Travel Diary: Sydney

A few weeks ago (okay, before Christmas to be exact) I ventured out to a place I always hear about but haven’t actually been to since I was around thirteen, Sydney. I only spent a couple of days in Sydney and to be honest, with the ongoing ‘Sydney vs Melbourne’ debate I was expecting to be a pretty loyal Melbournian and come home thinking Sydney was overhyped. Spoiler alert: I was wrong.

Everyone’s right when they say Sydney is the place to be; the food, the atmosphere, the shops, the sights, they have it all. Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures but so is Sydney, often when I was walking around I felt like I was back in Europe or somewhere a million miles away. That’s pretty impressive considering I was only ever about an hour-long plane ride from home.

In a bit of a different style to my usual travel diaries I thought I’d round up my Sydney trip by sharing my highlights, including the best things I ate and the best things I did.

Starting with food (priorities) here are my favourite Sydney foodie finds:



On a trip to London a few years back I frequented Le Pain Quotidien and loved it, so imagine how happy I was to discover they had a Sydney location!

Despite the fact that it’s situated in the heart of Westfield Shopping Centre (not quite as inviting as their Covent Garden location…), Le Pain still has this relaxed, effortless European vibe to it. It’s almost like a hybrid of a cafe and a bakery and the simplistic decor really appealed to the minimalist in me.

Now on to the important stuff, the food.

Plenty of pastries were always on offer and don’t get me wrong those golden buttery croissants were tempting, but for breakfast I just couldn’t go past their granola parfait. Greek yoghurt and granola with fresh fruits will always be a winning combo in my book. For the savoury lovers, I’ve got it on good authority that the avocado and olive oil on toast with a poached egg is also amazing.

Seeing as I’m a huge sweet tooth I’m yet to try one of their famous tartines myself, but I was eyeing up one in particular that had buffalo mozzarella, so you better believe when if I go back to Sydney I’ll be devouring that one.                   


Another place I loved in London, how is this not in Melbourne yet?!
I’m really really picky about my Italian food (blame my Italian background) but I give this place the Julia tick of approval. You know a restaurant is on the right track when you see an Aperol Spritz on the menu. Proper Italian ingredients and a semi-formal but casual “I could still wear my shorts here” kind of vibe meant it was my top pick for lunch almost every day. Obviously this is me we’re talking about so I gravitated towards the pasta dishes, but the slow cooked Osso Bucco was a stand out as well. If you’re craving good Italian food, definitely go here.

While I was in Sydney it was hot and humid, so you know what that calls for? Gelato, lots and lots of Gelato.

Sydney’s GELATO MESSINA is ridiculously popular but everyone loves it in Melbourne as well, so it seems to be a crowd favourite and a safe bet no matter where you go. If you’re after a unique gelato flavour, definitely go here. Their ‘Apple Pie’ flavour is apple gelato mixed with home-made apple pie throughout, who even thinks of heavenly combos like that?!

GELATISSIMO is another award winner that’s much more like your classic gelato shop. It’s not as ‘out there’ as Gelato Messina with flavours but their chocolate and mango gelato on a waffle cone cannot be beat. Always waffle cones with my gelato, no cups. Never cups!

Between eating my way through Sydney I also did my fair share of sight seeing and exploring. I see now why tourists often pick Sydney over Melbourne, in terms of things to see and do I feel like Sydney has something to please everyone and a lot more to offer.

Out of everything I did, my favourites would have to be:

The Opera House (above)
A classic and definitely not something to miss, but it’s not as pure white as I expected it to be!

Darling Harbour
A beautiful waterfront area with plenty of buzzing restaurants. I feel like this would be the perfect date night spot.

-Hyde Park
We strolled through the park around sunset. I think there’s something about walking through a park during golden hour that really makes you appreciate how beautiful it is.

-Chinese Gardens
When did China move to the middle of Sydney? It was a real treat to feel like you’d visited a slice of China without leaving Sydney. The gardens were also surprisingly serene considering they’re smack bang in the middle of city buildings.

-Queen Victoria Building
European-esque architecture and fancy shops? Yes please. This was another one that really made me feel like I was back in Europe.



(Hyde Park)


(Chinese Gardens)


(Queen Victoria Building) 


Sydney surprised me in the best way possible, so much so that I almost feel like I’ve cheated on Melbourne. If you’ve never been to Sydney I’d highly recommend you go and if you live there, feel free to tell me about any hidden gems or amazing restaurants I should hit up the next time I visit!

What do you think of Sydney?


149 comments so far.

