All Ashore

How to spend your time in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia

Porthole Cruise Magazine - - What’s Inside - BY JAMES WIL­LIAMS

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.”

So­phis­ti­cated Tastes

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

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