The BFH Healthy Travel Guide to Sydney, Australia
I first traveled to Sydney, Australia in February of 2015 with nothing but a carry-on luggage, and very little expectations. All I really knew was I was escaping one of the most brutal Canadian winters I had ever experienced (hello opposite seasons!) and planned to drift around Australia for 3 months before heading home. Turns out it took all of two days for me to fall absolutely head over heels in love with Sydney, and it became my home for the following (nearly) 3 years.
Sydney is a dream city for anyone into health and fitness. From incredible coastal hikes, amazing weather, beaches, organic markets/ cafés, and more ways to workout than is even conceivable to the human brain- Sydney is truly a hub of wellness. The shelves at health stores are stocked with incredible innovative organic products like sugar free raw chocolates and cakes, medicinal mushrooms, tinctures, and tonic herbs, and everything fermented under the sun. Trust worthy, ethical, nose-to-tail organic butchers are accessible, and cafés and restaurants that serve such high quality meat and produce are abundant. There’s a farmers market for pretty much every day of the week, and there is no shortage of ways to sweat, detox, and super charge your heath.
These are the places that have made me fall absolutely in LOVE with this magical land down under.
cafés + restaurants
- Ora (Manly)- Ora is one of a kind. 100% organic, whole foods (and ethical meat!), made with serious love. They ferment, sprout, and quite literally tick all the boxes. Ora has the most incredible energy, and you can taste it in the food. Honestly, Ora alone made me want to move to Manly, they are the real deal.
- Broth Bar & Larder (Star Anise Organic Wholefoods) (Bronte)- Weston A. Price in café form. Soulla's products are nutrient dense, 100% organic, and honestly out of this world. Fermented everything, activated nuts, bone broths, stews, raw chocolate, and an epic "meal of the day". Do yourself a favour and get the "cacao power bars"- they are one of my favourite things on planet earth. This spot is expensiveAF and worth every penny.
- COOH (Alexandria) - epic venue, and epic food. Organic, high quality meat and veggies. Organic wines, live music. This place is ideal for a first date, or to celebrate any occasion, or to eat epic beef cheeks. I have been there about 20 times, and have ordered the beef cheeks 19 out of the 20 times. Honestly, get the beef cheeks. Even if you're there for breakfast... b-e-e-f c-h-e-e-k-s. Do it.
- Sefa Kitchen (Bondi) - this place is fire. Notably: the lamb, brussel sprouts, roatsed cauli, and chicken hearts. This is a mediterranean/ middle eastern vibes kitchen with a rotating menu, everything is delicious. The vibe here is super low key but really lovely and quite romantic.
- Orchard St. (North Bondi + Paddington)- Organic, raw, vegan juice bar/ food-to-go bar. They make epic hot-tonic drinks full of medicinal ingredients, have kombucha on-tap, and their juices are the BEST in Sydney. They have epic wraps and salads-to-go, raw cakes, chocolates + other treats. Honestly, I've never had anything there that wasn't absolutely amazing.
- Lox Stock and Barrel (Bondi) amazing little breakfast spot on the back-strets of Bondi. They make great nourishing bowls.
- Porch an Parlour (North Bondi Beach)- perfect location to watch the morning surf, or sun set. Porch is really good food.
- The Hill Eatery (North Bondi Beach)- Farm-to-table vibes, modern eatery, classic Australian food, fresh, local, organic. Yes. (Owned by the peeps from Porch and Parlour).
- Bondi Wholefoods (Bondi Beach + Surry Hills)- Bondi Wholefoods is, well, a whole foods based café- and it's pretty great. Salads, tones of brunch-vibe foods, smoothies, bowls, raw treats, coffee, etc. My go-to here (and I mean I used to get this once a week, is a "build your own plate" with the 48-hour slow roast lamb, a slice (or 2) of their homemade paleo bread, 1/2 an avocado, sauteéd mushrooms, cashew cheese, and chilli flakes. Anyone I've ever eaten with has gotten massive food-envy from this epic combo, so do your mouth hole a favour and just order it. *They're only open breakfast/ lunch.
- Earth to Table (Bondi Junction)- is an 100% organic, vegan + raw café that truly goes above and beyond. From shephards pie, incredible kale chips, epic "magnum" style ice-cream bars, Earth to Table is definitely one of the more elaborate of the organic-raw-vegan cafés around town.
