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Got 48 Hours in Sydney?

The Clueless Traveller's Guide To Sydney, in which we were the clueless travellers.

It’s a terrible feeling when you are in a foreign city but have little to no time to explore it. The phrase “so near, yet so far” has never been more appropriate. We here at YOYOKULALA.com, however, refuse to be that sad person. We abide by something we call the “have time, do something” rule. It was the same in Milan and Paris during fashion week, and it was the same recently in Sydney. If we have to take a long red-eye flight to the city, we’re going to explore the hell out of it or die trying. Fine, we exaggerate, but you get the picture.

Fashion Week Australia’s schedule was tighter than commuters heading to town on a Friday evening train, but with a little clever manoeuvring here and a compromise there, we found ourselves with a total of an estimated 48 hours to spare. The situation was very Anthony Bourdain in The Layover, so we decided to make like Bourdain and skip the touristy bits for less – we’re sorry to drop this word on you – mainstream fare. Give us a call, TLC?

We stayed at the Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale, which, in retrospect, was a fantastic location. Sandwiched between the city and the shows at Carriageworks, Chippendale is also home to Central Park, Doughnut Time and a throng of cafes. We breakfasted at the ridiculously hipster but very cosy The House and tea-timed at Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters, something of an institution in New York City. The best part? Right behind Old Clare is Spice Alley, an outdoor food market selling Southeast Asian food under rows and rows of red lanterns. It’s crazy expensive, but we caved nearly every night. You can take the girl out of Southeast Asia, but you can’t take Southeast Asia out of the girl. A little down the street is Koi Dessert Bar by Reynold Poernomo i.e. that cute dude from Masterchef Australia. We can’t guarantee that you’ll see him there, but if you’re the sort who takes 20 pictures of your desserts before eating them, this is your place.

The area surrounding Carriageworks in Eveleigh isn’t too shabby either. We spotted several rows of cute little houses (read: #ootd spots) punctuated with cafes in between. Those with outdoor seating like Café Ism, The Shortlist Expresso Bar and Tripod Café were our favourite pit stops between shows.

Therapy of the retail kind is always necessary. Always. While we’re sure that there are other places that the cool kids go to in Sydney – our friend Kim Jones recommends Parlour X – we decided to head to the massive Westfield and the 19th Century Strand Arcade and Queen Victoria Building. The best of Aussie’s fashion design pack are all here, from Toni Maticevski to Aje. We were lucky enough to catch a local produce market at Martin Place, right outside one of the prettiest COS stores we’ve ever seen. There were some croc meat burgers being cooked on the square and while it did smell pretty good, we weren’t too game for it, pun very much intended.

Because we were itching for a vintage fix, we visited Zoo Emporium on Surry Hills before lunching at South American spot Reuben Hills. Surry Hills is apparently a hipster suburb, so there are many quaint brunch places and coffee houses to pick from. We stopped counting after 15.

Of course, some touristy things had to be done, especially since we were Sydney virgins. The beauty about landmarks as massive as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge is you don’t have to go up to them to actually see them. What a time saver! There’s also the Powerhouse Museum, which currently hosts Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life.

Shopping, food, culture, landmarks – check, check, check and CHECK. For 48 hours, we did good. Did we miss out your go-to spots? Tell us your favourite way to do Sydney in the comments below.


Photo: Reuben Hill’s Cracked Shrimp Omelette Roll with Bacon Jam, by Candice Chua

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