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{i left my heart} in Sydney

“If Paris is the city of lights, Sydney is the city of fireworks.”

- Baz Luhrmann

This is SO true.

I’ve never witnessed so many fireworks as in Sydney, and I’ve only lived here for five months. We did happen to move here before the amazing VIVID festival though, so perhaps that's why we've been spoilt.

On that note, I have a disclaimer:

I SWEAR… our Sydney print was a part of the {I left my heart} collection BEFORE I moved here.

Mr G and I have been planning Tiny Giraffe’s first collection {i left my heart}, featuring five of my favourite cities, since mid 2014. (I started the very first print in early 2013!)

Originally there were other cities in the collection (Hello Brisbane, Wellington and Waikiki!). Then, when Tiny Giraffe started becoming more of a business and less of an idea, I finalised the cities to feature some BIG HITS. H E L L O Sydney and Paris!

Then, imagine my surprise, when my husband lands an amazing job there a few months later! We had spoken about moving to our favourite city (hard to get sponsored), or perhaps Melbourne (too cold, lack of beaches – sorry Melbs I still love you and ALL of your food and culture), and then along came Sydney.

Sydney was always high up on the list.

So now that you know I’m not entirely biased…

Let me tell you all the things I love about Sydney, as a tourist:

The Harbour

Yes, the infamous Sydney Harbour – that sparkling, deep blue expansive heaven, visible from nearly every narrow inner city laneway, reaching its way into the depths of so many amazing suburbs, bustling with boats and ferries and mega cruise liners, surrounded by beautiful headland with dreamy bushwalks.

The Beaches

Ahhh, the beaches.

Now, I know a good beach when I see one (I’m a Queenslander after all) and this city delivers!! Apart from the sunny weather, it was definitely the defining feature that enticed me to say ‘yes’ to moving here. The beaches here may not have the silky white sand I’m used to (or the free parking, sob) but they are absolutely magic. On a warm summer day with big blue skies, nothing beats it. Especially since you don’t have to go far from the city centre to find one and many of the beaches have city views!

And when I say beaches, I mean MULTIPLE. They are dotted all over Sydney, from tiny gorgeous swimming holes to wide, expansive sandy ones. And of course, just when you think you’ve found the prettiest and most secluded one, there’s a good chance you’ve found a nudist beach. (Lesson learnt. I’m cool with it now.) When the beach can easily become a routine part of your day and not the destination, it’s HEAVEN.

Did I mention the cliffs? And rock pools? And ocean swimming pools?

The Weather

I am pretty sure I covered this in ‘beaches’. Just google Sydney. You’re bound to see wide blue-sky days for miles. (Yes, it does rain here and no, there aren’t as many sunshine days as Queensland, but it’s still amazing).

The Retail Therapy

Sydney is like a city of villages. You’ll quickly realise just how much there is to see if you head out of the city and find yourself in charming suburbs like Balmain, Paddington, Surry Hills, Mosman or Glebe. Each suburb is filled with bustling high streets featuring local markets, designer wares, shops, restaurants, yoga studios, hidden bars, day spas and all sorts of treats. Every suburb has so much going for it, you’d never have to leave it. And I’m pretty sure that’s how the locals like it, as the traffic can get horrendous.

Let me tell you what I love about Sydney, as a local:

All of the above.


The History

Or in other words: this city is ancient (in Australian terms). Now, we don’t have anything as ancient as London, but Sydney does have a lot of fascinating history.

I never cared for history at school, but if someone had told me it really meant “people’s stories” I might have been interested earlier. This city is FULL of stories. You can feel it under your feet as you walk on old cobblestones through The Rocks. In my suburb of Balmain, I can wander down tiny laneways with tiny terraces that were once homes for wharf workers, complete with Harbour Bridge glimpses. The city pulses with energy past and present and like all good cities, makes you feel alive. Now that I live here, I have the time to stop and explore every story I come across.

The Seasons!

Oh my!

What a feast for the senses and boost for my spirit. I’m back in a city that actually gets cold and contains deciduous trees that lose the most amazing coloured leaves. We are now in the midst of winter here in Australia and my frozen fingers and toes may be starting to miss Queensland’s summery version of ‘winter’, but I’m so.very.much in love with these seasons. I’m more in tune with what foods are naturally abundant in each season, and noticing the details in the landscape around me. Right now it's dewdrops, moss, mist, creepers, camellias and star shaped leaves littering the pavement.

Spring is going to be a real treat…

I left my heart

I left my heart in Sydney as a seventeen year old, exploring the rock’n’roll hangouts of Newtown. It turns out my heart is still there, and now we are reunited.


Have you been to Sydney? What did you love about it most?

More importantly, if you found a great hot chocolate/chai latte/wine bar let me know :)

All photos © Tiny Giraffe

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