From the sails of the Sydney Opera House to the waves off Bondi Beach, Sydney sparkles in the sunshine. Luckily, even in winter Sydney is blessed with blue skies and sunshine but what do you do when the weather doesn’t play ball? You definitely don’t stay inside. Overcast and cloudy, or bright and sunny, Sydney’s suburbs have something for everyone, year round. So rug up and get ready to go exploring with our guide:
Stick to the side streets in Sydney’s inner city suburbs and you can’t go wrong. Right on the cusp of the CBD, Chippendale’s tiny alleyways and historic buildings have been transformed into dining hotspots. Start off with goblet-sized gin and tonics at Gin Lane on Kensington Street. The small bar is housed in one of the old worker’s cottages dating back to when the area was originally the Carlton United Brewery. The line of quaint cottages are also home to artisan chocolatiers and beauty stores. Next, make a beeline for Spice Alley, the small laneway off Kensington Street, where you’ll find Asian street food stalls, with just enough space for tables and chairs under lanterns and fairy lights. For a formal foodie evening, walk a few blocks south to Ester, Sydney’s award winning wood-fired restaurant where dishes like buffalo curd pie have a dedicated local following.
Just 10-15 minutes drive from the CBD and you’re strolling through the streets of Sydney’s old industrial area. These days the factories have given over to industrial chic cafes, cooking schools and distilleries. At The Grounds of Alexandria, winter does little to dampen the crowds of people sitting in the gardens, checking out the farmyard animals and enjoying a tipple or two under heaters and hanging plants. The Cannery Rosebery is a cavernous converted warehouse space housing everything from a cooking school and health food store to bakeries and cafes. The 5th Earl is another local’s favourite. Don’t pass up the brioche French toast. At the back of the Cannery is Archie Rose Distillery, the spot for a tipple or two. Those wanting to work off the winter blues should head down the road to SkyZone, the indoor trampoline park where you can be a big kid for a few hours, no judgement. Exercise classes are not for the faint hearted, but still good fun.
There’s more to Bondi than the beach – although you’ll still find surfers and swimmers enjoying the waves through the winter months. You’ll find even more people perusing the fresh produce at the Bondi Farmers Markets. Each Saturday morning the grounds of Bondi Beach Public School turn into a marketplace where you can pick up everything from heirloom carrots to rooftop honey. There’s usually a few local artisans selling their wares if you’re in need of a souvenir to take home. Just around the corner from the markets is the brand new Good One Café, where you’ll fit right in with the locals drinking cold press juices and tucking into zucchini fritters. Grab a window seat and watch Bondi’s famous four legged locals on their daily walks – you’ll find dogs of all shapes and sizes being walked down to the promenade and up onto the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. The dramatic 6km trail hugs the coastline and is one of the most spectacular walks year round.
Long known as the home of fledging fashion designers and artists, the streets of Surry Hills have plenty of stories to tell. Spend an afternoon people watching at The Dolphin Hotel or Cricketers Arms, two of the many pubs dotted throughout the suburb. Pop in and out of vintage clothing stores or stock up on quirky gifts at stores like Holy Kitsch and Follow Store. There’s even a boutique paper store – Paper2 is a stationery lover’s happy place. When the weather gets a little wild, warm your cockles with a coffee at Reuben Hills. Taking industrial chic décor to the next level, this café sources its beans from all over the world, with the owners rotating beans based on their latest travels. If you really want to heat up your insides, head over to The Wild Rover, Surry Hills’ specialty whisky bar for a dram or two.
The Rocks and Barangaroo
Sydney’s historic harbourside districts are home to plenty of hidden gems, if you know where to look. Head into the warren of The Rocks’ sandstone back streets to brand new basement bar The Doss House. This cosy bar is well known for whisky cocktails and charcuterie boards, but also offers a slice of Sydney history on a plate, having housed everything from opium dens to puppet shops in its colourful past. Foodies will love Barangaroo, the recently redeveloped entertainment precinct to the west of The Rocks. This modern melting pot is home to fine dining French restaurants, new age Turkish cuisine, high end Asian dining, gourmet delis and more. Celebrity chef Matt Moran’s new three-storey Barangaroo House has everything you need, from rooftop drinks to feasting menus. Right next door to the eateries are the Streets of Barangaroo, home to cutting edge stores stocked with emerging and well known local designers.
Whether you want to people watch from a historic pub or shop up a storm, shake off those winter blues and see Sydney in all its glory. Discover your ideal neighbourhood here!