Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Executive summary by darmansjah

BEST FOR THE HARBOUR, Sydney Harbour National Park protects pockets of wilderness and is criss-crossed with walking trails and historic sites. The park is home to five harbor island including Cockatoo Island, former site of the imperial prison, which you can visit on heritage tours (; tour US$28).

BEST FOR CULTURE, Danish architect Jorn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most recognizable architectural landmark, inspired by snail shells and Mayan temples. Tour are available (; tours fro mUS$30, from 9am-5pm).

BEST FOR VIEWS, Dubbed the ‘coat hanger’, the Harbour Bridges is helad together by six million hand-driven rivets. The best way to experience it is on foot. Staircases lead up from both shores to a footpath along the eastern side. You can also climb it with Pylon Lookout (; 10am-5pm; US$9).

BEST FOR GARDENS, The Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1816 as the colony’s vegetable patch and are now Sydney’s favorite communal backyard. Highlights include the rose garden, the rate, ancient Wollemi Pine and the succulent garden (; Mrs Macuquaries Rd; open 7am daily).

BEST FOR MARKETs, Fifty tones of seafood are auctioned at Sydney fish market every day. Under the same roof you’ll find restaurants, a deli, a wine bar and a sushi bar. Arrive early and catch an auction tour (; bank st, pymont; tour starts  7am; US$18).

Set around one the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and scalloped shorelines signify ‘Australia’ to many. But Sydney is also Australia’s oldest, largest and most diverse city, with an engaging cultural scene

Summer in the southern hemisphere is December to February. During these months you can catch the spectacular New Year fireworks, the Sydney Festival, the Gay&Lesbian Mardi Gras and the Hobart Yacht Race. Good Food Month is held in October (spring).

Fly direct from Singapore to Sydney with British Airways (, Qantas ( and Singapore Airlines (  From K.L., fly with Malaysia Airlines (  The airport Link train runs to Central Station every 15 minutes (US$15; A taxi costs US$34 to Circular Quay and US$46 to North Sydney).

Barzura is a beachside café by day and stylish waterfront diner by night, with the best beach views in Sydney. The evening speciality is grilled kangaroo with roast pumpkin, caramelised onion and red wine-poached pears (; 64 Carr St, Coogee; lunch and dinner; mains US$15-Us$28).

Owned by celebirity chef Kylie Kwong, Billy Kwong is a carbon-neutral eatery modeled on a traditional Chinese teahouse. Local organic produce is used in dishes such as steamed scallop wontons with Sichuan chili oil and crispy-skin duck with plum sauce (; 3/355 Crown St, Surry Hills, dinner, mains Us$18-Us$40).

Fish Face may look like a fish and chip shop, but the menu includes fish curries, sushi, and the intriguing Hiramasa Kingfish with beetroot relish and pancetta. Watch chefs cook you meal in the open kitchen (; 132 Darlinghurst Rd; dinner Mon-Sun; mains Us$25-Us$37).

A terrace looking out over the harbor and jazz on Sundays are just two of Café Sydney’s draws. The seafood-focused menu features tandoori blue-eye cod (; 31 Alfred St, Circular quay; lunch and dinner Mon-Fri, dinner Sat, lunch Sun; mains Us25-Us$43).

Harbor views and outstanding food collide at Bathers’ Pavilion, where ingredients are sourced from local providers. There’s also a great vegetarian menu (; 4 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach; lunch and dinner; 2-3/-course menu US$95-Us$110).

Jump on a ferry and head for Cockatoo Island. There’s a campsite on the grassy northern shore, plus two restored, self contained federation mansions, once the homes of the Island’s medical officer and engineering manager (; Sydney Harbour; tent and pitch for two people Us$77).

Built in 1841, The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel has its own on-site brewery (try a pint of Nelsons’s Blood). Rooms are elegant, with striped sheets, stone walls and dormer windows. Many of the rooms are spacious with en suites, but there are also cheaper, smaller rooms with shared bathrooms (; 19 Kent St, The Rocks, from Us$125).

Party like a rock star at Hotel Altamont, once the venue of choice for the likes of the Rolling Stones and Mandonna. The popular Loft suite was the VIP Room for the Cauldron Nightclub, accessible via a hidden stairway. Rooms have a colonial vibe, with a blue and white scheme and mahogany furniture (; 207 Darlinghurst Rd, from US$125).

Rich in istory, Trickett’s Bed & Breakfast is an 1880s merchant’s mansion that was earmarked for demolition before Liz Tricketts came to its rescue. Now restored to its former glory, it features large rooms decorated with antiques and Persian rugs (; 270 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe; from Us$195).
Behind the pink exterior of a Victorian townhouse you’ll find Medusa Boutique Hotel, Sydney’s most style-conscious hotel. Each of the 18 rooms has been individually designed using bold colours and custom-made furnishings, including capsule kitchenettes (; 267 Darlinghurst Rd, from US$310).

ZOO WITH A VIEW. Taronga Zoo is a must-see with many indigenous mammals and birds as well as lions and elephants. Catch the 15-minutes ferry from circular quay with the Zoo Express ticket (US$48 including zoo entrance), then take the cable car up to the zoo’s top entrance. The zoo’s location is stunning, with its backdrop of Sydney. You can admire the harbor Bridge and Opera-House from the ferry on the way back. (; 9am-5pm)-by Andy Mitchell

SITTING PRETTY-by Gianna Lorandi, One of the best places to splash out on a romantics meal is at Pier. Built on a pier in a beautiful part of the city, Rose Bay, Pier is a seafood restaurant which showcases modern Australian cooking to the highest technical ability. The décor is stylish and the service impeccable. The dishes are so pretty it seems a shame to eat them! (; 594 New South Head Road, Rose Bay; mains Us$23-Us$46).

SO HOT RIGHT NOW, by Mary Lim. Thanks to the chefs making roti in the window, you can’t fail to notice Mamak in Chinatown. The Malaysian street food is fresh, authentic, spicy and delicious. Fill the table with fragrant chicken curry, satay (the best I’ve eaten outside Malaysia), and mouth watering lamb murtabak, which is worth any queue. But leave room for a sweet roti for dessert (; 15 Goulburn St, Haymarket ; mains Us$11-US$15).


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