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Be a local not a tourist in Sydney

Sarah Richard
Sarah Richard – World Wanderer

So many of us fly from Hong Kong to Sydney each year, we can’t keep away – that outdoor life, those beaches and the scorching sunshine! As Hong Kongers, we may well be some of Australia’s best-loved tourists. But then we get to Oz and we want to be anything but a tourist. We want to be a local.

We want Australia to be our second home, put on a funky accent and be mistaken for a resident. Plus, we hate crowds, we live in a small city with 7 million people, we want to blend into the sunshine and surfers when we travel to Oz. So here are some top tips on how to look more like a local than a tourist in our favourite Australian city: Sydney!

Get yourself an Australian sim card and data!


Nope, no maps for us, no lonely planets; we casually look at our phones (with google maps permanently open) and look just like any other beach bum. We got this – we know where we’re going – well our Google Maps does! Make your first stop, once entering Sydney airport, be one of the many sim card providers’ booths.

Top yourself up $20 for 1GB or $30 for 2GB, and you can even post annoying Opera House selfies while you’re at it! But really, don’t go to Sydney without getting a sim card. We can almost guarantee you will get lost without Google Maps. (It’s a HUGE city guys, it’s not “One stop on the MTR” to get to your favourite restaurant!)

Hire a car


Ain’t nobody want to be wasting time waiting at bus stops. And sorry Sydney, your public transport just isn’t up to the standard we are used to in Hong Kong. Trust us on this one, you’re going to need a car to get around.

Sydney is HUGE, it gives “Ohhh you want me to go ALL THE WAY to Kowloon” a completely different meaning (aka that is really no distance at all). If you’re a visitor to Sydney, you can drive on your current licence, as long as it hasn’t been suspended or disqualified, and you follow the NSW road rules.

See those really exciting rules here

Don’t follow the tourist trail



Okay, you want to see the Sydney Opera House, so go. Finished? Right, now start exploring the real Sydney (with that awesome car you just hired). There is so much more to see than just the popular tourist traps.

Heard of the Northern beaches? Well, you have now. They may just be some of the best beaches in the world, and are within 45 minutes drive of Sydney! National Parks? Yup, Sydney has those too!

Check out writers Sarah’s recommendations for places to go off the tourist route here

Drink all the coffee!


Australia is home to some of the best coffee in the world (and Australians will tell you this. EVERYDAY. If you didn’t already know). So go get yourself a cup of the liquid gold, people watch to your hearts content and see the real Sydney. It’s one goddamn cool city, but it’s even cooler when you see it as a local, not a tourist!

Check out the ultimate list of Sydney’s coffee shops here

Eat all the food!


This one is kind of a given – don’t go to Sydney on a diet! Brunch is everything over there! Had a night out on the town? Head over to any pie shop (they are open all hours) and swap your drunken late night kebab for a good old Australian meat pie. Seriously, do it! Those pies are a drunken Sydneysider’s dream! We’re kind of obsessed with Harry’s Café De Wheel in Woolloomooloo – a local favourite! But don’t tell too many people, we don’t want to have to queue for our pies!

Sarah Richard

Sarah Richard is a 26 year old professional world wanderer. 4 years ago she left the UK and everything that offered her security and routine in exchange for a constant life of excitement and adventure. And she is still living it now. Through out working as a Dive Master, freelance writer,running her blog ( and working along the way she now leads a life as a full time digital nomad. So follow her in her travels, in which ever country in the world she choses, and learn how you can do it too


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