Sydney sights

Amy Spence takes in Vivid and the Manly Food and Wine Festival.

Amy Spence takes in Vivid and the Manly Food and Wine Festival.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Lamb fillets from Quay.
Black-lipped abalone from Quay.
The Opera House lit up during the Vivid Sydney Festival.

I flew out of Gisborne on the 5.10pm flight and arrived in Sydney at 9pm to be greeted by friends who live in the Northern Beaches — a great wee seaside town by the name of Curl Curl. Next day, we were up at 6am and hit the open water Curl Curl Beach ocean pool to do some laps as the sun rose. These pools are brilliant, something New Zealand should invest in. I swam with a few others, much to my surprise at this early hour, and there were some amazing fish cruising about in the water. We then headed to the local coffee spot about 100m away and had a beautiful Green Goddess Smoothie and a fabulous coffee.

I caught the ferry from Manly to Sydney CBD where I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of city life. I had a lunch booking at Quay with a good friend and we were not disappointed. It’s a magnificient setting overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. The service was exceptional and the food amazing. We had a four-course lunch with wine matches which included smoked eel, wild black-lipped abalone, Flinders Island salt grass lamb and a guava and raspberry snow egg. The dishes came with beautiful wee palate cleansers and sides to taste. Quay is definitely a favourite place of mine and I would highly recommend a visit to this restaurant.

I caught the ferry back to Manly and met friends for happy hour at the Manly Wine Bar which has over 100 wines on the wine list — you can buy most wines by the glass.

On Saturday morning, the crew went for an early surf so I donned my running shoes, squeezed into some tights and headed off from northern Curl Curl along trails and then followed the boardwalks around the coast towards Bondi, taking in the cute Freshwater Beach. There were so many people out and active on these boardwalks and I discovered a few more ocean pools along the coast line — they are just awesome.

Then it was off to Cooh Café for an amazing breakfast — I had sweetcorn fritters topped with smashed avocado and a fresh tomato salsa along with my morning coffee. All the food looked fresh and fabulous and they had a beautiful cabinet selection that had me craving for more! They also roast their own beans at the café.

We had to park about 10 blocks away which is quite the norm over there as opposed to Gisborne where you just drive around the block again if you don’t get a park the first time!

After breakfast, we checked out the local Harris Farm Markets. I have fallen in love with these markets and dream that one day we will get something similar here. The produce wasn’t all perfect but so, so fresh, and the smells as I wandered through the various departments stick to me to this day. I found myself with a trolley loaded with goods that I really didn’t need but simply had to taste, try and play with. The cheeses, yoghurts, breads and fresh departments were so delicious.

At home, I plattered up some of these new creations to eat with friends and then caught the ferry back to the city to take in the views on the opening night of the Vivid Sydney Festival, the most spectacular light show I have ever seen. All the buildings of Sydney including the Opera House are lit up and there are special shows and acts on every corner. Just gazing at the changing fluoro colours on the Opera House, like an amazing ship ready to sail, was jaw-dropping.

There is so much to do and see. The whole of Sydney CBD was a majestic maze of breathtaking colour. What an event!

Then we headed to the Manly Food and Wine Festival. The streets in and around Manly were closed off to traffic and hundreds of people soaked up the cool atmosphere, eating amazing street food and tasting an array of drinks from various vendors.

Some of the craft beers were great and the street food was a whole new level. Where to start and what to try? I settled on beautiful Chinese Peking duck pancakes, Asian dumplings and beautiful Spanish churros with a cinnamon sugar coating. The day ended with a nice brew — G&T followed by green tea, plenty of laughter and a good musician playing some great tunes.

On my last morning, I caught up with another great friend for coffee in a cool wee industrial café on the way to the airport. The bacon and rocket on toasted ciabatta with a tomato chutney left me craving for more.

I can’t wait to go back to Sydney — it’s an amazing place to enjoy the hustle and bustle of big city life for a weekend break away from our wee gem of a place in Gisborne.

I flew out of Gisborne on the 5.10pm flight and arrived in Sydney at 9pm to be greeted by friends who live in the Northern Beaches — a great wee seaside town by the name of Curl Curl. Next day, we were up at 6am and hit the open water Curl Curl Beach ocean pool to do some laps as the sun rose. These pools are brilliant, something New Zealand should invest in. I swam with a few others, much to my surprise at this early hour, and there were some amazing fish cruising about in the water. We then headed to the local coffee spot about 100m away and had a beautiful Green Goddess Smoothie and a fabulous coffee.

I caught the ferry from Manly to Sydney CBD where I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of city life. I had a lunch booking at Quay with a good friend and we were not disappointed. It’s a magnificient setting overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. The service was exceptional and the food amazing. We had a four-course lunch with wine matches which included smoked eel, wild black-lipped abalone, Flinders Island salt grass lamb and a guava and raspberry snow egg. The dishes came with beautiful wee palate cleansers and sides to taste. Quay is definitely a favourite place of mine and I would highly recommend a visit to this restaurant.

I caught the ferry back to Manly and met friends for happy hour at the Manly Wine Bar which has over 100 wines on the wine list — you can buy most wines by the glass.

On Saturday morning, the crew went for an early surf so I donned my running shoes, squeezed into some tights and headed off from northern Curl Curl along trails and then followed the boardwalks around the coast towards Bondi, taking in the cute Freshwater Beach. There were so many people out and active on these boardwalks and I discovered a few more ocean pools along the coast line — they are just awesome.

Then it was off to Cooh Café for an amazing breakfast — I had sweetcorn fritters topped with smashed avocado and a fresh tomato salsa along with my morning coffee. All the food looked fresh and fabulous and they had a beautiful cabinet selection that had me craving for more! They also roast their own beans at the café.

We had to park about 10 blocks away which is quite the norm over there as opposed to Gisborne where you just drive around the block again if you don’t get a park the first time!

After breakfast, we checked out the local Harris Farm Markets. I have fallen in love with these markets and dream that one day we will get something similar here. The produce wasn’t all perfect but so, so fresh, and the smells as I wandered through the various departments stick to me to this day. I found myself with a trolley loaded with goods that I really didn’t need but simply had to taste, try and play with. The cheeses, yoghurts, breads and fresh departments were so delicious.

At home, I plattered up some of these new creations to eat with friends and then caught the ferry back to the city to take in the views on the opening night of the Vivid Sydney Festival, the most spectacular light show I have ever seen. All the buildings of Sydney including the Opera House are lit up and there are special shows and acts on every corner. Just gazing at the changing fluoro colours on the Opera House, like an amazing ship ready to sail, was jaw-dropping.

There is so much to do and see. The whole of Sydney CBD was a majestic maze of breathtaking colour. What an event!

Then we headed to the Manly Food and Wine Festival. The streets in and around Manly were closed off to traffic and hundreds of people soaked up the cool atmosphere, eating amazing street food and tasting an array of drinks from various vendors.

Some of the craft beers were great and the street food was a whole new level. Where to start and what to try? I settled on beautiful Chinese Peking duck pancakes, Asian dumplings and beautiful Spanish churros with a cinnamon sugar coating. The day ended with a nice brew — G&T followed by green tea, plenty of laughter and a good musician playing some great tunes.

On my last morning, I caught up with another great friend for coffee in a cool wee industrial café on the way to the airport. The bacon and rocket on toasted ciabatta with a tomato chutney left me craving for more.

I can’t wait to go back to Sydney — it’s an amazing place to enjoy the hustle and bustle of big city life for a weekend break away from our wee gem of a place in Gisborne.

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