EMMA / SYDNEY

Meet Emma, intrepid traveller and long-time friend who inspired my very first backpack design from her journeys far and wide. After a year of living in South America Emma moved down under and so I thought who better to kick off my City Guides tour with a focus on Sydney?

Emma works as General Manager at the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and has lived in Bondi for just over two years. Here are a few of her favourite places, tips and recommendations!  

You’re originally from London, what attracted you to Sydney?

Like most of the other Brits, the lifestyle. The sun, beach, work hours...oh and barbies! 

What was your first impression?

How VAST it is! Coming from London, I'm used to lots of people, cramped cities, box flats and tiny gardens. I stayed with family when I first arrived here and couldn't believe how barren the suburbs were.

Which are your favourite shops?

Camilla in Bondi sells beautiful beach attire, I'm still in awe of the entire drawer I have dedicated to beachwear. Witchery and Country Road are good for simple classics too.

Is it as expensive as everyone says?

No different to London, so yes.

Your area of choice to hang out on the weekends?

I still haven't gotten over the beach, every weekend is like a little holiday! The beauty of Sydney is in the surrounding areas though so I love driving out to national parks and hiking. On of my favourite places is Mount Banks in the Blue Mountains National Park, the views are out of this world. 

How would you describe the typical local in three words?

Active, open and FUN.

Is it true that people basically live on the beach?

Sadly not, I thought I'd be popping to the beach at work. That bubble was burst instantly. 

Is there a big health and fitness culture?

Huge. Health and fitness in the week and party party at the weekend. 

If you’re out with the girls, where do you go?

Mostly for brunch, Harry's is a favourite of mine. It's in a great setting and has a really tasty menu full of fresh, organic ingredients. 

Where’s the best beauty spot?

The Bondi to Coogee walk is something special. 

Where’s the best beach?

Tamarama, although the waves have left me in an embarrassing spot a few times...

Have you learnt to surf/ ski/ snorkel...or all of the above?

Surf and snorkel, hopelessly.

Where’s the most romantic place in the city?

Venue 505 is a great little jazz club - imagine  red wine, sofas and beautiful music. A perfect date spot.

What’s your beauty regime and where are the best salons to go?

It's minimal - shower, moisturise, the occasional haircut. That said I do swear by threading and regular manicures, you'll often find me in Vivid on York Street getting one of their Calgel treatments. 

Where is the best place to have a coffee and watch people go by?

I love the cafe in Icebergs - waves crashing, people watching and the occasional whale sighting.

Where is the best place to have a drink & what would it be?

I'm always partial to a G&T. The best place is Charlie Parker's, a great little speakeasy cocktail bar in Paddington. 

If you’re heading out to dance, where do you go?

Mostly house parties. I think growing up in London I was spoilt for choice with late night hotspots, the nightlife in Sydney isn't as vibrant so I prefer to hang out with friends and stay local. 

What’s the dress code?

Casual. 

What is the most touristy place that you still love to go to sometimes?

Bondi Beach, just as touristy as you'd imagine but it does have an addictively fun vibe, especially in summer. 

What’s the best special occasion restaurant?

A place called Rockpool; I LOVE the tortellini dish, it's without doubt one of the best things I've ever eaten. If you're only there for one night - go there. 

What's the best known hipster restaurant?

Mary's - burgers, rock music, news clippings. All the makings of a hipster place. 

If Sydney had a theme tune, what would it be?

Good Vibrations. 

How do you get around the city?

If you're not in a rush then I definitely take advantage of the weather and walk, if not then Uber! 

Describe the perfect day in Sydney.

Awake to my housemates laughing in the kitchen about the previous evening's antics, a run along Bondi Beach, a smoothie, friends on the beach and, to finish it off, a barbecue and drinks with a handful of my closest pals on my balcony. Bliss.

What’s the biggest misconception about Sydney?

That it's just about the beach. 
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What's the single best thing about Sydney?
The beach...