149 responses to “Travel Diary: Sydney”

  1. Kiara King says:

    I can't believe you're Melbourne based, yet haven't spent much time in Sydney. It's been somewhat of a second home to me over the last couple of years and I just adore that buzzing city – very different to Perth in that way. I love going from brunch in Surry Hills, walking the Bondi to Bronte and enjoying dumplings in The Rocks – a few traditions of mine.

    Kiara xx //

    • I'll have to try and do those things the next time I'm up there, which hopefully will be much more often. Strangely enough I've spent more time in places like London than I have Sydney! I think I have a serious case of travelling abroad a lot but then forgetting about my home country.

  2. Dany Queen says:

    These pictures are so gorgeous, you have such a talent for photography! I've never been to Australia but if I ever get the chance to go, Sydney would be one of my top places to visit.
    xx Dany

  3. Yip says:

    Le Pain Quotidien is one of my favourite bakeries in Sydney! I live in Sydney and I love the photos that you took! It really makes the city look gorgeous and vibrant 🙂

  4. Sooooooo beautiful!!!!! I would love to visit! So far tho from NYC!


  5. Natalie says:

    I have lived in Sydney nearly my entire life so I find Sydney very very boring. That being said, there are (imo) better gelato places than Messina. Let me know next time and I can give you more specific tips!

    I think the Sydney vs Melbourne debate is quite silly. Both have different things to offer so its like comparing apples to oranges.

    Glad to see you had a good time!

    Nat • Dignifiable

  6. khaira khan says:

    Sydney was the first place I went to in Australia. I remember it being very busy! i haven't been back since and would love a trip there one day (soon!)

  7. Gorgeous pictures! Never been to Sydney, but now you're making me want to x

  8. It's so interesting! Thanks for sharing it!

    Diana Cloudlet

  9. My dream would be to visit Sydney, so thank you for the amazing pictures 🙂

  10. Rebecca says:

    One day I'll get to go to Sydney! As a Londoner, I recognise a few of the places you enjoyed (I went to Jamie's last week!), and those gelato places sound amazing – even if it's freezing here right now… 🙁 x Rebecca –

  11. Such lovely pictures! 🙂

  12. Annie Abbey says:

    OMG isn't Sydney the best! I was so blown away when I was there in the winter that I cannot wait to visit again in the summer! Messina's ice cream in Surry Hills blew my mind! Sounds like you had such a lovely time!
    xoxo Annie

  13. Cherie Koh says:

    The Chinese Gardens look awesome! Omg and yes, my friends go to Messina almost every week and they tell me it's amazing so I'm basically tempted to go back just to try it out one day… I think Sydney is definitely more of a metropolis than Melbourne and you can get a more city-esque experience from it. Especially with the harbour! Aww LPQ and Jamie's are actually pretty decent despite being a chain too… and yes to aperol spritz!

    Cherie x
    say hi at sinonym

  14. Love all the pictures! I've never been to Sydney but I'd love to visit one day.

  15. Sarah Wagner says:

    Sydney is definitely on my bucket list! That pasta + gelato looks soooo good! We have Le Pain Quotidien's all over DC, and they're always such a cute escape from the city.

  16. oh my gosh, Sydney looks amazing, definitely on my bucket list!

    Kierra | Lavishingg

  17. Sydney looks absolutely beautiful, it's one of those places that I've always wanted to visit. 🙂

    Thirteen Thoughts

  18. Amanda Kerr says:

    The food looks amazing!! Such beautiful pictures! Hope you had a lovely time. Check out my blog

  19. I knew Sydney would be beautiful but WOW it is amazing! Your captured a lot of beauty that I had no idea existed there. Now I'm really eager to go there hahha. Forgive me if you've talked about this before but what camera do you use? Btw I love your eyebrows!

  20. Every single article and picture makes me want to hop on a plane and fly out to Sydney… It's not fair that it's outrageously expensive (and not to mention, WAY TOO LONG!) to fly to Sydney!! So glad that you had an amazing time! When i do end up visiting, I'm sure I'll be reaching out to you to help pick a side… Melbourne or Sydney!

    Stephanie |

  21. Amazing post! So helpful 🙂 I really want to go to Sydney and Australia in general and I'm sure these tips will come in handy once I'm actually there!
    Charlotte Luisa |

  22. Charlotte says:

    That first photograph with the focus being on the seagull is one of the best things I've seen all week!
    Charlotte //

  23. Beckie says:

    The food looks absolutely delicious!! Definitely a must visit!

