Sydney Luxury Experience for Less

Sydney Luxury Experience for Less

We would like to thank Carly Rea, Founder of Splendour Tailored Tours: unique and private day tours in Sydney for featuring us in the following article submission The New York Times article: How to Have a High-End Vacation for Less.By Carly Rea, Founder of Splendour Tailored Tours.

Luxury For Less

It's no secret that Sydney isn’t the cheapest city in the world. Compared to other Australian cities, Sydney definitely screams glitz, glamour, fabulousness and sunshine. There are ways to experience the luxe of this city for less…

Sightsee For Less

I highly recommend connecting with a great local host on day-one to show you around the city. This is the best way to get a lay of the land and important tips on local hot spots.Instead of doing a private tour of the Sydney Opera House (retail approx. $340 USD), sit at the Cured & Cultured Counter within Bennelong Restaurant, occupying the first sail of the Opera House. Share a dozen Sydney Rock Oysters and a glass of wine each with incredible views of the sun setting behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge from within the House.One of Sydney’s top attractions is climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge – this retails for about $245 USD and takes about 3.5 hours. Instead of climbing, walk across on the pedestrian walkway from the south to the north and back. This will take about an hour and its free! I suggest coffee or a glass of wine at Ripples Milsons Point on the north side of the bridge before you head back across to the city.My favourite experience in Sydney which is definitely luxury for less is to do take a private water taxi to Clark Island, one of the harbour’s prettiest and most quiet islands with lots of shade for a picnic. You can relax with completely uninterrupted views of the city skyline. Hot tip – the island is so quiet, you may be the only one there!To grab picnic supplies, I suggest hitting Macleay Street in Potts Point– visit Romeos Fine Foods for charcuterie, Bottega del Vino for fresh bread, cheese and wine and then continue down the hill to Elizabeth bay to board a water taxi from VIP Water Taxis ($70 USD each way) to Clark Island. The journey is about 10 minutes via water taxi – for an extra $70 USD, your taxi driver will take you on a 30 minute scenic journey around the harbour!

Shop For Less

Get away from the CBD and tourist areas. Anywhere there is a big hotel, shopping prices are higher.Visit local cool suburbs such as King Street in Newtown and Gould Street in Bondi for really eclectic Australian designer shops with great prices.Hit Farmers Markets. Sydney has amazing markets across town every day of the week. This is the very best way to access the freshest produce, the coolest local designers and the most unique gifts. Bondi Beach have great markets on Saturday and Sunday mornings – Saturday more produce & food and Sunday more fashion, craft and gifts. Marrickville Markets are one of Sydney’s new hot spots and my favourite is Carriageworks Markets on a Saturday morning.For souvenirs, hit the local grocery stores Woolworths and Coles! They’re filled with great Australian products friends and family at home will love. Pick up Violet Crumbles, Caramello Koalas, Picnic Chocolate Bars and of course Tim Tams.

Dine For Less

Any restaurant in Sydney with water views will be more expensive than those that don’t. Bistro Rex in Potts is a great example – no water views but world class dining showcasing Australia’s very best locally sourced ingredients at approachable prices. I highly recommend sitting at the chef’s counter and sampling the Ocean Trout Tartare.  If you’re looking for even more of a bargain, Bistro Rex has happy hour from 3.30pm – 6.30pm on small shared plates, margaritas and negronis. Tap into Sydney’s local vibe in small funky suburbs where most places do BYO wine and beer. Being so close to Asia, Sydney has some great cheap Asian influenced dining options using incredible local produce. Most of these places are BYO so grab a bottle of something fabulous and Australian and dine on the cheap. Darlinghurst and Newtown are full of cheap & cheerful BYO restaurants with incredible Asian influence!Sydney-siders love to picnic and with so much sunshine and greenspace, it’s so easy to grab supplies at a local delicatessen and bottle shop, a picnic rug from your hotel and enjoy the afternoon sunshine. Just be sure to wear sunscreen!! Some great local parks for picnicking are Centennial Park, Rushcutters Bay and the Botanic Gardens.

Sleep for Less

Choose a boutique hotel in one of Sydney’s smaller funky suburbs over the big international hotel brands in Sydney’s CBD. I adore Spicers in Potts Point, a suburb bursting with eclectic shopping options, great little restaurants and cool cafes. Room prices in Sydney’s boutique properties can be half of what they are in the CBD.Other boutique properties I love are The Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale and The Paramount House Hotel in Surry Hills.Consider renting a villa or apartment instead of a hotel room. Sydney has amazing places to rent along the beaches, in cool local suburbs and right in the CBD if you wanted to. You could get a really great 2 bedroom terrace house or apartment for a week in Sydney for the same price you could get a hotel room in the CBD – especially in Summer!

Splurge on One Luxury Experience!

Sydney is very much about all things fabulous and luxurious. You can take a private seaplane from Rose Bay to an awarded restaurant only accessible by boat. You can charter a driver and vehicle to take you to remote areas of regional Sydney to hunt for pearls or learn how to shuck oysters, you can take a scenic helicopter flight over the city and coastal beaches.In my opinion, if you’re going to splash out on one “brag to your friends” sort of experience, I highly recommend chartering a boat for an afternoon on Sydney Harbour! If you ask any Sydney local, this is what they will say is their #1 way to spend a sunny day! No need to charter a super yacht – I truly believe the best way to feel and truly connect with the harbour is via a sail boat. There are a number of stunning ones on Sydney Harbour that range in size from 40 – 90 feet. Charter prices are between $1,700 USD - $4,200 USD for a four hour charter.

Final Tip

Choose your travel time wisely. Sydney is incredibly busy with international visitors between mid December to late January. The weather very hot (most days over 110 Fahrenheit) and the beaches and public hot spots are very busy. My favourite time of the year in Sydney is March and April. The weather is still very warm, the ocean is at its warmest (75 Fahrenheit). The crowds have gone home and prices have returned to “approachable for locals”.

This article submission was written by Carly Rea, Founder of Splendour Tailored Tours for The New York Times article: How to Have a High-End Vacation for Less.

Who are Splendour Tailored Tours?

The following has been extracted from the Splendour Tailored Tours website:

We are not your traditional tour company. We believe an experience in a new place should be all about connection – connection to a place and more importantly connection to the people within.

At Splendour, every tour is unique because we tailor your day just for you. Where do you want to go, what do you want to experience? We’ve got plenty of inspiring ideas to take you off the beaten tourist path so you can get to know the real Sydney – the Sydney we love. Perhaps you’d like to enjoy a dawn yoga session with a Bondi Beach yogi or taste delicious wine with the wine maker himself or experience Aboriginal culture with an Aboriginal Elder?

We will connect you with a host that we believe best suits you – perhaps an award winning architect, an Aboriginal Elder or one of Sydney’s top chefs.Let us take care of every detail so that you can enjoy Sydney in style and luxury.Learn more about Splendour Tailored Tours.

Bon appetit in style!

Call 02 9332 2100 or email to book your reservation at Bistro Rex Potts Point.