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THE ESSENTIALS

THE LITTLE BOOK OF

THE cITy

A collection of Donna's favourite Sydney experiences brought to you by Destination NSW

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Even though I've had many offers to work overseas through the years, I've never been able to bring myself to leave Sydney. With good reason. Where else can you live so close to the city, the country and the coast? I never tire of Sydney and of all the great things it has to offer. And it's very easy to base a beautiful magazine here ­ the beaches and waterways are stunning, the food inspiration (whether it's produce, restaurants or chefs) is world-class and the relaxing down-time you're able to have in Sydney's surrounds is great for a creative mood and a creative mind. Here are a few of my favourite things to do around town, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. For a handy list of contact details for each experience, turn to the directory page.

Nielsen Park

catalina, rose Bay

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Whether on foot, by bus, or by ferry, I love the many ways to explore Sydney's best assets: its sparkling waterways, its iconic attractions and casual sunny beaches.

The best way to see the city is from the water and it's as simple and inexpensive as catching a ferry from the centrally located circular Quay. Before hopping on a ferry to Manly on the city's northern beaches, where you can soak up its casual beach vibe with a stroll along the esplanade, you should walk along Circular Quay's promenade and take in the harbour atmosphere. I also love catching a ferry to Watsons Bay in the city's east. I take my boys there for fish and chips; it's a great way to spend the afternoon. Just behind Watsons Bay is a secret city beach called camp cove. From the wharf, you can also catch a ferry to my favourite Sunday lunch spot, catalina, at rose Bay, and take in the water views from its deck. If you feel like a challenge, then the exhiliration of The Bridge climb, a guided tour climbing over the Sydney Harbour Bridge is for you. The view is second to none as is the sense of achievement when you've finished it. If you're travelling with kids or you love animals, a quick ferry or bus to Taronga Zoo is fabulous and the animals have one of the best views in Sydney.

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Bondi Icebergs, Bondi

World-renowned Bondi Beach is a must, as is the walk along the clifftops to neighbouring Bronte. Fuel the

icebergs image: sally mayman

walk with an espresso and a tasty flatbread with prosciutto and mozzarella from Bondi hole-in-the-wall

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La Piadina. After you've walked the loop, reward yourself with a cool drink overlooking the swimmers at Bondi Icebergs. My other beach tip is to take a bus from the city to the harbour beach of Nielsen Park, which is really picturesque and gentle, with no waves, and camp cove, Watsons Bay great for taking little kids for a paddle and an ice-cream.

Take in a show at the Sydney Opera House, follow some of the city's history, eat in a world-class restaurant or enjoy a spot of chic shopping in the inner city.

Quay, circular Quay

Strand Arcade, With the city's luminous reflection rippling in the harbour, an evening view from the Sydney opera House is an experience to savour. Even if you don't see an opera or a ballet, you can still enjoy a more casual visit with a ticket to one of the many live music, comedy and theatre productions or talks. You can grab a bite at the newly installed opera Kitchen, where you'll find fresh sashimi or excellent gourmet burgers at charlie & co. One of my favourite things to do with overseas visitors is to take them to the bar right under one of the sails of the Sydney Opera House at fine dining restaurant Guillaume at Bennelong for a glass of Champagne, some elegant bar snacks and a view they'll simply never forget. Sydney cBd

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For a culinary experience at the very top of Sydney's dining scene, Quay dazzles with highly imaginative and technically brilliant food with amazing harbour views. Chef Peter Gilmore's famous jackfruit and custard apple `snow egg' dessert is worth trying. Another great eat is rockpool Bar & Grill, which impresses with a stunning art deco space and slick food and service. To start walking off all that delicious food, the inner-city shopping arcades are a must.

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At the new Westfield Sydney complex, you'll find luxe international and Australian brands as well as a chic world-class food court, home to star chef Justin North's restaurant, bakery and cooking school, Becasse. A two-minute walk away is the Strand Arcade, home to many Sydney-based designers. The arcade also houses Pendolino, Sydney cBd I always wish I had more time to indulge in some of Sydney's cultural pursuits. My little boys love the nature-based exhibitions at the Australian Museum in the city centre, opposite the lovely green expanse of Hyde Park. (The Dinosaur Exhibition is amazing!) Art fanciers shouldn't miss a visit to The Art Gallery of NSW. It's the biggest in Sydney and not only do my favourite Italian eatery, Pendolino. Museum of contemporary Art, circular Quay

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they have great exhibitions, its location in The Domain is stunning. If it's history you're after, head to the Museum of Sydney near Circular Quay for a taste of Australia's heritage and culture. On the other side of Circular Quay is the Museum of contemporary Art, known for its modern and cutting-edge exhibitions.

