How to spend it in… Sydney and beyond

Designers Patrick and Tamsin Johnson’s guide to the good life in Australia

Satellite Island, off the southeast coast of Tasmania
Satellite Island, off the southeast coast of Tasmania


Bert’s Bar & Brasserie 

“Worth a day trip to the Northern Beaches, about an hour’s drive from the Central Business District, for this glam brasserie. It’s got a beautiful outlook over Pittwater and nearby Palm Beach.” 2 Kalinya Street, Newport (

Restaurant Hubert 

“For a fun, underground – literally, the space is subterranean – French vibe, in an extravagant 1930s brasserie fit-out, in the heart of the CBD.” 15 Bligh Street (

The Art Gallery of New South Wales
The Art Gallery of New South Wales | Image: Jenni Carter

Sean’s Panaroma

“Casual but occasional – as in, celebrate an occasion here – with farm-to-table food, which Sean Moran was doing long before most others. Everything is seasonal and everything is exceptional. The ‘chook’ chicken is probably our favourite meal in Sydney.” 270 Campbell Parade, North Bondi (

Alberto’s Lounge

“For a fun dinner and incredible cocktails and vibe.” 17-19 Alberta Street, Surry Hills (

White Rabbit Gallery 

“One of the most celebrated collections of Chinese contemporary art in Australia, in a former 1940s Rolls-Royce service station-turned-exhibition space. Bonus: delicious dumplings and tea.” 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale (


Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery 

“Established in 1982, with a rich history in Australian art. They represent the best of the best, including Tracey Moffatt and Bill Henson.” 8 Soudan Lane, Paddington (

Wylie’s Baths

“A swim here is a must and costs AS$5.50 [about £3]. A historic ocean pool just below Coogee Beach, with charm and nostalgia to spare, and great people-watching. Grab one of the plastic chairs and isolate yourself at the end of the deck looking over the ocean – it’s pure Sydney.” 4B Neptune Street, Coogee (

Art Gallery of New South Wales 

“The centre of art and culture in Sydney. Diverse and international exhibits supported by a permanent collection of sheer beauty, in the most beautiful 1874 building.” Art Gallery Road (

The subterranean Restaurant Hubert, in central Sydney
The subterranean Restaurant Hubert, in central Sydney | Image: Daniel Boud

10 William St 

“Great and obscure Italian wines, cheeses and seasonal food. Romantic, cosy and close. Very hard to leave.” 10 William Street, Paddington (


France-Soir, Melbourne 

“A city institution – the perfect French brasserie full of local businesspeople and regulars, and of a character and charm that’s almost impossible to replicate. As are the snails, steak frites and crème brûlée.” 11 Toorak Road, South Yarra (

10 William St in the Sydney district of Paddington
10 William St in the Sydney district of Paddington

Kisumé, Melbourne 

“Chris Lucas’s Japanese cuisine with a definitively Australian sensibility. Vibey Aussie merged with kaiseki-style dining and a Chablis bar.” 175 Flinders Lane (

Raes on Wategos, Byron Bay

“The original Byron boutique hotel, spa and restaurant. It’s perched on a hill looking over Wategos, which is arguably the best beach in Australia. [Ed: which is really saying something.] Basically, it’s Australia’s Colombe d’Or.” 6/8 Marine Parade, Byron Bay (; from A$650, about £355.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

“An authentic Aussie bush experience in the heart of the Greater Blue Mountains, on about 7,000 acres of private land. This place really is unique in the country.” 2600 Wolgan Road, Wolgan Valley (; from about £820.


Satellite Island, Tasmania 

“Set way down in the D’ Entrecasteaux Channel, off the southeast of Tasmania. Your own private island [below]. The way to do it is to check in with a few favourite friends and spend days fishing and evenings shucking oysters by a fire with only the sound of lapping water.”; from about £1,070.

Read our interview with the Johnsons.

See also