Sydney Summer ’19

We kicked off the first week of 2019 down under and it was such a fun time. To make a very long story short, my best friend lives there (she moved after a year into living in San Francisco with me back in 2009 for an Aussie man) and so we flew over for her wedding! It was a little short, but luckily for us, the summer days there went by so slowly and we made the most of our time outside of wedding events. It was Matt’s first time, too!

Steph (my friend who got married) actually convinced me to move to Sydney after she had lived there a year. I had just gone through a breakup, was navigating city life without her (we literally spent every minute together our first year as roommates), and I started working from home, so I decided to do it. I sold all of my things (didn’t have much at the time) and packed one suitcase full of all my clothes and belongings and moved over on a year visa in Dec 2011. I had the best time but got a little homesick (and if you know me you know I’m a homebody and can’t stand living out of a suitcase) so moved back to SF in late spring 2012.

It was so fun going back. Driving downtown from the airport on the way to our hotel brought back so many of the memories that slipped my mind. I love that feeling when you see, smell, or remember something and it brings you back to those moments in time. That’s exactly how I felt a lot of this trip, especially spending time with Steph.

So anyway! I have to start with our hotel because oh my lord. The Four Seasons in downtown Sydney near The Rocks is absolutely beautiful. They are amidst a renovation starting from the top and have completed two levels. We were lucky enough to book one with the most incredible view I have ever seen from a hotel room. Beyond the view (it’s hard to get past though tbh) that bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on… we both slept like babies every night we stayed here. Their new lounge (Lounge 32) is also lovely. Breakfast every morning, and happy hour in the evenings… we didn’t miss one.

The newly designed rooms are so elegant, chic, and comfortable. They truly make you feel okay about spending a little extra time in your hotel room. Later in the week, we spent an entire day out exploring and visiting some of my old favorite haunts so decided to order room service that night and rest before the wedding festivities (and enjoy that Opera House view!). If you plan a trip to Sydney, you must stay here.

{ scroll for the rest of the story… and guide at the bottom }

After we arrived (early in the morning last Wednesday), we freshened up and made some coffee before taking off for the day. The weather was sunny and beautiful (some clouds were on the week forecast) so decided to head to Bondi first thing and soak up the nice day. Bondi was the first area in Australia where I really felt like I was in a different country. Sydney reminds me of a mix of cities like SF (charm and architecture), LA (scene and style) and Chicago (outdoor everything), but Bondi takes your breath away and has its own thing going on. I love it.

I had never been to Icebergs so we decided that was our first stop. We grabbed a cocktail and marveled over all the colors and the sound of the waves crashing up against the pool wall. Sydney summers are pretty special. I realized while editing my photos that when traveling, I’m drawn to the color stories and, of course, good design. Sydney has plenty of that…

First stop, Fonda – delicious Mexican food and cocktails and the cutest space…

Hotel Ravesis is newer and such a cute hotel. Very lively and colorful, with a couple restaurants and bars onsite. I don’t think I’d stay here though as it’s on the main road and Bondi is a poppin’ place. I like my sleep. Beautiful, none the less!

North Bondi Fish ( NBF, also knowns as Nothin’ but fun } wasn’t there when I lived in Sydney! What a gem… we may have gone twice. Grab a bottle of rosé and watch the sunset and world go by…

A few things I got for our trip from NET-A-PORTER | bag / top / pants

After our Bondi beach crawl, we headed over to Coogee Beach to meet up with Steph and friends. There’s this amazing place called Coogee Pavillion that reminds me of the San Francisco Ferry Building, but way better. Lots of little pop-up shops, restaurants, wine bars, etc. It was the cutest…

We all grabbed dinner from different spots. Of course, Matt and I find a woodfire pizza place.

The next day, Matt and I woke up and made our way over to Surry Hills. A little area I loved to go to back in the day, especially to this spot called The Winery. We needed to grab some lunch first, and discovered Nomad which was SO delicious! One of our favorite meals of the trip. You must get the woodfire pita bread and hummus… insane. We also got the cauliflower salad and the roasted potatoes. Highly recommend.

The next couple of days we spent an hour north for my friend’s wedding, and then headed back to Sydney for a night before our flight. We went back to Bondi for lunch at Bill’s, which was our favorite meal of the trip! Can’t miss going here.


Super short trip, but certainly sweet! A handful of other things we did (without my camera in tow) and recs below:

Fonda (Bondi) / Mexican restaurant (cutest spot, loved the chicken tacos)

Bill’s (Bondi) / Known for their brunch but everything seems to be amazing (please order chili, sesame, and peanut
crispy chicken… also loved their tuna bowl)

Totti’s (Bondi) / A newer restaurant by the owners of a very well-known and loved restaurant group in Sydney called ‘Merivale’. I feel like they are like the ‘big night out’ group in SF (Park Tavern, Leo’s, Marlowe, etc.) on steroids, haha. They also own Fred’s, Mr. Wong, Mr. G’s (any Summer Heights High fans? haha), Coogee Pavillion, The Paddington (used to go here all the time) and more. They own everything! I will link the list here because if you’re going to Sydney, you should check these out.

Gusto & Cali Press (Bondi) / 2 separate cafes right next door each other, small/organic really cute.

Da Orazio (Bondi) / Delicious casual Italian

North Bondi Fish / An absolute must, and try and sit on the patio!

Bondi – Bronte (coastal walk) / (1hr there and back maximum) start the walk at Icebergs

Paddington (best shopping) / The area – is adorable and has amazing shopping! We didn’t go this time, but it was a favorite.

What I Packed


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  1. Wow, these images are insane! Just gorgeous captures! Makes me want to head to Sydney asap! Although it was a short trip it looks like a lot was done!

    1. A little late to this comment party, but thank you! It was so much fun 🙂

  2. Ash! Amazing photos- I have always been curious about Sydney and I feel you captured a lot. The beach photos are timeless.
    Love the red dress, and THAT view from the hotel room!

  3. A late comment, I know, but I’m new to your site and I’m exploring! Sydney is my hometown — I’m sitting here in the inner west right now, writing this — and it’s always so interesting to see it from an outsider’s perspective (albeit one who knows the city fairly well!). I love travelling but Sydney is home; it’s the most beautiful city in the world. Thank you for these glorious pictures!

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