Having been to Sydney quite a few times before, staying in Newton meant exploring a whole new area. It reminded me there is more to Sydney than the city and major tourist sites. Of course we still did a few typical tourist things but spent most our time in Newtown while ‘in town’ for a friend’s 30th birthday.
How to get there
Booked two months in advance, our return flights from the Gold Coast to Sydney were $199 for two people. With a Jetstar credit card, after spending a certain amount Jetstar emails me a $100 Travel Voucher to spend on flights. Using the $100 voucher code, our flights were a total of $99. Yep, that’s less than $50 each.
Where to stay
Airbnb offers some really unique places to stay, including a private suite in a converted church in Newtown. It was modern inside and beautifully decorated, with books sorted by colour and other artistic touches. The private suite is downstairs and includes lounge room and TV, comfortable bed and dining table with shortbread and some kind of ginger biscuits in glass bottles on the nearby shelf for you to help yourself. The bathroom is separate but private, located beneath the stairs that lead up to where the owner and her poodle live. It cost $287 for two nights from Saturday to Monday. Conveniently you can check yourself in with the keypad outside and simply pull the door closed when you leave at or before 10am.
Where to eat and drink
It rained for most of our stay so we were constantly eating and drinking and have plenty of tips!
- Webster’s Bar – for its rooftop bar for lunch, beer or both on a sunny day
- Batch Brewery – first brewery we’ve ever lined up for, worth it to pat the dogs inside with their owners sampling the variety of freshly brewed beers
- Paesanella – BYO Italian restaurant that hand makes their pasta on the floor above the restaurant. Bellissimo! Good choice birthday girl!
- Naked Brew – more dogs yesss! Even in the rain the owners brought their dogs with them for breakfast. There’s puppachino and lamb omelette options for your furry friends, not to mention the icecream!
- Museum of Contemporary Art – the rooftop cafe at MCA is a hidden gem with great views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House
- Young Henry’s Brewery – there’s a food truck outside and inside the brewery feels like a garage with graffiti and band t-shirts on the walls but it closes at 7pm, just when it feels like the party is getting started
- Flying Tong – this find on a last minute Google search was quiet on a Sunday night around 7pm but the food OMG you have to try the bibimbap (vegetarian option) and soy and garlic Korean fried chicken
- South End Cafe – another dog friendly breakfast option with a delicious Newtown Veggie Breaky on the menu
- You can use your bank card to swipe on and off at the gates to catch the train instead of having to buy tickets or an Opal card
- Uber will quote an initial price for fares to and from the airport but you’ll only pay the actual price e.g. from the city to the airport the quote was $49 but the actual price charged was $33
- Pack for all kinds of weather, Sydney was not as sunny as expected!
Saturday – From Gold Coast to Sydney and birthday celebrations
Our alarm went off at 7am to give us half an hour to get ready before driving from Brisbane to the Gold Coast. After an initial search online for our car park booking directly with Gold Coast Airport, we came to the realisation we hadn’t actually booked it and frantically set about booking another option. Thankfully we were able to book Alpha Car at short notice for $39 for three days including complimentary shuttle to and from the airport.
Other than that and the line up of cars in front of us at the McDonalds drive through on the way causing a short delay, it was smooth sailing this time of the morning on the weekend. Google maps led the way to Alpha Car and after a swift check in and payment process, the driver dropped us at the airport for our 10:10am flight. From the Gold Coast the flight to Sydney is only about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Uber from the Sydney airport to Newtown is only $27 so for two of you it is a cost effective option and convenient to get dropped off at your door to start your holiday sooner. Our Airbnb host kindly allowed us to check in earlier than planned around midday. After being shown around the private suite and dropping off our bags, we set out to find lunch.
The weather was stunning and with our hearts set on a pub meal we wandered down the main street. Sadly the pubs appeared quite empty and dark so we headed back in the opposite direction to Harry’s tried and tested option, Webster’s Bar. There is a rooftop with a bar covered in old signs and things to look at and tables and chairs with umbrellas if it gets TOO sunny. Recommend the moussaka! The chilli vanilla stout is worth trying it you like dark beer.
With sore muscles from poor posture sitting at a desk during the week, we decided to treat ourselves to a massage. There are so many massage places on King St in Newtown to choose from! Blue Sky Thai Massage had a 4.9 rating on Google so with a price of $89 for one hour and private health rebates, we walked in and made a booking. After a short 10 minute wait and cup of tea we were both invited into private rooms. The massage was so good we joined the others giving positive ratings on Google!
Knowing we had a big night ahead of us for birthday celebrations, we took the opportunity to have a nap back at the Airbnb. Waking up in the dark, it had cooled down quite a bit since diving under the covers. Layering up, we left at about 6pm to meet our Uber for a ride to our meeting point at Batch Brewery. It was raining and there was a line so we huddled under the awning of the building next door, waiting for the guy on the door to wave us in. It felt like forever in the cold rainy weather outside the lit up, warm brewery but we were soon inside with our friends. Dog friendly places are my happy places, with a German Shepherd inside to pat on the head while sipping my beer in between conversation.
