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Sydney: Heaven on Earth


Photo by: Hernán Junco.

It hits you as soon as you come outside the airport. There is nothing comparable to the big sense of happiness you feel when traveling to ‘The Great Southern Land’. Make sure you arrive in Australia during late December; you might want to enjoy its perfect weather, white-sand beaches, beautiful sun-kissed skins, and rockin’ surf bodies. Not to mention, Sydney is famous for having the world’s best New Year’s Eve parties.
There will always be an endless battle for the crown: Sydney or Melbourne? Which city has more to offer its overseas visitors? This article reflects a personal experience, and the answer always depends on who tells the story. I fell in love with this city ever since I studied at The University of Sydney back in 2006. Since then, I have come back a total of eight times, and since last year, I promised myself to live at least for a month in beautiful New South Wales.
What makes this city so fabulous? The answer is simple: DIVERSITY. Every major city in the world is famous for something. Rome has fabulous food. Miami has a tremendous nightlife scene. Los Angeles is famous for its Hollywood Glamour. Hong Kong has the world’s most beautiful skyline. Sydney has it all.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.


Photo by: Hernán Junco.

Food

Sydney’s multicultural population is responsible for its deep variety of restaurants, and guarantees you will enjoy all kinds of delicious meals. When it comes to food, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, make sure to have had a whole bunch of different meal experiences before leaving; anything from a healthy breakfast at the beach, to a very local and fresh seafood joint, or even an upbeat dinner with gorgeous looking people and fabulous music. I do not consider myself a gastronomic expert; therefore, my recommendations do not hang there among Sydney’s most highly rated or expensive restaurants. These are classic spots, places with identity, but most importantly, experiences not to miss…
Top 3 Breakfast Spots
Le Paris-Go Café on Bondi Beach: Super relaxed kind of atmosphere, gorgeous looking crowd, and by far the best looking waitresses you’ll see anywhere in Sydney. These guys prove that food can be both, healthy and delicious.
Speedos Cafe: This is the “local” joint of Bondi Beach. Most Aussies when they decide to move near the beach live in North Bondi. Great spot to avoid the tourists, big crowds, and cameras. You’ll find loads of surfer dudes and gals with barely any clothing on. Great for a big breakfast when hung-over or a protein shake if you just hit the gym.
The Pavilion on The Park: This spot is a jewel known by few, it is barely visible. Located on Sydney’s Domain Park, it holds some of the city’s most beautiful views. Very quiet and peaceful atmosphere. Get both, the home-made Muesli and poached eggs on a sourdough.
Top 3 Lunch Spots
North Bondi Fish: This is the spot to see and be seen. A quite local hangout with a gorgeous view of Bondi Beach. Seafood is great and it is famous for its excellent wine selection.
Hugo’s on Manly Beach: Hugo’s only second venue is located right where the ferry to Manly Beach drops you off (you do not want to leave Sydney before actually getting to know Manly Beach). This restaurant has spectacular water views. It holds the title for Australia’s best pizza for several years now. Dress well, just as everybody else does. Get a dozen of fresh oysters and a Dry Martini before trying out the pizza.
18 Footers on Double Bay Wharf: This is a private sailing club; however the restaurant is open to the public (no one knows this by the way). Very hidden treasure with a jaw-dropping harbour view. Make sure you sit outside; otherwise it is not worth it. Get the mussels and a cold Tooheys Beer.
Top 3 Dinner Spots
Icebergs: Of all the spots I’ve listed so far, this is the most iconic one. Overviewing Bondi Beach from a privileged location, this restaurant and private club holds the best view in whole Sydney. It will certainly satisfy the most demanding palates. You will likely run into a famous model or a big celebrity. Other than that, if you like swimming, head down next morning to its world-famous ocean water pool.
Lowenbrau: German all around; waitresses wearing traditional Dirndl dresses, huge beer mugs, and traditional music band. So what makes this place a must? Its location. Right in the heart of The Rocks, Australia’s oldest suburb, and perhaps the most beautiful one. Walk around this suburb before asking for your table, please!
Catalina on Rose Bay: This is a rather upscale kind of restaurant. You will mostly see rich people wearing old-people fancy clothes. The only reason you might not want to miss this spot is for its spectacular harbour view and the best dish in Sydney: Tempura Oysters.