  24. I am amazed by the pictures! Hope you had a great time:) What camera did you use??

  25. Elisa Z says:

    Loved the pictures, especially the first one. Glad you enjoyed your trip 🙂


  26. Sydney looks so beautiful, and the food looks delicious! I'd love to visit one day 🙂

    Yousra | Mystic Tales

  27. Gemma Magpie says:

    Amazing! I've always wanted to visit Sydney – it looks like the most incredible city xx

    Gemma ♥ | Miss Makeup Magpie

  28. Cailey Smith says:

    Yet another place to add to my list! It looks like you had a great time. Loved the post! 🙂


  29. I need to get back to Sydney! You post is making me want to go now! & I always see gelato messina photos all over instagram, totally craving it now! Great post.


  30. Osiarah Blog says:

    I've always wanted to travel in Australia, Sydney looks so amazing!
    Thank you for this review x

    Camy xx

  31. Love this travel diary! I would love to visit Australie someday too 🙂 -Maireem

    My Fair Autumn | Instagram

  32. Phoebe says:

    Wow your photos are fabulous. You must spend a lot of time and effort into shooting the photos and preparing what goes into your blog. The effort shows – Always a pleasure to read and view your blog. I especially love the close up of the agapantha and the seagull shot.
    Now your food shots have enticed me – I will go and have a gelati, maybe followed by some pasta tonight an an aperol spritz. Yum

    • Thank you so so much Phoebe, comments like that really make my week. Gelato, Pasta and an Aperol Spritz sounds like a perfect combo to me- wish I could join you!

  33. I love Sydney so much, it's one of my favourite cities in the world. It's such a shame I'm a good 24 hours plane ride away!
    I loveeee the Queen Victoria Arcade, it's so beautiful and very English! There's some great stores in there.

  34. Chantalle says:

    As a resident of Sydney I am so glad to hear you enjoyed your time here! I never really appreciate how great Sydney is (and the rest of Australia is for that matter) until after I come home from traveling. I LOVE both Le Pain Quotidien and Jaimie's – great picks! xx

    Chantalle | cece & grace

  35. April says:

    Sydney IS fantastic! It definitely has a lot going on, and I hope Brisbane gets that way the older it gets. We are still such a young city.

    Your photos, might I add, are on point! Such a great eye!

    April x

  36. Gelatissimo is definitely a favourite of ours! We love how generous they are with their scoops, and their flavours are so unique! We haven't been to Melbourne, but we're desperate to sample the food and shopping scene!

    M x K

  37. veebz boo says:

    Sydney definitely sounds and looks amazing from your beautiful pictures! I love Jamie's Italian too and I'm from London, so they are everywhere here, as you will know. Also Le Pain Quotidien sounds so good as well! I can't believe I hadn't hear of this before reading your post. I'm definitely going to seek out the London branch now.:D – What I Got For Christmas 2015

  38. Gabrielle says:

    Sydney will certainly be staying on my travel list until I find myself there, it seems to get a thumbs up from everyone who visits! The food photography/details certainly caught my attention too, surprise surprise 😉 haha.

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

  39. Sydney is definitely yon my wish list. You've made me want to go even more! x

    VanessaVonJames | Fashion Blog

  40. Yuka Suzuki says:

    This post has the most beautiful photos! I just moved to Sydney for University 🙂 I love it so far and I'll be visiting some of the places you've mentioned on this post xxxxx

  41. Shannon Sage says:

    Beautiful pictures!! Australia in general is somewhere that I would love to travel to some day!! These pictures just reminded how badly I want to go!:)

    Shannon Sage

  42. Sydney sounds amazing! I have never been to Australia, but it is definitely on my bucket list. Hope you are having a great weekend 🙂

    xoxo Nicole

  43. Years ago I was planning to move to Sydney:) It is one of the cities I really want to visit some day. Your photos are beautiful, they really reflect the beauty of Sydney 🙂

  44. I've actually never been to Melbourne! This made me miss Sydney though as it has been a few years. Your snaps are gorgeous and glad you enjoyed yourself!

    Jasmin Charlotte

  45. Samantha says:

    I want to visit Sydney so bad! I've never been to Australia, but it's definitely on my list of places to go! The Apple Pie gelato sounds amazing too; when I was in Italy we got so much that I was tired of it, but now I find that I'm missing it. Plus, the Chinese Gardens look so serene and pretty. These all sound like such great places, I'm definitely bookmarking this post!

