Flights of Fancy Mom

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Ways to Experience Sydney Like a Local on Your First Visit

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Sydney is Australia’s top tourist destination, with more than 30 million tourists visiting each year. What’s peculiar is that most of them have pretty much the same experience of the city. They visit the Sydney Opera House, take a stroll around the Circular Quay and see the Harbour Bridge. And while there is nothing wrong in visiting famous tourist attractions, they are not providing you with authentic Sydney experience. Seeing Sydney from the point of view of the locals can really make you have a whole new and deeper understanding of the city. So, here are some ways you can enjoy Sydney like you are born in it, even though it is your first visit.


Start early

Sydneysiders start their day early in the morning, so don’t wait until noon to go out and get to know the city. First, you will avoid the hordes of tourists walking around with their cameras, and you will get the chance to truly see the city. After some time walking down the famous George Street, you can stop for brunch in some of the local brunch institutions, like FourAteFive and Three Blue Ducks.


Visit the beach

After brunch and a light walk, you should go to one of the most loved places in the city – the beach. And by “the beach” we many any beach except Bondi. Bondi is always crowded, and it is the place where every tourist goes. Outsmart them and head to some of the more secluded stretches of sand, more popular among the locals. Shelley Beach, Redleaf Beach, Milk Beach, Long Reef Beach and Palm Beach are all great. Each of them with its unique vibe makes you fall in love with the scenery.


Find a home

Sydney is a city of thousands of accommodation options, ranging from budget hostels to word class hotel chains. However, how can it be possible to experience Sydney like a local if you are staying in one of the hotels? It can’t! There is another option, and it comes in the form of agencies that offer reliable house sitting in Sydney. This will not only help you feel at home, but it will also help you save some cash.


Savor the food and wine

People always speak of France or Italy as the culinary Mecca. But Australia has its fair share of fine dining too. Sydney, especially, is the place foodies around the world arrive to feast in the restaurants of the famous chefs. Some of the best ones to check out are FourFourteen, Felix, Apollo, Bridge Room and Tetsuya. Don’t forget to pair up your delicious meals with Australian-produced wines made from grapes which grow in the Hunter Valley region.


Party like a Sydneysider

It is no secret that Aussies can party! And Sydneysiders may just be the best at it. Join them for a night of unforgettable fun in one of the Darling Harbour’s bars. Another interesting way to spend the evening in Sydney is to visit Chinatown and enjoy a trendy sake wine bar. The Rocks (the oldest neighbourhood in Sydney) is also home to many interesting bars and pubs, so don’t skip this one.


Have a Sunday session

The locals in Sydney really love their Sundays, and they don’t allow anyone to ruin their day off. They will try to get away from tourists, but hey, you’re not a regular tourist! So you can follow them all the way to Cockatoo Island and spend your day camping. If you are more of a luxury-loving than a clear-sky-fascinating person, you can also try glamping – camping in glamorous tents resembling some of the finest hotels.

Sydney is a show-stopping city existing with intent to steal your attention. But if you are too blinded by the over-the-top tourist hotspots? You will probably miss the true charm of this Aussie’s wonder.


Olivia Jones is a psychologist, entrepreneur and conscious consumer from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs, Teo and Mia. She is passionate about writing and is always inspiring her readers to be clever in their lives. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world” and strives to seek healthy and sustainable products for her family. She is also a regular contributor at


  1. Alli Smith

    I must show this to my daughter! She wants to visit Sydney and it’s on the top of her travel bucket list. I would love to visit that beach. Looks like so much fun!

  2. Paula Bendfeldt

    Sydney looks amazing and is on my list of places to visit. I would need to refer to your suggestions because I would probably be walking around lost, but in total amazement of all that is there to do and see in Sydney.
    Paula Bendfeldt recently posted…Safari Party Ideas to Celebrate The Lion King Now Available on Digital and Blu-ray #TheLionKingMy Profile

  3. Jeanette

    Have no idea how excited I am to see this! I am planning a trip to Australia (although it is a couple years off yet) and I am trying to learn everything I can so that when I get there I know exactly what I want to do.

    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      That’s great! I want to visit Australia as well and love reading about visiting like a local to see the “real” side of places I visit 🙂

  4. Tomi C

    It’s such a difference when you immerse yourself within the area rather than solely visiting as a tourist. Immersion allows you to find those little spots locals enjoy and still capture those iconic places you’ve read about.

  5. Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh

    This is one place that I have to see before I die! My mother used to talk about her dreams of going to Australia. She had a first cousin that gave up his American citizenship, and moved there. Unfortunately my mother never made it before passing away. So I’ve sort of set out to see the places that she wanted to visit. This is my number one spot to visit!

  6. Amber Myers

    What gorgeous photos! I’ve never been to Sydney before, but I’d love to go someday. There’s so much to see!

  7. candy

    Some friends of our just spent two years in Sidney and they loves every minute of their stay. Would love to visit one day.

  8. Anosa

    I am hoping to one day get the chance to visit Sydney and would love to explore it from a local’s perspective. Thanks for this lovely guide.
    Anosa recently posted…Guilty Pleasures I like to indulge in during Me-TimeMy Profile

  9. Cheryl

    I’m saving this for when I make my “someday” trip to Sydney. Seeing the popular places when visiting a new city is fun, but I like finding local haunts even more.

  10. Joline

    Lemme tell you. When I visited Sydney I was the epitome of “tourist” haha! We even did the Bridge Climb (do they still do that?). We had lots of fun though and cannot wait to go back. Next time more like a local 🙂

  11. Censie Sawyer

    Oh man!! Australia has always been top on my travel wish list. ONE day i will get there. This post makes me want to go there right now.
    Censie Sawyer recently posted…Back To School Teacher Gift – Learning Is Messy!My Profile

  12. Dogvills

    Thanks for sharing this post. I have Sydney listed in my travel bucket list and I have been reading about the places I have listed in my list. The tips you shared here are really helpful!

  13. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    This sounds like such a beautiful destination to visit. We have wanted to visit Sydney for a long time. This post will come in handy when we finally make the trip!

  14. Betty Boiron

    I’ve always wanted to visit Australia and especially Sydney. These sound look great tips and hopefully one day I’ll be able to go!

  15. Lori Vachon

    Definitely a bucket list item, Sydney is one dreamy destination for sure! I love trying local wines when traveling I’d have to partake if I ever get there.

  16. Kita Bryant

    I love waking up early in far away places. You really do get to enjoy the day the way someone who lives there does. Plus you have ALL day to do stuff.

  17. Anonymous

    Wow, your photos are absolutely gorgeous! I can’t wait to visit Australia one day – it looks like such a beautiful country!
    recently posted…Breakfast Pops Make Mornings Fun!My Profile

  18. Amanda

    I would absolutely LOVE to visit Sydney one day. It looks so amazing. My sister lived in Perth for six months and was lucky enough to travel all over the county. I’m so jealous!

  19. rebekah

    Sydney is so on my bucket list! I can’t wait to visit! That will be my 5th continent.


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