Maxim Boon was the editor of Time Out Sydney 2019-2022.

This British-born culture vulture has been based in Australia since 2010, writing about the arts, entertainment and lifestyle scene for some of the country's top media outlets, including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, Broadsheet, The Music, Daily Review, and of course, Time Out. When he's not at his keyboard you can find him in a theatre foyer, a rooftop bar or taking selfies with his thoroughly photogenic moodle Paddington.

Maxim Boon

Maxim Boon

Articles (231)

The 52 best things to do in Sydney in 2024

The 52 best things to do in Sydney in 2024

We might be a little biased, but in our humble opinion, Sydney's got it all. Can you think of many other cities in the world that rival its natural beauty, rich heritage and history that dates back thousands of years, and its creative, culinary and cultural offerings by world-class pros. In fact, there's so much to see, do, sip and ponder here, you could be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed. Worry not, dear reader – we're making it simple for you. Our team (including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure and our Sydney Editor Alice Ellis) sifted through every good time the Big Smoke has to offer and put together a Sydney bucket list for the ages. Whether you're a new arrival or a born-and-bred local, this 2024 Time Out Sydney round-up of the city's must-do activities will let you experience Sydney from every angle. After all those great activities you're bound to be thirsty. We suggest you head to one of the best pubs in Sydney right now.  Need somewhere to stay? Check out Sydney's best Airbnbs, or Sydney's best hotels.

The best restaurants in Bondi right now

The best restaurants in Bondi right now

Bondi gets most of its street cred for sunny days, long swims and that postcard stretch of golden sand, but there are plenty of ace restaurants in this #blessed beachside suburb. Whether you're after a long lunch or a sandy-footed snack, you'll find somewhere great to eat – North, South and everywhere in between. Time Out Sydney's critics, including beach-going and restaurant-loving Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure, have hit Bondi's streets – and these are the pick of the bunch. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. RECOMMENDED READS: Feel like a drink? Check out our guide to Bondi's best bars. Keep cool with our guide to the top ocean pools in Sydney.  Take a look at our ultimate guide to the best restaurants in Sydney here.

The best Mexican restaurants in Sydney right now

The best Mexican restaurants in Sydney right now

For devotees of genuine Mexican fare, it's a great relief that Sydney is no longer only served by the tacky Tex-Mex, stand-and-stuff, burrito-centric eateries there were once the sole expression of the cuisine readily available here. There's now an exciting new wave of Mexican diners sweeping Sydney, with nary a pinata, sombrero or lucha libre mask in sight. We're not saying there isn't a time and a place for a bowl of liquid queso and a dorito or two - there really is - but with a culture and cuisine that spans thousands of years and dozens of regions, it's a crime to assume that Old El Paso and a cartoonishly large frozen Margarita is anything close to 'authentic'. Prime your palate for the true flavours of Mexico with our guide to the best Mexican eateries in Sydney, curated by Time Out Sydney's critics including Food & Drink Editor and Mexico-lover, Avril Treasure. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. RECOMMENDED READS: Keen to get around some killer spots for an arvo tequila or two? Check out Sydney's best rooftop bars Love spice? Check out our guide to Sydney's hottest Thai restaurants Thirsty? Have a look at the best bars in Sydney right now

The best restaurants in Sydney right now

The best restaurants in Sydney right now

June 2024 update: Hello winter, with your crisp mornings and dark evenings that call for delicious dinners with your best friends (and wine). This month, we recommend you warm up and get lucky at Good Luck Restaurant Lounge, take a hot date to Potts Point’s forever-excellent Cho Cho San, order a Negroni and spaghetti with clams at Clam Bar (it's a clam-dunk combo), and cosy up at charming-as-hell Bar Vincent. Here's our list of Time Out's best restaurants in Sydney right now, from hot newcomers to time-honoured institutions, curated by our expert local editors and critics who have tasted their way through Sydney, including Time Out's Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure. How did we narrow it down to the very best? When deciding, we considered fun, flavour, creativity, value for money – and 'wow' factor. So yes, of course, you’ll find a fine diner inside the Sydney Opera House here, but you’ll also find neighbourhood pasta, hole-in-the-wall Thai and venues right by the sea. Happy dining, Sydney. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. RECOMMENDED READ: Still hungry? Check out our guide to the best cheap eats in Sydney.

The 29 best places to eat and drink in Circular Quay

The 29 best places to eat and drink in Circular Quay

It's one of the first places you'll visit as a tourist, a pre-theatre go-to and has some of the most iconic views in the world – but being a tourist hotspot means Circular Quay is not without its pitfalls. Thankfully, bar the over-priced traveller's traps, there is still great eating and drinking to be had in the area if you know where to look. From flash fine diners like Quay and Aria, Spanish wine bar Deux Frùres, cheap and cheerful spots Mary's and Belles Hot Chicken, and charming boozers Le Foote, Opera Bar and Apollonia, Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure, have rounded up the best restaurants and bars in and around Circular Quay that'll ensure the eats and drinks are as good as the view. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. After restaurants in other parts of Sydney's city? Check out our guide to the best restaurants in the CBD. Want more? Check out our ultimate guide to the best restaurants in Sydney here.

