Where Sydney

ASK THE EXPERT

- Ben Thomas CHIEF CONCIERGE, WEST HOTEL SYDNEY

Q: If you had just one day in Sydney, what would you do?

A: You have to start by seeing the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. A stroll through the Royal Botanical Garden Sydney brings you to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, which provides a stunning backdrop of the skyline. In the afternoon, a ferry ride to Manly beach is definitely a highlight. Finish the day exploring The Rocks and kicking back in one of its many historic pubs or bars.

Q: Do you have any top tips for seeing Vivid?

A: Start the night off with a Vivid-inspired cocktail at the West Hotel's own Solander Dining & Bar. Vivid is great to see from the water. I would recommend one of Captain Cook Cruises' Harbour Lights cruises. If you're feeling more adventurou­s, climb Sydney Harbour Bridge on The Vivid Climb—a truly breathtaki­ng experience.

Q: What is your favourite thing to do as the weather gets colder?

A: I really enjoy checking out the craft beer breweries that have been popping up, many of them in old industrial areas of the inner-west. You can grab a tasting tray of seasonal ales and lagers. My go-tos are Wayward Brewing Co. in Camperdown and

The Grifter Brewing Co. in Marrickvil­le.

Q: Where is the best place to pick up an authentic souvenir?

A: The Rocks Markets is a great spot to pick up authentic and handmade souvenirs. If you’re willing to splash out on a unique Australian product, a pair of R.m.williams boots fit perfectly into a suitcase.

Q: If you were spending the weekend out of town, where would you go?

A: The Southern Highlands is very popular with locals and only 90 minutes’ drive south of Sydney. It's a great place to relax and spend the night in one of the charming old historic towns such as Bowral, Berrima or Kangaroo Valley. The area is home to many picturesqu­e landscapes, colourful gardens, culinary delights and, overall, it offers a real sense of escape from city life!

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