Sydney has a number of theatres, from the best of the classics at Sydney Theatre Company to the most popular Australian playwrights and upcoming local talent at Belvoir Theatre. Bell Shakespeare Company, The Old Fitzroy, Stables Theatre all contribute to the variety of theatrical performances available. These lovingly restored old ships offer tours of Sydney Harbour and beyond the Heads into the open ocean. You can climb the mast or just sit back and sip a glass of champagne and nibble canapés, as you drink in the sights Sydney has to offer from the open water.
Sydney has more museums than you can poke a mummified finger at, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Sydney. Sydney also has a range of specialty museums including the Justice & Police Museum, Madam Tussauds, the Powerhouse Museum and the Australian National Maritime Museum. Sydney’s oldest museum, the Australian Museum, hosts Jurassic Lounge featuring burlesque acts and live music, set amongst its natural history and anthropological exhibits.
For those looking to try their luck there’s Star City Casino which boasts nine nightclubs and bars, a theatre for plays and international and local musical acts. The Casino also offers a variety of eateries catering to all tastes, a health spa and karaoke.
If heights take your fancy you can do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb or the Sydney Tower Eye and Skywalk on a glass platform attached which, at 268 metres, is Sydney’s highest vantage point. Go sky high with a helicopter tour and get a birds eye view of the Emerald City. If you have a need for speed, then jet boats depart Circular Quay for adrenaline fuelled tours of the harbour and out through the heads to Bondi Beach.
Food & Wine
Sydney has some of the best food and wine from internationally recognised chefs like Neil Perry, Jamie Oliver and Tetsuya to the more quiet achievers earning prestigious hats for their wine bars and restaurants. Whether it’s just about filling up or a gourmet experience, Sydney caters to everyone. Take away and dine in, cafes and restaurants, wine bars and street stalls, Sydney has it all. The latest thing in Sydney is small bars. Little ‘holes in the wall’ that offer ambience, delicious food and wine matching from lists both local and foreign. From cosy wine bars like Love Tilly Devine to bawdy bars like Route 66 themed The Shady Pines Saloon, from fine dining at The Rockpool, from tapas to cordon bleu, from buffet to a la carte, from fish and chips to caviar and champagne. From cocktails at a nightclub on Oxford Street at midnight to the beer garden at the trendy Beresford Hotel on a Sunday afternoon. Whatever tickles your taste buds, Rainy Day Friends will serve it up to you.
Animals and Parks
A short ferry ride will take you to Taronga Zoo. See the big cats, elephants and gorillas, but don’t miss the bird show or the seal show, both of which are real crowd pleasers. Taronga is also open at night, giving you a chance to view its nocturnal denizens. For more creature features, visit Darling Harbour where you’ll find the Wild Life Sydney Zoo, specializing in Australian wildlife and the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium with its underwater glass tunnel for the ultimate underwater viewing experience.
Hyde Park is worth a visit for the stunning Art Deco bronze sculpture,fountains and tree lined promenades. The Park plays host to the annual Food & Wine Festivals. Only blocks away, are the Royal Botanic Gardens, a feast for the senses. From here you can take a scenic walk around the Harbour Foreshore. For the more energetic walkers, continue on past Garden Island, home to Sydney’s naval base, and on to historic Woolloomooloo, which has plenty of watering holes and restaurants to quench your thirst and assuage your appetite.
Darlinghurst’s eclectic Victoria Street will tantalize your taste buds with its offering of restaurants and cafes, including Turkish, South American and hip bars. Don’t forget to visit Messina gelato bar. You’ll need to queue up, but it’s well worth the wait. Down the street is Boon Chocolate shop, where you can indulge yourself in a sophisticated chocolatey treat.
Darling Harbour includes a shopping mall, restaurants and cafes, fireworks every Saturday night and an aqua shell on the water for musical events. Across the water in Cockle Bay, the IMAX cinema offers the latest 3D film entertainment. For the clubber, the Ministry of Sound’s Home nightclub plays the latest beats. Further along the water at King Street Wharf you’ll find restaurants including Italian and Thai. Here you can also hop on a boat for a cruise on beautiful Sydney Harbour. With your Rainy Day Friend at your side, Sydney is your oyster.
Walks and Tours
If you prefer the outdoors, there are historic walking tours and ghost tours in The Rocks, and a behind the scenes look at the Opera House, not to mention coastal walks from either Bondi to Clovelly or from the Spit Bridge to Manly. There are markets in Glebe for the bohemian, in The Rocks, Balmain and Paddington for up-market arts and crafts and at Bondi for everything from vintage handbags to hip fashion and tribal jewellery, set to the funky beats of a DJ. With Rainy Day Friends, Sydney is at your fingertips.
For chocoholics, there is a chocolate tour around the CBD, the Guylian Café at The Rocks. You can eat in at the Lindt Café in Martin Place and Max Brenner at Circular Quay, or choose a selection of Haigh’s sumptuous chocolates at the QVB. Chocoholics eat your heart out!
Festivals are Sydney’s passion. Sydney Festival is the most prestigious, with guest artists from all over the world including theatre, music and dance. Vivid light festival is a free event which lights up the sails of the Sydney Opera House and environs with colourful projections, creating a vibrant wonderland for adults and children alike.
For foodies there is the Crave Food Festival and the Food & Wine Festival, the Sydney Writers Festival, music festivals including Home Bake and the Big Day Out, the Newtown Festival, the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and the Cruelty Free Festival, just to name a few. And let’s not forget the Sydney Film Festival, a celebration of local and international celluloid. Short film also gets a look in at Tropfest and Flickerfest. Foreign film festivals also visit Sydney, including Spain, China, Italy and France.
Perhaps Sydney’s most well known festival is Mardi Gras, a celebration of all things not heterosexual! It includes a film festival and events, culminating in the famous parade and dance party. The gay scene and dance parties are very much part of Sydney’s landscape. Oxford Street is the hub of the gay scene and dance parties like Hand in Hand and Pride share the calendar with Mardi Gras.
Shopping is probably one of Sydney’s favourite past times. There are many precincts dedicated to retail therapy, both outlets and retail. The best outlet shopping is to be had at Birkenhead Point, although Market City in Chinatown comes a close second. From Oroton to Mimco, Allanah Hill to Cue and Sandler to Steve Madden, fashion, shoes and accessories and more are on sale. In the inner city there are various outlet shops, including Bally, Events, Puma and Marcs. At various times of the year, Lancome, Running Bare, Kas homewares and designers also hold sales.
Retail shopping precincts like the iconic Strand Arcade feature young Australian designers, and handcrafted and antique jewellery. The backstreets of Paddington are where homegrown fashion lives. Surry Hills and Bewtown are the home of vintage and funky fashion. For retail splendour, head to Pitt Street Mall and Bondi Junction, both home to high end designer labels, then the MLC Centre on Castlereagh Street offers Jimmy Choo, Cartier, Gucci and Bulgari.
Whether its retail therapy on a budget or indulging in high end fashion. Rainy Day Friends has its finger on Sydney's pulse