GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN

COM­BIN­ING THE BEST OF BEACH AND CITY AT­TRAC­TIONS, SYD­NEY SETS THE SCENE FOR A WHIRL­WIND WEEK­END

Central Telegraph - - WEEKEND - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: JULES INGALL For more in­for­ma­tion, go to Face­book Jules Ingall Pho­tog­ra­phy or In­sta­gram @Julesin­gall

Most of us have trav­elled to Syd­ney, but if you’re any­thing like me, ev­ery trip has been for a pur­pose — work or an event.

The cos­mopoli­tan cap­i­tal isn’t some­where I would usu­ally go for a hol­i­day, yet there are so many things on my bucket list that I never seem to find the time to tick off.

So, with the help of some friends, I headed off on a girls’ week­end to find some hid­den gems in a city that has been In­sta­grammed, pho­tographed and writ­ten about count­less times. I’m talk­ing about a bunch of girls, leav­ing hus­bands, part­ners, pets and kids be­hind and tak­ing off on an easy es­cape. With Syd­ney just a short and fairly cheap flight away, it’s as vi­able a plan as any road trip.

My favourite thing about Syd­ney is the beach­side sub­urbs, so our first stop had to be Bondi Beach.

Ho­tel and Airbnb op­tions abound, but with traf­fic and park­ing so hec­tic, find­ing some­where cen­tral should be a pri­or­ity.

My top pick is QT Bondi on Beach Road, with a Wool­worths and liquor store beneath high-end ho­tel apart­ments. In true QT style, the ser­vice is first class and the venue quirky and fun.

From here, you can ex­plore with­out any need for a car — for ex­tra pedal power, the ho­tel has bikes.

As for that bucket list I men­tioned, I’ve al­ways wanted to do the iconic Bondi to Bronte walk.

Start­ing at Bondi Beach, you stroll along tall sand­stone clifftops with spec­tac­u­lar panoramic views of the ocean and lux­u­ri­ous homes that fringe the track.

The walk is about 1.5km and takes — very con­ser­va­tively — about an hour, in­clud­ing plenty of stops to snap pho­tos along the way.

Ta­ma­rama Beach is a great cof­fee stop, with a cute lit­tle cafe on the beach.

Bronte is home to one of the most fa­mous beach baths in Syd­ney, but there are ac­tu­ally 44 in to­tal, so plenty to choose from.

Al­most ev­ery beach in Syd­ney has a nat­u­ral rock pool for those who want a more pro­tected ocean swim and most of them don’t cost a thing. While a dip in an ocean pool is a calm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, the waves crash­ing over the rock walls make for dra­matic images.

An­other op­tion for walk­ers is Hornby Light­house. Take the 15 minute drive via the ex­clu­sive Syd­ney sub­urb of Vau­cluse and park at the pretty beach at Camp Cove.

This track is loved by lo­cals but not over­run by tourists. Hornby Light­house is charm­ingly painted in red and white stripes mak­ing it a strik­ing land­mark on the en­try to Syd­ney Har­bour and Wat­sons Bay.

Af­ter our fill of fresh air, it’s time to hit the streets of Bondi for cafes, restau­rants and bou­tique shop­ping. The mar­kets held at Camp­bell Pa­rade ev­ery Sun­day from 10am to 4pm of­fer fresh flow­ers, food, fash­ion and lo­cal crafts.

But you shouldn’t visit Syd­ney with­out a so­journ at the heart of the ac­tion.

One of the de­lights of a city es­cape is

ex­plor­ing his­toric and her­itage build­ings — it’s even bet­ter if you can stay at the scene.

The old Syd­ney Wa­ter build­ing in Pitt Street has been con­verted to the lux­u­ri­ous Primus Ho­tel.

Primus has stayed true to the site’s her­itage, which is ob­vi­ous as soon as you step in­side the build­ing. Opt­ing for the wow fac­tor over max­imis­ing use of space, a huge voided en­try with im­pres­sive 8m-high col­umns of red scagli­ola mar­ble greet you on en­try.

Guests are treated to beau­ti­fully appointed, op­u­lent rooms and a great rooftop pool and bar. While it’s cen­tral to Syd­ney at­trac­tions, it’s also a great place to just stay in-house and soak up the am­bi­ence of a true hid­den gem.

To find more of these trea­sures, there’s no need for a map or guide — just get lost dis­cov­er­ing this great city with friends and no set plans.

I have one more tip for trav­el­ling with friends and it avoids all the mess­ing around about who pays for what.

At the start of the trip, ask every­one to put a set amount into a kitty. Ev­ery time you have to pay for a taxi, Uber, cof­fee or meal, it comes out of the kitty. Top it up equally as nec­es­sary and split the re­main­der evenly at the end of your trip (or like us, buy a lotto ticket to share and keep your fin­gers crossed).

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