This post kickstarts a series I have been meaning to do for awhile now – a list of my favourite things about my favourite cities, and in the spirit of seeing the extraordinary in the everyday, what better city to start than with Sydney?
Cocktails by the Harbour
The Harbour Bridge and the Opera House must be two of the most photographed, and easily recognisable icons of Sydney. New York has the Empire State Building, and London has Big Ben, but both of these pale in beauty to the Harbour on a scintillating, sparkling summer’s day. My favourite thing to do though, is to meet up with friends at the Opera Bar on a summer’s evening to watch the sunset and wait for the lights to come on.
There are no beaches in the world quite as beautiful as Australian beaches. Every time I round the bend and catch a glimpse of the water, as I leave for the office, or come home from the city, my heart does a little joyous dance because my beach is just so, amazingly beautiful. There are rockpools on both ends of the beach. On most days the water is calm, but I’ve seen wild winds and huge rollers during stormy weather. The sea is always a different colour, with different moods. Nothing beats coming home to a beachside walk and the feel of sand between my toes.
Fancy a a bit of nature?
The great outdoors is never far from Sydney. Two hours west by car are the gorgeous Blue Mountains, where the only sounds you hear on a hike are the wildlife and the rushing of the waterfalls. An hour north and you get to the Heads, where you can rent a kayak or a boat and set off into the big blue. On my doorstep is the Coogee-Bondi coastal walk, a meandering 6km track with stunning views and 20 minutes walk away is Gordon’s Bay, where we snorkel and dive during the summer. Fresh air, big horizons and sunshine were the main reasons I moved back to Australia – they’ve got that here in abundance, and I love that I can head out any random day for a run by the water, a snorkel or a dive to spot Bluey, the local grouper who lives in Clovelly Pool, or go for a hike in a National Park, or if I’m feeling lazy, sit by the water and whale watch.
The Aussie lifestyle celebrates all things outdoors, and come summertime, everyone will be eating outdoors, be it brunch, lunch or dinner. Our barbecue does some hard yakka (that is, hard work) in the hotter months, and if we’re not grilling fresh seafood on our balcony, then we’re perched on some chairs in a sidewalk cafe somewhere, tossing back some cold beers and enjoying the view – usually of a beach, somewhere. We also watch movies and appreciate art outdoors, and two of my classic summertime favourites are Cinema by the Sea, and Sculpture by the Sea. See a pattern emerging here?
Old times, old memories
There’s nothing quite like coming home again. I’ll pass a bar or a restaurant, and suddenly remember that it used to be an old haunt of mine. It makes Sydney an almost-familiar city, a welcoming, old-friend feel like putting on a soft, faded shirt you haven’t worn for awhile. The other places I’ve lived in may have a fast-paced excitement to them, but the Sydney lifestyle, with a no-worries-here’s-a-beer-let’s-go-sit-by-the-water-and-chill attitude, is calmer and far less stressful.