48 Hours in Sydney
There’s no better initiation to Sydney thrills than a sun-dappled morning in Circular Quay. Step into the glass elevator at the foot of the newly refurbished MCA and head to the rooftop café for breakfast – it’s the perfect vantage point for watching the light bounce off the curves of Jon Utzon’s Opera House.
For an instant dose of summer holiday magic, stroll down to the Manly Ferry terminal and hop onboard – this classic trip offers dreamlike views of the Harbour and Sydney Cove. When you disembark, cross the Corso on your way to Manly beach – but for a true slice of surfing village nostalgia, skip the main drag and take the backstreets. Cycle fiends should head to Manly Bikes, for a two-wheeled take on seaside charms.
Featuring chirpy Tropicana-print cushions and lush foliage, lunch at Manly Wines is a nice way to refuel. Grab an outdoor table, order some BBQ prawns with chilli and lime and settle in for some Island-themed good times.
From the gold-and-cedar grandeur of The Strand to the uber-hip The Galeries, Sydney is an arcade city. Farewell Circular Quay and say hello to Sydney fashion royalty by dropping into Lover, Akira and Sass & Bide as well as cult retail emporium The Corner Shop. For a break from the sartorial, visit Books Kinokuniya – it’s a bibliophile’s dream.
Its fitout might take cues from 1930s Shanghai but the dumplings at Mr Wong’s are perennially delicious. This restaurant is drawing serious culinary kudos thanks to its heavenly take on Cantonese classics – try the roast duck or the pipis in XO sauce.
The Victoria Room blends a note-perfect cocktail list with an interior that could double as a secret drinking den for the British Raj. Take a post-dinner stroll to this Darlinghurst institution for a nightcap with a side of breezy colonial grandeur.
Walk through the Botanic Gardens and up McMahons Stairs to Potts Point. Breakfast in style at Chez Dee, a slice of Paris in Potts Point. Linger over scrambled eggs with shaved truffle and the Saturday paper before making your way down Macleay Street via the King’s Cross Organic Markets.
Stroll past candy-coloured terrace houses to Object Gallery in Darlinghurst, an exhibition space that reads like a who’s who of Sydney design talent. Next up, it’s design retail space Workshopped and then a stroll down leafy Bourke Street for a lesson in clever furniture and objets’ d’art. Take a detour to Ici Et La and Elements I Love for St Tropez chic. Keep walking down Bourke Street to Small Spaces, an artful tribute to small scale living before rifling through the leather trunks, apothecary glassware and Danish coffee tables at Doug Up on Bourke – a hive of industrial furniture and vintage finds.
1:00 PM Lunch at Café Sopra
At local institution Café Sopra, lunch is a well-heeled affair. Let a tuxedoed waiter escort you to your table and give in to Italian culinary flair in the form of melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi and vine-ripened tomatoes with creamy mozzarella.
For dessert, try some contemporary art at 2 Danks Street, a nearby art space with a bold curatorial vision. Don’t miss Utopia Art for indigenous pieces and the Brenda May gallery – a space with a knack for championing the city’s emerging art stars.
Movida’s new Sydney outpost might serve up a sleeker version of Frank Camorra’s brand of culinary rock n’roll – but it’s no less addictive than the original. Slide into a leather banquette and surrender to a procession of dishes including Andalucian braised rabbit and Catalan sausage with clove and anis, chased up with a bottle of velvety Tempranillo.
Decked out in rock n’ roll paraphernalia, Mojo’s Record Bar promises vintage vinyl and freewheeling good times. Pull up a bar stool and brood over a Lemon Cohen – a gin-and-apricot-brandy concoction with all the soul of the original.