Morning: Brunch in Surry Hills
Afternoon: Shopping and free City Walking Tour
Evening: One of six dining and entertainment options
So you’ve earned yourself a bit of a sleep in today, after all the walking you’ve done thus far and the lavish dinner last night. Therefore today’s wake-up call is a little bit later, with the itinerary starting off with brunch in Surry Hills.
10.30am Joe Black
27 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
I hope you’ve got your walking shoes on again as installed for you is another day where you’ll get your step-count right up there! Your first destination for a late breakfast (or brunch) will be in the neighbouring suburb of Surry Hills. Surry Hills is a trendy inner city suburb which starts to resemble a conventional neighbourhood i.e. one to two story terraces, tree lined streets, and the lucky few might even have a front-yard (albeit a 1m by 2m rectangle of concrete). To get to Surry Hills, head up Liverpool street in a easterly direction and as soon as you cross Elizabeth Street (a busy north-south street which has taken-up much of the motor traffic after George street was closed), you’ll noticeably feel the change in pace. It’s a more relaxed vibe in Surry Hills and where you’ve entered it, you’ll see a large expanse of grass (Hyde Park on the left (you’ll get a chance to enter the park later today) but for now keep walking until you reach Commonwealth Street, the location for brunch.
From all accounts Joe Black hits on all three criterias- good food (check), friendly service (check), and reasonably priced (check)! And their coffees are also good too! So depending on your hunger levels after last night, you can choose to have a lighter breakfast or throw caution to the wind as ‘you only live once’, and go all out on a big breakfast! And when you’re done with brekkie, surprise surprise! There is more walking to be done! **Comment: At least you’re probably burning a good portion of the calories as you consume them.
12 noon Shopping
For those whose eyes lit-up at the sight of the sub-heading, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll be let loose for a couple of hours to self-medicate with retail therapy! On your first day in Sydney, you spent a short amount of time walking past these locations, but this afternoon you can properly go back and check-out what’s on offer! From Surry Hills to the shopping precinct which starts around George and Druitt streets, you can get there by walking down any north-south running street (either Elizabeth, Castlereagh or Pitt). Which street you end up choosing, keep walking northwards until you reach Park street and then turn to the left and keep walking until you reach George street (Park street eventually turns into Druitt street). As a quick re-cap of what shopping hubs you can visit, there is the historic Queen Victoria Building- great for shoppers and non-shoppers alike as it’s a grand old building inside; there are the stores inside Galleries Victoria where you had coffee on the very first morning (which probably feels like a life-time ago); when you head towards Pitt Street Mall you’ll come across Myer- a 9+ levelled department store which sells everything; or cross onto the opposite side of Market street and check-out their rival- David Jones (another 9+ level department store); or stroll up and down Pitt Street Mall, where there are a handful of shopping malls lining both sides of the foot mall trying to entice you to ‘come in, come in’; there is ‘The Strand’ arcade, a miniature version of the QVB with niche one-of-a-kind stores; and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, your best bet will be Westfield Sydney- the benchmark for shopping malls across all of Australia.
For those who aren’t here in Sydney to buy stuff, spend this time just walking the streets of downtown as you might find something which interests you, down one of the smaller lesser-known streets. But if historic landmarks is what interests you, don’t spend too much time tracking them down as I have something installed for you which will satisfy that need!
At 2.30pm, assuming that some people went their own way, re-group at Sydney’s most popular meeting spot ‘Town Hall steps’, where I’m going to hand you over to the professionals who will take you on a proper Sydney Walking tour, and the brilliant thing is that it’s FREE! (**Note: If you’re heavy laden with shopping bags, you’d probably want to rush back and drop them off at the hotel first.)
