Lavender Bay doesn’t feature on the front cover of the Trafalgar Tours brochures on Sydney or on Captain Cook’s itinerary and we like it that way, it’s our little Sydney secret. There are so many hidden gems in Lavender Bay that makes it a gorgeous place to visit for tourists new the country, visitors coming from other states or even Sydney locals.
We thought we’d share a little bit of history and some of the cool things we love about Lavender Bay that make it a ‘must see’ Sydney destination that is also off the beaten track.
Let’s start with THOSE harbour views, a bird’s eye view to the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Luna Park (which is right on our doorstep) as well as Circular Quay. All of these views away from the crowds and through the gorgeous old Morten Bay figs, Jacaranda trees and across the bows of the yachts who call our bay home. It seems we aren’t the first to notice, with artists and photographers standing at the head of Lavender Bay looking across the harbour to capture the spectacular views since the colonisation of Australia.
Lavender Bay has café culture in spades. Some of Sydney’s best cafes are located in our village and we can personally vouch for the quality of the coffee – best coffee in Sydney! Great food and amazing views are just a bonus. Take a break from your exploring and enjoy a gourmet pit stop under the market umbrellas. Sails Lavender Bay has to have one of the best Sydney Harbour views of any restaurant in town, with diners able to enjoy a delicious feast with 180 degree views of Sydney Harbour.
Another of our favourites is the Blues Point Hotel which has a lovely little view from the back room and a slightly genteel feel to it. A morning coffee stop at the Indulgent Sage (in front of the Lavender Bay Community Centre) is a must, it has good coffee and is a great space. A favourite amongst the locals is Piato restaurant which is next door to the post office and has a great Mediterranean feel to it. For a quieter spot (also good for a casual meeting ) try Olivo restaurant and café. Also worth a mention is Harbourside Indian at the top of the stairs above Wendy’s Secret Garden, the recently opened Moorish Blue and The Point Deli which has great wraps, sweet treats as well as good coffee.
Wendy Whiteley’s “Secret Garden”, one of those Sydney hidden gems, is nestled between Clark Park on Lavender Street. Picture this, secluded paths, benches under shady trees, sculptures, native flowers and old Moreton Bay figs all against a backdrop of the spectacular harbour with uninterrupted views of the harbour bridge. Us locals affectionately call it “Wendy’s Secret Garden” but there is free access to the public all year round.
We also have one of Sydney’s iconic attractions on our doorstep at North Sydney – Luna Park …. need we say anymore? Everyone knows its huge laughing face and Sydneysiders and visitors alike have been enjoying the most scenic fun park in the world for over 80 years. Nothing beats the sky high views of the harbour bridge riding on the ferris wheel at Luna Park! Of course the perfect end to a perfect day at Luna Park would be a chilled glass of wine or beer at the Deck Bar, again with 180 degree harbour views!
North Sydney Olympic pool might not be in as many brochures as Luna Park, but as its next door neighbour has the same amazing views. With an entry price of only $7.30 it is one of the best places to swim in Sydney. The stunning art deco-styled outdoor pool was built on part of the Dorman Long workshops site following the completion of the Harbour Bridge. The pool opened 4 April 1936 and hosted the swimming and diving events for the 1938 Empire Games. In all 86 world records have been set at the pool since its opening. You really could spend a whole day enjoying the view languishing by the pool and then pop up the road to one of the many Lavender Bay cafes for lunch.
Lavender Bay is noted for its historic character, boasting many fine examples of largely intact mid-19th and early 20th century buildings. All of this of course to be enjoyed in a village atmosphere with outdoor cafes, galleries and small specialty shops. Council has a guided walking tour that you can do independently, download the suggested route here.
Make sure you include Lavender Bay on your next visit to Sydney, it really is one of Sydney’s hidden gems. And don’t forget once you have explored our gorgeous village, to hop on down to Sailcorp and enjoy a leisurely sail around the rest of the harbour.