Tag Archives: sydney

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 11: A Sydney Weekend

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews, Sydney With Kids

Hey, Sydneysiders, what are you doing this weekend? For this month’s Sydney Expat Interview Series question, I asked the expats what they’d most likely be doing on a beautiful weekend day in Sydney. Let me tell you, none of them seem to have had any trouble getting into the groove of this city. Beaches, parks, cafes, BBQs and friends. It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it!

(This is the 11th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and follow me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney. )A Sydney Weekend



Question 11: It’s a beautiful weekend day. What are you up to, where are you going, and who are you spending the day with? 


Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

I’m with my family and if I can roust them away from the X-box, then our first choice is always Fagan Park (Galston).


 

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

At Balmoral Beach – we’d normally get there early and have brunch with friends getting a take-away bacon and egg sandwich and coffee from The Boathouse, picnic blankets out near the kids playground so our kids can run about – and just enjoying the beautiful views.

Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach – photo by Julia



Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

With family or friends – playing lawn balls, or going for a beer, or on my bike, or going for a bush walk, or going to a beach, or having a family picnic, or going for a swim, or having a barbie in a park … or grocery shopping…


 

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

In one of our many parks, with my husband and our dogs. Maybe Cafe Bones.


 

Name: “Bushranger”
Country of Origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5 Years

With my wife and daughter at Cremorne Reserve. It’s astoundingly beautiful.

Cremorne Point

Cremorne Point


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year

Melissa blogs at Leche Love

As we’re still pretty new, we’re still exploring. However, we’ve been to Sydney Park quite a bit. Usually my husband, 6 year old son, and myself, enjoying the lovely weather, playing, and having a picnic.


Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

There are so many stunning outdoor places in Sydney. I’d be with my husband and 2 kids (5 and 7) We’d probably grab lunch at a cafe, find a playground, and just chill out. I’ve found there tend to be a lot of art exhibitions going on so those are always fun to check out as well!


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

I’d be doing the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk with my girlfriend Elaina finishing up at The Hill Eatery in North Bondi for a late lunch and good coffee. North Bondi


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

First I’d be going for a spin on my bike around Centennial park with the gang from Coogee Triathlon Club. This would be followed by relaxing in the sun on Bondi beach before an afternoon drink and snack at the Bucket List.


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I’d love to be having a picnic and sipping wine in a spot in Kirribilli my friend used to live right by, overlooking the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, surrounded by my fantastic group of expat and Aussie friends.

Kirribilli


Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

I would probably be with my boyfriend and group of friends, relaxing and enjoying the sun either with a few schooners at our local, or with an esky of beers at the beach or a perhaps enjoying a bike ride with a few laps around Centennial Park.


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Strolling around the city, checking out the markets, street art and local beaches.
Don’t forget your sunscreen, there’s a hole in our ozone layer!


Sydneysiders, tell us, what are you doing this weekend?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia
Read Part 10: Advice for Moving to Sydney

 

Sydney Expat Interview Series Question 9: What Do People At Home Think About Australia?

expat issues, Sydney Expat Interviews

Last month, I shared some of the the things that Sydney expats have been asked about their home countries. This month, I’ve flipped it and asked the expats to share the funniest or strangest things they’ve been asked about Australia by people from home. 

Australia … I’m not sure the world feels safe around you, mate!

This is the 9th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants, and follow me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney. Sydney Expat Interview Series Question 9 - What is the funniest thing people from home have asked about Australia


Question 9: What is the funniest or strangest thing that people from your home think about Australia?

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years 

That Foster’s is the best Australian Beer

File under: Things I’ve Never Seen in Australia (Source)

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

That everyone just wears thongs and board shorts all year round!!

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

This has to be all the deadly animals. They assume that every single deadly animal is crawling around my backyard and hanging from my house! In truth, I’ve only seen maybe 10 redbacks (all in unlived rentals), no snakes, and nothing deadly in the water. Yes, they are here but I think it’s rare to come across them. My husband did say there was a brown snake in his work parking lot though. *shudder* And I think because Australia has so many unique animals, people think they are EVERYWHERE. Sure I’ve seen kangaroos, koalas, and wombats but pretty rarely and only kangaroos in the wild, not the others. And no, the kids don’t ride kangaroos to school!

