SYDNEY is a hotbed of intrepid designers, fabulous foodies, young entrepreneurs and iconic businesses who aren’t scared to go beyond boundaries to experiment with exciting new ideas. However, they’re often a well-kept secret so it’s worth taking time out from the well-trodden tourist trail to seek upcoming hot and happening places that are hidden away behind the scenes and the locals are trying to keep to themselves.
Sydney used to be about loud nightclubs but more recently it has adopted Melbourne’s trendy hidden bar scene style, with the opening of a number of underground bars. Enter Ms Darlinghurst (aka Ms Alex Adams), who uncovers Sydney’s hidden drinking gems on her walking bar tours. Alex is clear that “the tours are not bar crawls or an excuse for getting legless. They are sophisticated, personal insights into Sydney’s bar culture”. Guests visit three bars, meet the owners, drink cocktails designed for them and sample unique bar snacks. Groups are limited to ten and tickets are bought online (sydneybartours.com.au). The Hidden Bar Tour costs £43/$65, plus a £1.30/$2 booking fee, and there are also tours that cover Bondi, Razorhurts/Darlinghurst, Madmen Cocktail Hour and Speakeasy Cocktail Tours.
BEST SYDNEY TOUR
Become a local in a day with My Sydney Detour, created by Richard Graham. Conducted from behind the wheel of his beautifully restored General Motors 1964 Holden EH Premier, he visits culturally historic places, such as artist studios, cafes, designer shops, Aboriginal neighbourhoods and graffiti sites. Prices from £90/$138 per person for two hours (www.mysydneydetour.com)
RESTAURANT OF THE MOMENT
Porteño restaurant, 358 Cleveland St, Surrey Hills, is the hottest place in town, cleverly mixing rockabilly hair, tattoos and 1950s fashion with Argentinean grilling. Diners watch split rare-breed suckling pigs and lambs slow-cooking above huge open bonfires while the soundtrack features favourites like Wayne Hancock and Hank Williams. Ask for a table by the fire for a truly authentic experience. (www.porteno.com.au)
Westfield mall in the Sydney Business District is where the city’s fashionistas flock to shop over several floors flooded with fancy frocks and designer apparel. Fleur Marks and her team of stylists and make-up artists offer personalised style consultations and provide the inside track on stylist-led shopping tours of Sydney’s best kept fashion gems. Fashion walking tours (£82/$125 per person), vintage clothing tours (£121/$185), personal styling and a chauffeur shopping experience (£387/$595). (www.chicinthcity.co.au)
Recently opened in Darling Harbour, George Clooney was first to stay in the city’s latest five-star boutique hotel, The Darling at The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, checking in to its luxury penthouse suite in December 2011. The complex includes 20 new restaurants, bars, cafes, sophisticated shops, a huge casino and a nightclub with some of the best views of Sydney, while the hotel bedrooms are full of designer furniture and all electric devices controlled through a giant flat screen TV.
BEST FLIGHTS AND INFORMATION
Qantas Airlines, return economy fares from London Heathrow to Sydney start from £959 and business class from £4,887.50. With a Walkabout Pass, add domestic flights within Australia when you purchase an international ticket from £40. To book contact qantas.com. For tour operator information, contact UK-based Tailor Made Travel, which can prepare bespoke trips to Sydney on Qantas incorporating tours, hotels and restaurants. (0845 456 8050, www.tailor-made.co.uk); Tourism Australia (www.australia.com); Destination New South Wales (www.tourismnsw.com.au)
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east