Bondi, Coogee and Manly, Sydney
If you’re in Sydney to enjoy the beach lifestyle then you’ll probably be drawn to Bondi, Coogee or Manly. Just 30 minutes from the city, Bondi’s famous beach is the hub for backpackers, flashpackers and fashionistas. There are lively bars, boho chic cafes and a funky back-street shopping scene. Head here for the Christmas Day backpacker beach party, the Flickerfest film festival in January or the City to Surf race in August. Further along Sydney’s east coast lies Coogee, a seaside haven for both families and travellers. Swim in the calm ocean or historic baths and walk the stunning coastal path to Gordons Bay for snorkelling and diving. Across the harbour, the picturesque peninsula of Manly is just a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay. Surf the ocean waves or swim in the sea pools and harbour beaches. Manly cranks up after dusk, when you can sandy-foot it between wine bars, waterfront pubs, burger joints and alfresco restaurants.
Glebe, Newtown, Kings Cross, Sydney
If you want to be in the thick of things, try the inner-city villages of Glebe, Newtown or Kings Cross. A short bus ride from the city, Glebe is home to a diverse community of students, academics, activists and new-agers. Join them at the popular Saturday markets, which sell vintage and hand-made clothes and second-hand stuff. Or wander down the main strip of Glebe Point Road, past health food stores, esoteric bookshops, friendly pubs and cheap ethnic restaurants. It’s a similar mix in nearby Newtown, except King Street is much longer and has edgy boutiques and an almost inexhaustible selection of exotic restaurants. Check out the gay-friendly bars and anarchic street fashions. If sleep isn’t a priority, head to Kings Cross, where most of Sydney’s nightclubs are concentrated. The slightly seamy adult strip is just around the corner from elegant, tree-lined Potts Point and waterfront Elizabeth Bay with the delis, cafes, wine bars and restaurants, historic terraces and art-deco apartments.