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

I think people in the UK think we have ‘roos bouncing down our streets all the time – either that or we’re constantly battling poisonous spiders and snakes.

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

Probably that people think there are deadly animals and insects at every turn in Australia, something I thought too before I moved here!

 

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis 

That you can’t leave your house without being confronted by a spider or a snake!

World’s deadliest snake … at the zoo.

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 11 months

That it’s not safe to live here you in Australia, it’s full of potential dangers and deadly insects and you will immediately die from either a snake bite, spider bite or extreme temperatures.

 

 

 

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 11 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

The bugs! I have gotten so many posts on my Facebook about spiders and insects.

 

 

 

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

Hey, Australians, we don’t really think you all have pet kangaroos and koalas, as great as that would be. I think the biggest misconception Americans have about Australia is the size – it’s definitely not easy to see the entire country in one trip!

Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

Just this May my cousin was asking me about the climate and scenery. He thought it was basically beaches and red dirt. He didn’t believe me when I told him that there are some rolling hills and thick trees. Then again, many Australians have assumed Texas is dirt and tumbleweed, so I think we’re even. Ha!

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

That there are kangaroos hopping down the roads and koalas hanging from trees. And that every animal here can and will kill you. Bogus. Queensland is where all the dangerous creatures reside 😉

Welcome to Queensland!

Welcome to Queensland!

 

 

Expats – what’s the funniest thing that people from your home country have said to you about Australia?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Home

Tunks Park – Our Tucked Away Retreat in Cammeray

Little Aussie, Sydney

One day last Spring, the weather was the cool, blue, and clear perfection that makes you feel like going all “The hills are aliiiiive with the sound of muuuuusic.” I had the afternoon free, so I tucked Hushpuppy into her stroller, and set out walking with no destination in mind. We walked and walked, I resorted to Google Maps for some guidance, we walked some more down some windy, residential streets, and finally found ourselves at Tunks Park in Cammeray. (Pro tip, I’d strongly advise you *not* to walk to Tunks Park via the roads, if you go. They are not pedestrian friendly, and definitely not pram friendly.)

Partner-in-Crime was, mercifully, able to pick us up in the car to spare me the long, uphill end of my Spring Fever retreat. When he arrived, he looked around and was surprised to find that he’d been here a number of times. He’d taken up walking trails near us, and always ended up at the other end of this park. So, it turned out that both of our wandering pairs of feet had brought us to this lovely spot, and since then, we’ve claimed it as one of our favorite places to roam.

At the bottom end of the park, there’s a boat ramp and a couple hundred meters away, a green lawn with a BBQ grill and a picnic table. We love this spot, and it never seems to be crowded, even when we spent the afternoon there on New Year’s Day. Or, as Hushpuppy said on our last visit, “so nice and quiet!”

Best of all, this is the view. Tunks Park1

There’s a tiny rock beach, which Hushpuppy quite likes exploring. It’s also popular with dogs who want a refreshing cool off (be aware that there tend to be a lot of dogs here, if you have a little one who is afraid of them … or, one who loves them and needs a canine fix!). IMG_6804

And the boat ramp… Tunks Park2

Across the way is a large playing field, which often serves as a dog park. The last time we visited, we took advantage of the walking track along the filed, which was perfect for Hushpuppy’s Christmas scooter, and for her to stalk some puppies. Tunks Park7

Tunks Park4

A few steps up the hill is a marvelous playground. There’s an area for the little ones… Tunks Park6

…and a very cool treehouse for the bigger kids. The diggers for moving rocks definitely have Hushpuppy’s heart.Tunks Park5

We love this park for a picnic or a play. Tunks Park Map

A few things to know if you go:
Tunks Park, Brothers Ave, Cammeray
Public toilets on site (next to the playing field
Dog-friendly
Playground suitable for all ages
BBQ on-site

Sydney Expat Interview Series: Part 2 – The Most Memorable Sydney Day

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews

This is the second in an eighteen part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Each month, I am sharing their responses to a different question. Part 1 was about Expectations vs Reality. This month, I asked the expats to tell me about their most memorable day in Sydney.  I hope you enjoy their responses, and again, please visit the other great bloggers linked here once you’ve read this post (and commented, shared it, and liked Between Roots and Wing’s Facebook page, of course!!).