From the excellent boutiques to the cool wine bars and eclectic galleries of Paddington, Woollahra and surrounds, the east is my fun neighbourhood.

William Street, Paddington

Under a leafy canopy, Woollahra, is a lovely place to start your day. Begin with breakfast at bills, then take a side step from the main road to my general store for great homewares or to peek at the props used in the magazine. Take a macaron for the road and wander up Queen Street for fashion stops like collette dinnigan, plus M.J. Bale for menswear, Quincy for shoes and bags and Lisa Ho for pretty dresses. When Queen Street meets oxford Street, take a right and head down this diverse shopping strip into

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the suburb of Paddington. This is a shopping

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mecca for both style gurus and budding fashionistas. Visit the Paddington Markets on a Saturday, they're a long-time favourite where many young Sydney fashion designers get their big break and sell their wares. Stop in for a rest and a refreshing glass of riesling

donna hay general store, Woollahra

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at my favourite wine bar Wine Library,

or nearby 10 William Street for Italian bar

snacks, on another boutique-lined street. Admire the bespoke shoes at Andrew Mcdonald; they're elegant and beautifully made. Then head to fashion house Jac + Jack for a selection of timeless and luxurious knits and basics. For a sweet treat, try Just William for their selection of handmade chocolates. At the end of William Street is another of my favourite coffee stops and delis, Alimentari. Back on Oxford Street, walk a bit further down the hill and discover great Australian designers at The Intersection on Glenmore road. You'll find the likes of Scanlan & Theodore, which makes elegant well-crafted

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womenswear, the edgy designs of Willow, and the chic cotton basics and T-shirts from Bassike. I also like the tailoring of young design duo camilla and marc, Zimmerman's breezy and feminine fashion as well as the luxurious designs of Kirrily Johnston.

Jac + Jack, Paddington

Eau de Vie, darlinghurst

For the best bites in the east, get your caffeine fix at Sonoma Bakery café in Paddington (I have mine with a cheeky cinnamon scroll on the side). Another hot tip is The Bunker in nearby darlinghurst, where Finger Wharf, Woolloomooloo you can grab a mandarin and ricotta muffin with your latte. You'll find the best gelato in Fratelli Paradiso, Potts Point Sydney at Darlinghurst's Gelato Messina, just around the corner. Make sure you try the Hello Sailor (pink grapefruit and Aeperol sorbet) if it's on the menu, as well as classic pistachio or salted caramel and white chocolate. For some of the city's best pizza, I like the family friendly Love Supreme, also in Paddington, for its fun space and tasty pizza. For chic cocktails, visit Darlinghurst's Eau de Vie. Try the Hendrick's Tea Party gin cocktail served with style in a tea set or their classic dirty martini, served on dry ice. My top breakfast spot is Fratelli Paradiso in the neighbouring suburb of Potts Point. It has an innovative menu ­ really inspired brekkie choices, great pastries and good coffee. Just down the hill you'll find Woolloomooloo, famous for its Finger Wharf overlooking the harbour and city. There are a selection of great restaurants along the wharf. Try china doll Sonoma Bakery café, Paddington for modern Asian (their desserts are a knock-out) or Aki's for a modern Sydney take on Indian. LL Wine & dine, Potts Point Gelato Messina, darlinghurst

