A few weeks ago (okay, before Christmas to be exact) I ventured out to a place I always hear about but haven't actually been to since I was around thirteen, Sydney. I only spent a couple of days in Sydney and to be honest, with the ongoing 'Sydney vs Melbourne' debate I was expecting to be a pretty loyal Melbournian and come home thinking Sydney was overhyped. Spoiler alert: I was wrong.
Everyone's right when they say Sydney is the place to be; the food, the atmosphere, the shops, the sights, they have it all. Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures but so is Sydney, often when I was walking around I felt like I was back in Europe or somewhere a million miles away. That's pretty impressive considering I was only ever about an hour-long plane ride from home.
In a bit of a different style to my usual travel diaries I thought I'd round up my Sydney trip by sharing my highlights, including the best things I ate and the best things I did.
Starting with food (priorities) here are my favourite Sydney foodie finds:
LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN-On a trip to London a few years back I frequented Le Pain Quotidien and loved it, so imagine how happy I was to discover they had a Sydney location!
Despite the fact that it's situated in the heart of Westfield Shopping Centre (not quite as inviting as their Covent Garden location...), Le Pain still has this relaxed, effortless European vibe to it. It's almost like a hybrid of a cafe and a bakery and the simplistic decor really appealed to the minimalist in me.
Now on to the important stuff, the food.
Plenty of pastries were always on offer and don't get me wrong those golden buttery croissants were tempting, but for breakfast I just couldn't go past their granola parfait. Greek yoghurt and granola with fresh fruits will always be a winning combo in my book. For the savoury lovers, I've got it on good authority that the avocado and olive oil on toast with a poached egg is also amazing.
Seeing as I'm a huge sweet tooth I'm yet to try one of their famous tartines myself, but I was eyeing up one in particular that had buffalo mozzarella, so you better believe
JAMIE'S ITALIAN-Another place I loved in London, how is this not in Melbourne yet?!
I'm really really picky about my Italian food (blame my Italian background) but I give this place the Julia tick of approval. You know a restaurant is on the right track when you see an Aperol Spritz on the menu. Proper Italian ingredients and a semi-formal but casual "I could still wear my shorts here" kind of vibe meant it was my top pick for lunch almost every day. Obviously this is me we're talking about so I gravitated towards the pasta dishes, but the slow cooked Osso Bucco was a stand out as well. If you're craving good Italian food, definitely go here.
While I was in Sydney it was hot and humid, so you know what that calls for? Gelato, lots and lots of Gelato.
Sydney's GELATO MESSINA is ridiculously popular but everyone loves it in Melbourne as well, so it seems to be a crowd favourite and a safe bet no matter where you go. If you're after a unique gelato flavour, definitely go here. Their 'Apple Pie' flavour is apple gelato mixed with home-made apple pie throughout, who even thinks of heavenly combos like that?!
GELATISSIMO is another award winner that's much more like your classic gelato shop. It's not as 'out there' as Gelato Messina with flavours but their chocolate and mango gelato on a waffle cone cannot be beat. Always waffle cones with my gelato, no cups. Never cups!
Between eating my way through Sydney I also did my fair share of sight seeing and exploring. I see now why tourists often pick Sydney over Melbourne, in terms of things to see and do I feel like Sydney has something to please everyone and a lot more to offer.
Out of everything I did, my favourites would have to be:
-The Opera House (above)
A classic and definitely not something to miss, but it's not as pure white as I expected it to be!
A beautiful waterfront area with plenty of buzzing restaurants. I feel like this would be the perfect date night spot.
We strolled through the park around sunset. I think there's something about walking through a park during golden hour that really makes you appreciate how beautiful it is.
When did China move to the middle of Sydney? It was a real treat to feel like you'd visited a slice of China without leaving Sydney. The gardens were also surprisingly serene considering they're smack bang in the middle of city buildings.
-Queen Victoria Building
European-esque architecture and fancy shops? Yes please. This was another one that really made me feel like I was back in Europe.
Sydney surprised me in the best way possible, so much so that I almost feel like I've cheated on Melbourne. If you've never been to Sydney I'd highly recommend you go and if you live there, feel free to tell me about any hidden gems or amazing restaurants I should hit up the next time I visit!
What do you think of Sydney?