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Sydney's endless summer

by Ellie Smith | 28 June 2017

“Do you reckon it’s hot enough to fry an egg on my car bonnet today?” muses a bronzed man in his late twenties.

Probably, I think to myself. It’s 40 degrees, the hottest day of the summer so far, and I am sizzling on a sunbed by the Prince Alfred Park Pool – bang in the middle of the city centre of Sydney.

Despite being nestled behind the bustling Central station, there’s real sense of tranquility here. It’s a great spot for people-watching – glamorous sunbathers strewn about in the sunshine and workers who have popped in for a quick dip on their lunch break. And, if you look up past the sparkling blue water, palm trees sway against the backdrop of a majestic CBD skyline.

This is the magic of Sydney: you get the best of both worlds. It’s a vibrant, buzzing cosmopolitan city, surrounded by nature and beautiful beaches. Jump in an Uber from the middle of town and you’ll be dipping your toes in the Pacific at Balmoral Beach – my personal favourite – in under 15 minutes.

One day my friend and I hop on an (air-conditioned!) 11-minute train to the world-famous Bondi Beach – this time not just to sunbathe, but to try out the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk: a 6km stretch which winds it way along a series of picturesque coastal paths, beaches and rockpools.

It’s the perfect way to see multiple beaches and a succession of spectacular views in one day, until the unfortunate moment when, about half way through our stroll, a huge thunderstorm breaks out out of nowhere. We sprint to the nearest pub (or hotel, as they are called here) to seek refuge – in our bikinis.

Despite being dripping wet we are welcomed in with open arms in the typical easy breezy Aussie way: “no dramas”. Luckily we have stumbled upon a gem of a café in a small suburb called Clovelly, where we sit with very good coffee and very fresh bowls of fruit until the storm blows over.

Whether you’re in one of the beach towns or in the middle of the metropolis, Sydney is a summer city, always in its trunks, ever ready to head down for a spot of surfing. Everything about it is designed for outdoor living: outdoor pools and gyms, open-air cinemas, rooftop bars. Few views in Sydney can rival the awe of the panoramic view from the rooftop of the Glenmore Hotel, a three-tiered pub found in the historic precinct The Rocks.

A few kilometres away is the lovely Double Bay, a harbourside eastern suburb where many people dock their boats, including my Australian friend Rachel. On my last day in Sydney she invites me there to hop on her boat and spend a day sailing around with her family.

It’s the perfect day for it: hot but not 40-degrees-hot and a cloudless blue sky. Lying on the deck, sipping a glass of rosé and soaking up the sunshine, I realise this is what the Australian Dream is all about.

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