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The suburb of Potts Point in the inner east is known for its beautiful art deco architecture and has one of the city's highest concentrations of bars, cafés, nightclubs and restaurants. It's the more sophisticated bigger sister to nearby Kings Cross, Sydney's boisterous party district. Just off the suburb's main drag, Macleay Street, you'll find cool Asian diner LL Wine & dine on Llankelly Place. They have great Asian-themed cocktails and snacks. (I love the pork buns, and the fried tofu with black sesame is amazing.) The new Gastro Park on Roslyn Street is winning lots of reviews for its creative modern cuisine. (Like saddle of roast hare

with shaved foie gras and red cabbage granita ­ wow!). Lotus, on challis Ave, (close to Fratelli Paradiso), has been popular for years, with its chic vibe and tasty share plates. (They say the cheeseburger is a must.) If you'd like to go on a picnic, or take a good bottle of wine to dinner (or even your hotel room), Bottega del Vino, along Macleay Street is perfect for the job. This quirky deli and bottle shop sells snacks, charcuterie and cheeses, as well as interesting wines. Further up the street you'll find croissant d'or, where the namesake pastry is light and flaky. All the pastries are delicious and your kids will love the cute little meringue ducks.

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Lotus, Potts Point

From cool design stores and restaurants to sleek galleries and studios, the suburbs immediately around the city offer a colourful array of experiences.

2 danks St Gallery, Waterloo

image: Kasia WerstaK

Bourke Street Bakery, Surry Hills

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Spend an afternoon in the artsy village of Surry Hills and its main drag, crown Street, which is lined with an array of design stores, boutiques, cafés and restaurants. The top end of Crown Street near Oxford Street is home to many vintage fashion stores, like the popular Grandma Takes a Trip, which stocks lots of pretty '50s and '60s-era frocks. Further down is chic homewares store chee Soon & Fitzgerald, which specialises in bold fabrics. Around the corner on Foveaux Street, there's a small hub of designer furniture stores such as the elegant Aero. For beautifully crafted stationery, I always drop by Paper2 back on Crown Street for a wonderful selection of French paper and cards. A visit to collector Store nearby will sort out your wardrobe and help you fit in with the stylish locals. Stop for a coffee at any of

bourKe street baKery image: stephen Ward

White rabbit Gallery, chippendale

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and features a changing exhibition of his works. Fuel your art excursion with a delicious lamb and harissa sausage roll from the Bourke Street Bakery next door (the best in the country!). When you've had a taste of Surry Hills, head toward Central Station and neighbouring chippendale where you'll find the White rabbit Gallery, which houses a thought-provoking collection of contemporary Chinese art. Just around the corner is the NG Art Gallery and adjoining Mission

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the local cafés closeby ­ I like Bird cow Fish and Four Ate Five. If you want something more substantial, my team swears by the soups at o organic café, especially the Moroccan lamb soup. If you like vintage as much as I do, you'll like the eclectic collection of salvaged antiques and knick knacks on nearby cleveland Street at davidmetnicole. Once you're done shopping, it's time for some gallery hopping. A visit to the Brett Whiteley Studio off Crown Street can't be missed. Once the home and workspace of the late Australian artist, the studio is scattered with Whiteley's unfinished paintings and personal belongings,

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restaurant & Bar where a glass of wine and art make a fabulous mix. A short bus ride from the city and Surry Hills is Waterloo one of Sydney's newest design and art precincts that houses 10 galleries at the 2 danks Street complex. Be sure to stop in for coffee or brunch at the seasonally-focussed danks Street depot.

There are many great places to dine out in Sydney, but there's also plenty of providores and markets where you can stock up on gourmet pantry staples, or simply indulge in a few treats. Take a quick train from the city to redfern to the historical carriageWorks complex on a Saturday morning and chat with the farmers at the busy Eveleigh Farmers' Market. You'll even catch some of Sydney's most well-known chefs here selling their wares. Or take the light rail from Central Station to the inner-west suburb of Lilyfield and head to the orange Grove market to fill your basket with

organic fare. They have the best bacon and egg rolls in Sydney. The eclectic inner-city suburb of Marrickville is another short bus ride from Central. At its organic Food and Farmers' Market on Sundays, you'll find great German bread, amazing lemon meringue pies and a good selection of locally-grown vegetables. If you're shopping in Surry Hills visit Formaggi ocello and choose from over 200 cheeses. For a fun excursion, catch the train over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to North Sydney's Twilight Food Fair, held every Friday night in summer. It features a colourful array of international food stalls.

