s.
Head there on a Saturday to stroll down the wonderful markets that sell clothing, arts, crafts and so much more—a great place to find unique souvenirs or gifts for friends and family back home.
In addition to the shops, they have food stalls and musicians playing. And if you’re not there on a Saturday, there are plenty of bookstores, cafés and art galleries that you can see—you’ll be busy for hours. Hungry? Glebe is known as one of the best go-to places for a variety of ethnic restaurants, from Indian, Thai, and Italian, to Nepalese and Dutch-Indonesian, to name a few.
Chinatown and Haymarket
Chinatown and Haymarket are an irresistible place for people of Sydney with its mix of restaurants, food halls, noodle bars and shops. It’s also home to one of two Paddy’s Markets in Sydney that have been around for over 150 years, offering a wide range of shops and stalls (similar to that of a flea market) that sell fruit, vegetables, fish, clothes and gifts.
If you stay in Chinatown during the evening, you can catch some late-night entertainment at bars (karaoke bars are a hit), theatres and cinemas. And don’t leave without indulging on some snacks from street vendors at the night market, open on Fridays from 16:00 to 23:00. The Dragon Beard Candy, a traditional delicious treat from the Ancient Chinese Palace, available at Mater Au is a must.
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