 

Cover2

QUESTION 2: Tell me about your best or most memorable Sydney day (i.e. – a day you look back on and think, “that could only have happened in Sydney”).


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 ½ years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-SydneyLand

So many memorable days to choose from that feel like they could only happen in Sydney, but I’ll share a story that involved another expat girlfriend of mine. We agreed to meet in North Sydney on a Saturday afternoon and walked down to Kirribilli. We went to the deli and bought some cheese, salami, crackers, and olives. We stopped at BWS and got some wine. We walked the short distance to Bradfield park, found a spot in the cool grass, under the bright Sydney sun. We were under the Harbour Bridge, watching boats and ferries on the Harbour with the Opera House in our sights. There were families and lovers, pets and kids, people reading and people exercising, and it was a perfect Sydney day.

Photo of Bradfield Park day by Erin

Photo of Bradfield Park day by Erin


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Back in October, after a few months in  Australia, I was invited to a Cider Festival in Watson’s Bay on a Sunday afternoon. Silly me got all excited for hayrides, bobbing for apples and doing autumn oriented activities (Not realizing at the time this was spring). Imagine my surprise when I turn up to an entire festival revolving around hard ciders. Who knew it was such a big thing here! Needless to say, by the end of the day I was bobbing for apples in a different state than anticipated.


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

I think it would have to be only a few weeks ago when there was a torrential storm rolling through Sydney. The rain didn’t stop for literally a week! When it rains in Sydney life grinds to a halt. Public transport doesn’t run properly, everywhere gets flooded and generally people lock themselves in their houses until it stops. Always makes me laugh as nobody would get anything done with that attitude in the UK! Only in Sydney!


Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

Probably Carols in the Domain for Christmas (Chrissie) – thousands of people holding candles and slightly imbibed (alcohol is allowed) singing carols at dusk in unison and perfect harmony.

carols in the domain

Carols in the Domain


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: Nearly 6 years

There was a free event at the Domain – Grace Jones was one of the acts playing – it was a lovely warm summers night and it was such a relaxed and friendly vibe – all different age groups from kids to pensioners were out enjoying this free event – it was fantastic – I remember looking round thinking – I live in this city – this is amazing!!


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 7 months
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Anzac Day this year:  A 5a.m. wake up to head to dawn service at North Bondi RSL, followed by a cycle around Centennial in the sunshine, followed by some 2-Up antics at the Woollahra rooftop terrace before finally sheltering from a huge, sudden hail storm down at Bangkok Bites in Bondi.


 

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Almost 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

One of my favourite days in Sydney has to be when we did a “tour” of the Eastern Suburbs followed by the closing night of Vivid. We started the day in Bondi. Played on the beach a little then had lunch at The Bucket List. Expensive dining, delicious food, buzzing atmosphere! We then drove East through Bondi and found a random park up on a hill. Little did I know that this park had THE most stunning view of the harbour. Just wow. There is a playground and bike track for kids and also exercise equipment for adults. It’s a must see! I think it’s in Dover Heights. This was followed by a stop at Watson’s Bay to walk along the cliffs and play at the playground. We continued on for a drive to Mosman where we played at the playground and spent a ridiculous amount of money for public parking! We then drove through the stunning Bellevue Hill, then checked out Vivid. Amazing day!


 

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

I have got a couple, but the best one was the Vivid tour of 2015 – took a ferry from Milsons point to Circular Quey and back to Darling Harbour – watched the fireworks and shared a laugh over the harbour and a couple of beers. Can happen anywhere in the world but Vivid stands out in Sydney.


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 5 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

Going to Vivid. It was so busy, but really cool to see all the light displays around the harbor and in the CBD.

Vivid 2015


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I celebrated my first “Australiversary” (a year after I arrived) last September. We started by stopping by the Malaysian festival in Darling Harbour for some delicious eats, and then we headed over to Millers Point for a barbecue overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately, the park’s barbecues were out of order, so we hopped on a bus for Hyde Park, where we spent the evening playing cricket and eating “snags” (sausages) and pavlova as the sun went down.


Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 3 months

One of my most memorable days in Sydney that immediately springs to mind would have to be the Royal visit of William and Kate in April 2014, and on the Good Friday they visited Manly. The locals turned out in force and I joined approximately 12,000 others on the beach to catch a glimpse of the Prince and Princess. It was surreal and certainly memorable to see them greeting the well wishers and waving to the crowds.


Tell us your most memorable Sydney day in the comments!

A Very Vivid Week

annual events, art, Sydney

The Vivid Festival is one of those annual events in Sydney that you just do every year. You have to. I must admit to becoming something of a Vivid grump in the years since our first magical experience in 2011. It’s so crowded. Sometimes the displays are kind of a bust. Did I mention the crowds? I”m not a crowd person. You’re not supposed to say this, but Vivid is a hit or miss proposition for me. However, hope springs eternal and we keep going because, in theory, a city full of light displays – particularly the iconic Harbour and Opera House – is an event that lifts this city from quite nice to mythichal. We dedicated three whole nights to Vivid this week, and didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to see. But, from my vantage this year, it was once again a mixed bag with the very best of intentions and a lot to like.

Here’s the rundown of our Very Vivid Week:

On Sunday, we took advantage of the “Sunday Funday” $2.50 public transport fares and rode the ferry to and from Circular Quay. This is the perfect way to see Vivid, as you can get a close up of all the displays, particularly the light show on the Opera House, and you arrive at the ferry terminal in the midst of the action.

We had about an hour and a half to play with, including a frenetic stop at McDonald’s, taking into account Hushpuppy’s bedtime and my patience with dragging her through crushing masses of human bodies (minimal). The first place we stopped was the Customs House, which every year has a moving light display projected onto it. This one, more than anything else we saw, was the winner with the toddler. It really was beautifully done, and four days later, unprompted by me, she was still reciting parts of the display that she remembered like it was in front of her – “House breaking! Dinosaur! Garden! Snail – ride it! Lift! Fish!” I’m actually considering taking her back just to watch this one again. 

From there, we went for a wander around The Rocks side of Circular Quay, just as far as Cadmans Cottage. There were a few interactive displays, though long lines for most of them. The Museum of Contemporary Art never fails to impress, and the lawn in front of it was open for kids to run around on, which was very much appreciated by my entire little family.

FullSizeRender (6)

There are quite a few more displays beyond where we stopped and further up into The Rocks, but we’d reached the limit of our patience with toddler crowd surfing, so we left some unseen, to be enjoyed by those with later bedtimes. It’s always a special view on the ferry out:

On Thursday, we boarded a Vivid cruise to get a different perspective of the display. We’d booked this family-friendly cruise arranged by a local “mum’s” group several months earlier, and were excited about it. It’s always nice to be in a safe place where Hushpuppy and her two year old antics will be understood, and we were going on a hunch that she’d really like being on a boat and seeing the lights. We were blessed with a nice night, and the experience was pleasant enough, but our tactical error was not getting in line early enough to secure a spot on the upper deck where the good viewing was. From the bottom of the boat, we couldn’t see much, so we took turns walking up and down stairs with Hushpuppy and trying to squeeze into a spot to see the sights. The cruise’s course was actually just a short swath from the Opera House to just under the Bridge and then back again, probably six or seven times over an hour and a half. We didn’t enter Circular Quay, so it was more of a view from the distance, aside from the great close up we got of the Bridge from right underneath it.

vivid 2015 1 vivid 2015 2 vivid 2015 3

I think next year, we’d skip the cruise and just stick with a trip or two on the regular ferry. It’s a better view, shorter, and much less expensive!

Hands down, our best Vivid night out was to Chatswood, which was hosting its first display this year. We drove in and parked easily at Chatswood Chase mall (free parking if you enter after 6). The first display was inside the mall, and set up the funky underwater theme.We then went out and wandered up and down Victoria Avenue, finally stopping at one of the food trucks and eating our Yum Cha picnic style on the Councourse yard, where there was plenty of room for Hushpuppy to run around with other kids in the shadow of the large projection display.