Toko, Surry Hills

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One of the hottest food postcodes is the hip inner-city suburb of Surry Hills. For some of the most innovative food around, as well as a cracker wine list, Bentley restaurant & Bar is worth a visit. Down the road, cool Thai diner, Longrain, has been pleasing Sydney for 10 years with elegant cocktails and their caramelised carriageWorks, redfern pork hock. They've recently opened Shortgrain downstairs, a casual lunch canteen and bar. Check out nearby Bodega for the best tapas in Sydney with a rock 'n' roll soundtrack. Also head to Japanese eating house Toko on crown Street. I take my kids here for fun sushi dates. Bloodwood, Newtown

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A short train ride away from the city is the inner-west suburb of Newtown. It's a mix of student grunge and hipster cool, as well as more cafés and restaurants you can poke a fork at. Stop at campos coffee for a serious Longrain, Surry Hills caffeine break, they have some of the best baristas and beans in town. Wander down King Street and its array of boutiques and shops to Black Star Pastry on Australia Street for amazing pies

carriageWorKs image: p. upton

Formaggi ocello, Surry Hills

Bentley restaurant & Bar, Surry Hills

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and brioche rolls. On the same street, oscillate Wildly offers a great high-end dining experience

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where you can bring your own wine to have with their famous eight-course degustation. For a more relaxed atmosphere, try Bloodwood. Their signature dessert trifle is not to be missed.

From slick five-star caption, establishments to chic location waterside hotels and exclusive boutique apartments, Sydney has plenty of accommodation to choose from.

Situated on a historic luxury Jonah's, Whale Beach wharf right over Sydney Harbour BLuE Sydney isn't just fringed by stellar views, but with top-class restaurants as well (try Otto for lunch). Inner-city boutique hotel, Establishment Hotel, lives in a complex of high-end bars and restaurants (est. restaurant is one of the city's best) and the rooms are very chic. Hilton Sydney is beautifully designed with wellappointed rooms and suites and also houses the impressive glass brasserie. Its separate wine bar is a great place to enjoy casual bar snacks. Situated next to the grand Establishment, cBd GPO building, The Westin Sydney, is very comfortable (they have The Westin Sydney, cBd signature-made beds) and is close to some of the city's best shopping. The Park Hyatt, Sydney, located under the Sydney Harbour Bridge is due to reopen at the end of 2011 and is looking to set a new benchmark in luxury hotels. beaches, a stay at Jonah's and lunch or dinner at its cliff-top restaurant is second to none. If you prefer apartment accommodation, the luxury offerings from contemporary Hotels are simply stunning.

jonah's image: marK poKorny

Park Hyatt, The rocks

BLuE Sydney, Woolloomooloo

Glass at the Hilton, cBd

For an escape to Sydney's northern

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2 danks Street 2danksstreet.com.au 10 William Street (02) 9360 3310 Aero (02) 9380 8856; aerodesigns.com.au Aki's (02) 9332 4600; akisindian.com.au Alimentari (02) 9358 2142 Andrew Mcdonald (02) 9358 6793 Bassike (02) 9999 5586; bassike.com Becasse (02) 9283 3440; becasse.com.au Bentley Bar & restaurant (02) 9332 2344; thebentley.com.au bills (02) 9328 7997; bills.com.au bird cow fish (02) 9380 4090; birdcowfish.com.au Black Star Pastry (02) 9557 8656; blackstarpastry.com.au Bloodwood (02) 9557 7699; bloodwoodnewtown.com Blue Sydney (02) 9331 9000; tajhotels.com/sydney Bodega (02) 9212 7766; bodegatapas.com Bottega del Vino (02) 9331 8333; bottegadelvino.com.au Bourke Street Bakery (02) 9699 1011; bourkestreetbakery.com.au Brett Whiteley Studio (02) 9225 1881; brettwhiteley.org Bridgeclimb (02) 8274 7777; bridgeclimb.com camilla and Marc (02) 9331 1133; camillaandmarc.com campos (02) 9516 3361; camposcoffee.com catalina (02) 9371 0555; catalinarosebay.com.au charlie & co charlieandco.com.au chee Soon & Fitzgerald cheesoonfitzgerald.com china doll (02) 9380 6744; chinadoll.com.au collector Store (02) 9699 7740; collectorstore.com.au; collette dinnigan (02) 9363 2698; collettedinnigan.com.au; contemporary Hotels contemporaryhotels.com.au croissant d'or (02) 9358 6014

