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Exploring the Suburbs

It’s officially a month since I boarded my flight to Sydney, and I have to say, the first few weeks have flown by. With over 900 study abroad students entering the university this semester alone, I can’t say I’ve lacked volunteers to come and explore the city with me.

As well as visiting the compulsory tourist spots, such as the Opera House and the Harbour bridge (which are astonishing places in their own right), some of my best days in Sydney so far, have been spent exploring different areas outside the CBD.

Neighbouring suburbs in the East, Paddington and Surry Hills, were the first areas we visited.


In Paddington, we had no plans. We spent the day leisurely strolling through the streets. The sloping pavements and restored terrace houses make it a really pretty area to walk around.

Walking down through the smaller streets, we stumbled across the ‘Five Ways’.

Quite literally an area where the five main streets converge, this area is full of cafes and restaurants. Here we had lunch in a small, unassuming café. Unintentionally looking like the panel on X-factor, it was really nice to sit outside in the “winter” sun, and watch everyone pass by.

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In the afternoon, we found my favourite place in the area; the reservoir gardens. Just off the high street, this abandoned reservoir has become a sunken public garden.

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Next door, we also found a photography exhibition at the public arts centre. Only a small exhibit, there were still some impressive images on display by local artists.  Most interestingly however, we also got chatting to the receptionist, who recommended a dozen places we have to see whilst in Sydney. Upon her recommendation I’m most looking forward to visiting Gordon’s Bay, as she said was renowned by the locals for its snorkelling.

Surry Hills

Taking a very similar approach to our wanderings in Paddington, Surry Hills is another Eastern Suburb we spent the afternoon perusing. Full of eclectic vintage stores and independent shops, it’s a really cool area where you could spend days (I’ve already been back several times).

On this day in particular, the College of Art was definitely my favourite place. With free entry, the main exhibition room is always open to the public, and this month it was hosting the work of a Taiwanese artist who visited an asylum. Not the happiest topic, but fascinating; I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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In terms of getting off the beaten track, we’ve found that hopping on a bus, visiting a different district, and seeing what you find has been great. Every neighbourhood seems to have a different atmosphere. 

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