Display at the Councourse

There’s not nearly as much going on at Chatswood as in the city, in terms of the number of displays, but it was just my pace – bustling, but not overwhelming, and easy to enjoy.

It truly is exciting to have this event grace Sydney every year, even if I don’t love everything about the experience. For our busy Vivid week, my “misses” were the crazy crowds at Circular Quay and the Vivid Cruise. The definite “hits” were the ferry ride, the Customs House display, and a great night out in the underwater world of Chatswood.

Vivid Sydney runs through 8 June in various locations across Sydney.

What I Saw in Sydney: A Photo Essay

a day in photos, Sydney

If you don’t live in Sydney, the pictures in your imagination may be exclusively of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach. Certainly those are iconic, but there is so much more to this city of 5 million people and over 600 suburbs. I try to show you my Sydney in these pages, but I thought for a change, I’d get some other perspectives. So, I asked my friends and fellow bloggers to share with me one glimpse of their Sydney, all taken on one day – Friday the 24th of April.

It was just the second day of sunshine after a massive three-day storm ravaged Sydney and surrounds, so while things were returning to business as usual by Friday, there was still an aura of change and repair. The morning was glorious and sunny, though a blanket of dark clouds rolled in later in the afternoon. The next day would be Anzac Day, one of Australia’s dearest holidays.

To set the mood, here’s what it looked like (and I daresay felt like) at the beginning of the week.

Kaat

Submitted by: Kaat
Originally from: Gent, Belgium
Lived in Sydney: 5-1/2 years
Photo Location: Willoughby
Note: TV tower, just after the storm cleared.

 



 

And now, onto Friday morning, beginning with an image of the morning commute:

SamanthaSubmitted by: Samantha
Originally from: Reed City, Michigan
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Photo Location: Central Station
NoteWaiting for my train. Morning commute.
Read Samantha’s blog at Sydney Smiles.


 

Some of us look at metal, sandstone, buildings, and signs when we go to work:

Gina

Submitted by: Gina
Originally from: New Jersey
Lived in Sydney: 4 years
Photo Location: Sydney CBD
Note: This is why I love this city. Tucked away behind the skyscrapers, you get an amazing bit of heritage.



Karina

Submitted by: Karina
Originally from: Sydney
Photo Location: Gaol (Jail, for my American readers) entrance, Sydney
Note: On Fridays I put my employee hat on. Although working in this place can be just as demanding as home!
Read Karina’s blog at The Laney Files


 

And, some are lucky enough to get to glimpse majestic views during the workday:

Jackie

Submitted by: Jackie
Originally from: New Hampshire
Lived in Sydney: 2 years
Photo Location: Rose Bay
Note: From an on-site meeting.
Read Jackie’s blog at Granite House on the Hill



 

TracySubmitted by:Tracy
Originally from: Palm Dessert, California
Lived in Sydney: 8 years
Photo Location: Sydney Superyacht Marina, Rozelle
NoteThe Google boat is in town! Dragonfly, one of the world’s largest superyachts.


 

But, as great as our water views are, at least one of my friends has the best view of all from her (undoubtedly very long) workday.KatieSubmitted by: Katie
Photo Location: Waverton
Note: No scenery can compare!


People were doing their best to enjoy a bit of our newly re-discovered sunshine.RaniSubmitted by: Rani
Originally from: London, England
Lived in Sydney: 12 years
Photo Location: The Rocks Markets
Note: I was walking around at lunch time appreciating the sun after the storms.


 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASubmitted by: Me!
Originally from: Atlanta, Georgia
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Photo Location: North Curl Curl Beach
Note: Partner-in-Crime, Hushpuppy, and I took a little trip out to the beach. This hill was covered in vegetation when we were here just a week ago, prior to the storm.


PICSubmitted by: Partner-in-Crime
Originally from: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Photo Location: North Curl Curl Beach
Note: P-i-C’s perspective on our beach trip, as the afternoon clouds moved in.


 

And, hey, some of us just really needed to catch up on grocery shopping after the storm.

Ivan

Submitted by: Ivan
Originally from: Sydney
Photo Location: Kingsgrove
Note: Woolworths


As the day wound down, the clouds helped to showcase one of Sydney’s glorious sunsets.

