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Discover a secret side of Sydney

2nd April 2014

Sydney is a big city and a destination many people are already familiar with - at least on the surface.

However, for those looking to discover a new side to the city, there's certainly a lot more on offer.

Discover a new side of Sydney with these lesser-known destinations and you'll feel as though you're in a whole new city altogether.


Australian escapes in Sydney shouldn't miss Glebe, a vibrant and quirky suburb. You don't have to travel far to get there either - it has a convenient location about ten minutes' drive from the city's central streets.

It's a hub for university students, academics and activists, so it's a great place for intellectual stimulation, especially for those who love perusing boutique bookstores and sipping on coffees at quirky cafes.

It's beautiful to look at too, with Victorian terraces, cottages, tree-lined streets and gorgeous heritage touches. Its Bicentennial Park shouldn't be missed by anybody looking for a green space in town.

When it comes to dining there's almost every option under the sun with a smorgasbord of international flavours, including Nepalese, Japanese, Thai, Italian and more. There are plenty of bars and pubs too to quench that evening thirst.

One of the best things about Glebe is the Saturday market. Homeware, clothing, jewellery, accessories, art and more are all on offer at this collection of market stalls on the corner of Derby Place and Glebe Pt Road, on the grounds of Glebe Public School. Browse the stalls as bongo music drifts through the lanes and see what kind of treasures you can find. You never know who you will bump into at this colourful meeting place.

Secret beaches

Sydney is full of picture-perfect beaches, such as Bondi and Manly beaches. However these are the city's well-known sandy shores, which are often packed with revellers.

Luckily for those seeking a different experience, there are the 'secret beaches'. One such destination is Milk Beach. This small bay is found at the base of Hermit Bay, which is within the Sydney Harbour National Park and the Heritage-listed Strickland House in the east.

The small stretch of sand and crystal-clear waters offer fantastic views around Sydney and is perfect for picnicking, snorkelling and simply relaxing and taking in the view.

Shelly Beach in Manly is another great hidden gem that can take you away from the crowds and into a peaceful paradise. It's part of Cabbage Tree Bay, which is a protected marine reserve, so swimming and snorkelling here is absolutely stunning. The water is shallow, making it great for spotting plenty of colourful fish and marine creatures.

It's also a great destination for those who love walking. Take the track sign-posted onsite that offers unmatchable views of North Head and the Northern Beaches - it'll take your breath away. Another great location for a picnic, there are barbecues and bathroom facilities available.

Cockataoo Island

This fascinating island is only a ferry trip away from central Sydney and offers a wonderful insight into Australia's convict and shipbuilding past. Visit the remnants of the old penal facilities as well as ship-building and war-time remains.

Take a self-guided journey or an audio tour to learn plenty about the site or simply relax and take in the views - or even paddle around in the surrounding waters in a kayak!

Cockatoo Island is particularly unique because you can also stay overnight with all sorts of accommodation ranging from camping and 'glamping' to apartments or heritage houses. There are also a few eateries so you dine on the island, while plenty of picnic facilities mean you can bring your own food, too.

Be sure to discover Sydney in a whole new light with these wonderful destinations - and perhaps see what else you can find while you are out and about!