The 16 best day spas in Sydney

The 16 best day spas in Sydney

Whether you want to go all-in for transformative results or you're just in the market for brief spot of me-time, Sydney's palaces of self-rejuvenation have you covered. Spend a full day treating yo'self to the glow-up of a lifetime, or just duck in for a quick but life-giving massage. Either way, a much-needed dose of de-stressing bliss is your reward. If you feel the need to earn your extravagant spa day with some physical activity, sweat it out on Sydney's best walks or swim a few laps of the city's coolest ocean pools.Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for tips on making the most of the city, straight to your inbox. Take your day of pampering out bush at one of the best day spas in the Blue Mountains.

The 12 best hotels and resorts on the Gold Coast

The 12 best hotels and resorts on the Gold Coast

With its gleaming beachside skyscrapers, its entertainment strip and casinos, and plenty of exciting things to do, the Gold Coast—or ‘Goldie’ as it’s affectionately known—has a reputation for being Australia’s Las Vegas. But that’s changing.  The most recent Australian Commonwealth Games saw more than one billion dollars worth of investment here, including an extension to the tram system, which now connects the city with trains to Brisbane. There are new markets, restaurants and bars too, plus hotels featuring everything from private marinas and casinos to retro bikes, glowworm displays and even the odd jungle celebrity – clearly aimed at everyone from glitzy Sydneysiders and visiting dignitaries to backpacking 19-year-olds. Price points too ensure there really is something for everyone. Here are the best hotels to stay at on the Gold Coast right now. In search of a slightly less OTT trip? Check out these awesome weekend getaways just a stone's throw from Brisbane.

The best sandwiches in Sydney right now

The best sandwiches in Sydney right now

Sandwiches? Well, they're the best thing to come out of slicing bread. Here, the criteria is pretty simple: very good things in between two very good slices of well-sliced bread. No burgers, bagels, scrolls and banh mi (they’re a league of their own). No half-hearted strings of romaine here, no siree. Time Out Sydney critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around carb-town (which frankly, is the most delicious place to be) to curate this list of the best sandwiches in Sydney. 'wich on, friends.  Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. Want more budget food? Here are the best cheap eats in Sydney right now. Heading our later? Check out our ultimate guide to the best restaurants in Sydney.

25 things to do for $25 or less in Sydney

25 things to do for $25 or less in Sydney

Sure, Sydney’s hella exxy, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find some cheap as chips things to do that won’t leave a big hole in your bank balance. 1. Climb some boulders harness free (don't worry, the padded floors promise a soft landing) at 9 Degrees in Alexandria. For less than $25 you can nab a casual climb. $24  2. Connect to country with an Indigenous guided walking tour at Dharawal National Park in Campbelltown. The walk generally happens every month – confirm dates and details and make your booking here. $15 3. Go for a dip at the heritage-listed Wylie’s Baths that sit below the Coogee coastal walkway. $6  4. Nab purr-fect coffee and meow-nificent cookies with the Catstronauts at Surry Hills’ Catmosphere Cat CafĂ©. $24 for weekday entry to the Cat Lounge   Photograph: Robert PolmearCatmosphere 5. Slurp down some epic noodle soup. We've rounded up our favourite bowls from around Sydney, here. From $15   6. Get a hit of the good feels that come with volunteering, by pitching in at Pocket City Farms for their Thursday and Saturday morning volunteering. $0  7. LOL all night long at the Running Joke on Level One of the Potts Point Hotel every Tuesday night. From $19 8. See the beaches on two wheels with a Cruiser Bike from Manly Bike Tours. $22 for an hour 9. Tuck into a sweet and fluffy tower of soufflĂ©-pancakes at the Australian outpost of the widely popular Japanese chain, Gram, in Chatswood. $19.80 Photograph: Leigh Griffiths/Supllied 10. Work up a sweat in a gr

The 68 best cafés in Sydney right now

The 68 best cafés in Sydney right now

Winter 2024 update: Head outside in the fresh and crisp winter’s air and start your morning on the right note with a cracking brekky and coffee at one of Sydney’s best cafĂ©s. Currently, we’re lusting over sun-lit and charming The Wedge, Manly’s new spot Noon, and the forever-delicious A.P. Bakery. The real question is: how many have you checked out? Sydneysiders are cafĂ© people. We're constantly on the hunt for the city's best coffee, we won't bat an eyelid over shelling out $30+ a head for brunch, and we love nothing more than donning our finest sport-luxe activewear and catching up with mates on a weekend morning over eggs, fritters and crusty artisan sourdough. So, whether it's a reward for tackling one of Sydney's most beautiful walks, a quick caffeinated catch-up, an indulgent hangover fix after a night at one of the city's best bars, or a workday coffee stop, these are the best Sydney cafĂ©s, according to our in-the-know Time Out Sydney critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure. We'll have one B&E roll, please.  Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. Is it lunch time? Check out our guide to Sydney's best restaurants right now.

