How to spend your time in Sydney, Australia
Take to the Water
We start by jumping straight into its heart: Sydney Harbour. It’s the focus of life in the city, and also the starting point of one of sailing’s most prestigious prizes — the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Our tour guide for the morning is Paul Clitheroe, skipper of Balance. She skims the top of the water just as the sun begins to rise in the early morning, filling the vast landscape with a deep rich blue. “It’s one of the truly wonderful harbors of the world. Most Australians cling to the sea, and most Sydney-siders have an attachment to the water — it just draws you in.”
Here, the water itself is society’s great equalizer — each citizen with equal access and equal title. It’s at the heart of the welcoming attitude and famous laidback reputation for which Australia is now internationally famous. “How can you get stressed on a day like today?” he asks.
Salty Way of Life
It’s a feeling shared by Stephanie Gilmore, the six-time world champion surfer, as we paddle out deeper into the waves off Bondi Beach later that afternoon. “It’s our playground, our favorite playground. Salt, sea, and sand is just ingrained in Australians.”
For her, surfing speaks to Australia’s commitment to quality of life over all else. “It’s a spiritual experience, and you find yourself becoming very centred. It literally takes you away from the world of the office and it brings you into the moment.”
Those values seem to have even crept into the office itself. Justin Hemmes is the undisputed king of hospitality here, having purchased many of Sydney’s most exclusive restaurants and instead molded them into lifestyle destinations. For him, the key to turning Sydney’s social scene into a business empire was to recognize the fundamental values of its people — they’re inquisitive and openminded. “Everyone always talks about ‘where was your last meal?’ The audience is very sophisticated. They are discerning and they demand quality. They have great taste and love — love — food.”
And whether it’s a meal or a new experience, Australians are explorers, always seeking a new adventure. They’re travelers by nature, which makes it ironic that Sydney is one of the few cities that you never really need to leave. Where locals can spend their weekend at home and come back to work on Monday feeling like they’ve been away on holiday. And for visitors? The first thought that usually goes through their minds once they touch down is, why
sooner?• didn’t I come here