The best of Sydney
20 things to do in Sydney at least once in your life
Sydney’s a beautiful place to live and a glorious city to visit. We’ve picked out 20 things to do that show off our best side, from kayaking on the harbour and cocktails with a view to our favourite weekly markets, the best underground restaurant in the city and where to get your culture fix.
Escape rooms in Sydney
Puzzle rooms are taking Sydney by storm. Every time we check, another two seem to be popping up out of nowhere – and each one raises the bar with new ideas inspired by the hundreds of escape rooms found across the world. (Apparently Hungary is the place to go for the ultimate mystery room binge – there are more than 100 rooms in Budapest alone). The concept is simple: solve a variety of puzzles placed in and around the room before your allotted time runs out. Each room has a different theme and stimulates all senses, demanding a variety of problem-solving skills. Time Out took the challenge of visiting nine rooms in the city. Whether we got out in time? Well, that's a different matter.
The Sydney tourist hit list
Events coming up in Sydney
Fairs and festivals
Sydney Writers’ Festival
In a week of talks, workshops and performances, the Sydney Writers’ Festival brings together more than 400 international and Australian writers from authors of best-selling fiction to TV scriptwriters and spoken word poets. Last year, outspoken poet-rapper-novelist Kate Tempest took the festival by storm after a memorable appearance on Q&A last year. Gloria Steinem gave a rousing keynote address on the progress of feminism at Sydney Town Hall, and author of A Little Life Hanya Yanagihara closed the week by asking: how much can a reader handle? The first speaker for this year’s program is Veep and The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci, who is giving a talk on satire at Sydney Town Hall on May 2. The full program will be available on Thursday April 6. Tickets for the 20th festival are on sale from 9am, Friday April 7.
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This month at Knowledge Market
The Knowledge Market is an initiative of Victoria Harbour, Melbourne's waterfront residential development on the CBD's doorstep. A thriving hub of peer-to-peer networking and local creativity, the Knowledge Market has an ever-changing rotation of activities that anyone can get involved with – some that are about benefitting your business, and others that are all about enriching your life. Jiva Wellbeing have just partnered with the Knowledge Market to bring casual yoga classes five days a week. Also, Spendlove and Lamb will be giving their insights into storytelling, digital strategy, content production and management for businesses, through a three-hour workshop on May 25. You can also hear the sweet sounds of the Melbourne Acapella Singers, or join in on the fun yourself. It's free and anyone can rock up and sing – no experience necessary, with sessions on May 4, 13, 20 and 25. The young guns from Melbourne City Rotaract Club meet on Tuesday evenings to foster ways to create positive change in the local community. Your Time Matters business talks offer practical advice for start-ups and local businesses. The next seminar will focus on Networking with a Twist, dishing out the secrets for getting the maximum mileage out of your business networking relationships, taking place on Thursday May 11 at 5pm. There's loads more workshops, free events, creative kick-starters and inspiring networking opportunities, so make sure you keep your eye on the Knowledge Market. Find
Eight of the world’s most beautiful overwater villas
Overwater bungalows are famous across the world, and there's no guessing why – who wouldn't want to wake up in a house on stilts above some crystal clear turquoise water? For those seeking all out relaxation (and enviable Instagram snaps), take a peek inside eight of the world's best overwater bungalows.
Stockroom Restaurant and Stillery Cocktail Bar
Surrounded by the retail and tree-lined streets of Double Bay is the InterContinental hotel, a charming destination whose marble and gold interiors house a restaurant and cocktail lounge that any passer-by can experience. Enter the hotel via the regal, winding marble staircase and try the gin-focused menu at the sophisticated Stillery lounge. Or sidle into Stockroom Restaurant for a seasonally-inspired menu utilising the best of local produce, and a casual atmosphere. With more than 100 varieties of rare, vintage and limited-edition gin and an innovative menu of aromatic G&Ts, Stillery is your place to start. Each of their unique G&Ts is elaborately garnished with botanicals matched to the base gin's flavour profile. A Gin Mare, for example, is a savoury Mediterranean sipper that arrives crowned by ripe basil leaves, rosemary twigs and a juicy cherry tomato with fever tree tonic, adding botanical-enhancing flavour and aromas. You can settle in here with a long list of gin cocktails and accompanying tasting plates or head to the adjoining dining room for more. Stockroom Restaurant is offering a three-course menu paired with a Stillery G&T for $69 per person this autumn. Stockroom Restaurant’s Executive Chef, Alex Vilches, has designed the menu to pair nicely with the flavours of gin. Dishes are made with floral elements in mind, like the glistening kingfish carpaccio which arrives dotted with crunchy black sesame and delicate edible flower petals, the fresh and light bites
Two hours north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley’s Lovedale is a community well known for its produce and wineries (among them Wandin Valley Estate). It’s also the home of the Lovedale Long Lunch, where the region’s leading chefs and winemakers come together and work together once a year, sharing a table and freezer space. And it’s in Lovedale you’ll find the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, home to Redsalt – a restaurant showcasing the best of local produce all year round. Redsalt’s menu is under the direction of executive chef James Ashton, taking his lead from the seasons and sourcing local ingredients. Free-range poultry hails from a farm across in Thirlmere, while leaves of red elk, rocket and spinach come, we’re told, “from Gloria” – a grower whose property you pass on the way in. Among the starters, go for fois gras parfait, spread, country-style, across the sweet and soft brioche, which is baked in-house. Prawns grilled à la grecque come stacked over a cocktail sauce in the American Floridian style – a tomato base with horseradish, tarragon and a touch of mayo. Shrimp share the plate with softly charred cos lettuce that gives the dish smokiness, while pickled watermelon rind teases out the sweetness of the sauce. Mains are built around a grill concept, with a feature dish by Ross Lusted from much-awarded Sydney restaurant the Bridge Room – a grilled Wagyu loin with spinach butter, bone marrow, heirloom carrots, dried morels and a stick veal jus. But today, it’s the dry-a