The 70 best bars in Sydney right now

The 70 best bars in Sydney right now

Winter 2024 update: The cold weather may be here, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop, thanks to Sydney’s many excellent bars. Whether you’re looking for the perfect first-date bar, keen for an after-work tipple, or want to check out the hot new spot, you’ve come to the right place. Right now, we’re crushing on the underground Mexican cantina Centro 86, Sydney stalwart Shady Pines Saloon, and the retro oyster and piano bar, The Hook. This list represents our picks of the best bars in Sydney right now, from fresh faces to tried-and-tested temples of great drinks, ranked by our local editors, critics and fellow booze hounds including Time Out Sydney's Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure. We’re looking for quality above all, with fun, flavour, atmosphere, creativity and options at every price point. Cheers to you, Sydney. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. After a watering hole that's a bit more casual? See our list of the best pubs in Sydney, here. After a meal? Check out our best restaurants here.

Royal National Park Sydney: Your Ultimate Guide

Royal National Park Sydney: Your Ultimate Guide

Sydney's Royal National Park is less than an hour's drive from the CBD, yet so many Sydneysiders haven't stepped foot in the pristine 15,091 hectares of bushland that lines the coast south of the city. Whether you want to swim, trek, picnic, bike ride, or just GTFO of Sydney for the day, the Royal National Park will provide an adventure-filled day out. For details on where to find parking and what facilities the park has, visit the NSW National Parks website. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, travel inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox.  RECOMMENDED: Check out these other beautiful national parks within 100km of the city.

Listings and reviews (84)

Imperial Hotel Gold Coast

Imperial Hotel Gold Coast

Be warned minimalists: if restrained, uncluttered, paired-back aesthetics are what you seek in a getaway destination, the rococo-on-steroids, aggressively opulent surrounds of the Imperial Hotel will not be for you. However, if 24-carat luxury and celebrity chic of the gaudiest variety is more your thing, you’ll find it in spades at this gilded resort brought to you by a legendary fashion house.  The Imperial (previously The Palazzo Versace) definitely falls into the category of ‘bucket list’ stays, and not just because of the bragging rights that come with staying at such a renowned five-star establishment. Beyond the glitz and sparkle of the interiors, the attentive level of service reaches heights few other hotels on the Gold Coast can match. And the Imperial doesn’t just look good. The hotel's three hospitality venues – the seafood buffet Il Barocco; poolside eatery Water Salon; and Le Jardin, where the hotel’s signature high tea is served every bit as luxe as the dĂ©cor.  For the average mortal, the sheer excess of the Imperial could be overwhelming, so it’s best to lean into the alternate reality this hotel conjures. Why not pretend you’re a trust fund baby with billions in the bank as you recline by the oh-so ‘grammable pool, or perhaps a business mogul with money to burn as you enjoy a relaxing beauty treatment at The Beayty Room? Sadly, you may not be able to take much of this grandeur home with you – guests inclined to pilfer even so much as a pillowcase will be char

Wombeyan Caves

Wombeyan Caves

To the untrained eye, these caves are pretty spectacular, but to a geology nerd, they’re downright mind-blowing. Stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, cave coral, helictites, stone shawls and subterranean lakes – it’s geological bingo down here, including some incredibly rare rock formations that are seldom seen by the general public. Most of the individual caves of this system can be accessed individually, but make sure Junction, Fig Tree and Wollondilly are part of your visit, as well as the Dennings Labyrinth, so long as you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind a little claustrophobia. The Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve also has holiday cottages, campgrounds, and guided tours of both the caves and surrounding bushland, so this is an ideal destination for an outdoorsy weekender during the warmer months.  As of 2024, there's also an accessible viewing platform, plus updated facilities including a visitors centre, kiosk and extensive parking.   Want more? Check out these incredible caves in NSW

Holding the Man

Holding the Man

4 out of 5 stars

At first glance, Tommy Murphy’s adaptation of activist and actor Tim Conigrave’s achingly beautiful memoir, Holding the Man, seems to have all the ingredients of a classic AIDS parable: young love defying the heteronormative status quo; young life cruelly stolen by a merciless disease. And yet, following its premiere by Sydney’s Griffin Theatre Company in 2006 – and despite a popularity with audiences that saw it transfer to the Sydney Opera House before becoming a film – this play suffered accusations of not doing enough to confront the political and social alienation that failed Australia’s earliest victims of the HIV/AIDS crisis. And this would arguably be true, if such ends were ever Conigrave’s, or indeed Murphy’s, intention. The biggest clue that those criticisms are off-target comes in the play’s closing seconds, as the audience is told of the memoir’s dedication – “For John” – a tribute to the man Tim Conigrave loved for more than half his life until John’s AIDS-related death on January 26, 1992 at the age of 31. In these two words, the truth of Holding the Man is revealed. This is not a political act in the same vein as William Hoffman’s trailblazing As Is or Tony Kushner's epic masterpiece Angels In America – plays that howl for justice, that hold a mirror up to the ugliness of society’s apathy, that pitch their dramatis personae as agents of change. Holding the Man is an honestly drawn lived experience – joyous, devastating, deeply intimate, but crucially, unbound