Anja

Submitted by: Anja
Originally from: Denmark
Lived in Sydney: 2 years
Location: Mosman
Note: The sun has this baby blue and light pink shade. It’s so pretty. Plus, the sun has a golden glow. I will never get tired of it.


As the sun faded, thoughts began to turn to the next day’s remembrances and ceremonies.

NanaSubmitted by: Nana
Originally from: Sydney
Photo Location: Sydney Harbour
Note: Anzac soldier projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge

 These are just a few glimpses into a moment from one day in Sydney. All of the photos are from the city of Sydney or its surrounding suburbs (neighborhoods). Like any city, there are at least as many stories here as there are people, and an endless number of images on any given day. We work, we play, we raise our babies, do the errands, and, hopefully, take a few moments to appreciate the beauty of this bustling, multicultural city on the water.

My Undiscovered Sydney

Sydney
My Undiscovered Sydney

In the first year or so that I lived in Sydney, I tackled most of the must-do tourist agenda items that you’ll find in guide books. In the ensuing years, I’ve managed a lot more locally known destinations, and found our own favorite neighborhood spots (may I humbly suggest this post called Post-Tourist where I suggest a few things you can do in Sydney once you’ve done all the biggies).

Lately, I’ve been considering how many neighborhood gems and undiscovered (by me, anyway) destinations there are in the area. There are places practically in my own backyard that I haven’t explored, as well as those spots that people are always recommending to you, and you’d love to get to “one day.” The Sydney area has over 600 suburbs (for my American friends, the term “suburb” here means more like a “neighborhood” than what we’d consider a “suburb.”), and each one must have at least one great little spot to explore. So, I started compiling a list of places I’ve been meaning to go, and also recruited my friends to suggest their favorite lesser-known Sydney spots. From there, I have whittled it down and compiled my list of 10 Undiscovered (By Me) Sydney Gems. My intention is to visit as many of these as I can this year, and report back to you about my findings. This might become an annual tradition, as I’m certain there’s no way to ever run out of local finds.My Undiscovered Sydney

1. Fort Denison

Located smack in the middle of Sydney Harbour, a stone’s throw from the Opera House, Fort Denison is not exactly “undiscovered,” considering that many thousands of people pass it every single day. However, I don’t know many people who have actually visited Fort Denison. Owned by the National Parks, you can go there to and take a tour. There is also a nice restaurant.

2. The Grounds of Alexandria

The Grounds is a very popular restaurant known for their fabulous breakfast-brunch-lunch fare, amazing coffee, and beautiful grounds (coffee and garden grounds … get it?). There is nothing on the aforementioned list of which I am not in favor.

Update: Read about our afternoon at The Grounds of Alexandria.

3. Dose

Speaking of coffee… in my own neighborhood, Dose is rumored to be one of the best cups of coffee around. I’ve stalked their menu, as well, and it looks amazing. I’ve gone past a couple of times, but never gone in, as it always looks insanely packed, and a little unmanageable with my pram. One of these days, I’ll round up some friends and my courage. Anything for a great cup of coffee.

4. The Incinerator Art Space

…aaaaand, speaking of things in my own neighborhood.. I walk by The Incinerator and its beautiful building at least three times per week, and get coffee from the upstairs cafe maybe once a week (“once a week” is what I tell Partner-in-Crime, anyway), but downstairs – and sometimes outside in fabulous installations – is an art gallery, which I’m yet to visit.

5. Wendy’s Secret Garden

My friend A has long been telling me about Wendy’s Secret Garden, which she stumbled on while out exploring one day. Tucked away in Lavendar Bay, Wendy’s Secret Garden really is an “undiscovered gem” … I mean, the word “secret” is in the name!

Update: Secret unlocked! You can read about my picnic at Wendy’s Secret Garden.

6. Haberfield

There once was a baked ricotta cheesecake, and that baked ricotta cheesecake has loomed large in my memory ever since my friend Mimi served it for dessert at her place one night several years ago. And, I don’t even like cheesecake. It came from a bakery in Haberfield, a neighborhood with a strong Italian influence, and several Italian shops that sound to be well worth visiting, if just for the cheesecake, alone.

