How to slay Sydney like a local

G’day, dolls! I just got back from my second trip to Sydney this year. While it’s cold down under right now, the sun’s still shining enough for you to get the perfect travel Instas without a flash needed.

If you’re thinking about traveling to Sydney, here are some tips and tricks to make the most out of your dream trip:

1. Rent a car

Nothing brightens our day quite like an Italian car. #Regram @itsmaxn

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Sydney may look like every traveller’s dream to walk around every block. But it’s actually as big as Los Angeles. Packed with a gajillion districts and neighborhoods, you deffo need a car to get around the city. If you don’t drive, bring your BFF to drive you around! But if both of you aren’t in the mood to drive, my cousin swears by Uber as the best option as regular taxis are a rip-off.

2.  Get high by the beach

City 2 Surf | Bondi perfection. Walk in reservations available all day #idrb #city2surf

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Ok, I may have warned you that it’s winter, but bear in mind that it’s not that terribly cold. So, it’s 100% possible that you can bring a bikini or one piece! If you want to lay out and meet hot surfer boys, head out to Bondi Beach. Over there, the views are lovely and you can take a hiking trail. But if you wanna swim or stage bikini pics, you can take a dip at the Icebergs pool. Believe me, you won’t regret going there! But, if you need to try out other beaches, look to this guide to find the others.

3. A cuppa coffee never hurt nobody

Need to get your caffeine fix asap? There are so many places to get your cup and the hunt for the perfect coffee takes longer than Tracy Anderson’s 30 min. dance cardio routine. When you stop by a coffee shop, order a long black and flat white. Trust me, it’s beyond addictive! If you want to step outside the box, you can go for some flavored lattes like beetroot or turmeric. Some coffee spots I highly recommend are Harry’s Bondi, Campos, The Grounds of Alexandria and Bills. (But you need to line up early on Fridays at Bills since everyone always orders coffee for take out!)

4. What’s good, Newtown?

IS PARK. IS GOOD. Snap from the beast @tomwilkinson__

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My 17-year-old relative told me that I would love it. The moment I stepped in, my mind was blown away and I felt like I was stuck in a brand new world. Packed with graffiti and street art, there’s so much to explore around Newtown. If you are in desperate need to find some treasure, you need to stop by the vintage stores and thrift shops.

I can’t spill any of my secret hauls here, but I’m telling you that you will walk out the store feeling like you’ve seen Mariah Carey at a restaurant. For the foodie babes, you can stroll by for tea or come out for dinner. One place I highly recommend is Black Star Pastry, where you MUST try the strawberry watermelon cake and take a photo of it before you eat it. If cakes aren’t your thang, load up on some burgers at Mary’s. You may be unable to find the sign (as there isn’t one!), but look out for the graffiti-covered interiors, dim lighting, loud music and cute waiters. Eating burgers will never be the same once you enter here. If I have to describe Newtown, it’s where Williamsburg meets Abbot Kinney.

5. Snack time!

So many places in Sydney tend to close early. Ugh! That also includes places that are only opened for lunch. If you can’t be bothered to go back to your hotel, Airbnb or service apartment, kill some time by trying out some snacks! If you want something savory, try the meat pies at Bourke Street Bakery. It’s so yummy, gluten-licious and meaty enough to outlast your ex.

To all my vegan, gluten-intolerant and paleo bbs, the one place where you can find your food is at The Source. Basically, it’s like Whole Foods without the frozen goods and ridiculous prices. You can literally buy anything from dried strawberries to activated charcoal. Last but not least, let’s not overlook the sweet stuff! If you MUST get something cooling, go for a gelato at Messina. This legendary gelato heaven has so many flavors you can ask for, but ask for the special flavors of the week. The staff will go out of their way to take care of you like a princess. But if you want something filling, pick your poison between a Tim Tam or an acai bowl.

6. Scenic spots

“…it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell // part three 🌅 #sydneyoperahouse 📷 Hamilton Lund

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If this is your first time coming to Sydney, having a photo by the iconic Opera House is mandatory. While it’s nice at night, walking there by day is better as you can see the beauty of the architecture and the bridge behind you. I usually don’t recommend going near tourist traps, but you cannot skip the Opera House.

Another oldie, but goodie is the Blue Mountain. It’s an hour and a half away from the city, but the trip is worth it. If you want to see more of the surrounding area of Blue Mountain, you should try the Jenolan Cave. If you can’t stand the arts, have intense claustrophobia or hate going on high altitudes, Hunter Valley is the place for you.

It’s also a nice detour from the city with lots and LOTS of vineyards! What else can make your day besides a nice glass of rosé and a sunset? Last but not least, ring in some fitness with The Bay Run. It’s this crazy long loop that is 4.3 miles with killer views of the Iron Cove Creek. You might hate me for telling you to do this, but you can thank me later once you can dance inside your tightest pair of jeans.

7. Shop ’til you drop

Lately, Australia has been killing it in the fashion game and every celebrity stylist swears by an Aussie designer for their clients. If you want to know where you can get the supermodel wardrobe, the best neighborhood to go shopping is in Paddington. If you want a lit #ootd post, look no further than Alice McCall, Zimmermann and Viktoria & Woods. These designers make the most gorgeous dresses, flirty going out tops and date-worthy laces.

If you want to cop that “It Girl” denim, go to Ksubi. But if you must go flea market shopping, don’t skip the Paddington Flea Market as it only happens on Saturdays. Bargain hard, evaluate your prospective purchase and get it ASAP! So many vintage goodies over there get sold out and there is a high chance that you cannot find it again in the states. Apart from that, you can stop by Lorna Jane for cute, chic and ridiculously comfy activewear!

If clothing isn’t your thing, you need to look out for the local Aussie beauty products. Every celebrity on earth swears by Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment, which feels like Vaseline and Glossier’s Balm Dot Com. Can’t stand the thought of dry, flaky skin? Snap up some emu oil! It’ll leave your skin feeling supple and fresh like you woke up from bed. Another non-oily alternative I swear by is the Insta-famous Frank Body’s coffee scrub! It’s seriously worth the hype and it leaves my skin feeling as soft as a baby. You can find that at Mecca Maxima (a.k.a. the Sephora of Australia). Bonus tip: save your receipt so that you can get a refund on GST at the airport!

Gimme More POP

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