danks Street depot (02) 9698 2201; danksstreetdepot.com.au davidmetnicole (02) 9698 7416; davidmetnicole.com donna hay general store (02) 9328 6555; donnahay.com Eau de Vie (02) 9357 2740; eaudevie.com.au Establishment Hotel (02) 9240 3100; merivale.com/establishment/hotel Eveleigh Farmers' Market (02) 9209 4735; eveleighmarket.com.au Formaggi ocello (02) 9357 7878; ocello.com.au Four Ate Five (02) 9698 6485; fouratefive.com Fratelli Paradiso (02) 9357 1744; fratelliparadiso.com Gastro Park (02) 8068 1017; gastropark.com.au Gelato Messina (02) 8354 1223; gelatomessina.com.au Glass Brasserie (02) 9265 6068; glassbrasserie.com.au Grandma Takes a Trip (02) 9356 3322; grandmatakesatrip.com Guillaume at Bennelong (02) 9241 1999; guillaumeatbennelong.com.au Haighs (02) 9221 6999; haighschocolates.com.au Hilton Sydney (02) 9266 2000; hiltonsydney.com.au Icebergs (02) 9365 9000; idrb.com Jac + Jack (02) 9380 6011; jacandjack.com Jonah's (02) 9974 5599; jonahs.com.au Just William (02) 9331 5468 Kirrily Johnston (02) 9282 9413; kirrilyjohnston.com La Piadina (02) 9300 0160 Lisa Ho (02) 9327 6300; lisaho.com LL Wine & dine (02) 9356 8393; llwineanddine.com.au Longrain (02) 9280 2888; longrain.com.au Lotus (02) 9326 9000; merivale.com/lotus Love Supreme (02) 9331 1779; lovesupreme.com.au

Marrickville organic Food and Farmers' Market organicfoodmarkets.com.au Mission restaurant and Bar (02) 9318 0815; missionbar.com.au M.J. Bale (02) 9327 6602; mjbale.com Museum of contemporary Art (02) 9245 2400; mca.com.au Museum of Sydney (02) 9251 5988; hht.net.au NG Gallery (02) 9318 2992; ngart.com.au; o organic café (02) 9319 4009; organicproduce.com.au orange Grove Market organicfoodmarkets.com.au oscillate Wildly (02) 9517 4700; oscillatewildly.com.au Park Hyatt Sydney sydney.park.hyatt.com Paper 2 (02) 9318 1121; paper2.com.au Pendolino (02) 9231 6117; pendolino.com.au Quay (02) 9251 5600; quay.com.au Quincy Shoes (02) 9363 0559; quincy.com.au rockpool Bar & Grill (02) 8078 1900; rockpool.com Scanlan & Theodore (02) 9380 9388; scanlantheodore.com.au Sonoma Bakery café (02) 9331 3601; sonoma.com.au Strand Arcade (02) 9232 4199; strandarcade.com.au Sydney Ferries 131 500; sydneyferries.info Sydney opera House + opera Kitchen (02) 9250 7111; sydneyoperahouse.com Taronga Zoo (02) 9969 2777; taronga.org.au/tarongo-zoo The Bunker 0404 407 349 The Westin Sydney (02) 8223 1111 Toko (02) 9357 6100; toko.com.au Twilight Food Fair (02) 9936 8100 Westfield (Sydney) westfield.com.au White rabbit Gallery (02) 8399 2867; whiterabbitcollection.org Willow (02) 9358 4477; willowltd.com Wine Library (02) 9360 5686

THE cITy cITy EAST cITy SurrouNdS WHErE To STAy dIrEcTory SPEcIAL FEATurE

While Destination NSW makes every effort to ensure the information contained in this publication is true and correct at the time of publication, some information may be incorrect or may have changed since publication. All information contained in this publication is subject to change or update without notice. Before relying on any information contained in this publication you are therefore advised to personally confirm all information prior to making any travel, holiday or other arrangements. Destination NSW cannot guarantee and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information. This publication may include products and service information supplied by third parties. Inclusion in this publication is not an endorsement of the information or of the supplier of the information.

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A collection of Donna's favourite Sydney experiences brought to you by Destination NSW

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