Crown Towers Sydney

Crown Towers Sydney

March 2024 update: There’s lots of things to like about Crown, Sydney’s very first six-star hotel. Think: a glittering infinity pool, luxurious interiors and excellent on-site restaurants like pasta palace A’Mare and steak haven Woodcut. It's also where Taylor Swift stayed at while she was in town. But living like a star (at least for a few days) ain’t cheap, so take advantage of Crown’s current three-for-two offer. Stay three nights, only pay for two, and enjoy daily breakfast at Crown’s Epicurean restaurant, home to one of Sydney’s best brekkie buffets. This offer is available for stays until June 30, 2024, and you can find out more here. See you at the pool. - Avril Treasure ***** Read on for our review of Crown Sydney by Maxim Boon from 2021.  Having a strong emotional response to a toilet is a first for me. But as the high-tech, fully mechanised robot lavatory in my marble-clad bathroom automatically lifted its lid – as if to say, ‘Well hello there’ with a big, friendly grin – I couldn’t help but let out a little chirp of joy. Listen carefully and you’ll likely hear similar gasps of glee during your stay at the aggressively opulent Crown Towers Resort at Barangaroo. Every lavish inch of this 'six-star hotel' – Sydney’s first – is designed to wow. Not just to impress, not just to satisfy, but to leave your jaw well and truly on the floor.  As I gingerly place myself down on the seat (already pleasantly warmed to just above body temp) it strikes me that this encounter wit

The Lehman Trilogy

The Lehman Trilogy

4 out of 5 stars

The founding of a bank – even one so infamously entangled in the financial catastrophe that led to the greatest economic crash since the Great Depression – may not immediately sound like a promising premise for a play. However, Ben Power’s skillful adaptation of Stefano Massini’s drama about the rise and fall of Lehman Brothers – the banking colossus that imploded in 2008, heralding the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis – uses this seemingly specific subject matter as a far broader lens. Part memoir, part history lesson, it’s a story that not only charts the fortune and failure of the Lehman family, but also the birth of modern American capitalism and the insatiable greed that feeds it. This intergenerational epic is split into three parts told over three-and-a-half hours (with two intervals, mercifully). It begins in the mid-1800s with the arrival of the first of the Lehman dynasty to enter America: Bavarian immigrant brothers Henry, Emanuel and Mayer. Their humble, hard-grafting entrepreneurism is noble enough at first, as they open a small shop in Alabama selling fabrics and suits. However, when disaster strikes the local cotton plantations around their adopted home, the three brothers spy opportunity in the ashes. For more than a century, this instinct for plucking profit from tragedy allows the Lehman's and their descendants to generate enormous wealth from slavery, war and numerous other breeds of human suffering. And as their power and influence ascends, so too

Sydney Zoo

Sydney Zoo

You’ve taken in the stunning skyline views at Taronga and said ‘G’day!’ to native critters at Wild Life Sydney Zoo, both conveniently within striking distance of the CBD. What possible reason could you have to trek 35km on the Great Western Highway to visit the animal park at Bungarribee? Well, quite a few, as it turns out. It’s true that fascinating fauna can be found in abundance on Sydney’s doorstep, but the state-of-the-art enclosures, carefully considered park design and sheer range of wildlife – including quite a few cute AF baby baboons, hyenas and meerkats – make Sydney Zoo not only a welcome addition to NSW’s animal attractions, but possibly even the new alpha of the pack. One distinct advantage it has over its inner-city counterparts is the absence of awkward topography or urban limitations on its overall footprint, which has opened up opportunities for blue-sky thinking regarding its layout. Whisking visitors on a round-the-world journey, an intuitive circuit of paths leads you through the familiar outback of Australia via the waters of the world’s rivers, deltas and shallow seas, before heading on to explore the jungles of South East Asia, and finally, the great plains of Africa.  Within each geographical precinct, you’ll meet the most iconic animals of the region (plus a few exotic interlopers – South American capybaras and Himalayan red pandas don’t quite fit the regional logic, but we won’t hold that against them). The roster of wild residents is impressive, in

Hyatt Regency Sydney

Hyatt Regency Sydney

Australia’s largest upscale hotel overlooks the water at Sydney’s Darling Harbour – it takes in views of the CBD waterways, as well as providing vistas of the peak of the graceful ANZAC Bridge and the beginnings of the Parramatta River. The best bit: because the harbourside rooms face west, you get stunning views at dusk, as the sun sets over the water (something you don’t get to see happen from hotels that face towards the city’s east or north). The 888-room Hyatt Regency took the chance for multi-million-dollar upgrades during lockdown, so it emerged from the pandemic with a chic new look channelling a subtle nautical vibe inspired by its harbourside setting. The vibe at Hyatt Regency is luxury without the showboating. The interiors are sleek and streamlined, unquestionably luxe yet minimalist in their classic, uncluttered finishes; think mid-century modern meets executive retreat with just a touch of superyacht chic. It’s a cleverly ambidextrous approach – slick and functional enough to be a perfect bolthole for corporate customers yet with enough plush finishing touches and high-end comforts to easily satisfy the expectations of discerning leisure guests.  Should you want a few extra bells and whistles, you can upgrade to one of the rooms on floor 11, which grants guests access to the Regency Club lounge – a comfy retreat with complimentary drinks, canapĂ©s and breakfast options away from the busier public spaces elsewhere in the hotel..  Other facilities include a 24-hour

