Ever found yourself with time to kill in Sydney? In transit – flying in-and-out for work with a day to spare? Or maybe going for a weekend ‘zip trip’ and not sure how to best spend those precious hours? Then this post is for you. (FYI if you’re after the foodie recommendations scroll to the bottom!).
Last Friday I had to be in Sydney for work and completely by coincidence Mum was going to be there as well for a conference. So we figured, why not stay a bit longer for 24 hours (give or take) of hang time?
With accommodation booked only a few days ahead and minimal planning, we managed to come up with a pretty decent itinerary perfect for a whirlwind Friday-night-to-Saturday-afternoon stay. Here’s my recommendation for where to stay, where to go and what to do in Sydney when you have 24 hours or less…
WHERE TO STAY:
It’s not cheap. In fact when it comes to 5-star luxury hotels located in the heart of the city-centre, this would certainly be amongst the best. Swissotel Sydney on Market Street is the perfect choice for it’s prime location (conveniently situated directly above Pitt Street Mall), prim & proper high teas and pamper ability.
Mum and I were pretty spoilt when we arrived to discover that our floor (level 20) had only just opened 2 weeks prior. The carpets still smelt new and were so soft and spongy to walk on it was almost cloudlike. The room? Sleek furnishings, 2 huge king-size double beds with soft down quilts and finishing touches like a Nespresso machine and Purovel spa products that smelt divine. We were grinning like Cheshire cats.
You can also book a spa treatment at PUROVEL SPA & SPORT – Swissotel’s in-house spa – which would have gone down perfectly after a gym workout and quick dip…alas we had other plans! Although an early morning workout in their brilliantly equipped gym was a given.
If you decide there is in fact no need to leave the hotel for the afternoon then spoil the senses with an afternoon at the Crossroads Bar. Savour the delights before you at the Buffet High Tea (created by Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich) and sip on an assortment of T2 teas.
WHAT TO DO:
If you manage to tear yourself away from the lure of Swissotel then don your walking shoes and head to Hyde Park for some morning air and nature (or if it’s a beautiful day head to the Harbour and make your way around Circular Quay for a dose of those iconic views).
Take in the sights, smells and sounds as you make your way from the CBD to the inner ‘burbs where your breakfast destination awaits.
Post brunch; meander your way back to Pitt Street Mall. Enjoy talented buskers croon as you window shop, experience the new-look Westfield (check out the amaze food court on level 6) and indulge in a spot of spending.
WHERE TO EAT:
For Friday night dinner in the city?
For atmosphere, insanely tasty food and a vibe that’s on point for a Friday night then head to Mejico Restaurant on Pitt Street. First, start with the highly addictive plantain chips with pistachio and serrano chilli guacamole and wash it down with a “Chia Concoction“. Enjoy it alcohol-free or “make it naughty” by adding your choice of spirit. Tip: “The Cure” (citrus, ginger ale, mint and chia seeds) is the house favourite for a reason.
For mains stick to small share plates and drool over the Salmon, pickled cabbage, jalapeño and chipotle mayo taco or the Chicken, chorizo, cucumber, cumin and chives. And do not go past the Corn lollipops – doused in chipotle mayo, queso fresco, papikra, shredded coconut and finished with popcorn it’s an explosion of flavours on a skewer.
For a late weekend breakfast/brunch?
If you’re up for a bigger walk and have time, then make the trek over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Kirribillli, the menu at Anvil Coffee Co. looks insane. Buttered Arabian Eggs anyone?
However, after a bit of insta-trawling and hearing from some Sydney-based co-workers that Reuben Hills in Surry Hills was not to be missed, Mum and I made a beeline (which was a lovely walk through Hyde Park and the inner city streetscapes on a Saturday morning). And you should too. Their menu is delightfully different with dishes such as Blueberry sago with tapioca pearls, banana, agave syrup, almond milk & cacao nibs and Baleada honduran tortilla with egg, salsa blanca & charro beans whilst the self-deprciating-hipster-cool-vibe makes you feel like an extra on Bondi Hipsters – oozing style with its minimalist, stripped back warehouse interior and cosy seating). The baristas mean business (as their insanely good coffee shows…I maaay have had two cups that morning) and the food is ridic good.
In the end Mum settled on the Epasote poached pear with yogurt, almond piquin crumb & pomegranate which was a perfectly light option that mixed creamy yoghurt with the freshness of tart pomegranate seeds, rounded out by the slightly savoury nature of the piquin crumb. I, on the other hand (being a sucker for Bircher) couldn’t go past the Organic bircher muesli with strawberries, pistachio, chilled melon & rosewater consumme. A very different take on Bircher, it arrived swimming in a pool of rosewater with floating pistachios and strawberry slivers. It was good, but the rosewater was quite overpowering and sweet. I admit I had food regret and wished I had gone the Blueberry sago instead…next time!
It’s amazing to think we managed to cram all of this into only 24 hours! Just goes to show, you can always manage to find time.
What would be on the top of your list if you had 24 hours in Sydney?