- Sadhana Kitchen (Enmore + Bondi Beach)- one of the veteran raw, organic, vegan cafés in Sydney. They more recently opened up their Bondi Beach location, both boast amazing salads, nourishing bowls, vegan burgers (etc), and raw cakes/ delicious drinks, and COCOWHIP (drool). Sadhana is really into making vegan replica's of non-vegan things (like eggs, bacon, cheese, and burgers) which totally isn't my thing. When I go to these places I do it to praise the veggies; but if you're a vegan and secret wish you weren't: this place is for you.
- La Macelleria (Bondi Beach)- this butcher/ restaurant cooks your meat to order. You select the cut (like at a butcher) and they cook it/ bring it to your table. The beef and lamb quality here is off the charts: Tasmanian grass-fed; but, honestly... nothing else is that great (health wise). I used to eat the mouth-pleaserous sweet potato fries, but quit cold turkey when I found out they were being deep fried in vegetable oil (ah, heeelllllsssssss nah). My advice: get some beef and lamb skewers to-go, maybe swing by Earth Food Store for some organic roast veggies to-go, and go eat/ people-watch on the North Bondi Grassy Knoll.
- Grounds of Alexandria - this place is like straight out of a fairy tale. Cruising around the Grounds on a buzzing Saturday or Sunday morning is absolutely magical, but beware- most of the food is highly questionable. They've got some organic options, but honestly I would recommend going there to catch the vibes (shop for flowers, pet the pig, and maybe have a tea)- and then hop over to COOH Alexandria to grab lunch (4 minute walk).
- Thrive (CBD)- I wouldn't go into the city just for this meal, but when you're in the CBD and you need a feed, Thrive is a real/whole food, paleoAF, take-out joint that gets a thumbs up from me.
- O Organic Produce (Bondi Junction)- Bondi Junction is a terrible place to be if you're hungry. One of your best bets is grabbing a super-food filled smoothie from this joint and be on your way.
- Nalini's Wholesome Streetfood (Bondi Junction)- not organic, but this little indian spot defines made with love. This little hole in the wall (on Newland street) is a family affair, and they made amazing wraps (I suggest the falafel wrap), as well as incredible homemade probiotic-rich sauces and homemade banana-based ice creams.
- Bondi Beach Farmers Markets (Saturdays, 8am-1pm @ Bondi Beach Public School, Campbell Parade)
- Carriageworks Farmers Markets (Saturdays 8am-1pm 243 Wilson Street, Eveleigh - near Redfern Station)
- Kings Cross Organic Markets (Saturdays, 8am-2pm @ Fitzroy Gardens, Macleay Street, Potts Point - near Kings Cross Station)
- Marrickville Organic Food and Farmers Markets (Sundays, 8.30am-3pm @ Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville)
- EQ Village Markets Moore Park (every Wednesday and Saturday from 8am – 2pm under The Market Canopy)
- Manly Food Co-op (Manly) a stone's throw from Ora in Manly, this little organic shop is cuteAF and full of the best stuff. A decent bulk section of food as well as soaps/ shampoos, etc, fruit + veg, chocolate, toiletries, brushes and the sorts.
- Sam the Butcher (Bondi)- an epic butcher just up Bondi road, Sam (who literally works in the shop) sources the highest quality everything, and have a crazy big selection of stuff. From chicken, quail, lamb, beef, organ meat to the more exotic crocodile, kangaroo, and a tonne wild game. Ps. they make the most incredible lamb burgers.
- Feather and Bone Butchery (Marrickville)
- Earth Food Store (Bondi Beach)
- Health Emporium (Bondi) - there was a point where H.E. was selling organic avocados for $9.99 each *gasp* #bondi ...they do have high quality organic produce/ meat/ items, but their smoothie bar ain't organic (sneakyAF)
- Newton's Pharmacy- one of the best natural pharmacies I've been to, ever. Bulk herbs, oils, flower essences, homeopathics, all the tinctures you can dream of. If they don't have the quirky natural supplement or item you're looking for- they will order it for you.
