25 Things I Love About Sydney – Part 1

Seana 1987

Gobsmackingly, it’s been over 25 years since I first flew into Sydney.

Back then I was just a young scuba diver with a manual typewriter. 

And look at us all now!

I’m an old ocean swimmer these days, lugging a laptop and surrounded by the boisterous bairns.

Sydney hasn’t changed as much as we have though, and the things I first fell in love with remain close to our hearts.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary milestone, here’s my list of the 25 Things I Love Best About Sydney, divided into five posts.

1. Flying into Sydney airport

flying into Sydney past Harbour Bridge

It’s always a thrill whether you come in past the Harbour or over the southern beaches. It’s all water, water everywhere and then suddenly you land!

 More lovely photos here.


2. Living near the beach

Tamarama beach with sculptures*

My first room in a share house overlooked Tamarama Beach, what a view. It cost $60 a week back in 1987.

Since then I’ve always tried to live nearish to the water. There are no harbour or ocean views from our house in the ‘burbs now, but the Northern Beaches aren’t too far away and they’re going to get their own mention.

Most Sydneysiders don’t live on the beach, but if you can manage to live close to a beach, even for a few months, you’ll never forget the experience.


3. Sitting Outside in Cafes

Little Manly 3_edited-1

You’ve got to appreciate that very little of this had ever happened before I moved to Sydney aged 23.

Blues Point Cafe was a favourite weekend routine for years when I was young, free and single. Just me, whatever hapless boyfriend was around, loads of coffee and a huge pile of papers. Still miss it!

Having the boisterous bairns put a bit of a damper on the whole sitting down and reading the paper routine.

But I have dedicated myself selflessly to finding great cafes beside playgrounds and by the beach, then sharing their secrets and great joys.

The cafe in the picture is at Little Manly Beach, exquisite spot.

4. Watching Surfers On The Waves

girls surfboards

It’s always a beautiful thing to sit by the briny sea and watch those timeless moves. There’s elegance, elation and plenty of tumbling and pratfalls.

These days I’m loving watching the kids playing with boogie boards and learning to surf a little.

This photo is actually from Jervis Bay, it was my wee daughter’s first attempts to use a big board. Not successful!


5. The Great Aussie Milk Bar

Many of these venerable establishments haven’t changed in the 25 years I’ve been in and out of Sydney.

They probably hadn’t changed for the 25 years before that.

I love a daggy old milk bar with a bell that rings when you push through the fly screen door.

I used to buy myself Twisties but now I buy chips and ice blocks for the boisterous bairns.
My first trip to Sydney lasted 3 years, I came straight after uni and stayed until 1990, then came and went for several years.

We moved to Sydney permanently as a family of three in 1998. Now we are a family of six and very much at home here. Much as there are very hard times for all of us immigrants, Sydney is a fantastic city to call home.

Four more parts of this mega post are coming this week.

And I so need to snap a photo of a milk bar!

What are your favourite things about Sydney?




 This was 25 Things I Love About Sydney – Part 1….. find  Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here and Part 5 here.

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Posted on: September 2, 2013


  • 25 years! You’re a native 🙂 I think you need to explain what a milk bar is though – just a corner shop isn’t it? The view as you fly in is spectacular 🙂

    Look forward to reading the rest of the series.

    x A

    • Reply September 2, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Thank you, duckie. Maybe the Milk Bar is a Sydney thing.. but yes, generally a corner shop, must take some photos… I love them and the older and more authentic and beachier the better.

  • Reply September 2, 2013

    Morag Smith

    Heh Sohsi, although I am now a teuchter living in the Highlands I did once long, long ago reside in Sydney/Australia for a year. I love the fact that it is a huge city but has all this fantastic coastline and of course the exoticness of it all – palm trees, giant bats, cockatoos, lizards, palm trees, sunshine. xx

    • Reply September 3, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Yes, it’ll always seem glam and exotic, cos at heart we’re just wee Scottish lasses from a very small town… I was down at the beach today just briefly, totally stunning.

  • Reply September 2, 2013


    Ah, Seana! You nailed it! I always love flying into Sydney Airport. The view is always soooo spectacular.
    And outside cafe’s! How lucky are we that 80% of the time, the weather is awesome for us to enjoy a delicious cappuccino in the lovely sunshine?
    We have it good here. Real good!

  • Reply September 2, 2013


    P.S Love that first photo of you! HAWT! 🙂

    • Reply September 3, 2013

      Seana Smith

      I look much more relaxed than I ever remember being in my 20s!

  • Reply September 2, 2013


    I think Sydney is a great city. Looking forward to read more of your list.

    • Reply September 3, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Thanks so much, I started off with one huge long post but was just too much so I thought I’d spread it over a week. It’s made me smile remembering the early years here when I was young, free and single…

  • Reply September 5, 2013


    Ahh love the pic of you 25 years ago! So fresh faced and full of eager anticipation – that’s not to say that you aren’t now though! Thanks for some great tips on where to go when I do get over to Sydney. Flying in over all that water is exquisite isn’t it? I’d fall in love with that as a homecoming for sure.

  • Being an American, I wasn’t familiar with the term Milk Bar and had to look it up. Sounds like a place where my kids would love to buy snacks. You are so fortunate to have had a place overlooking Tamarama. That was one of my favorite beaches when we visited. And can you imagine paying $60 a week now? I’m looking forward to more of you favorite things.

  • Reply September 6, 2013


    Wow, 25 years eh? Makes you wonder where the time goes. Sounds like you fell in love with Sydney from your first trip.
    That room you rented in that house overlooking the beach must cost an arm and two legs by now. You’re fortunate to live in such a beautiful place with beaches nearby. Looking forward to reading about your 20 other favorite things.

  • Reply September 6, 2013


    Very cool, love that you can see most of Sydney when landing, one of these days I’ll be able to visit.

    I’m inviting you to join us for Travel Photo Mondays, the link runs all week so I hope you can join us for the next installment?

  • Reply September 6, 2013

    Jackie Smith

    We are on countdown to Sydney! These posts are keeping the travel juices flowing.

  • Reply September 6, 2013


    That is a beautiful view flying int Sydney and life sounds laid back though I’m sure it’s not but I always associate beaches with holiday time.

  • Reply September 11, 2013

    Lisa Wood

    I spent the past weekend at my oldest sons house in Sydney, and on Saturday we sat on the sand at Bondi Beach….gosh it was so very nice!!
    Then on Sunday we went to Luna Park {thanking you for the passes!!} and again we got to experience more of Sydney.
    I LOVE the beaches, the vibe and the little out of way places that one can discover when exploring around Sydney and can’t wait to read more of your things that you love for inspiration 🙂

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