- Australian Hostels
Just as a local, suburban market should be, Glebe Markets are diverse, colourful and full of life. Meander through stalls of fashion, books, jewellery, artwork, furniture, bric-a-brac and pretty much everything cool you can possibly imagine. The most popular stalls are the rows upon rows of colourful vintage clothes. Both new and handmade and pre-loved, you very well may find your next perfect pair of jeans or statement tee here! Recycling is a strong theme of these famous markets – turning something old into something new and fabulous. When you get peckish, take your pick from the countless stalls, ranging from the best gozleme in Sydney to Hungarian donuts. Grab your nosh and find a lovely stretch of grass, and enjoy live music and soaking up the atmosphere as you eat. Rain, hail or shine – you can always rely on Glebe Markets to fill your Saturdays with fun, food and fresh discoveries.
Melbourne may be the home of the International Comedy Festival, but Sydney's comedy scene is a hidden gem the locals know and love. For a brilliant hub where both amateur comedians to find their feet and professional comedians do their thing, you can’t go past The Comedy Store – located in the Entertainment Quarter just a ten-minute drive from Sydney Central YHA. There’s guaranteed to be something happening any night you go – whether it’s a showcase of aspiring comedians new to the game, or a more established artist ready to bring the house down. Add the on-site cocktail bar, and you’re got the perfect atmosphere for a brilliant night with friends. Just don’t sit right up the front unless you want to be roasted! Afterwards, explore the Entertainment Quarter for dinner, drinks, bowling or anything you fancy, really!
The latest craze taking Sydney locals by storm is learning to paint with the added bravery of a few wines – and Cork & Chroma in Surry Hills (an 11-minute walk from Sydney Central YHA) is one of the best places to do it! With absolutely zero artistic experience required, pay one price for your supplies and canvas (it's BYO booze), and learn basic techniques from experienced artists. Allow yourself to relax, be social, laugh and have fun with a date, new friend or the strangers around you as you sip on whatever you please! You’ll find that with step-by-step simple instructions, even people who don’t have a creative bone in their body are able to create something worthy of hanging up at home. This one is an absolute must-do.
A breezy kayak that only the locals know about, if you’re an adventurer and water-baby at heart this is a must-do! Hire a kayak from Manly Kayak Centre (or bring your own!) and push off from a little beach right near Manly Wharf. If you’re not confident on your nautical navigation skills, Manly Kayak Centre also hosts a tour, so you can relax and enjoy knowing you’re in safe hands. The difficulty of this kayak depends on a number of a factors, but it’s always best done with a buddy to ease the workout, and for maximum fun! Hug the coastline as much as you can. When you need a break, steer into secluded and peaceful Store Beach to rest and refuel. When you’re ready to head off again, you’ll scoot around to the famous (and allegedly haunted) Q-station – where you can snorkel and frolic around Quarantine Beach, or take a ghost tour if you’re game!
Only nine years old, a visit to Salt Meats Cheese is a rite of passage for every hip Sydney-sider. They took the city by storm, now with seven locations across Sydney (very accessible from our Sydney hostels!) SMC describe themselves as a “family owned Italian restaurant group,” but it’s so much more than just a place to enjoy authentic Italian food at affordable prices. What makes SMC so special is their decision to share their secrets – each location regularly hosts classes where you can learn everything from making the perfect gnocchi to baking every type of Italian bread under the sun. The classes are fun, informative and of course, you get to eat your masterpiece once all the hard work is done! If you’re more of an enjoyer than a learner, each location is open for lunch and dinner – prepare to sample the best pastas, pizzas and antipastos you’ve ever had (without emptying your bank account!)
As a big island, it’s no surprise that Australia’s seafood is absolutely glorious, and there’s only one place the Sydney locals go to get it: the famous Sydney Fish Market. The largest fish market in the Southern Hemisphere and the second-largest seafood market in the world outside of Japan, the Sydney Fish Market offers you the opportunity to sample the freshest of the fresh. Browse the countless seafood retailers and pick up some seafood to cook up at Sydney Central YHA later, or let others do the work for you and enjoy an endless array of fantastic dining experiences. From a casual eat at the sushi bar to an epic seafood platter overlooking the water, there’s something for every seafood lover. If you’re into upskilling, book a class at Sydney Seafood School – where some of Australia’s leading chefs teach you how to perfectly cook anything from canapes to BBQs!
Five-star views of Sydney harbour and fairy garden vibes, for absolutely nothing. Secluded and private, in spite of its popularity. Peace, quiet and zen. A spot so special, locals are loathe to share it around. Located in North Sydney - just a few stops on the train from Sydney Central YHA - Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a no-brainer for a unique and special romantic or social date. Bond over picking out items in the supermarket to prepare for your picnic, make the scenic walk down the steps together, and find a table or a lovely patch of grass to settle into for the afternoon. For a date, it provides a truly romantic backdrop – especially as the sun is setting. For friends, it is the perfect hideaway for stimulating conversations and an all-round relaxing catch-up. You can even go by yourself for the ultimate relaxing experience, take a book or take nothing and feel your worries float away. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this spot.
If you love the beach but aren’t as in love with crowds, the answer to all your prayers is nestled in the pristine suburb of Mosman! A 250-metre stretch of sand nestled safely inside Middle Harbour, there isn’t a wave to be seen – making it the perfect spot to cool off and enjoy a picnic. There’s also ample opportunity for snorkelling, canoeing, kayaking or fishing – you can spend a whole day here to get some R&R right in Sydney CBD's backyard. If you’re ready to join the action, take a 1 kilometre walk to nearby Balmoral Beach – bustling with life, but still an excellent spot to buy delicious fish and chips and eat them on the wharf, seabreeze in your hair. One of the best ways to do Sydney is enjoy everything the quiet suburbs have to offer, and the scenic walks, hidden beaches and boutiques of Mosman is an excellent place to start.
But first, you have to find it! Enter a fire door next to a sandwich shop on Sydney’s Pitt Street and follow a corridor so long, you’ll be sure you’re lost. But soon, you will see a polished brass pineapple door knocker – enter and you’re in! Boasting a diverse and delectable cocktail and nibbles menu with a distinct Japanese feel, you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with the cozy atmosphere at Door Knock Bar, described as “feeling like you’re in a mate’s place.” Specialties include the Hey Macadamia cocktail served in a tiki cup, and the substantial mac and cheese croquettes. If you’re after something fancier, there’s also freshly shucked oysters, perfect for sharing with someone. With dim mood lighting, it also makes it a perfect spot to take a first date (wink wink).
Now, this one will actually put you a step ahead of the locals! We Sydney locals tend to be creatures of habit – we work hard during the week and generally spend our weekends in our own backyards or being human sloths indoors with Netflix and UberEats. As an adventurer, you’re of course going to spend your weekends discovering hidden gems outside of Sydney that are mere train rides away! The cream of the crop has got to be the Blue Mountains - world away, yet only two hours from Sydney CBD. Enjoy the most exquisite landscapes you'll ever see - from the iconic Three Sisters rock formation to gliding above lush canopies at Scenic World. You're definitely going to need to crash overnight here, so secure your bed at the cosy and homely Blue Mountains YHA - just a stone's throw from terrific pizza, lively pubs and cute cafes!