Sydney Blogger Guide Interview with Phoebe Blyth From ManyManyAdventures.com
by Alyssa Ramos
I contacted Phoebe through her boyfriend and fellow Many Many Adventures blogger Ronnie Charrier, who also lived in Sydney. The two met while traveling and fell in love in Mozambique.
Where in Sydney did you live (or stay) and what made you choose it?
I’ve always lived in the inner west of Sydney – never more than a fifteen minute bus ride from central station, always (tragically) more than a half hour drive from the beach. I lived in Leichhardt, the Italian district, for the first two years after I moved here from my small coastal hometown, and worked in various pizzerias and cafes for the first few months, before getting a job at the indoor climbing gym where I was training. I moved there because I was offered a room with the daughters of some family friends, and I stayed there because it was close to the city. I moved a couple of suburbs closer to the city four years ago and have lived in the same run-down terrace since then, refusing to move out because the renter’s market in Sydney is a total nightmare. I’ve always regretted not living nearer to the beach, or the mountains.
What is one thing that stands out about Sydney amongst other places you’ve traveled?
Sydney is just beautiful. The beaches are better than any other city-side beaches I’ve seen around the world, including Spain and California. The mountains and national parks are only a couple of hours away, and there is a real sense of sprawling space – which can be irritating when you are trying to get from one side of the city to the other.
What are some touristy Must see/do’s in Sydney?
Manly Beach is always worth a day trip, especially if the sun is shining. Try to catch some live music at the Boat Shed on a Sunday night, and if it’s warm enough, go snorkelling along the stretch between Manly and Shelly Beach. Everyone must see either Manly or Bondi Beach and do one of the walks around them, which give you beautiful cliff-top views of the coastline. Bonus points for taking the ferry across the harbour from Circular Quay to Manly (as long as you don’t get sea sick!) because you get beautiful views of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.
There’s a bunch of hikes in the Blue Mountains around Blackheath and Katoomba. A cool day trip is to get the train (or drive) to Leura and get breakfast at the Red Door Café (on the main strip), then walk along the escarpment to the Three Sisters lookout. You can go down to the waterfall or get the cable car along to the top – beautiful views! If you want to stay the night in the mountains there’s a bunch of really nice bed and breakfast style accommodation, and a gorgeous sunrise walk along Govetts Leap lookout at Blackheath.
What are some non-touristy (local) must see/do’s?
Surry Hills and Darlinghurst have, at last count, infinity small, trendy, quirky (overpriced) bars which are definitely worth exploring. Check out Urban List, Concrete Playground, and Groupon or Scoopon for ideas and deals. To whet your whistle, try some cocktails at The Soda Factory in Surry Hills ($2 gourmet hot dogs on Tuesdays), The Little Guy Bar and TheDifferent Drummer on Glebe Point Road in Glebe, and Corridor Bar on King Street in Newtown. King Street and Glebe Point Road have a billion great restaurants, as does Haymarket (Chinatown) and Surry Hills – behind central station.
There’s the Golden Age Cinema in Surry Hills, and Govinda’s cinema in Kings Cross offer a cool movie experience. Two good music venues to check out are The Basement at Circular Quay and The Vanguard on King Street. Also more cool “historic” restaurants at The Rocks near Circular Quay. The Cuban Place in Darlinghurst has $1 Tacos on Wednesdays, and the Flying Fajita Sisters in Glebe has $2 tacos and $2 shots of tequila in on Tuesdays.
There are great markets in Bondi, Paddington, Glebe, Rozelle and Balmain of a weekend, and night markets at The Rocks on a Friday night I think.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is great, depending on what they are exhibiting, as is the NSW Gallery and the National Museum. Chinatown in the city has some brilliant hidden restaurants for cheap eats, and there’s nearly always a live gig to be found (though not necessarily for free) in Newtown.
What is the style like right now and what would you suggest an American to pack/wear?
Check out “Bondi Hipsters” on YouTube, and be confident that if you are hanging around the trendy bar areas, you can get away with wearing anything. On the other hand, on the beaches in summer, you can get away with wearing nothing.
What are the people like and what is the common/appropriate way to greet people?
If you want to immediately and indelibly be labled as a tourist, take a stab at a poorly accented “G’day Mate!”. Otherwise just stick to Hi. People in Sydney are generally friendly as long as they don’t have somewhere to be, in which case they can be quite brash.
Where is the best place to meet other travelers? Locals?
Bondi and Coogee are the infamous backpacker haunts, as is the legendarily seedy Kings Cross. If you want to meet locals, just go to any pub/bar/place with alcohol and strike up a conversation with one of your aforementioned choices of greeting.
What are some things to be cautious about when visiting?
The drinks are outrageously overpriced; the clientele of the bars on George Street in the city are sleazy, and as with every major city, you should be careful if walking at night, catching public transport, or carrying your possessions in a crowded place.
How is the wifi and where can you go to get free wifi?
Australia has yet to embrace this strange, new-fangled craze they call “the internet”, but it’s getting slowly better. Every tenth café has wifi, as do McDonalds, and other chain restaurants, and (I imagine) most hostels.
Any chance of seeing a kangaroo?
Taronga Zoo on Sydney Harbor is definitely worth a visit, where you can see all kinds of wildlife. If you want to see ‘roos in the wild, a trip to the Blue Mountains should do the trick.
What is the claim to fame favorite food?
Sydney has a fantastic international food scene – in particular the plethora of Thai restaurants, and Chinese and Vietnamese eateries. Most pubs have excellent finger food (which can be pricey) and there isn’t one morning in the week when the cafés aren’t full of people enjoying delicious breakfasts (brekkie) and coffee.
How popular is social media?
Everyone between the ages of ten and seventy have some form of social media account, most people have several. There are many different social media platforms mapping Sydney’s different hideouts and deals – Concrete Jungle and Urban List are two that come to mind.
What is the best/cheapest way to get around?
Best? Drive or taxi. Cheapest? Walking. Public transport is usually $2-5 dollars per trip: the trains in Sydney are fine for getting around the city and immediate surrounds, but you will need to get buses to get to the northern suburbs and beaches.
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!