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

When it comes to over-the-top displays of Chrissy lights, the Hunter Valley Gardens really takes the pudding. Every year, the well-manicured greenery of these parklands is bejewelled with some four million glittering lights, along with old-school rides, festive food and kids' entertainment. You’d have to be a real grinch not to be charmed by the Southern Hemisphere's largest light show. This year’s spectacular will twinkle to life with a colourful 35-metre long superslide, spinning teacups, a 25-metre high ferris wheel and a traditional Venetian carousel. There will also be plenty of new photo opportunities in 2023, including a colourful candy cane tunnel, twinkly tree trail and giant Santa’s arch. Christmas ain't Christmas without Mr and Mrs Claus, and this festival is no exception. Kids will be able to snap a picture with Santa, pose next to a 14-metre tall Christmas tree, and enjoy energetic weekend shows featuring Christmas characters, comedy, magic and stunts. There will also be a breathtaking fireworks display that will light up the sky on New Year’s Eve at 9pm. All the fan favourites from previous years will be at the Gardens too, spread over eight hectares of interactive displays. Dream no longer of a white Christmas by exploring the snowy display filled with arctic animals and frost-capped trees, get sweet at Candyland and frolic through the 12 days of Christmas LED display.  While they're certainly the main event, there’s more than just lights on offer. There are al

A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music

4 out of 5 stars

Of all the Sondheim musicals that could be staged at the small-yet-perfectly-formed Hayes Theatre, A Little Night Music is perhaps the best suited to the venue’s pint-sized proportions. This waltzing rom-com about the “follies of human beings” and the emotional cross-currents that twist and churn in lovers’ hearts explores a realm of intimate yearnings, personal crises, and moving revelations that not only fit comfortably within the Hayes, but thrive in its close quarters. Broadly inspired by the 1955 Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, this 1973-penned show is set during a duskless Swedish midsummer at the turn of the 1900s, as a collection of ill-suited couples try to ignore the glaring incompatibilities standing between them and the lives that they long for. Lawyer Fredrik Egerman (Leon Ford) has married a trophy bride, Anne (Melanie Bird), decades his junior. While lovely and kind hearted, she is physically repulsed by her new husband, so much so that after 11 months, their marriage remains unconsummated. Frederick’s grown-up son Henrik (Jeremi Campese) wants to devote himself to purity and goodness in a quest to be seen as a serious person, but his ambitions to join the clergy are overshadowed by his unrequited desire for his stepmother.  ...a focused production that invites the audience to eavesdrop on the quiet intimacies of its characters Meanwhile, revered-but-fading actress, “the one and only” Desiree Armfeldt (Blazey Best), is no stranger to adoration, bo

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

4 out of 5 stars

Would an Earnest by any other name still be as eligible? Apparently not, according to the myopic affections of Gwendolen Fairfax (Megan Wilding) and Cecily Cardew (Melissa Kahraman), the two fickle bachelorettes with a rather specific kink for names at the heart of Oscar Wilde’s ‘trivial comedy for serious people’. And they aren’t the only puddle-deep paramours in this genteel world of afternoon tea and alter egos. Algernon Moncrieff (Charles Wu) and John Worthing (Brandon McClelland) are equally shallow in their wants, creating phony personas that allow them to save face in polite society while living it up on the side. The imperiously pompous Lady Bracknell (Helen Thomson) sums it up most succinctly: “We live, I regret to say, in an age of surfaces.” Who needs scruples, genuine or otherwise, when you look the part (and have the right name)? In James Gillray’s satirical cartoons of the early 1800s, the upper classes he so vividly lampooned literally embodied their elite excesses – gorged bellies, gaudy fashions and features warped into avian extremes. Later that same century, Wilde would unleash his own withering commentary on the gentry through the written word, but director Sarah Giles seems to have taken a leaf from Gillary’s book to amplify the wit and wisdom of Wilde’s final and most popular comedy.  This is slapstick with all the wit and subtly of Wilde’s razor-edged one liners, neither word nor action sparring for attention, but rather working together in harmony. In

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

5 out of 5 stars

As an undoubted masterpiece of 20th-century musical theatre, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s gory fable Sweeney Todd has proven to be a relentless muse for directors all over the world. Since its Broadway premiere in 1979, this story of a revenge-fuelled barber’s murderous reign of terror has been transplanted into East London pie shops, ‘70s council flats, Depression-era slums, and a whole laundry list of other unexpected settings besides. And yet, sometimes the best creative tack is to stick to the tried and true – so while the Sydney Opera House debut of this grim and gothic production may not seek to reinvent the demon barber of Fleet Street, it still delivers a show that goes straight for the jugular. Director Stuart Maunder offers us a Penny Dreadful come to life. Out of the shadows and smog, a horrid troupe of Victorian spectres – gin-soaked harlets; flat-capped dock workers; disdainful gentry – emerge to warn us of the dangers skulking in the darkness. Right from the off, the white-knuckle hysteria of Sondheim’s merciless vocal extremes and the hints of the Dies Irae funeral march cut through with an unnerving taint of dissonant harmony gets the blood pumping and sets the 19th-century melodrama tone this production channels. Roger Kirk’s staging of grimey wooden scaffolds and soot-stained brick walls coupled with Philip Lethlean’s eerie lighting design amps up this period energy further still, summoning the dank gloaming of London’s cobblestoned streets and the ve

Old Government House

Old Government House

Set in 105 hectares (260 acres) of parkland, Old Government House was constructed between 1799 and 1818 on the foundations of Governor Phillip’s original 1790 thatched cottage. Built by convicts, it became the decision-making centre of the colony and served as the country getaway for the first ten governors of Australia. Over the decades, its has at times also served as everything from a vice-regal residence to a boarding house for local schoolboys.  Today it's a world heritage listed site, recognised as Australia’s oldest public building, having been restored to its original glory by a multi-million-dollar revamp in 1990s. It also boasts the nation’s most important collection of Australian colonial furniture, as well as early textiles and significant homewares from the time of the colonial governors.

