With so many beaches, laneways, national parks and markets, Sydney is a city that’s packed with hidden gems! So from the mountains to the ocean, check out our guide to some local favourite secret spots, and try keep them a secret yourself too - it won’t last long.
By Bethany Kinner
This impeccable Asian food retreat can be found within the densely packed neighbourhood if Chippendale. Spice Alley is quite literally a hidden gem, nestled away in a tiny laneway off Kensington street. Part of its charm is its ability to transport you to what feels like a nook in a faraway land, yet you're just a 7-minute walk from the chaos of Sydney's Central Station. With authentic dishes from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam and everywhere in between, the Asian continent is well represented here, so there’s something for everyone. And don't forget to round out your visit with a stop at Gin Lane, Spice Alley's unforgettable drinking hole that houses over 80 varieties of gin and serves up some of the most creative concoctions in all of the city. This spot is open year round so get yourself there rain or shine and your taste buds will surely thank you.
An inner west charmer known for its vast offerings and support of local and international artists, this former railway carriage turned multi-arts centre has too many inspiring events happening to not grace it with your presence and support. The city's best farmers’ market is also here every Saturday from 8am-1pm, where you should come with not only an empty shopping trolley but also an empty belly. And the venue's ties to food don't end there; you can attend various cooking related master classes on site as well. Or if art is more your thing, you're also in luck. The central motivation for Carriage Works is to bring artists and audiences together through modern issues and ideas presented through various performances, workshops, and installations. Open daily from 10am-6pm, Carriage Works is easily accessible from all areas of the city and is in an up in coming area worth an exploration as well.
Glow Worm Tunnel in Wollemi National Park
Those keen for an adventure will be handsomely rewarded with this day trip. Breathtaking forest views and walks along an abandoned industrial complex and railway all lead to an un-used 400 metre-long tunnel that houses a community of glow worms. This damp and dark environment is most comfortably navigated with a torch and closed toed shoes, so don't leave home without them. Enter the tunnel with your torch on and aimed away from the worms to protect their sensitive auras. When you can no longer see light from either end of the tunnel switch off your light source and allow just the worms' blue-green glow to guide you. While the worms alone are a once in a lifetime experience, make the trip extra worth it with a pit stop in the closest town of Lithgow. You can stop there on the way in for a cup of coffee and sausage roll to fuel your adventure, or to rest and recharge for the gorgeous drive back into the city.
For those traveling workers looking for a collaborative and supportive space to connect and create, look no further than Commune. The delightful inner west neighbourhood of Erskineville is where you'll find this unique community dedicated to providing co-working options as well as various workshops, yoga classes, and rentable spaces fit for many types of functions or shooting sets. The industrial warehouse structures are mixed with soft earthy elements and lighting which create an edgy and progressive vibe to spark your innermost creative juices. Co-working day passes can be purchased as well as full and part-time weekly memberships. So, no matter how long you're in town for you can experience all the best that Commune has to offer.
Dudley Page Reserve
What the actual park lacks in its own aesthetics and amenities, it more than makes up for with its commanding views. Perch yourself atop its large hill and look east towards the wide open ocean, or turn completely around to face west and you'll get the most perfect view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, and the city skyline. Dudley Page is located in Dover Heights, which is often overshadowed by its famous neighbours, North Bondi and Rose Bay. But we think the reserve's underwhelming home turf makes it all the more enticing. Whether you're an early bird eager for a glimpse of the day's first rays of sunlight or you're keen for a picnic dinner and a multicoloured sunset, Dudley Page Reserve provides unbeatable panoramic views of both.
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