Travel guide: Sydney

Sydney's best neighbourhoods, shopping, bars and restaurants and more

Image courtesy of Sydney Bridge Climb
Sydney is a stunner, with the world's most gobsmacking harbour and loads of gorgeous beaches to sun yourself on. If you're thinking about visiting, but don't know where to start, we've got the answer to your prayers.

We asked the crew at Time Out Sydney to share the best of their 'hood. Read on for the hottest neighbourhoods, the best shops, bars and restaurants, what to see and where to explore and much more.

Hottest neighbourhoods


A burgeoning area filled with left-of-centre art galleries, cool new bars, a pub called the Lord Gladstone Hotel serving deep-fried Golden Gaytime ice cream bars (they’re an Aussie staple) and some of the city’s best new restaurants.


This once-sleepy suburb next to popular Manly Beach on the North Shore is quickly making a name for itself with excellent new cafés, restaurants and bars. Plus, the beach there is mighty gorgeous!


Image: Daniel Boud

This Newtown townhouse boutique champions Australian labels like Jenny Kee, Romance Was Born and Gary Bigeni. It’s off the beaten track and well worth the visit. Owner Tanya Stevanovic knows good fashion and we can’t think of anywhere that offers more personal service.

5A Brown St, Newtown 2042 (+61 2 9519 7839).

Strand Arcade

Time Out’s top tip for visitors looking to shop for Australian designers is shopping centre Strand Arcade. Pick up a dapper hat from Strand Hatters, Aussie choccies from Haigh’s and head to the second level for designer threads from Dion Lee, Jac+ Jack and Lover. 412-414 George St, Sydney 2000 (+61 2 9232 4199).



Bennelong Restaurant__credit-Daniel_Boud-091

Image: Daniel Boud

It’s in the Opera House, the views are world-class, and it’s one of the best examples of amazing Australian produce. Try the yabbies.

Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney 2000 (+61 2 9240 8000).

The Bach Eatery


Image: Anna Kucera

Go for the handmade pasta, stay for the cheap beer. Newtown’s hottest new restaurant serves up beautiful food at a price you can afford.

399 King St, Newtown 2042 (+61 2 8084 4093).


Baxter Inn

A candlelit basement bar with thick carpet, jazz and blues on the stereo and a deficit of douchebags. It’s kind of modelled on an old-school American Irish sports bar, only with no sport and much better whisky.

156 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000.

Rockpool Bar & Grill

A seriously impressive wine list, house-made syrups and soda, an astounding bar food menu and some of the best cocktails in the city. Pull up a seat and let the good times roll.

66 Hunter St, Sydney 2000 (+61 2 8078 1900).

See and explore


Climbing the Arch

Image: Sydney Bridge Climb

There’s no better way to see the city from on high than this, which lets you ascend to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

3 Cumberland St, The Rocks 2000 (+61 2 8274 7777).

Bondi to Coogee Cliff walk

You can’t leave Sydney without completing this coastal walk along the cliffs, which takes you along some of the

most beautiful oceanfront in the whole of Australia.

Hidden gems

Milk Beach

Ace views of the Harbour Bridge and city skyline, and it comes without the hustle and bustle of so many Sydney beaches.

52 Vaucluse Rd, Vaucluse 2030.

Wendy’s Secret Garden


Photo: Daniel Boud

Natives, exotics, herbs and huge fig trees run along winding gully paths while parrots, gulls, kookaburras and owls chatter amidst the flowers and berries. Like an oil painting come to life.

Clark Park, Lavender Street, Lavender Bay 2060.

Don’t miss

Cockatoo Island

Take the ferry to this historic island, which has a rich, spooky history – it once housed a jail for convicts and was a spot for shipbuilding. Take a walk around the ruins and imagine what it once was.

Sydney Harbour 2000.

Local’s tip

Sydney has, sadly, become something of a nanny state. The ‘lockout laws’ (introduced in April 2014) have put a dent in the city’s nightlife – if you’re at a bar or club inside the lockout zone after 1.30am, you’re pretty much stuck. If you want to rock up after then, you’re out of luck. Plan accordingly.

For more great ideas of where to go, check out Time Out Sydney.

  • 4 out of 5 stars