News (643)

Rising living costs have hiked up the price of the beloved Bunnings sausage sizzle

Rising living costs have hiked up the price of the beloved Bunnings sausage sizzle

Everything’s become a tad more expensive in recent years. Soft serves are $1.15, smoothies are $16, and let’s not even talk about the price of petrol. It seems the inflation crisis truly takes no prisoners, and the latest victim is none other than the humble Bunnings sausage sizzle. In 2022, the most wholesome of Aussie eats, the Bunning’s sausage sanga, went up in price from $2.50 to $3.50 – a whopping 40 per cent hike. This marked the first price increase in 15 years for the Bunnings sausage sizzle, yet here we are again, facing another hike less than two years later. The hardware giant, which recently replaced Woolworths as Australia’s most trusted brand, announced online that it would raise the price of its canned drinks and bottled water from $1.50 to $2. The 50-cent jump comes in response to feedback from the community groups the beloved sausage sizzle supports. With escalating costs of living, the revenue generated by the B-sizz just wasn’t enough to offset supply costs. Photograph: Alpha via Flickr Thankfully, your snag will remain at $3.50 (with or without onions), meaning you can still have a ripper feed for under five bucks. Also staying the same is that every cent raised by Bunnings will continue to support the not-for-profits who run the sausage sizzles. So, don’t be too salty with the fine folks cooking up the snags when you find yourself fishing around your pockets for another gold coin. RECOMMENDED: McDonald’s has just launched ‘Adult’ Happy Meals in Austral

First look: A huge new artificial surf park is coming to Sydney's Olympic Park

First look: A huge new artificial surf park is coming to Sydney's Olympic Park

Update, March 2024: Construction is underway on Urbnsurf Sydney, and it will open in April 2024. Find the latest about their restaurant and other plans over here. *****  Sure, Sydney has a helluva lot of surfable shoreline, but before too long, Sydneysiders will be able to get their surf on, day or night, even when Mother Nature’s waves aren’t up to the task, at Sydney Olympic Park. Following in the footsteps of Australia’s first urban surf park, which opened in Melbourne back in December 2019 and is pictured above, Sydney’s very own Urbnsurf will be a similarly state-of-the-art facility, using Wavegarden’s innovative ‘cove tech’ to generate surfable waves every eight seconds. When operational, it will be fitted out with LED lighting that will allow punters to make use of the steady supply of surf after dark, and there will be areas suitable for all forms of boarding, from shortboards to longboards, bodyboards to kneeboards, and even bodysurfing. Best of all, the controlled environment makes Urbnsurf the ideal place for surf noobs to cut their teeth without the risk of being slammed by a surprise wipeout. In addition to the surfing pools, the Urbnsurf complex, which will be located across 3.6 hectares near Sydney Olympic Park, will also sport a high-performance centre, working spaces, a leisure pool for families, a skate park and a new surf academy with expert coaches. It’ll also be a great destination for relaxing, complete with beach cabanas, a hot tub, a cafĂ© and even a r

A stunning treetop skywalk and new 46km hiking trail is coming to the Gondwana Rainforest

A stunning treetop skywalk and new 46km hiking trail is coming to the Gondwana Rainforest

It seems NSW treasurer Matt Kean is especially keen (see what we did there?) for New South Welshpeople to get their steps in. In a state budget announced on June 21, not only was a cool $60 million earmarked for the creation of a whopping 91km walking and cycle track to stretch from Sydney Opera House all the way to Parramatta Park, but there has also been $57 million allocated to the creation of the Dorrigo Escarpment Great Walk. This 46km trail will explore the stunning Gondwana Rainforest of the state’s mid-north coast and include an ambitious architectural wonder, the Arc Rainforest Centre. Comprising a series of soaring curved walkways that will snake elegantly through the forest canopy, it will offer unbeatable views of this World Heritage site.  The trail itself will be divided into a two-day loop and a four-day loop, and new campgrounds and hikers' huts and lookouts will allow visitors to immerse themselves in this beautifully unspoilt corner of NSW and get a restful night’s sleep as they do. Render: NSW Government If you don’t have multiple days to spare, the new treetop skywalk at the Rainforest Arc Centre will connect visitors to the existing 6km trail of the Wonga Walk, which can be easily mastered in a day. The centre will also be a valuable educational hub, where visitors can learn about local conservation efforts and more about the Gumbaynggirr people – the Traditional Custodians. Designs for the track and the new visitor centre are underway, with the counci

Taronga TV brings livestreamed animal antics into your home

Taronga TV brings livestreamed animal antics into your home

When tourist attractions began closing in 2020 due to the pandemic, zoos and animal parks all over the world, including in Sydney, turned to live streaming to share their animal antics online, a gambit that has proven to be wildly successful. Taronga Zoo upped the ante with the launch of Taronga TV, a digital platform streaming animal enclosures, behind-the-scenes 'sneak peeks’ and after-hours footage revealing what the keepers and animals get up to when the park is closed to the public. On days at home, you can keep the kids (or yourself) occupied with educational video talks featuring the likes of yellow bellied gliders and squirrel monkey babies. Or chuck on live feeds from the elephant enclosure, the lion's den or the tiger's lair to lighten up your work-from-home days.  Alongside this streaming content, there is also an archive of online resources for teachers – or parents looking for school holidays distractions – featuring fun yet educational materials about exotic wildlife, local fauna and the natural world. Click through to Taronga TV here. Want to get out of the house? Here's our guide to the best easy day hikes in and around Sydney.

