A non-touristy single day in Sydney
August 26, 2014 7:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm visiting Sydney this weekend for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and have all of Friday (and a few hours of Saturday) to kill while my friend is working. I'm from Melbourne and have visited Sydney many times and seen all the Sydney landmarks and touristy spots (The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Sydney Tower, Bridge climb etc) before.

I'm just looking to wander around and hang out in interesting settings, like a local with a day off would do. So far I thought of going for a stroll on the cliff walk at Bondi if the weather is good. And I once went to a large art gallery in a park up near Kings Cross that I'd love to revisit, but can't for the life of me remember its name or find it on a map.

I don't have a lot of spare cash so not looking for a shopping trip, although I like browsing opshops/vintage furniture/homewares/cafes kind of areas.

Thank you in advance for any ideas!
posted by Zaire to Travel & Transportation around Sydney, Australia (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When I lived in Sydney, I used to head down to Maroubra beach on days off. It's pretty deserted on a week day, and really beautiful.

For cafes, book shops, and other neat stuff like that, Glebe or Newtown are fun neighbourhoods.

I don't know the art gallery you're referring to, but the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay is excellent, and free. Actually, could you possibly be referring to the Art Gallery of New South Wales? It's in the Botanical Gardens, not at Kings Cross, but it is within walking distance of the Cross.
posted by snorkmaiden at 7:42 PM on August 26, 2014

I keep seeing fun stuff to do in Sydney on weekends in WeekendNotes. (It's got stuff that's not on weekends too.)

Seconding hanging around Newtown in the cafes there, otherwise.
posted by lollusc at 8:30 PM on August 26, 2014

Glebe has wonderful markets on a Saturday that sell clothing, arts, crafts, all sorts of knickknacks. They have food stalls and musicians playing. It's a great eclectic vibe. Once you've finished there you can wander around the streets, it has bookstores, caf├ęs, art galleries. It's a really cool part of Sydney.

Or feel free to visit my neck of the woods, take a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. You might be lucky and see some whales and dolphins on your way over. Then you can wander Manly, have breakfast in a cafe, visit the markets, try some paddle boarding or have a surfing lesson or just hang out and grab a bucket of prawns and beer in the pub and watch the surf and people out the window. There's lots to do without spending money, it depends what you're into.
posted by Jubey at 8:36 PM on August 26, 2014

Alternative suggestion: post a meet-up in IRL :)
posted by lollusc at 8:43 PM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

If it's raining (even if it's not) a trip to Manly on the ferry can be a rocky adventure.

A walk along King st Newtown will bring you cafes, op shops etc. I'm not sure if it's open for lunch but there is a Lentil As Anything restaurant on King St, that is a 'pay what you want donation' vegetarian place. I suggest googling it.

As mentioned, the MCA is free, the National Gallery of NSW is free, and another free option is Australian Photographic Centre on Oxford St Paddington. I hear there is a great exhibition opening this week on the path heroin takes from poppy in Afghanistan to the streets of the world.
posted by Burgatron at 9:07 PM on August 26, 2014

The White Rabbit gallery in Surry Hills is very interesting, and free! You'll only need to spend an hour or so there, it's small. But it also has an amazing selection of fine Chinese teas in the cafe.
posted by 8k at 11:14 PM on August 26, 2014

If you're free Sat morning, hit up the farmers market (Everleigh/Redfern or Bondi) for breakfast, people watching, and a nice walk.
posted by jrobin276 at 1:51 AM on August 27, 2014

When I lived in Sydney, my favorite weekend morning was a leisurely brunch in Balmain, an hour browsing the Rozelle/Balmain flea market (that or the Glebe one was the best), and then a bus / ferry to Manly or a drive to Bronte to hike along the coast through Tamarama to the rocks at the north end of Bondi.

Alternatives: Newtown was nice, the Botanical Gardens were fun, and the Circular Quay / Rocks markets had a bunch of nice (expensive) art galleries.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:47 AM on August 27, 2014

I recently spent half a day walking from Bondi Junction to the beach, then down the coast to Coogie Beach. I enjoyed that a lot, especially the cliffside cemetery.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:38 PM on August 27, 2014

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