Sydney CBD is abuzz during the week but is often considered a dull, grey abandoned space outside of business hours. The lull sets in after the workers have fled the city and the weekend in particular leaves the city streets quiet and empty (outside of the shopping and tourist precincts like Pitt St Mall, and of course outside of Friday night drinks!).
However, for those who dare to wander the streets in and around town outside business hours, there are many discoveries to be made. Walks, hidden paths, views and galleries can all be revelled in and soaked up on any lazy Saturday or Sunday. And the early morning sun is not to be missed in this city of the outdoors!
1. Art Gallery of NSW – it may not be the Louvre or Met, but the Art Gallery of NSW is one of the cultural hubs of Sydney. A constantly revolving door of challenging and/or simply beautiful exhibitions, the legacy of Edmund Capon is a vibrant bright space with a whimsical permanent collection (keep an eye out for those Tom Roberts classics!) and an uncanny ability to always leave me relaxed and pensive, somehow calmer, afterwards. The views to Woolloomooloo and the warmth from the sunlight are an added bonus. Oh, and did I mention I could lose myself in the Gallery Shop (always a great one for those last minute gifts with a twist)?
2. Modern Architecture & Utilitarian Beauty – when I walk into work in the morning (usually getting into the city around 7:30am), I love having the empty streets to myself to look skywards and take in the towering office buildings around me. Often great fetes of engineering, design and utilitarian practicality, there is no reason that an afternoon or morning spent in architectural appreciation of modern commercial real estate should be any less enjoyable than a tour of ancient rubble overseas! Start soaking in your everyday surroundings and what your eyes see around you and your city will become a source of great enjoyment! The path from the redeveloped Westfield, down Castlereagh St (and the luxury brand stores!) and through Philip St, O’Connell St or Bligh St to Farrer Place and Chifley Square is surprisingly fascinating…and there is a fabulous florist “Flourish” in the Deutsche Bank building for those girls who love colourful and extravagant bouquets!
A touch of luxury and fragrance: http://www.flourish.com.au/
3. Neo-Gothic Paradise – St Mary’s Cathedral and Hyde Park are stunning centrepieces of central Sydney. The Cathedral has recently been cleaned and the bright sandstone shimmers on a sunny day. Sitting in Hyde Park across the road or even on the steps outfront affords you a great reading spot as well as a vantage point to appreciate this reminder of Sydney’s history. Should you wander inside you will find an even more impressive and grand Cathedral, a haven for tourists and locals alike to reflect and meditate before taking on the world
4. Wharves & Luxury – Woolloomooloo and the Finger Wharf are home to luxury yachts and great restaurants. A sumptuous Asian feast of flavours at China Doll, a wander along the wharves and a beer at The Tilbury are the perfect way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon!
Check it out: http://www.chinadoll.com.au/
5. Sydney Harbour – I have lived in Sydney my whole life, but I never tire of the stunning views around Circular Quay, The Rocks and the Botanic Gardens. Each time there is a different light, different clouds, different reflections from the water. Each time it can be rediscovered anew. A glass of Verdelho or Pinot Gris on a Friday evening at Opera Bar are not a bad combination with this view either to celebrate the arrival of the weekend!
Love Maz x