About Monica U
Lives in Sydney, Australia
Since Jan 2014
35-49 year old female
Globetrotter, foodie and lover of good festivals, digital marketing and writing. I have visited more than 80 cities around the world but have called Sydney home for the last 10 years. Previous to that I lived in Cancun Mexico and Playa del Carmen for 5 years. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to cook a meal and share it among friends.
Flea & street markets
Speciality shops, Flea & street markets
This beautiful theatre, created by architects Peddle Thorp and Walker, sits opposite Pier 6/7 on Hickson Road. Andrew Upton became Co Artistic Director with Cate Blanchett at the beginning of 2008 and it plays annually to audiences of more than 300,000. It is one of my favourite places to have a drink and be mesmerized by views of the beautiful Sydney Harbour and Bridge. Many times, I have taken a notebook and sat at one of the comfortable lounges with a drink to seek inspiration.
Going to Paddo's markets, as they are affectionately known, on Saturday mornings has been a ritual for quite a while. The more than 150 stalls are filled with creative earrings, necklaces and fashion accessories, beautifully smelling soaps, candles and other products that inspire. The markets opened in 1973 to encourage local fashion designers, craftspeople, jewellery makers and artists to showcase their goods. They also contribute to providing a warm meal and support for Sydney’s homeless and disadvantaged through the Eddie Dixon Centre. If you are looking for that "unusual" and highly creative gift or simply would love to stroll around the beautiful markets, this is the place to go!
Being a Harbour, Sydney has some of best seafood on offer. Grab a coffee early in the morning and head to the Sydney Fish Markets at Blackwattle Bay in Pyrmont. The place moved to its current location in 1966, and nowadays trades an average of 50 tonnes of fresh seafood every day! Plus, if you're into cooking, the Sydney Seafood School inside the markets has regular classes conducted by top chefs in Sydney like Matt Moran, Alessandron Pavoni, Lucio Galleton and Justin North.
Maybe I am a little biased, but this small restaurant in the heart of Paddington has been an institution for Italian food since Lucio Galletto opened its doors in 1983. His cuisine focuses on northern Italian dishes, using the freshest produce available. It is a great place to go with friends or for a romantic dinner. Some of my favorite dishes are the crudi di pesce , carpaccio of kingfish with pickled green tomato, avocado, fennel, radish & chive, any of the homemade pastas or the seafood stew: ocean perch, scampi, clams & bottle squid in a shellfish, tomato & fregolone broth. Lucio is a patron of the Arts too, and his walls are surrounded by Australian paintings that span 3 decades - in fact, he was also awarded the "Medal of the Order of Australia" in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours!
Armed with a picnic basket and good walking shoes, visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney. They are the oldest of their kind in Sydney and an oasis of 30 hectares in the heart of the city, with many vantage points overlooking the Harbour. An excellent place to have lunch is close to Mrs Macquarie's chair, where you can let all your worries go while enjoying a bottle of Barossa Valley Semillon 2012!
Feeling like you want to start the day with an active adventure? The 6km coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee is a fabulous walk that features views, park, cliffs, bays and even a seaside cemetery, all along the South Pacific Ocean. Start at the iconic Bondi Icebergs, work out a sweat for about 1.2km then stop for coffee (and a dip in the summer) at the secluded and posh Tamarama Beach. Continue the coastal walk for another 1.8km to reach Bronte beach and stop for a moment of silent contemplation at Waverly cemetery. Then power along the final 3km to reach Coogee Beach, and reward yourself with the quintessential Australian food: "Fish and Chips." You deserve it!
A trip to Sydney would not be complete without venturing onto "the other side" of the Bridge, so take the ferry from Circular Quay to one of the most beautiful ocean beaches - Manly. The trip takes about 30 minutes, and you can appreciate all the sensational sights that Sydney Harbour has to offer without the pricey cost of a private cruise. Once in Manly, you have the choice to do the scenic Manly to Spit Bridge walk (9.1 km long), visit the stunning family beach of Freshwater, hire a bicycle and explore, or simply watch the world go by at one of the many restaurants and bars along the beach.
Aussies love beer and beer gardens, so it is no surprise that the Beresford Hotel in Surry Hills has become one of the best choices for Friday night drinks. The Italian menu is delicious, they have an outdoor DJ on Friday and Saturday evenings, and Upstairs Beresford presents the best of live bands, sound systems and local and international DJ's in a decadent New York-inspired style.
Strolling down a hidden, nondescript alley in Surry Hills, you'll stumble across this small house with a sculpture of the iconic Brett Whiteley's "match" next to the front door. The Australian artist first lived here in this converted warehouse, which later became his studio, from 1987 to 1992. Enter and you'll have the feeling of going back in time, looking at his unfinished paintings, art equipment and collections of reference books, as well as the graffiti wall covered with quotes and images.
One of my favourite, best-kept city secrets is this delightful harbour pool, located in the Eastern suburbs. It was formerly known as Redleaf Pool. This little oasis has a fenced-off section of water on Seven Shillings Beach, Double Bay, but if you don't feel like swimming, perch yourself with a book in the grass section, or lie down in the beautiful stretch of sand.