This city stands before me, waiting to be explored, and I can’t wait to see how Sydneysiders spend their days in this laid-back seaside city. Luckily, I have Michael Treacy, a true-blue Aussie mate with a penchant for Bollywood tunes to show me around. He knows the Sydney beyond the Opera House and Darling Harbour – a Sydney that will have us eating Nutella out of syringes, gawking at Newtown hipsters, hunting for basement bars down dark alleyways, and exploring the city’s quaint suburbs – all while listening to DJ Waley Babu on loop.
7AM: Start your day with coffee and breakfast at Single O – a tiny, grab-as-you-go deli bang in the middle of the busy business district. The creamy, ultra-smooth flat white with hints of vanilla is the perfect pick-me-up for your weary, jet-lagged self. To accompany your drink, grab the Brekkie Box, which includes perfectly-poached eggs on toast, with spice-roasted pumpkin, labneh, almonds, spinach, and a pickled onion salad. If you’re not that hungry, try the famous banana bread with espresso butter.
8AM: From the Single O, head to Circular Quay to catch the 8.40am F1 ferry for Manly. The journey takes about 30 minutes, which is best whiled away feeding the seagulls any leftover banana bread!
9.30AM-3.30PM: Make your way down to the main street of Wentworth, which leads to the sands. The beach vibe is palpable almost immediately, thanks to the sun-kissed locals, bustling surf shops, and stream of live music. Many visitors don’t make it past Manly Beach, and who can blame them, when there’s a bunch of hot surfer dudes on display? If you do manage to tear your eyes away, a short 1.8km walk will take you to Shelly Beach; an emptier cove with crystal-clear waters. The waters, part of a marine reserve, hide a submerged motorbike wreck eight metres from the shore, and are perfect for snorkelling.
If snorkelling isn’t your thing, embark on the 10km Manly to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk. The well-signposted walk will have you criss-crossing through bushland, past some of Sydney’s most pristine beaches, bays and inlets. If you want to cool off along the trail, take a dip in the inviting blue waters of Reef Beach.
Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, grab a well-earned lunch at Manly Fish Café. Ask for a takeaway and enjoy your fish and chips at a picnic table by the beach. Don’t be bullied by the shamelessly vicious seagulls, who will stop at nothing for a place at the table and a bite of your meal. If only they said please…
4.30PM-7PM: Take a ferry back to Circular Quay and make your way to Mrs Macquarie’s Point (1.6km via Macquarie St) for a beautiful evening view of the harbour. There is an open-air cinema here in the summer – our winter, remember? – but it’s a little difficult to focus on the film with that gorgeous skyline behind the screen.
7.30PM-10PM: To complete your perfect day, how about dinner with Heisenberg? Think less meth, more bacon, a short 3km taxi ride from Mrs Macquarie’s Point. Burgers Anonymous on Oxford Street churns out a mean Breaking Bad-inspired Heisenburger.