Sydney: Bars, Beaches and City Icons
When it comes to VIP cities, Sydney has got to be high on the list of places to visit. Birth place of man of the moment;’Wolverine’ Hugh Jackman,Victoria’s Secret Angel Mirranda Kerr and Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids’ comedienne Rebel Wilson, the city has plenty of star quality.
So how do we do it VIP style? If you’ve never been you’re in luck as I have been and I’m gonna tell you all about the best bits. The first place on the agenda for most people visiting Sydney is the infamous Sydney Opera House. A tourist icon by day, offering tours and housing as many as 10 restaurants and bars, the Opera House, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, becomes a hub of activity at night. As well as performances of opera, dance, theatre and music, the outdoor Opera Bar just below the Opera House is a perfect place to start a night out. Excitingly, if you plan to visit this October, at the time of the official 40th anniversary, you may just catch the Danish Royals in town, as Denmark’s Crown Prince Couple will be visiting Sydney in October as patrons of the Opera House’s 40th celebrations, commemorating the fact that the Opera House is the most famous Australian-Danish collaboration.
Staying in the Sydney Harbour area, during my visit I decided to following in the footsteps of celebrities like Matt Damon, Daniel Radcliffe and Will Ferrell by taking the challenge of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge climbs cost around AUS$200-$300, which is between £120 – £180, depending on what time of day you choose to go. It sounds pricey, but there are breath-taking views you’ll never see anywhere else, and you never know what VIPs you may bump into!
Obviously, one of the biggest appeals of going to Australia is to check out the beaches! The two main beach spots are Bondi beach and Manly. Although Bondi beach has been made the most famous by the television show Bondi Rescue (and yes, they do film there regularly, so there’s plenty of opportunity to check out your favourite lifeguards at work! I did!), it is actually Manly beach that seems to be the most favoured amongst the celebrity jet-set. Perhaps its the surfing championships held every February that add to the appeal, but Manly really is the place of the celebrity beach-side apartments. Not sure if it’s as fun as trying to sneak your face into a television programme though?
My recommendation for a night out after a hard day’s sunbathing would be Darling Harbour. A favourite hang out of Leonardo DiCaprio during the filming the Great Gatsby, Darling Harbour has tons of restaurants, bars and clubs, and even little road trains to take you up and down the harbour as you choose between venues! The Star Casino is probably the best place around here to indulge in a VIP experience, or alternately head to the other side of the city to World Bar, where shots come in teapots and Aussie sports men can be found winding down after busy days on the field. We bumped into three cricket players on the first night here.
Like any major city, Sydney is of course great for shopping! For high street bargains and a spot of glamour too, head to the giant Westfield shopping centre. It’s a huge mall home to a mix of bargain, high street and designer labels and some of Australia’s own chain stores such as Cotton On, Sports Girl, Dotti,Gloss and Rubi Shoes, and Australia’s two largest department stores, Myer and David Jones. Castlereagh, Elizabeth and King streets are the place to find the most famous designer brands, including Louis Vuitton Chanel and Gucci.
Finally, Sydney plays host to a number of VIP events, as well as it’s ample annual sports calendar, the Vivid Sydney illuminations festival takes place every May, attracting global interest, or try your hand at celeb-spotting at the Sydney Film Festival every June, or my favourite; the Sydney is Fashion Festival runs from August to September. Of course the biggest event on the VIP experiences calendar is New Year’s Eve! Watching the fireworks over the Opera House and Harbour bridge as midnight rolls around is incredible! To get a good view though (I’d recommend Mrs Macquaries Point), you have to be prepared to get there early. I mean super early! Queues start at 6am NYEs! Take plenty of water, because NYE is in the height of Aussie summertime.
Nearest Airport: Sydney Airport (26 hours from London)
Currency: £1 = AUS$1.65
Time Difference: +9 hours
Guestlist Tips: Top Shop is a rarity in Australia, and kind of a big deal. They have a more varied range than usual and can be found on the corner of King and George street.