Australia recommendations – design darling

Oh you’ll love Australia so much (except for the 20 hours of travel from NYC which isn’t great but so worth it!) Having done that trip quite a lot, I highly recommend getting as much sleep as you possibly can on the plane. The jet lag is a real killer so I’d suggest extending your trip if possible (if not just know you’ll be in a bit of a daze when you land, and flights from NYC to Sydney tend to land in the early morning, depending on where you transit through. I’d recommend the LA transit personally, the Houston transit just makes the second leg so long).

As a Sydneysider, I completely agree with everyone recommending that you visit Bondi, but don’t stay there.

For shopping in Bondi though, you’ll want to look at Tuchuzy and the Lucy Folk store. There’s great food and atmosphere at Bondi’s Best (casual fish restaurant), Harry’s and Shuk (both cafes). Definitely do the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk for spectacular views and of course the Icebergs photo op. The reason I wouldn’t stay in Bondi is that it’s just not very central and you’ll find yourselves stuck in traffic in trying to get to the city, and it’s a bit of a trek to get to the north from Bondi. It is beautiful though!

I’d plan to spend some time wandering through Paddington (Oxford St) and Surry Hills – some of Sydney’s best shopping and coffee shops. The Intersection in Paddington is an Australian designer precinct – think Zimmermann, Camilla and Marc, Scanlan Theodore, Viktoria + Woods. QVB and Strand Arcade in the city are also worth a look both for the shopping and their beautiful architecture. High street retailers I think you’ll like are Country Road and Witchery.

There’s amazing food in Surry Hills – Chin Chin is great Asian food but can be a long wait for a table, or head over the road to Poly for bar snacks and lots of interesting wines, or try Nomad which is nearby too. Other restaurants to look at – Chiswick in Woollahra (maybe try for lunch and take a look at the cute shops in Woollahra), Hubert, which is the most amazing underground restaurant in the city, Mr Wong’s for up market Cantonese, also in the city. Australian wine is also great so I recommend trying some local drops while you’re here. If Will’s a beer guy, Young Henry’s is an indie brewery who make delicious beer that’s widely available in Sydney. Try to fit in The Grounds of Alexandria, but if you decide to stick to the city then The Grounds of the City is also super cute and yummy.

Then there’s classic tourist things you won’t want to miss: catch a ferry to Manly for a great way to spend time on the harbour and see the city from another vantage point, and then venture around the northern beaches. Or try Watson’s Bay Hotel, which is a pub on the water in the east of Sydney. Of course you should see the Opera House, and see if you can climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge or walk across the bridge.

Sydney has great beaches–if you’re up for a walk there’s a great (paved) cliff walk from Bondi Beach down the coast–it’s got great views and the cutest beaches to stop and swim in when Bondi’s too packed. I would also recommend taking the ferry over to Manly to walk around there and to see Sydney and the Opera House, etc., from the water (great views!). Likewise, I would recommend wandering around the botanic gardens–they’re gorgeous! And I know you can pay to go up and over the bridge, but you can also just use the pedestrian walkway to walk across part of the way to see the city from another view point. Cairns is lovely, much smaller than Sydney, but they have a great farmers market downtown (or at least they did 10 years ago when I studied abroad there!) with the freshest fruits, veggies, and hand crafted items. If you head north out of Cairns there’s beautiful beaches, the Daintree Rainforest to explore, there’s also a bungee jumping place right across from James Cook University, if you’re feeling brave! Cairns has a great garden as well, they also did a lot of free art shows and other things while I was there. Have so much fun! I didn’t have a ton of extra cash to spare by the end of my semester there, but there’s tons of great, fresh food available and wonderful restaurants. It would be so fun to revisit as an adult with a bigger travel budget!