Night Scene

I have travelled all over the world in search for some of the best parties, venues, girls, cocktails, and music. Sydney is one of my favorite places on earth. It does not get as crazy as Eastern European nightclubs, nor does it get as fancy as Western European ones. Party is not as laid back as South America nor as uptight as North America. Asia and Africa have awesome spots, but there is always a cultural barrier. Sydney’s nightlife is PERFECTION. Here are some of my favorite spots…
Mrs. Sippy: In the heart of Double Bay, one of Sydney’s most expensive suburbs. Great for early dinner and a few drinks before the night officially starts. Backyard gets packed around 8 p.m. with the most beautiful Sydney girls and boys. Amazing Martinis and great tunes. Say hi to Nick Maloney at the door, awesome guy!
Pelicano: Right after your two Martinis at Mrs. Sippy, cross the street and head downstairs. This is a darker, more upbeat spot. Music will surely get you dancing. The crowd will just amaze you with their looks and sense of style. Great decoration and fun all around. Leave early, this is not an all-nighter.
Hugo’s: By far, my favorite! A classic. It has been there forever and ever. Whoever has come to Sydney knows about Hugo’s Pizza and their awesome Sunday nights. Models all over; great looking dudes as well. It has the best weekend nights and yes, it is an all-nighter. YOU ARE NOT TO MISS A SUNDAY NIGHT HERE!
Casablanca: A newbie. Not quite there yet, but hangin’ very close. Hard to get in, might want to bring some cute girls with you. Right in the heart of Double Bay. Do not expect to see tourists or foreigners. This is a local nightclub, but a very cool one.
Ivy Pool: Full of tourists. You will see European backpackers wear their best outfits. Great on Thursday nights and Sundays around noon. Get there before 9 p.m. on Thursdays if you wish to avoid the big lines. Very awesome pool vibe. Once tipsy, dive in the pool and get to know the ‘drunker’ crowd. This is a one-time spot, but definitely not to miss.

Michael “Emmanuel” Vesper

If you decide to follow into my advice you will certainly run into this sixty-something year old character. Me and a Mexican friend met Michael while travelling to Sydney in December 2013; he looked exactly the same as this Mexican singer named Emmanuel (just in case you want to hear the story behind his nickname). Anyways, this dude dresses up in a black suit and a skinny tie every time he goes out, and he surely goes out every weekend. Thursday through Sunday, non-stop. All bartenders know him and all beautiful girls do too. If you do run into him, buy him a drink and I guarantee you’ll meet one of the most fun and interesting guys out there. Pretty sure he will introduce you a few girls here and there.

The Swedish Invasion

To all those young dudes, ages 18-35, there is good news for you! Swedish girls are all over Sydney. The European Union and Australia have a one-year working holiday Treaty between its citizens, and it seems like Swedish girls are the ones taking this thing quite seriously! There is no arguing when it comes to Scandinavian girls. Top of the line.

Shopping

Australia is not famous for fashion. Anyhow, you can still get away with cool shopping. Paddington has all the local designers; a super cool suburb with tiny streets full of shops and cafés. Double Bay is fancy and expensive. CBD or City Center has all the major, premium, world-recognized brands. If you are looking for big shopping malls and variety, try Westfield on Pitt St. or the one in Bondi Junction.

To Do List

• Walking in Paddington
• Dining in Darling Harbour
• Partying in Kings Cross
• Taking Pictures near the Opera House
• Sunday Market at The Rocks
• One drink at Watsons Bay Beach Club
• People watching in Double Bay
• 360-degree view of the city on Shangri-La’s Blu Horizon Bar.
• Get lucky at Star Casino

Accommodation

Cheap Hotel: Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour. Very cheap. Very Neat. Great Location.
2 Great Deal Hotels:
• Hilton Sydney: Located in the heart of The City Center or CBD. Do not miss out its Zeta Bar.
• Holiday Inn Potts Point: One of the best locations in Sydney. Very neat; such a fair deal.
“The Hotel”: Expensive but definitely the best hotel regarding service, types of rooms, food, and views. Park Hyatt Sydney is harbourside between the Opera House and The Harbour Bridge. JUST SPECTACULAR!
Best Long-Term Option: Get An Apartment!: Sign up to Airbnb.com and look up for a place in any of these areas and nothing else: Potts Point, Bondi Junction, Bondi Beach, Paddington, Double Bay, Edgecliff.

The Beaches

The best recreational activity when in Sydney is without question, THE BEACH. Make sure you wear sunscreen; sun in Australia is a killer. Whether you want to swim, surf, or just tan, these are three beaches you can’t miss…
Bondi Beach: The famous one. The emblem. Australia’s beach by predilection. This beach is famous for its cultural diversity. People from all over the world, but furthermore from all backgrounds, races, and social/economic levels come here every summer. You have tourists down South, families in the middle, and locals up North. Great restaurants, bars, and amazing cliffs on both ends. Water is cold but weather is hot, so SPLASH!
Manly Beach: North Sydney’s main beach. Probably Sydney’s second choice, but definitely not to miss. The best damn feature about Manly is the ferry ride from Circular Quay (where the Opera House is); a 25-minute ride with all-around views of Sydney’s majestic harbour. Once in Manly you will find amazing restaurants and bars. Get there around 1 pm for lunch at Hugo’s, walk around for a while and then stop at Manly Wine for drink. Get back on the ferry right on sunset; then, hit a function at The Opera House when back on The Quay. You’re welcome!
Tamarama: Very cozy and quite a small beach. Surrounded by enormous beautiful cliffs; same ones coming from along the coast of its next door neighbor, Bondi. Take the Coastal Walk from Bondi Beach and make sure you sweat a little bit; when you take that first dip in the cold water, you will feel a million dollars!

The Coastal Walk

Australia’s most beautiful landscape. Period. Beautiful cliffs and the sound of waves hitting the rocks way below you. Endless Ocean View. Jog here every day if possible, it will fill your spirit up! If you do, make sure you listen to this tune while running: Icehouse – Great Southern Land.
When you leave Sydney, this is what you will miss the most.

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