Temperature: 27°C high; 20°C low
Travel time from UK: 22 hours 30 minutes
Time difference: GMT +10
If Sydney is urban done right – laid-back, cosmopolitan and perpetually beachy – then Paddington is suburban perfection. Fashionable and well-heeled, it’s got all the buzz of a central district, but with the charm of a village. Colourful Victorian terrace rows flaunting wrought-iron balconies could be Notting Hill. Main promenade Oxford Street bustles with cafés, pubs and boutiques, while back alleys are home to cool galleries, design studios and cute bars. Nicky Zimmermann started out selling her designs at Paddington’s famous Saturday markets; find her spacious store on Glenmore Road. Or join the ‘Paddo’ foodies at Fred’s, where chef Danielle Alvarez’s kitchen cooks farm-to-table comfort food. January is quintessential Sydney summer, with balmy temperatures, and the Sydney Festival packing the city with music and art.
Sustainable travel tip: Though Qantas conducted a successful nonstop London to Sydney research flight in late 2019 – clocking in at 19 hours and 19 minutes – it isn’t yet commercially available. Which means getting to Oz still entails a carbon-heavy indirect route. But you can choose to eat and shop sustainably while you’re there. Sydney, in fact, offers a lot of innovative ways to leave a lighter footprint, from Paddington’s zero-waste fashion boutique EkoLuv, to ‘rescued food’ market Oz Harvest, and sustainable seafood restaurant Love Fish, in the waterfront Barangaroo development, designed to be Australia’s first carbon-neutral precinct.
Where to stay: The Dive Hotel, a groovy family-run guesthouse in Coogee, is about 8km southeast of central Sydney. A cursory glance at the crisp cotton sheets, polished floorboards and blue-tiled bathrooms reveals that this hotel doesn’t live up (or down) to its name. Over in Surry Hills, Ace Hotel pays homage to the area’s creative roots with a diverse selection of music, talks, workshops and Pride parties, including a First Nations’ artist-in-residence program showcasing works from Aboriginal and other boundary-pushing artists .