The Idealist

Idealist City Guide: SYDNEY

Today’s city guide takes us to Sydney, a wonderful destination year round for outdoor life, music, shopping and sight-seeing. John shows us his favourite spots.

Sydney is a beautiful metropolis located on the east coast of Australia. It’s known for its beautiful natural scenery, ideal climate, the Sydney harbour, relaxed lifestyle, its wide variety of wildlife and friendly locals. Home to a wide variety of beaches and natural beauty, Sydney offers an excellent contrast with amazing views on one side and the bustling city life and culture on the other.

Must-See Attractions

Sydney Opera House: The Sydney Opera House is home to more than 40 shows every week, and it’s also one of the 19th century’s most famous buildings. Visitors get to know the people who created the building and made it what it is today.

Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
+61 2 9250 7111

Blue Mountains: When people speak of the natural beauty of Australia, this is the sort of thing they’re talking about. The Blue Mountains are located west of Sydney and feature sharp cliffs that make for absolutely stunning scenery. If you do go, make sure you check out the view from Echo Point.

Jenolan Caves: West of the Blue Mountains are the Jenolan limestone caves. But these aren’t ordinary limestone caves — they were discovered about 9,000 years ago by the Gundungurra tribe. There are a variety of available tours through the different caves, each of them varying in difficulty and capacity.

Jenolan, 4655 Jenolan Caves Rd, Jenolan NSW 2790, Australia

Design Shopping

Fanuli: Fanuli specialises in designer Italian and Australian furniture. They carry a range of different styles, all of them luxury with an added touch of authenticity. And since they carry furniture for every room of the house, it’s a great shop no matter what you’re looking for.

269 Military Rd, Cremorne NSW 2090, Australia
Strictly Comfort: The best furniture doesn’t just look great, it’s also comfortable. Strictly Comfort fully takes that into account, offering a selection of lounge room and bedroom furniture that you can fully customise — including dimensions, comfort and fabric.

368 Military Rd, Sydney NSW 2090, Australia
Wentworth Galleries: Sydney is home to many great artists, and you can view and purchase some of their work at Wentworth Galleries. They have a mix of contemporary and Aboriginal art, so you can bring home a piece of Australia or find something a bit more modern.

61 Phillip St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Great Dane: Great Dane was established in Melbourne has become 2002 and is one of Australia’s premier Scandinavian and Danish furniture shops. They have a variety of furniture and accessories, but their lighting is where you’ll find some of their most innovative designs.

613 Elizabeth Street Redfern NSW Australia 2016
+61 2 9699 7677

Koskela: Koskela carries great interiors, but there’s more to them than that. They are Sydney’s largest design centre, and they work hard to bring you locally made interiors, homewares and lighting that will hold strong for years to come.

1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018, Australia

Staying Over

Avonmore On The Park: This award-winning boutique hotel features beautifully decorated contemporary rooms and classic heritage suites. It’s close to Coogee Beach and provides a calm, relaxing environment that’s perfect for anyone looking to get away from the fast pace of day-to-day life.

34 The Avenue, Randwick NSW 2031, Australia
The Hughenden: Built sometime around 1870, the Hughenden is an award-winning historic hotel that features Victorian dining rooms, marble fireplaces, and art exhibitions. If you’re looking for a beautiful hotel with history and culture, this may be the place for you.

14 Queen St, Woollahra NSW 2025, Australia

Morgans Boutique Hotel: One of the best aspect of Morgans is its location — in the city centre. It’s a short walk to the Sydney Opera House and the Darling Harbour, and it also features standard amenities like TV, wi-fi, and tea and coffee. There is also a courtyard and a rooftop terrace for relaxation.

304 Victoria St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia

Galleries & Museums

Museum of Sydney: This building was once the home of the first Governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip. Founded in 1995, the Museum of Sydney provides a glimpse into the history of Sydney and what remains of the original building.

Phillip St & Bridge Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

The Mint: Sydney’s coining factory and oldest public building, The Mint, is now a historical site to behold. It features a verandah cafe, a courtyard, and the Caroline Simpson Library, a collection of public research into the history of the home and garden.

10 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Hyde Park Barracks: This historic 5-acre brick building was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway in the early 19th century and was originally built to house convicts. It would later become Sydney’s female Immigration Depot, a court, and eventually a museum in 1979.

Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Food

Farmhouse Kings Cross: If you get a chance, you have to check out Farmhouse. They accept bookings to dine with them at 6:30pm or 8:30pm, as well as lunch at 2pm on Sundays, but the food is well worth the hassle. And since they switch half of the menu up every two weeks, you never know what awaits you.

4/40 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011, Australia
Zahli: With their wide range of Lebanese, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods, Zahli has become one of the most beloved restaurants in Sydney. They offer everything from a wonderful hummus to salt and pepper squid and fattoush, and the portion sizes are more than enough.

529 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

est.: Sometimes fine dining isn’t what you’re looking for. But when it is, head on over to est. They have a high-end course-based menu that features favourites such as venison, oysters and souffle. If you’re looking for a taste of the good life — or if you want to treat your partner — this is a great spot.

Establishment, 1, Establishment/252 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

How to Visit from London

A flight from London to Sydney costs between £575 and £700 Economy round trip. The flight takes nearly a day, so prepare for a lot of downtime.

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All photos courtesy of respective locations.


  • John is a photographer and journalist from Manchester with a passion for street photography and modern art. When not taking photos, you can find him on a bike anywhere from Sardinia to Amsterdam listening to Zero 7.

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