24 hrs: Sydney

Australia's buzziest beach-front city delivers unbeatable cultural and coastal pleasures and, with October's Crave Food Festival, culinary tooWednesday, October 5, 2011

By Jo Gardner

01 Head over the Harbour
Star the morning with a view that's sure to wake you up: from the pedestrian walkway of the iconic Harbour Bridge. Much cheaper than the costly BridgeClimb and still skyscraping at 87m.Then head underneath to the bridge's south pylon for less well-known but equally impressive views along Dawes Point. http://gb.sydney.com

02 Newtown
Sydney's alternative area is packed with bohemian-style shops, gay-friendly restaurants, vegetarian cafes and quirky bars. Mooch along and marvel at its diversity or pull up a chair in a cafe for an afternoon of people-watching over an organic beer or a 'flat white' (an Australian variation of a latte that many claim is Sydney's home-grown beverage).

03 Beach time
Not content with being a lively, arty, cultural hub, Sydney does sand with style too. Bondi is the best-known beach where you can enjoy a gelato at the 1920s-style beachside pavilion, shop for local surfwear brands and watch a scrum of young things pose on their boards. Manly Beach is equally busy due to its proximity to the harbour, but Coogie Beach is a more peaceful expanse of yellow sand, in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

04 Art Attack
The Oxford Art Factory, inspired by Warhol's '60s New York club, is a three-storey industrial space east of the city in Darlinghurst. Art house, photography gallery and radio station all-in-one, its also a vanguard venue for live music an DJ-sessions www.oxfordartfactory.com.

05 The Rocks
Behind the harbour, The Rocks is the default district for a sundowner — a maze of sandstone streets lined with 19th century dockhouses, the city's oldest pubs and newest bars and bistros. During the month-long Crave International Food Festival in October, it's also home to everything from BBQ parties to specialist cheese markets and chef showcases. www.cravesydney.com.

06 The Basement
A jazz venue with a fierce reputation to uphold, The Basement has attracted some of the world's best acts in its 30-year history. With a consistently good line up, two-course dinners and bar snacks, a reasonably priced and memorable night out is pretty much guaranteed. www.thebasement.com.au

Eat
£££  Aria: In full view of Sydney Bridge and the Opera House, Aria is best for fish, fine wines and Champagne. 1 MacQuarie Street. www.ariarestaurants.com

££  Icebergs Dining Room & Bar: Overlooking Bondi Beach, Iceberg's Italian menu features a large selection of pastas, risottos and seasonal fish. One Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach. www.idrb.com

£  Harry's Cafe de Wheels: Harry's pies are a local institution. Try fillings such as curry, cheese and bacon, seafood, or beef. Corner Cowper Wharf Roadway & Brougham Road, Woolloomooloo. www.harryscafedewheels.com.au

Rock 'n' bowl: Billed as 'the best fun you can have on two feet', the latest summer craze to hit the city combines lawn bowling with socialising. Go head-to-head with pals or a team of strangers and end the day in the pub with new friends. www.rocknbowl.com.au

Market value: Shun the supermarket in favour of fresh produce. Eveleigh Farmers Market opens every Saturday from 8am to 1pm and welcomes more than 70 stallholders, selling a range of seasonal fruit and vegetables, meats, poultry, dairy, artisan breads, smoked fish, olive oils and wines. You can also tuck into a breakfast cooked by local chefs and sample gourmet fare from dips and chutneys to sweet and savoury snacks. www.eveleighmarket.com.au

Published in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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