Travel: Insider's guide to... Sydney
Temperate Sydney cannot make up its mind whether summer has arrived yet. One minute it's shorts-and-T-shirt weather; the next, you're reaching for your leather jacket.
What are locals complaining about?
The Olympics. For the past year the city has been a building site; now Sydneysiders have discovered that most of the best tickets have been set aside for sale to the wealthy at inflated prices.
Who's the talk of the town?
John Laws, aka Mr Golden Tonsils, a radio host who earns over pounds 1m a year for making favourable remarks on air about corporate clients. Also, Rogan Josh, the seven-year-old who won last week's Melbourne Cup.
What's the cool drink to order?
Vodka with cranberry juice is the hip drink, but white wine is a perennial favourite, particularly on balmy evenings.
What are people eating?
Rustic French food with rich sauces. Diners are fed up with the Asian and "mod Oz" fare that has for years dominated eating out, and they are reverting to more traditional tastes.
What's the latest outrageous stuff on TV?
Sex in the City, the series that had Daily Mail readers choking on their cocoa, has now reached Antipodean shores, where it is causing a similar fuss. As for home-grown stuff, The Panel, in which a group of Melbourne comedians dissect the week's events, reliably pushes the boundaries of bad taste.
Where won't the locals dream of going?
The Rocks, the site in Sydney Cove where the occupants of the First Fleet stumbled ashore in 1788. Long an enclave of taverns and brothels, it was given the treatment a couple of decades ago, and many of its historic buildings now contain shops selling tourist tack.
Where are the chic doing their shopping?
Paddington, in the eastern suburbs, is still the place to see and be seen, particularly on Saturday, when the market attracts hordes of shoppers. For clubwear and cutting-edge design, Crown Street in Surry Hills is a lesser-known magnet for locals.
Where's the trendy place to escape for the weekend?
In summer, the South Coast, south of Sydney, where dazzling white beaches back on to state forest and national park. In winter, the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, for some excellent walks and crisp mountain air.
Kathy Marks is the Independent on Sunday's Australia correspondent.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
£6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...
£17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...
£23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...