Just across the water from the CBD is North Sydney, an underrated part of town that rewards those who go exploring with wonderful hidden gems. This is where you can delight your inner child on fairground rides, indulge in waterside fine dining, pick up a bargain at one of the best second hand fashion markets and stumble upon a secret garden.
Things to do
Luna Park is an old-fashioned amusement park right on the edge of the water, which makes the Ferris wheel all the more fun because you'll also get to enjoy some fantastic views when you reach the top. Make a day of it by catching a ferry from Circular Quay across the sparkling harbour.
Next door is North Sydney Olympic Pool. What makes a public pool worthy of a tourist pit-stop you ask? Well it's located practically under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which means you can enjoy a unique perspective as you do laps in the 50 metre heated pool where 86 world swimming records were set.
Take a stroll from Luna Park to Lavender Bay and you'll be delighted to discover artist Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. This 20-year labour of love has seen a neglected garden transformed into a tranquil public space and lovely picnic spot. Keep walking along the bay to be rewarded with more great views.
Kirribilli is a stroll east from Luna Park and home to Kirribilli House, the prime minister’s official Sydney residence. The nearby Ensemble Theatre stages a selection of international classics and Australian works, while the bustling Kirribilli Market, held twice a month, is a fashion bargain hunter's dream.
Eat & drink
Another bi-monthly market in the area is the Northside Produce Market, held on the first and third Saturday of the month in Civic Park, where you can pick up fresh produce and gourmet treats. You'll find a range of casual eateries around Miller Street in North Sydney.
When it comes to waterside fine dining, you're spoilt for choice. Altum Restaurant is located at Luna Park, Ripples is at Milsons Point, Aqua Dining is situated just above North Sydney Olympic Pool and Sails on Lavender Bay has prime position near the ferry wharf at McMahons Point, so you can hop off and sit down.