Off to Sydney? Perfect picnic spots & stunning walks, recommended by Sir Stamford Circular Quay

by Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Concierge David Reynolds from Sir Stamford Circular Quay has a wealth of industry knowledge, having worked as Chief Concierge for a number of luxury hotels, and being born and bred in Sydney, he also knows the city like the back of his hand. David, who was actually one of the first Les Clefs dÓr members in Australia, says he has lived here all his life and “wouldn’t live anywhere else”. His family were hoteliers in Sydney with four family-owned hotels in the Rocks area and North Sydney. Growing up, he worked as a bellboy in the Four Seasons Hotel (Regent Sydney) “the most luxurious, international hotel in Australia” and it was there that he “caught the international-hotel addiction to become a Five-Star international concierge, under the best concierges in the world with Tony Facciolo, Alfred Jasinski, Tony James, Jacques Stoupel and Colin Toomey – all world-leaders in the industry and Australian founders of the golden keys society”. Let’s join David and get to know this coastal metropolis through his own eyes…

David Reynolds.

Where he takes his own guests when they visit

Sydneysiders know it’s all about the harbour, surrounding beaches, and views so, enjoy an ultra-scenic, round-trip helicopter flight to Coogee, Bondi, Manly and Palm Beach with Sydney Heli tours. Waterfront dining is a beloved activity around Sydney, and Doyle’s at Watsons Bay is one of Australia’s oldest seafood restaurants. Other top options include Bathers’ Pavilion at Balmoral Beach, The Pantry in Manly – and the outstanding Aria created by Matt Moran, not to be missed, at No.1 Macquarie Street. For something a little more local with a little less view, try Fish at the Rocks. It’s right near the local’s pub with great views – the historic Glenmore Hotel, one of Sydney’s best rooftop pubs.

It’s a rainy day but we want to explore, what we should we do

So, on a rainy day… Just off the Hotel entrance and overlooking Macquarie and Albert streets at Circular Quay, is the traditional bar known as The Bar where the emphasis on style and local ingredients continues. Choose from a selection of locally brewed beers and a large wine list. Or, let the expert team of bar professionals put a contemporary twist on your favourite cocktail whilst enjoying the live music on Friday and Saturday nights with the pianist whilst enjoying the beautiful log fire in our hotel lobby.

People with no opera experience often take in their very first performance here and all inside, thanks to one of the world’s most iconic buildings, the Sydney Opera House. It is also home to the Australian Ballet and Sydney’s Dance and Theatre companies. But, if you can’t find a show that suits your fancy, take the hour-long tour, offered every day. Afterwards, stop for a bite or a cocktail at the gorgeous waterfront Opera Kitchen and Opera Bar, nicknamed “the best beer garden in the world,” though it is more an outdoor cocktail lounge all under the umbrellas on the external terraces.

Image: Sacha Styles @sachleno Unsplash

His recommendations for night-time entertainment

The unique entertainment of Vivid Sydney’s multi-award-winning festival of light, music and ideas returns every year to illuminate Sydney with mesmerising new light art and projections and deliver a fresh new program [until 16 June]. All our fine-dining restaurants and bars around the harbour foreshore are also illuminated. The brilliant Sydney Walk is also lit up, stretching for two kilometres along the harbour foreshore from The Rocks to the Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanic Garden. Discover more breathtaking light art at Barangaroo and Darling Harbour, along with the city’s Kings Cross, Chatswood and Taronga Zoo.

Key phrases to learn

G’Day Mate!  Meaning: I am forever your friend or mate.

Buy a schooner of beer! An Australian term for a larger-sized glass of ale.

Image: Annie Spratt @anniespratt Unsplash

The best way to get to the airport

Circular Quay is one of the most visited sights in Sydney therefore has plenty of different transportation options. It’s just a short train ride to the airport; a taxi ride through the city; or a quick ordering of an Uber, taxi or limousine.

Best shopping & souvenirs

Sydney has no shortage of shopping centres or plazas and everywhere you turn, there’s a new shop to explore. The favourites would be Queen Victoria Building, Westfield Shopping centre, and Pitt Street Mall which is just a short stroll from our hotel. Built in the 1890s and beautifully restored in the 1980s, the Queen Victoria Building’s three levels are devoted to fashion, jewellery and gifts as well as cafes and restaurants. You can even enjoy traditional morning or afternoon tea in The Tea Room QVB, which has Baccarat crystal chandeliers. Pitt Street Mall is right in the bustling middle of the city and has shops that cater to everyone’s needs including boutiques, department stores, arcades and Westfield Sydney – a gleaming complex of over 250 fashion, food and lifestyle stores. And our souvenir suggestions are a digeridoo, a boomerang, and a photo of yourself climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Image: Sacha Styles @sachleno Unsplash

A child-friendly thing to do or place to go

We all know that kids love to explore and learn new things and The Rocks would be an amazing place to start. The Rocks mixes historic architecture, ghost tours, the city’s oldest pubs and quaint cobblestone laneways with bustling markets, award-winning restaurants, top bars and stylish boutiques. These include the Weekend Markets on Saturdays and Sundays where dozens of stalls sell locally-made handcrafted pieces, from jewellery and clothes to souvenirs and artwork.  There are walking tours through the oldest streets in Sydney and world-class museums sharing interesting stories of Sydney’s fascinating past and modern art in Australia. Circular Quay is a short walk from our hotel, where you can take ferry rides to Manly, Watsons Bay and Milsons Point which are home to some of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches, cafes and markets.

His best-kept secret or favourite hidden treasure

Perfect picnic spots. Allow our team to prepare a gourmet Sir Stamford Sydney picnic for you, ready for a day out at one of these locations:

  • Observatory Hill Park: A short stroll from the hotel, with a million-dollar view of Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens: A tranquil escape among the gardens, overlooking panoramic views of the harbour.
  • Shark Island: Named after its shape, this harbour island features beaches, rocky foreshores and lush green trees. Just walk or take a water taxi across to any of these lovely locations.

Image: Sacha Styles @sachleno Unsplash

Anything else we should know when visiting

There are some stunning coastal walks and it’s easy to discover some of the best views of Sydney on foot, with one of these popular walks:

  • Federation Cliff Walk: A five-kilometre walk with picture-postcard views of the ocean, from Dover Heights to Watsons Bay, featuring one of Australia’s oldest lighthouses.
  • Manly to the Spit: A series of short tracks passing through some of Sydney’s prettiest beaches and bays. Ten kilometres in total, with a mix of bushland and scenic harbour trails.
  • Bondi to Coogee: A six-kilometre, quintessentially Sydney walk, winding along the coast through beaches, parks and along spectacular rocky cliffs.


For more information or to book, click here.


Main image: Mark Thompson @markthompson_media Unsplash