- Coco’s Weath of Health (Maroubra)
- Health Nuts (Kings Cross)
- About Life (multiple locations) - Warning: Be weary of About Life. Their salad bar is notoriously dodgy (I'm talking false organic claims, mass prepared, microwaved). The shop still makes the list because they have a wide array of packaged health goods/ body products, etc; but honestly I've heard about bad vibes about the AL food bar (and produce section) that I just stay away from anything there that isn't labeled/ pre-packaged.
- Bondi Beach (duh) - TouristyAF but for a good reason. Bondi has all the vibes, post up at the very south of Bondi on the rocks for a more secluded nudie tan, or hit up North Bondi (knoll area) for a more social time.
- Bronte Beach - is like Bondi's cooler older cousin. The vibe is hipper and less pretentious, the beach is big and beautiful, and way less touristy.
- Tamarama Beach- apart from being heaps fun to say, Tama is an awesome little (long, but narrow) beach tucked between Bondi and Bronte. It has volleyball nets too.
- Big Congwong Beach - this is definitely one of my favourite beaches in Sydney. This GEM is located down south, past Maroubra, in an area called La Perouse. The clusters of beaches here at a part of Botany Bay National Park, and you can hike around the bush trails which leads down into the beaches, or drive your car (/ catch the L94 bus) all the way down to La Perouse. If you feel like getting your #nakedsuntime on, keep walking across Big Congwong you'll eventually hit "Little Congwong" one of Sydney's nudist beaches.
- Maroubra Beach- long as the eye can see, beautiful white sand. The bra has a totally different vibe than the Eastern suburb beaches, its definitely cooler down south, more surfing, and lots of hardcore soft sand runners.
- Secret Beach, Vaucluse- also known as Kutti Beach, this is a hidden paradise between Parsley Bay and Watson’s Bay. At the end of Wharf Road in front of the Vaucluse Sailing Club, what looks like a dead end actually has a hidden narrow wood staircase painted white behind a white picket fence, which leads down to Kutti Beach.
hikes / walks/ Nature
- Many to Spit Bridge hike- I only discovered this hike just as I was leaving Sydney, and it is absolutely incredible.
- Bondi to Coogee coastal run
- Royal National Park, hike down to the figure 8 rock pools
- Maroubra Beach to Malabar Beach
- Little Bay/ La Perouse bush walk
- Run in Centennial Park (Paddington) and hug the gum trees/ see the bajillions of bats at dusk
- Rose Bay to Watson’s Bay coastal walk
- Sydney Opera House down into the Royal Botanical Gardens (and even along the water all the way into King's Cross)
- 1/2 Day Trip: Hike to Somersby Falls, Central Coast
- Day Trip: to the Blue Mountains- plenty of hikes and areas to explore, you can even collect your own spring water!
- Overnight Trip: Camping in the sand dunes at Redhead Beach, Lake Macquarie, near Newcastle.
- South Coogee Steps - they look inconspicuous but these bad boys are KILLER. Hit up the Coogee stairs on a Sunday morning if you want to run along-side some beasts/ fuel yourself with some serious motivation. Do 4 rounds non-stop and try not throwing up... I DARE YOU! The stairs are located between THESE two points, parallel to Cairo Street.
- Lift Performance Centre (Redfern) - most badass gym on the planet. Cato and Laticia who own the gym are absolutely dope humans, the gym is a powerlifting and functional training mecca, and Jarrod will change your life with a single Active Release Technique (ART) session.
- Bikram Yoga (Bondi Junction and Maroubra)- same as Bikram anywhere else. Teachers are rigidAF and a bit (...a lot) anal, but there's no sweat like a Bikram sweat.
- Fitness First Bondi Platinum- gym located in the Westfield Bondi Junction has the most epic outdoor training area with insane views of the city. Also if you manage to get into the black label change rooms, you'll have access to the best located sauna in the city.
- Aram’s hot yoga class- through Fitness First. Yoga classes held inside a gym are almost exclusively foul. Like I would never in a million years just drop-in to a yoga class held at a big ol' gym (no offence... but, yeah). This class however, is the exception to the rule. Aram's hot yoga class is life changing, and I mean that for real. Take his class, and you'll get it. His magnetic energy is out of this world. You would have to check the fitness first schedule to find out when/ where he teaches, but from my memory it's regularly at the Maroubra and Randwick locations (check HERE).
