Sydney has long been host to some of Australia's most famous attractions – the iconic Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the ever-popular Bondi Beach – but this pulsating city also hosts a treasure-trove away from the usual tourist traps that will keep you as equally intrigued as their more-famous cousins. Just peel away the layers, jump in one of our hire cars, and follow this handy guide!
Clandestine bars for that Prohibition-era feel
The Prohibition of 1920s America, which forsook the manufacture and sale of alcohol, led many thirsty drinkers to find more inventive ways to quench what ailed them. This led to the set up of 'speakeasys,' secretive bars hidden away from the prying eyes of the authorities. Though this era has long since passed, the spirit of Prohibition lives on across the world, and none more so than in Sydney – many of its best watering holes are hidden away down ancient passageways or seemingly-disused buildings. You don't have to rely on word-of-mouth to discover these secrets anymore – they are open for business and ready to serve your favourite tipple, often accompanied by the themes, music and fashion from that famous era, but thankfully minus the organised crime that often came with it. Take a trip away from the crowded, tourist-heavy commercial bars, look for an unmarked door or suspicious-looking opening and have a gander inside. You never know what you might find…
Feed your soul
Sydney plays host to some of the finest restaurants in the world – it's very difficult to go hungry here. However, those restaurants can come with a price tag to match – in these austere times, most of us don't particular fancy forking out $100 for a few prawns. You can find outstanding eateries, Asian street food and pop-up restaurants across Sydney's sprawl, and they are easier to spot than the aforementioned bars. If you are prepared to do a little exploring, and your stomach isn't rumbling too much, then it is always well worth taking the drive through Sydney's suburbs and taking in the fine array of food on display.
Everyone knows that the Museum Of Contemporary Art is the must-visit art nirvana of Sydney, guaranteed to satisfy even the most ardent of art buff's needs. Alongside the Art Gallery of New South Wales, these two establishments represent the popular side of Sydney's well-developed art scene – but what if you fancy something more of the surreal, of the avant-garde, perhaps? Home to a sizeable Chinese population, that nation's art is represented at the White Rabbit Gallery – boasting one of the world's biggest collections of Chinese pieces. For those insatiable arty types that can spend an entire day gazing upon a painting of a ship, look no further than 2 Danks Street in Waterloo. It's an entire complex dedicated to the arts and food, featuring no less than 10 galleries, each dedicated to a different form. And, when you grow hungry after looking at a collage of a banana hung within the walls, you can choose from one of the equally-diverse restaurants that make up the complex.
A trip to Sydney would not be complete without a visit to the beach – the world-famous Bondi is the main tourist magnet. However, if you don't fancy being surrounded by swathes of semi-naked humans for your beach experience, then it is perhaps best to look elsewhere. With a rental car it's easier to get out and about and discover Sydney's hidden paradises. Though it's often fun looking for secret hideaways by yourself, we can thoroughly recommend Milk Beach, Obelisk Beach, Lady Martins and Parsley Bay – just pop them into your GPS system, and away you go. Happy exploring!