Update: I got my cheesecake fix and more in Haberfield.

7. The Coal Loader

A friend stumbled on The Coal Loader while out walking one day, and suggested it for my list. It’s a former industrial site transformed into a sustainability center and garden, which might be a great spot for a picnic. She had me at “they have chickens,” which I know Hushpuppy will love.

Update: The Coal Loader is cool. Read about it here

8. Clovelly Beach

Tourists to Sydney might get the impression that Bondi is the only beach around, but that’s so far from true. Being situated on the ocean, there are seemingly endless beautiful beaches to explore. Clovelly is a little beach situated on an inlet, and is meant to be a terrific spot for snorkeling.

Update: Clovelly – discovered!

9. Callan Park

Another lovely spot on the water, a friend who used to live in the neighborhood suggested Callan Park. It’s supposed to have good views of Iron Cove, and also a number of historic buildings, including a former mental hospital.

Update: Full of mysteries and with great views, we had fun exploring Callan Park.

10. Ma.Ba.Sa.

Yet another friend suggested this Balmain restaurant for Korean food. I looked up the reviews for Ma.Ba.Sa., saw the numerous raves for their bibimbap, and immediately decided it needed to go on this list. Mmm.

I have my marching orders for the next few months, and am very much looking forward to discovering some new sights, experiences, and tastes. Sydneysiders, please do add your undiscovered gems in the comments. I know it’s an endless list.

The Picture Palace: Cremorne’s Historic Orpheum Theatre

Little Aussie, Sydney
http://www.orpheum.com.au/tourrex

Sydney is full of multiplexes and cinematic “experiences,” but I love that the movie theatre in our neighborhood is something special.art deco theatre that makes me feel a little bit out of time every time I attend.

The Hayden Orpheum Theatre was originally built in 1935. According to the history on the website, it fell into serious ill repair by the 80s, and the site was even turned into a dodgy shopping mall and gym. It was purchased in the mid-80s and eventually returned to its original purpose with the original art deco charm. (More history here).

http://www.orpheum.com.au/history
I love going to the Orpheum because it is eye candy everywhere you look: gorgeous light fixtures, ornate mirrors, dramatic stairways.
http://betweenrootswings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/front5.jpg

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting my share of charm with a couple of Orpheum adventures.

On a very rare occasion, we put the Hushpuppy to bed and I sneak out for dinner or movie with actual adults. On one such blessed night a couple months ago, a friend invited me to join her for a movie as part of the Sydney Film Festival. This film was in “the big theatre,” which I have only been in once before for the This American Life broadcast. Lucky break, I finally got to be there for the quintessential Orpheum experience, the pre-show playing of the Wurlitzer pipe organ. The organ goes up and down through a trap door on the stage, and a most jaunty fellow plays pre-show once or twice a week. How’s that for a sprinkling of fairy dust on your cinematic experience?
(The movie we saw, Thanks For Sharing, was well worth seeing, if you have the chance. Never mind the strange premise or the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow is in it. Mark Ruffalo, Pink, and some rather clever dialogue … good stuff, even without a pipe organ entrée).
Recently, I’ve gotten up my courage to take Hushpuppy along with me to the fortnightly* Mums and Bubs movies. For $10, we have a good excuse to leave the house and I actually get to see a real life grown-ups movie. Baby sits in your lap or hangs out in a baby carrier or, in  perfect world, falls asleep (not my child, mind you, but perhaps other people’s most perfect children). It’s a bit a lot noisy, and both times I’ve had to pop out to attend to some baby business, but overall it’s an awesome idea. The whole thing is pretty casual and seems to attract approximately half of the baby-mums on the lower north shore. My only gripe is that they don’t have a single changing table in the restrooms that I’ve found. Now, I don’t expect every establishment to cater to me, but it seems like this would just be good manners if you’re inviting oodles of babies in for 2+ hours at a time on a regular basis. Otherwise, though, the whole experience is something of a sanity saver for this mother.
Hushpuppy, getting ready to “watch” her first movie, Man of Steel
*Yes, my American readers, “fortnight” is something that people really say here. It’s not just how long people go visiting for in Jane Austen novels.