- Beach Fit Bondi- this gym is absolutely tiny but the location is fire, and they have a roof that opens up in the summer (training under the blue skies = life).
- F45- classic Aussie workouts, 45 minute, guided, high-intensity sessions. Honestly, I could rip hard on the safety/ efficacy of f45 style group training... but I won't. If you have a strong foundation of weight training experience and good form in the gym, this is a great way to break a sweat.
- Flow Athletic in Paddington- yoga, spin, strength classes.
- Soft sand running along any beach (Maroubra is great for it)
- Grab your yoga mat and take yourself through a flow down at South Bondi.
- 8 Limbs Muay Thai/ Kickboxing gym in Bondi Junction - drop in for MMA style workouts (this is not boxercise, they are legit).
- Power Living Yoga- Bondi Beach + Bondi Junction. Beautiful studios, and powerful classes with incredible teachers.
- Yoga Village- Double Bay.
- Body Mind Life Yoga in Potts Point- this little yoga studio has a really lovely energy. I did the restorative class many times, highly recommend it.
- North Sydney Olympic Pool at Milson's Point - this epic pool is salt water, and heated. It boasts epic views of the bridge/ city.
- Yoga in the Sky @ Sydney Tower Eye- sunrise yoga over looking all of Sydney harbour, totally worth doing once. Learn more HERE.
- NTC Tour, once a year- Nike Training Club has a seriously epic full-day of fitness. They did it at Carriageworks the year I went and they had everything from spin, boxing, HIIT, a discounted Nike store, hair braiding stations, etc. It was a lot of estrogen in one building, but it was super fun. Learn more HERE.
- Sunrise Yoga, Bondi Beach- on the first Friday of every month, the One Wave crew hosts an epic fluro-Friday sunrise yoga session to raise awareness for mental health. The boys that started this group have hearts of gold, and this whole initiative is so incredibly inspiring. People share stories, talk openly/ vulnerably, and the yoga class is always a hoot. Learn more HERE.
- Swim + sauna at Icebergs pool (salt water, not heated) - probably my most favourite Sunday ritual during winter was spending 4-5 hours doing rounds in the sauna and jumping into the freezing cold ocean pool. In the summer, Icebergs turns into a serious hot spot, I avoid it for the most part and stick to catching rays in the the rocky-part of South Bondi... but in the winter, Icebergs pool/ sauna is a truly magical experience. It's also the best on rainy summer days, because you can watch the storm roll in from the sauna. Just be warned: it gets packed. Like, can of sardines packed. Oh and bring your flip flops... trust me. (ps. pool is drained every Thursday for cleaning)
- Nimbus & Co. - infrared sauna studio in Bondi.
- Wildfire Wellness Maroubra - infrared sauna studio in Maroubra.
- The Medicine Wheel Bondi- is a magical place. They offer many services, but I recommend a "shamanic bodywork massage" by Kane Puna. Not only is he a powerful masseur, but that man sees into your Soul and the session is powerfully healing. Whether your going through a life transition, need some metaphysical support, or just want a deep tissue massage with a side of woo, this one is for you. Learn more about Kane HERE.
Accupuncture/ cupping at the UTS clinic- cheapAF cupping + accu session by 4th year TCM students (Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8.00am – 5.00pm) Learn more HERE.
Tian He Tea House and Healing Arts - Kent is a true alchemist and healer. You can visit the Tian He for a tea ceremony, or a number of metaphysical healing sessions with Kent.
- Float tank - Health Space Potts Point- 60 minutes drifting away into the infinite salty cosmos that is a float tank.
- Ayurvedic consultation with my doctor (and total legend) Dr. Rama Prasad. Rama is seriously the Man. He is unfathomably wise, an incredible Ayurvedic doctor, and a hilarious dude. No joke, he is one of the people I miss the most in Sydney. At his centre you can also get Ayurvedic massages, attend bi-monthy discussions, etc. I highly recommend the traditional Shirodhara massage (aka Third Eye Therapy) that drips a continuous stream of warm Ayurvedic oils on your 3rd eye. Learn more HERE.
- Holistic Dentistry Sydney- these guys are the bomb. Whether you need a holistic check up or amalgam removal- this CBD dental clinic is top of the line and yes, is fluoride-free. Learn more HERE.
What would you add? What did I miss? Comment below :)