Jonathan Fambart, chief concierge at the Park Hyatt, shares five quintessential Sydney experiences – and the best ways to do them.
Sunrise at Bondi is magical. If it’s a fresh morning, pack a blanket, grab a patch of grass on the hill and sip a mug of hot chocolate as you watch the beach come to life. To warm up afterwards, head to the Bondi branch of Sydney institution Bills for a plate of the best eggs in the world. For a spot of retail therapy check out Gould Street or try catching a wave in a small-group surf class with the crew at Lets Go Surfing.
If you’ve seen and done the ferry, one of the best ways to be active on Sydney Harbour is by tackling a coastal trek. There’s a great 6.5-kilometre walk from Taronga Zoo wharf to Balmoral Beach that’s a bit of a local secret and it’s one of the best routes in Sydney. If you’re after something a bit closer to some stellar pub grub, the Spit to Manly walk is stunning.
Setting foot under those iconic sails for the first time is not something you forget. Whether you’re after tickets to an Opera Australia production or something like Star Wars: Return of the Jedi with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, a night at the Opera House is one well spent. Arrive at Circular Quay by ferry or water taxi at sunset and, before heading to the show, check out the Badu Gili projection that illuminates the sails four times a night. Not enough time for an opera? Book tickets to the backstage tour. Starting at $175, it’s capped at 12 people.
This is where Sydney’s colonial past comes to life – there’s so much history in the area. Begin your day with a coffee at The Fine Food Store before a mid-morning Harbour Bridge climb. Climbs range from 1.5 to 3.5 hours. After earning your lunch, make your way to one of the many pubs in the area. The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel has proper Aussie pub food. After lunch, join The Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming Tour you’ve booked ahead for, to explore this part of Sydney’s cultural heritage. Finish your day with dinner at fine-diner Quay, followed by a night of stargazing at Sydney Observatory.
Tucked between Manly and North Head in Sydney Harbour National Park, Store Beach is only accessible by boat or kayak and you feel a million miles from the rest of the world as you watch the commuter ferries dart across the harbour. Make sure you pack a lunch because you won’t find any cafés nearby. The great crew at Sydney Harbour Boat Tours will happily arrange a day out for you. When you’re on the beach, keep an eye out for Manly’s resident colony of little penguins.