A different world awaits those who look beyond the tried and trusted attractions of Australia's biggest city.
Sexy Sydney with its brash, "in your face" glamour is Bridget Bardot to Melbourne's Audrey Hepburn. A little local knowledge will introduce you to the best of what this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Sheriden Rhodes opens the door to a few of its best-kept secrets.
Best brunch spot
Revolver (291 Annandale St, Annandale/ 02 9555 4727) is the type of local cafe every caffeine-craving urbanite longs to have in their neighbourhood. Formerly a corner store in the city's inner west, this cosy gem showcases the best local ingredients, free-range eggs and meat and terrific Morgan's coffee. The big brekky features house-made baked beans, mushrooms, bacon and pork sausage topped with two baked eggs, served in a cast iron pan. Afterwards head to Bondi and walk it off along the coastal walk to Coogee.
Best vintage shopping
Indulge your passion for all things vintage in Sydney's hip and happening Redfern, which has undergone a metamorphosis from shady, crime-ridden suburb to a cool, gritty neighbourhood.
Only three kilometres from the heart of the CBD, shop like there's no tomorrow with a choice of retro and vintage treasures. Our Space Interiors (120 Redfern Street, Redfern) leads the way with an eclectic mix of homewares. David Met Nicole (382 Cleveland St, Surry Hills) houses industrial furniture and nostalgic vintage collectibles in an intimate store featuring the best of British style. Rest your tootsies afterwards with a high tea of home-baked scones and cucumber sandwiches served on fine china at the whimsical Tea Parlour (569 Elizabeth St/ 0414 335 224).
Best fish and chips
You simply can't beat Doyles in the exclusive eastern suburb of Watsons Bay for terrific fish and chips. The Doyle family, whose name is synonymous with seafood, has been feeding hungry locals and tourists at Doyles on the Beach (11 Marine Parade) since 1885. If the budget doesn't stretch that far, order beer-battered Barramundi, golden chips, lemon and Doyles' chilli plum sauce from the takeaway at Doyles on the Wharf (Fisherman's Wharf, Watsons Bay). Alternatively, jump on one of Sydney's famous ferries from Circular Quay and head over to the northern beaches where you will swear you're in the Greek Isles at The Bower (7 Marine Parade, Manly). Order the grilled ocean trout, saffron crushed potato and sorrel beurre blanc with a glass of pinot gris and watch the surfers ride the renowned right hand break at Fairy Bower. Afterwards stroll around to the magical, secluded Shelley Beach.
Best drinking holes
If Sydneyites have someone to impress they take them to the showy Blu Bar 36 (176 Cumberland St, Sydney) located, as the name suggests, on the 36th floor of the Shangri-La Hotel. With incredible views of the city through floor-to-ceiling windows, everyone from Dick Cheney to the Danish royals have been schmoozed here. On offer, aside from the million-dollar views, are delicious cocktails and a small, decent bar menu. If you're truly looking to impress, order a $10,000 martini, which comes with a one-carat diamond. Back down to earth, Thru the Grapevine (Cnr Curlewis St and Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach), is a grungy, retro-themed small bar popular with Bondi locals. Go on a Tuesday night for half-price pizzas and wine from its wonderful, worldly wine list.