2.30pm Sydney Town Hall & ‘I’m Free Walking Tours’
And for the next 2.5 to 3 hours you’ll be guided by proper tour guides who will take you to all the ‘must see’ spots in the city and beguile you with tales about the history and significance of each landmark. Look-out for your guides in green shirts stating that ‘I’m free walking tour’ on their backs. Their meeting spot is slightly off to the side from Town Hall steps at Town Hall Square. These tours only run twice a day so the numbers will swell, so serge on in and make sure you’re close enough to the guide to hear them clearly. The tours will proceed rain, hail or shine and will cover:
Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, the Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, Cadman’s cottage, Customs House, Hyde Park Barracks, the Rum Hospital, Reserve Bank of Australia, Parliament House, St Mary’s Cathedral, Australia Museum, Macquarie Street, and Martin Place.
Before continuing onto Hyde Park, Pitt Street Mall, Sydney Tower, Queen Victoria Building, Town Hall, Sydney’s oldest cemetery, Hilton bombing, underground tunnels, St Andrew’s Cathedral, and along the way guides will point out Sydney’s hidden bar culture, laneway art, and free things to do in Sydney.
**Note: I’ve bolded all locations and features you haven’t seen yet in your own travels thus far. And those locations you have seen? It’s still worthwhile to re-see, as you’ll observe them in a different light now that you know more of the history and interesting facts about the place.
At the conclusion of the tour at 5pm – 5.30pm (back at Town Hall Square), return back to your hotel to rest and freshen up before the evening’s activity, where you can choose your own adventure!
6.30pm Evening options
Depending on what interests you, you can elect one from six options:
- Remain in the heart of the city and have dinner at Mr. Wong (Modern Chinese) and then kick on to the Ivy Bar- specifically the Ivy Pool Club, where it’s literally a party by the pool! (a huge rooftop swimming pool). Be sure to dress nice for this option!
- If you want to experience a different kind of night-life outside of the CBD, you can elect dinner in Potts Point– specifically ACME (Modern Italian). And after dinner, kick on to the ‘Red light’ district of Sydney- Kings Cross – for a few drinks at a bar or club (perhaps at The Roosevelt) for some beers and whisky. **Note: Potts Point is a short 5 minute train trip from Town Hall (get off at Kings Cross station). Please make sure that everyone in your party is 18 or older and has a form of ID/Proof of age on them.
- If you want something a little bit more high-brow, head to Paddington, another Inner city suburb. Catch an Uber to Fred’s for a Modern Australian meal with an ever changing menu due to only serving in-season fresh produce. And afterwards hit-up a wine bar, or alternatively just head downstairs from Freds to Charlie Parker’s for some cocktails and be transported back to the 1920s-30s, the era of speakeasies in the States.
- With some pre-planning this option might work-out! If you’re into musicals and live stage productions keep checking the Lyric Theatre site for upcoming shows and dates. If a show of interest aligns to your stay in Sydney- book some tickets to the theatre located at The Star Casino precinct (a short light-rail ride away- departing from Paddy’s Market light-rail stop). And after the show you can grab a bite to eat at one of many restaurants located at the Casino. If you can fit in another night of Japanese, check-out Sokyo for delicate yet inventive takes on Japanese food.
- If you’d like to get completely out of the CBD/Inner city area, you can catch a train across the Harbour Bridge to the Northern suburbs of Sydney (approx. 20 min train trip), namely Chatswood, a mini CBD in it’s own right. If you get there early enough you can check out the stores and shopping malls along Victoria Avenue, then settle on a restaurant for dinner. There are heaps of options to choose from, but to narrow down your search you may like Japanese (Manpuku), Korean BBQ (San Ma Ru); or Malaysian (Mamak Chatswood). After dinner you can walk around Chatswood a bit more before settling on dessert at either Celsius Dessert Bar or Passion Tree.
- Or alternatively you can stay local and take a night stroll around Darling Harbour, and elect to have dinner at one of the many restaurants on either the Cockle Bay side or the Harbourside side. Your dining options may end-up being Braza (Brazilian BBQ); Hurricanes (Ribs & Grill); or Steersons (Steakhouse). And afterwards you can chill out at one of a number of Cockle Bay bars with live music like Tokyo Hotel, enjoy the music and views while sipping on some cocktails.
But whatever option you end up choosing, don’t stay out too too late (1am curfew); as you’ll have a pretty big day installed for you tomorrow, on your last full day in Sydney!