First Look: the $48-million refurbishment of the Bondi Pavilion is finally finished

First Look: the $48-million refurbishment of the Bondi Pavilion is finally finished

Just six years shy of its centenary, the Bondi Pavilion has been brought into the 21st-century. Following a two-year, $48-million restoration, the venue overlooking Australia’s most famous beach is preparing to welcome back the public to its modernised and upgraded facilities from September 21. Photograph: Supplied This top-to-bottom glow up includes an art gallery, flexible cultural spaces for events and performances, a welcome centre and box office, an enlarged pottery studio, and renovated changing facilities and bathrooms. The Bondi Story Room is an all-new digital heritage space featuring state-of-the-art amenities that will ensure the pavilion will be a thriving arts and culture hub fit for 2022. Visitors can also enjoy two new dining venues, a restaurant and a cafĂ©, as well as inviting outdoor spaces, such as the landscaped internal courtyards and new grand entrance on the north face of the pavilion.  Restorations have been made to heritage features, such as the original terracotta roof tiles that were first installed in 1928, but these sit side by side with important innovations such as a suite of 220 solar panels that will ensure 70 per cent of the building’s energy needs will come from renewable sources. The lead architect on the ambitious project, Peter Tonkin of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, ensured that a combination of historical respect and dynamic modern design for today’s communities was essential to the development process. “The Bondi Pavilion is a fin

A new public square named after Queen Elizabeth II is being built in Sydney’s CBD

A new public square named after Queen Elizabeth II is being built in Sydney’s CBD

In the latest in a series of major public works announced by premier Dominic Perrottet, a new public square named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II is to be built in the heart of Sydney's CBD. Parts of the NSW Registrar-General’s building on Macquarie Street will be demolished to make way for the outdoor space which will also create more direct access to the Domain parklands from the CBD. Within the square there will be a monument to the late monarch, who died on September 10, aged 96, after reigning over Commonwealth countries including Australia for 70 years.  “We will have this great plaza opened up for the people of New South Wales to enjoy, to appreciate, but most importantly, to remember the service and dedication of Queen Elizabeth to the great people of New South Wales.” The new square is part of plans to revitalise the heritage-listed precinct where some of the very earliest surviving parts of Sydney can be found, between the Domain and the CBD, running parallel with the Botanic Gardens all the way to Bennelong Point and the Opera House. Extensions to some parts of the historically important buildings were added in the 1970s and “should never have been built in the first place,” according to Perrottet. Despite his publicly known position on Australia becoming a republic, prime minister Anthony Albanese hailed the new Queen Elizabeth II square as a “visionary project”, adding that it was “an appropriate and fitting tribute.” The prime minister also made clear earlier th

Will Australians get a day off to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II?

Will Australians get a day off to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II?

While Australians slept on the night of September 8, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully surrounded by her family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She was the longest-ever reigning monarch, serving 70 years on the throne. In the past, major events in the lives of the British royal family have been marked with a public holiday or bank holiday in Commonwealth countries. So, will there be a day of national mourning in Australia?According to leaked plans of the Queen’s funeral arrangements, known as ‘Operation London Bridge', there will be an official day of mourning. The plans, leaked by Politico last year, suggest the funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey in London in ten days, and a commonwealth-wide two-minute silence will be held at noon Greenwich Meantime, 9pm AEST. It has now been officially confirmed that the funeral will take place on September 19. However, Australia's official ‘day of mourning’ will take place on September 22, and a national public holiday has been announced to coincide with this. There may also be another day off to mark the coronation of the Queen's successor, His Majesty King Charles III. While there will already be detailed plans in place for the coronation, it will not be a hurried ceremony and will almost certainly take place early next year. The globe-trotting queen: here are the 117 countries visited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during her lifetime.