Next stop approximately 500 metres walk away when it was thankfully no longer raining was Paesanella for dinner. This place is perfect for a long table full of friends to share plates of pasta and pizza. The pasta is hand made on the level above above the restaurant. It is an absolute must to go there with an appetite. Somehow we just kept eating and eating. The never ending BYO wines were helping us wash it down.
What do you do when you’ve got a full stomach? Work it off! The place of choice for dancing was the Imperial, with oldie but goodie songs you haven’t heard in a while but still remember every word. Dressed for the cold weather, it didn’t take long to start forming sweat beads until we all admitted defeat around midnight. Lucky for us the Imperial was a short walk from our Airbnb. Shoes kicked off and bedtime.
Sunday – Carriageworks, Museum of Contemporary Art and more food
Rain rain go away. Come again another day. But apparently not for the rest of our time in Sydney. So, what should we do when it rains in Sydney? Well, eat first of course. Naked Brew appealed the most after a Google search because of its mention of puppachinos and lamb omelettes for the dogs that were welcome. We walked to Naked Brew and arrived before the rain got heavier. As we sat eating our breakfast looking out onto the streets covered with flash flooding we wondered what to do next. The initial plan was to walk to the train but instead we caught a $12 Uber to Carriageworks. Worth. Every. Dollar.
Carriageworks was a tip we’d received from friends the night before at dinner. They had an exhibition on called New Australian Art and our favourites were getting a photo pretending to hold onto the side of a building to avoid falling into the traffic below, and the random banana boxes covering one of the walls.
The rain had subsided so we walked to the station and caught the train to Circular Quay. It’s pretty impressive as you come out of the tunnel and the Harbour Bridge and Opera House appear on the left hand side. Make sure to sit on that side of the train as they come into view. Oh and did I mention the trains are double decker? The only ones I know of in Australia!
Not entirely sure where we were going next, we stumbled across the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). Some of the works are confronting, including the footage of an older Aboriginal woman on Palm Island speaking publicly at the time asking police brutality to stop. On a lighter note, there is a collection of driftwood in various animal shapes and a display with magnets and steel balls above them swinging around and trying to decide which magnet to land on.
Feeling the effects of the night before, it was time for another afternoon nap. Why not? We’re on holiday! So we caught the train from Circular Quay to Newtown and dozed off until Harry woke us up before our alarm at 6pm. Lucky, because Young Henry’s closes at 7pm. Every day! So start your Sunday session early. To save time getting to Young Henry’s we unlocked some Lime e-bikes with helmets attached. They are somewhat difficult to ride on the pathways with people walking around you and a burst forward now and then as the motor kicked in. So after a short ride including a component of open road without worrying about running into any pedestrians and instead worrying about being hit by a car, we parked and locked the e-bikes with the Lime app before crossing the road to the brewery. Whilst the food truck outside was tempting with popcorn chicken on the menu, we had the closing time of 7pm in our minds and the realisation that popcorn chicken was not going to fill the gap that was our stomachs that had been expanding on our holiday.
Instead we walked to Flying Tong, a Korean restaurant. It was quiet just after 7pm on a Sunday night so we second guessed whether we should go inside. After a quick look through the menu on the table outside we decided it was worth the risk. The bibimbap came out first, a colourful vegetarian option including seaweed and egg on top. Then the plate of garlic soy Korean fried chicken. OH BABY. Harry tried a creamy Korean beer called Max and I had a slightly more expensive than directly from the brewery Young Henry’s pale ale to continue drinking the same beer. While Harry had plans of drinking cocktails somewhere nearby on our last night in Sydney, I was happy to go back to the cosy couch of our Airbnb for a bit of TV before turning on the electric blanket and unfortunately for Harry, snoring the night away.
Monday – Wandering around Darling Harbour
It was still raining when we woke up on our last day in Sydney. But Miffy the poodle made it all better, coming downstairs to say hello after the owner said bye and went out for the morning. Meanwhile we can only assume the dog’s name is Miffy because of the wifi being called ‘flyingmiffy’.
Walking to South End Cafe for breakfast wheeling our cabin bags behind us, we spotted a Street Library cabinet outside a home with books inside. What a great idea! Love Newtown! Why South End Cafe? We noticed it on our first day when we were looking for a place to stop for lunch because of the dogs sitting outside the cafe at tables with their owners. This time there was one dog outside, but not for long in the cold, rainy weather despite the protective awning. So we asked to move inside for our breakfast. I recommend the Newtown Veggie Breaky. Poached eggs (free range), sauteed mushrooms, avocado, grilled haloumi and house relish with rye sourdough toast.
For our last few hours in Sydney we caught the train into Darling Harbour and wandered around, trying to spot fish in the dark water beneath the clouds. In the rainy weather the boats were quiet. It wasn’t long before it was time to catch an Uber to the airport. Our flight was at 3:10pm back to the Gold Coast. Hopefully the sun is shining there!