Start your day early on one of Sydney’s great coastal walks. The stretch between Bondi beach and Coogee Beach is a three-mile trail that’s pounded by locals and tourists alike, enjoying Sydney’s wild coastal beauty, as the waves break below the path. It’s also a mild pre-breakfast workout with some swooping up and down gradients and the perfect way to build up an appetite. Stride halfway and then head back for a great start to the day. The Bondi to Tamarama stretch of the walk also becomes a one-and-a-half-mile outdoor art gallery from 22 October to 8 November, with the Sculpture by the Sea event featuring 100+ art works dotted along the length.
Trio at Bondi Beach is a great place for breakfast and a lively local hangout. Breakfast dishes are classics with a twist; piles of soft cinnamon and vanilla French toast served with apple and raspberry compote, scrambled eggs with feta and truffle oil and pulled pork Eggs Benedict. If you’re feeling adventurous, try those inspired by Middle Eastern flavours such as the green shakshouka, two eggs poached in a ragu of green tomatoes, green peppers, spinach & chilli, served in a pan with turkish bread and hummus. Eat outside with the papers as the sun warms up to full strength.
Hit the beach. Bondi is Sydney’s most famous beach, and the epicentre of surf and café culture. It might be iconic but it’s also very much a locals’ beach. My daughter and her family live in Sydney and spend all their spare time on this social beach during the summer, heading down before work to surf or after school to picnic. As you would expect from a surf spot, Bondi’s waters are not still, and swimmers need to stay within the lifeguard-patrollled areas. South Bondi is popular with experienced surfers who ride the strong southerly swells, but if you’re a beginner there’s surf to suit too. Try a quintessential Bondi experience and book a surf lesson with Let’s Go Surfing to experience the elements, Aussie-style.
Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday Australian sun. So come into the shade as the antipodean heat gets intense. Lunchtime is a good time to head to Sydney Harbour and meander along in the shade of waterside walkways, enjoying the glitter of sunshine on the wide blue waters that are everywhere you look. The hub of Sydney Harbour is Circular Quay, also the main ferry port, and from here you can stroll round to Sydney Opera House. You’ll find some of Sydney’s finest restaurants in Circular Quay – Aria is a great choice for a waterside bite to eat.
After lunch head to Paddington (take bus 380 from Circular Quay) to walk it all off with a spot of shopping. This heritage area, lined with rows of Victorian houses, is arguably the most boutique retail area in the city. This is where you’ll find Sydney’s latest trends in fashion, food and wine and art – head to The Intersection for clothing by up-and-coming young Australian designers. If you’re visiting on a Saturday then Paddington Markets is open until 4pm, a Sydney institution of over 150 stalls filled with local crafts, fashion and jewellery.
After an afternoon’s shopping, head back to Circular Quay to catch a 20-minute ferry to Watsons Bay, Australia’s oldest fishing village, for sundowners and dinner. Doyle’s on the Beach is a charming and friendly beachside fish restaurant that has been run by the same family for over five generations – order the salt and pepper squid or fish and chips and enjoy while watching the Central Business District and panorama of Sydney harbour twinkling romantically across from you in the fading light.