Here's how Australia will memorialise the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II

Here's how Australia will memorialise the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II

On the morning of September 9, Australians woke to the news that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign had come to a close. The Queen passed away surrounded by her family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, after several months of declining health. She was aged 96. There will now follow a number of formalities in Commonwealth countries including Australia to memorialise and mourn the late Head of State. Firstly, the Australian parliament will be suspended for 15 days as a mark of respect, echoing similar moves by the UK and Canadian governments as well as other Commonwealth countries and territories. Unlike the UK, however, which will now observe two weeks of national mourning, Australia will only mark a single day of mourning, with a memorial service on September 22 and a national public holiday has been announced by the prime minister to coincide with this. Australians can expect to see flags on monuments, landmarks and political buildings across Australia fly at half-mast until the day after the Queen’s funeral, which is scheduled to take place in London on September 19.  The monarchy’s representative in Australia, governor-general David Hurley, will address the nation at 6.55pm on September 9 to acknowledge the Queen’s passing on behalf of her Australian subjects. Prime minister Anthony Albanese, along with Hurley and the acting commissioner to the UK Lynette Wood, will make the journey to London in the next week or so to see the Queen lying in state, attend the stat

A national public holiday has been announced to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II

A national public holiday has been announced to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Prime minister Anthony Albanese has announced that there will be a national public holiday on September 22 to mark the death of the Queen. The day off will coincide with a national memorial service to be held in Canberra following the Queen’s funeral service in London on September 19. Despite his pro-republic stance, the prime minister said that “now is not the time” to discuss Australia breaking with the crown, adding that he recognised many Australians would be grieving the loss of the Queen. “This is a time of national mourning that we’re engaged with and Thursday the 22nd will be an opportunity for the nation to come together,” Albanese said at a press briefing on September 11. Here are all the details of how the queen is being memorialised in Australia.

NSW’s Sydney rock oyster supplies are being decimated by a deadly disease

NSW’s Sydney rock oyster supplies are being decimated by a deadly disease

One of the quintessential flavours of Sydney is under threat and it could have major impacts on supply for years to come. The entire stock of Sydney rock oysters in Port Stephens, just north of Newcastle, has been lost to the QX disease, a parasite that specifically targets Sydney rock oysters. Instances of the parasite were first seen in the Port Stephens oyster farms in August 2021, but it has spread more persistently during 2022, leading to the loss of 100 per cent of the region's oysters – numbering in the hundreds of thousands of individual oysters – which accounts for 16 per cent of nation’s supply. The impacts of this mass die-off could be felt by consumers for years, as it is likely to take that long for the oyster beds in this area to recover. In addition to the loss of Sydney rock oysters, Pacific oyster yields in Port Stephens have been smaller than usual over the past year due to unexplained mortality unrelated to the QX disease but possibly linked to repeated flooding in the area. The impacts of the QX outbreak have already resulted in a number of oyster farms in Port Stephens closing down, and more are likely to fold as it could take more than a year before they can begin supplying restaurants again. While QX disease is deadly for oysters, it has no impact on human health. A survey by NSW Primary Industries indicates that the QX outbreak is currently contained to Port Stephens, which will be a relief to the state’s largest oyster farms on the South Coast around

Bureau of Meteorology confirmed: heavy rains and flooding forecast throughout summer

Bureau of Meteorology confirmed: heavy rains and flooding forecast throughout summer

Hopes were raised in June when the Bureau of Meteorology declared that the whopping multi-year La Niña weather event, responsible for soaking Sydney for two consecutive summers, was finally weakening. However, any optimism about a return to sunny skies was dampened just one month later in July, when early indications hinted that another rain-inducing weather event, the Indian Ocean Dipole, could send yet more downpours Australia’s way. BoM has now confirmed its summer forecast, and not only are we likely to have another soggy summer, but devastating floods are also highly likely in some parts of northern NSW. The north coast around Byron Bay and Lismore is likely to see yet more floods, with the BoM issuing a warning that this region is likely to experience severe storms in the coming months and throughout the summer. The alarming forecast prompted federal emergency management minister Murray Watt to urge residents of NSW to “be prepared”, adding assurances that the Albanese government would be accelerating its efforts to install mitigation methods that could control the danger of flooding in the most at-risk areas.  During a press briefing at Parliament House on August 31, the BoM also warned that intense rainfall and the possibility of damaging storms and giant hail were likely across the East Coast of Australia. After almost three years of above-average rainfall, with a new 60-year record set in Sydney in late August, groundwater levels are already saturated. BoM climatolo

It's official: Enmore Road has been voted Sydney's coolest street

It's official: Enmore Road has been voted Sydney's coolest street

If you didn’t know it already, you do now. According to Time Out's annual global survey of the very best of urban life, Enmore Road, the pumping heart of the Inner West, has just been named the coolest street in Sydney for 2022. Tucked snugly between Newtown and Marrickville, Enmore Road is the beating culture highway that gives the Inner West its trendy name. No matter the time of day, this street is abuzz with a rainbow of diverse people, sparkling shows and fabulous food and drink, with this street a place where nothing is the same twice.  On a jaunt down Enmore Road, you’ll find yourself on an adventure that rolls from day to late night. Hard hitting coffee can be had at Cafe Shenkin, while jaw-dropping breakfasts are to be inhaled at Saga, where exotic and brilliant pastry concoctions reign supreme. Throughout the day, explore a whole host of epic shops, including the perennially dreamy Swop, and, for all those that like fringed suede jackets; travel to the wild West over at Route 66.  All this is hungry work, which is good, because Enmore Road knows how to deliver when it comes to grub. Whether it be lunch or dinner, you have the opportunity to dance between multiple countries on one street, with epic Egyptian falafels to be had at Cairo Takeaway, legendary Lebanese on offer at Emma’s Snack Bar, and succulent Nigerian going off at Little Lagos. Also, no meal on Enmore Road is complete without a scoop of groundbreaking gelato from Cow and Moon. Obviously.  Along with din