    Your pictures are great 🙂
    Sam |

  46. Ana Picazzo says:

    Julia! This is seriously amazing! I have always wanted to visit Australia but your travel diary makes make want to GO RIGHT NOW! It's just so stunning! I really hope I get a chance to go soon and visit all the places you talked about! Your posts are always very enjoyable!
    Sending you love, xx

  47. Wow – sounds like there's some great places and eats in Sydney. It's definitely on my to-visit list!

    Claire // Technicolour Dreamer

  48. Adalias C says:

    Sydney looks amazing and your photography really sells it! Hope I would be able to visit one day! 🙂 xx

  49. Ellie Fleet says:

    Oh wow, I am so jealous! I would love to travel to Australia & Sydney!
    Your photos are phenomenal and that gelato looks amazing!
    Elephant stories and more

  50. This is absolutely gorgeous, you look so lovely too and all your shots are amazing! I am in love with the last photo – the colour of the sky is just divine and it really does look like a beautiful place to visit! 🙂

    Layla xx

  51. The first picture reminded me of London pier and the rest of the clicks are simply amazing! I love travelling and Sydney has been on my bucketlist for a long time now.

    You have a lovely blog! would love to connect with you xx
    The Chicster Diaries

  52. Sydney looks absolutely beautiful, the Chinese Garden looks amazing! I've always wanted to visit, hoping I can soon although it's such a long flight from the UK!
    Brigitte x |

  53. This looks so beautiful! One day I will visit Sydney But that food looks amazing, and gotta try that Gelato Messina! Great post! 🙂 xx


  54. Faye Fearon says:

    amazing post! Your photos are gorgeous!! .x

  55. Emma Felin says:

    Australia is a place that I actually know little about, so I'd really love to visit as I have some friends who are from/live there!!



  56. Some beautiful photos, some stunning views! The food also looks good hehe! xx

    Jasmine ||

  57. JBT says:

    So jealous of your trip down under! I hope you had an amazing time, and your pictures are great.
    xo, jill

  58. Fionna says:

    you're such a natural beauty! and can i just say how DELICIOUS that pain au chocolat looks omfg

  59. This looks like a great trip. I'll have to visit Le Pain next time I'm in London…And we also have Jamie's Italian in Manchester but I'm still yet to visit, maybe I need to try it out!


  60. Claire S says:

    Sydney looks like an amazing place to visit – I love all your photos <3

    Gisforgingers xx

  61. Iqra says:

    Your photography is absolutely stunning! That last shot – wow, what a picture! I've never thought of travelling to Australia but this is such a useful post, I'll add it to my travel folder in case I ever do ^_^
    Iqra | The Blushing Giraffe

  62. Shell says:

    I live in Sydney (well, suburban Sydney) so I'm biased. ;o) I really don't get the Sydney vs Melbourne debate either – both have their merits & anybody who says otherwise needs to get over it. I reckon Melbourne's better for shopping though.

    That said you captured my city so beautifully Julia. I enjoy going to Hyde Park sometimes & sitting down on a bench to eat my lunch + people watch. Still need to go there when the Night Noodle Markets are on in October. Also love a good ferry ride on a nice sunny day, passing the Opera House & Harbour Bridge…never gets old. Did you see the giant Christmas tree in the QVB whilst you were here? It's a Christmas institution. I STILL haven't been to Gelato Messina (I don't live near it, but I ought to go & see what all the fuss is about), but don't mind a bit of Gelatissimo myself.

    I think you might've inspired me to do a post about Sydney!

    • I really enjoyed Sydney but I agree with you, I do love Melbourne for shopping!

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment Shell, I'd love to take a ferry ride the next time I'm in Sydney because that sounds amazing. I did see the giant Christmas tree in the QVB as well, it was definitely giant and really spectacular I thought!

  63. Lovely post!
    Read new post on my blog
    Love, Tanya x

  64. I haven't tried Gelato Messina yet but Gelatissimo is my favourite gelato shop!


  65. Martina Aiki says:

    Awesome pictures. Australia has always been my dream country. Love to visit some day. You can also check out my blog.

  66. Martina Aiki says:

    Awesome pictures. Australia has always been my dream country. Love to visit some day. You can also check out my blog.

  67. Adaleta says:

    Wow, lots of lovely photos & this makes me want to travel to Sydney right now! xx

  68. Karen says:

    Sydney is the best place on earth haha. I mean I live here so I might just be a tad bias. Next time you need to come and do the bondi to bronte walk, its one of my favourites even as a local!
    TGIF let's celebrate and raise a glass 😉
    Much Love Karen

  69. monica hein says:

    my dream destination 🙂 gorgeous pictures

  70. Emma says:

    I love your photos, especially the gelato, yum! x

  71. Sydney is one of a kind city. I was in Sydney last year and i hope to go back asap

  72. ly heng says:

    I liked the arrows for their help in organizing your notes.

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