From Bondi’s famous surf break to the stylish culture of Surry Hills, Sydney is home to some of the most celebrated postcodes in Australia.
Scratch the surface of Sydney and you’ll find there’s a lot more to this metropolis than the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Beyond the famous landmarks and bustling CBD lies a wealth of culture strewn across vibrant suburbs. Shaped by their location, cultural identity and history, these communities each have their own unique characteristics and quirks.
You might not have time to visit every cool suburb in Sydney, but these 5 precincts are simply unmissable.
Colloquially referred to as “God’s country”, Manly is a picturesque collision of city and sea. With a sheltered harbour and surf beach, its distinctive coastline stretches across the northern side of the city.
If you’re in search of somewhere to wine and dine, the centre of Manly is filled with trendy cafés and bars. Despite being quite an upmarket district, Manly still has a touch of ramshackle charm that sets it apart from other beachside areas in Sydney.
Stretch your legs by taking a stroll along the Manly Scenic Walkway.
Located on the eastern side of the harbour, Surry Hills is a hub of hip culture. This part of the city used to be a rather scrappy district better known for nefarious characters, but these days it’s one of the trendiest suburbs in Sydney.
Foodies will love the Surry Hills dining scene. Whether you’re looking for a tasty snack to grab on the go or a sit-down meal, these are some of the best restaurants in Surry Hills.
- Firedoor – If you’re lucky enough to bag a table at this exclusive Sydney eatery, you’re in for a treat. Specialising in flame-grilled delicacies, Firedoor features a stylish interior and a menu filled with seasonal cuisine.
- Suzie Q – Coffee + Records – This cute café is off-the-charts level hipster, but it’s far from pretentious. Renowned for its quality coffee and catchy tunes, Suzie Q – Coffee + Records is a great place to grab brunch.
- Bang – With dishes inspired by Bangladeshi street food, Bang serves up flawlessly styled meals infused with rich flavours.
Once you’ve discovered the wonders of Surry Hills, you’ll never want to find your way out of its winding streets.
Bondi is no ordinary waterfront locale – home to one of the most famous beaches in the world, this district’s legendary reputation precedes itself. Whether you want to dive into the Bondi Icebergs sea baths or take a rough-and-tumble swim in the surf, soaking up Sydney’s seaside culture at Bondi is an essential experience.
When the ocean gets a little too chilly for swimming (unless you packed your wetsuit), Bondi also has art galleries, coffee shops, and coastal walks.
Biddigal Reserve on the northeast end of Bondi Beach is the perfect spot for picnics.
As soon as the sun goes down, Newtown comes alive with bohemian culture. If going out in Kings Cross (Sydney’s main entertainment precinct) sounds a little too intense, make your way to Newtown for an evening filled with live music and laidback revelry.
With a large student population, Newtown’s grungy vibe has made it a magnet for artistic types. Filled with indie bookstores, second-hand clothing outlets and cafés, there’s a variety of shopping and dining options in this corner of Sydney. Newtown pubs are famous for showcasing local musicians, while the Enmore Theatre regularly hosts international acts.
Start planning your visit to Newtown by checking out what’s on at the Enmore Theatre.
Packed to the brim with fancy restaurants and high-end fashion boutiques, Paddington is the ultimate upmarket destination. A tightly packed cluster of terraced buildings and public parks, it can be found on the eastern side of the city. Be sure to visit on a Saturday so you can explore the Paddington Markets – selling everything from multicultural cuisine and locally grown produce to homewares and clothing, there’s no better place to shop for souvenirs.
Once you’ve stocked up on keepsakes and snacks, make your way to Reservoir Gardens. Featuring a blend of Roman-style baths, immaculate greenery and wide boardwalks, this heritage-listed site is one of Paddington’s most visited attractions. Entry is free, and you can spend as long as you like exploring the gardens.
The Paddington Markets are held every Saturday between 10am and 4pm.