HG2 A hedonist's guide to... The UK's best-selling luxury city guide.
Everywhere we love in Sydney
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Sydney is a shameless flirt. She beckons and sashays with a harbour that never fails to impress, and beaches that rate among the world’s finest. She winks seductively with chic waterfront restaurants, where you can order a dozen oysters and French champagne at midday and toast a faultless summer’s day. She knows she is, in the words of Derek Zoolander, ridiculously good-looking and her proud, if not smug, inhabitants know it too.
Aside from being blessed with remarkable natural beauty, it’s not difficult to see why Sydney consistently rates highly among the world’s most liveable cities. Surf beaches, a healthy outdoor lifestyle and a sun-kissed Aussie summer are just some of the drawcards. Add to that a flamboyant gay and lesbian community, a cutting-edge culinary scene and vibrant nightlife and the picture becomes even prettier. Even in winter the temperature can hover around 15-20 degrees Celsius.
Geographically, Sydney is one of the world’s largest cities and it has a tendency to sprawl rather than scale heights, stretching from the golden sands of Bondi Beach to the misty Blue Mountain ranges and Hunter Valley wine region. Within its urban reaches however, is where we’ve based this guide, and these days there’s plenty to explore and absorb in the ever-evolving inner-city neighbourhoods. It may have done so in the past, but the city isn’t relying on its sparkling harbour and string of beaches to pull the crowds anymore. Sydneysiders are also growing up – maturing and fine-tuning increasingly discerning tastes and demands for fashion-forward boutiques, gourmet food and edgy bars. There will always be beer, barbecues and the beach of course, but these days a local is far more enamoured with what’s unique, specialised and bespoke – say, an Argentinean steakhouse, an absinthe bar or a boutique selling custom-made Japanese sneakers.
Culturally, Sydneysiders are multi-ethnic, diverse and impossible to categorise. A quick 10-minute stroll through the city’s streets might yield a mix of well-heeled city workers, hipsters and willowy fashionistas, to a dreadlocked surfer, a group of Asian university students or an Indian businessman – if not all on the same block. But you can forget what you’ve heard about the laidback, lazy Australian because locals have a work hard, party harder attitude, and keeping up with a barhopping Sydneysider can take a liver of steel. Come the weekend however, especially during a sunny summer’s day, and locals from all walks of life slow the pace right down, relaxing with a dip at the beach, a picnic at a harbourside park or over a schooner at the beating heart of any Australian city – the pub.
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