A Guide to Autumn in Sydney to Make the Most of the Easter Holidays
What to eat, see and do in the Harbour City — including watching this musical on the water.
March 29, 2019
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The April holidays are nearly upon us. And with the Easter long weekend and ANZAC Day landing on consecutive weeks this year, there's no better time to book a trip out of town. Might we suggest you land on Sydney? The city has so much going on this autumn, including highly lauded markets, blockbuster performances, massive new exhibitions and brand new venues to discover, plus all of the Easter treats and ANZAC Day specials in between. Here's our guide on how to make the most of your holidays this season in Sydney.
HUNT FOR EXCELLENT EASTER TREATS
Throughout the month of April, Sydney's best chocolatiers turn out some delectable, hard-to-pass-up Easter treats. These include a larger-than-life Easter egg at The Grounds of Alexandria, which annually constructs a three-metre-tall egg stuffed with over 500 kilograms of chocolate. The 'community cracking' takes place on Easter Sunday — and there are no bookings, pre-orders or payments necessary to participate. There's also a sweets-filled family high tea and a free Easter egg hunt on the Saturday.
For some over-the-top treats, head to Gelato Messina for a very indulgent Easter dessert. This year, expect the Hot Cross Bun Egg — that's hot cross bun gelato mixed with toasted hot cross bun pieces and an oozing dulce de leche 'yolk', all with a milk chocolate coating. The Messina concoctions sell out each year, so sign up here to be the first to order.
Darlinghurst's Kakawa is across Easter, too, offering more hot cross bun-flavoured chocolates, chocolate-filled eggs and bunny pops. Other sweets to hunt down include the raw vegan choc eggs at Alexandria's Pana Chocolate and the range of luxe Easter treats at Haigh's in the CBD.
VISIT ONE OF SYDNEY'S NEWEST VENUES
While you're in town for a visit, be sure to check out a few of Sydney's newest openings. For a top-notch bar, head to the city's first dedicated mezcal bar, Cantina OK. The 20-person venue can be found hidden down a laneway in the heart of the CBD. But if Sydney's sunny skies are calling you outdoors, it's Chippendale's new rooftop Spritz Bar you should consider. It offers a whole menu of spritzes, along with Sicilian-style bar snacks and Mediterranean vibes. And for a real locals' haunt, make tracks to Newton to sip Scandinavian aquavit cocktails in the courtyard at the Danish-influenced Tandem Bar.
For eats, check out RaRa Ramen, Redfern's new izakaya-style joint that's slinging some seriously authentic bowls of ramen, including a regularly sold-out vegan version. Finer fare can be found at Darlinghurst's Eliza Food and Wine, an eatery focused on local produce and brought to you by Michelin-trained chef Jeremy Bentley.
And for a bit of both, don't look past the drinks and eats at Pyrmont's new natural wine bar and European-style eatery Bar Clementine — it's slinging funky drops, aperitif-style cocktails and European share plates to boot.
GO FOR $5 ON HEADS AT A GAME OF TWO-UP
If you're in Sydney over ANZAC Day, it's a given to take advantage of this beloved 'sport' — especially if you've never played before (we're looking at you Melbourne). What is it? A betting game of heads or tails that was played by the ANZACs during WWI. How should you prep? Take some cash out so you have notes (you'll want some fivers unless you're planning to play hard) and find a good pub where you can watch those sacred two-up coins fall. While there are many venues to choose from, hitting up one of Sydney's best pubs ensures a spirited crowd — and often discounted brews.
Our go-to is The Bank in Newtown, where the sunken beer garden is transformed for the occasion with stadium seating, a tinny bar and pub grub — and it's all hosted by legendary local drag queen Tora Hymen. More wild two-up rings pop-up nearby in the leafy beer garden at The Courthouse and in the massive dining room at Darlinghurst's Dolphin Hotel. We also dig the Australiana-vibes at Paddington's The Unicorn and the historic feels at The Rocks' Australian Heritage Hotel.
HOP THROUGH THESE NEW ART EXHIBITIONS
Sydney has a lot of must-see exhibitions on during April. There's the massive The National 2019, a huge exhibition that features work from 65 contemporary Australian artists and spans the Art Gallery NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Carriageworks.
Also showing at the MCA is Janet Lawrence: After Nature — the first exhibition chronicling the Sydney-based artist's 30-year career. It explores 'the link between all living creatures' and includes environmentally charged sculpture, installation, photography and video. Another show-stopping exhibition on at the moment is Hot Blood at Chippendale's free White Rabbit gallery. Expect a showcase of emerging, post-'Great Firewall' Chinese artists who are out to disable our idea of traditional Chinese art.
And if you are after traditional Chinese art, then kick on post-The National viewing at AGNSW for Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art. The exhibition features treasures from Taipei's National Palace Museum on display in the southern hemisphere for the first time. It features 87 masterworks, including a jasper stone that resembles a juicy piece of pork belly.
VISIT SOME OF THE CITY'S FAVOURITE MARKETS
If you're looking to hit the market scene, you can't go past one of Sydney's most lauded farmer's market, which takes place every Saturday within Carriageworks. Over 70 stallholders join forces to offer some of the city's best produce, and it's all curated by acclaimed chef Mike McEnearney.
Located on the other side of Sydney's inner west is Tramsheds, a former tram depot-turned-shopping precinct, which holds a Growers Market every Sunday from 8am–2pm, including on Easter Sunday. Expect sustainably grown produce alongside workshops, masterclasses and live entertainment. Plus, heaps of the precinct's eateries will be open throughout the Easter long weekend and on ANZAC Day — including Spanish-style tapas bar Bodega 1904, fresh pasta spot Flour Eggs Water and Egyptian diner Bekya.
If you're in town earlier in April, catch the monthly Brewery Markets at Yulli's Brews vegan taproom on Sunday, April 14. There'll be indoor plants, eco-friendly clothing and jarred preserves up for grabs, along with craft brews and restaurant signatures.
CATCH A LIVE SHOW
From Broadway hits and Opera House exclusives to local gigs and free jazz, Sydney has it all. One of the most impressive shows on at the moment is West Side Story, which is performed on a floating stage on Sydney Harbour and backdropped by some of the city's most impressive views.
Within the Opera House, you'll find Basement Jaxx Vs The Metropolitan Orchestra, which will see the famed British electronic music duo perform with a live orchestra. And for something more specific to the Easter theme, there's the musical production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on at the Capitol Theatre till Sunday, April 14.
And for more local (and budget-friendly) options, you can catch multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Little Green's jazz, folk and blues for just $15 on Friday, April 26 at 107 Projects. And, for a real bargain, there's free jazz at legendary Venue 505 every Monday through Wednesday. Plus, you can catch Drag and Dine at Priscillas any night of the week from 7.30pm.
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