How to Do Sydney Like a Local, According to Lano Founder Kirsten Carriol

What to see and where to swim, eat, and shop in the Australian city…

This post comes from our contributor, Katheryn Erickson.

Spend five minutes chatting with Lano founder Kirsten Carriol about life in Sydney, and you may find yourself plotting exactly how to move there. “Sydney is very relaxed — it’s all about getting outdoors, having healthy food, and going to the beach,” she says. “You’ve got this cool vibe-y city, but you can drive 20 minutes and be alone in a national park. That’s the magic of Sydney.” Here, the creator of the lanolin-based beauty line shares her picks for everything from the best place to pick up fresh jam to the most unforgettable swim you’ll ever take. Ready to book your ticket?

For a perfect Aussie beach day…

Sydney has a super wiggly coastline, which means that there are tiny beaches everywhere. But Bondi Beach is the closest of the big ones. It sounds cliché because it is such a famous spot, but it really is quintessential Sydney. We live nearby and there are people on it all year. Everyone from babies to 80-year-old surfers make their way to Bondi.

For the most iconic Sydney meal…

Brunch at Bondi Beach is absolutely huge, and Bills started the whole scene. They’re famous for their sweet corn fritters: smashed avocado, lemon juice, alfalfa sprouts, and corn fritters with chili jam. It’s killer. I’ve been having it for 20 years.

Photo: Anson Smart

For an insanely gorgeous walk…

Exercise and eating healthfully is an absolute must in Australia. We have gyms, but most Sydneysiders stay active outside in the fresh air. There’s this amazing trail called the Bondi to Bronte Walk and it’s the most spectacular thing. It takes about 45 minutes and you walk along the cliff tops and the coastline — there’s just nothing better.

For taking a (shark free) dip — with a view…

Icebergs is a public, natural swimming pool where the water comes in from the ocean. It got its name because it is so cold! The pool has been there since the 50s, and when Bondi was still really quiet, all the locals would go there; 60-year-old surfers would do laps at 5am and then go and surf. If you’re a swimmer and you’re healthy, it’s exhilarating. The restaurant is another place everyone must go for dinner or lunch. The views are the pinnacle of Sydney magnificence, and the Parmesan & pea side dish is legendary.

For a facial that’ll cure even the worst jet lag…

Jocelyn Petroni does the most relaxing facial in Sydney; everyone falls asleep under her fingers. She’s also number one for manicures by a very long way. She does all the photo shoots and the most perfect, pared back nails.

For a farm-to-table experience…

The Grounds of Alexandria is a farm you can go to in the middle of Sydney. You can spend a whole day there: They’ve got homemade jams, the best coffee, and everything they serve is grown in their vegetable patch. There’s also a potting shed where you can pick your own veggies, herb gardens, a flower market, a pig called Kevin Bacon, and a rooster named Russell Crow(e). It’s very farm vibe-y, which I love because I’m a farm girl.

For shopping like a local…

Paddington Markets is where a lot of Australian designers, like Zimmerman, got their start (I remember them being there!). People set up stalls on Saturday and take them down at day’s end, and it’s still a fertile ground for up-and-coming brands. There’s an outdoor market at Bondi too, which is cute and a bit more hippie with handmade candles, natural soaps, and essential oils. Sydney is also very big on growers’ markets at the moment, and Carriage Works has beer, local-made cider, and artisanal cheese. It’s very curated — total urban hipster heaven.

Photo: Carriage Works

+ Looking for tips for your next trip? Check out more guides here

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Sydney is totally on my bucket list. I’m lucky I don’t live too far, being in Hong Kong. I’ve heard about The Grounds of Alexandria before, it sounds wonderful!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

María Castiñeiras
6 years ago

Love the pic at the top, that beach is gorgeous

6 years ago

Great! Love this post :0

6 years ago

Sydney has a super wiggly coastline, that is my love.

6 years ago

I really want to visit here!!

6 years ago

Paddington Markets is a wonderful iconic not for profit community market that operates on SATURDAYS FROM 10AM TO 4PM. Come enjoy the space and fantastic International Food Court.

6 years ago

I mean…it’s Sydney like a local if you never leave the Eastern Suburbs
– Bondi beach is a nightmare, Bronte and Tamarama are a better bet in that area, but the best beaches are up on the north shore (Newport & Palmy etc)
– The Spit to Manly walk is longer, lovelier and more secluded than Bondi to Coogee
– The Grounds is like a hipster cafe theme park, horrendously busy and kitschy, you can get a better breakfast pretty much anywhere in Surry Hills
– Carriageworks farmers market is legit but Glebe and Rozelle are the most eclectic markets
Just sayin’. Sydney is so much more than just Bondi!

6 years ago

Why is .. and I quote “BONDI BEACH IS A NIGHMARE”. What does that mean.
I was born and bred in eastern suburbs and Bondi has been part of my everyday life…it is gorgeous day or night, quiet and busy, exciting and silent, clean and safe. So why have you made these comments…may I ask what have you based this sweeping statement on…it will be interesting to see your answer. A proud Sydney sider and Australian.

Helen Zimmerman
6 years ago

Sorry that was not meant to be anonymous.

6 years ago

Bondi Beach is just so crowded it makes me anxious. If you’re someone who likes being surrounded by people that’s fair, and if someone was visiting from out of town I’d recommend checking it out, but the last thing I want on a hot summer’s day is a beach that’s swarming with people, especially in a city with as much coastline as Sydney.

6 years ago

Your probably referring to high summer holidays when the main beach is full of tourists, families and locals..but overall it’s the most amazingly quiet space almost serene during the week and even week ends…we are also blessed with magical weather, it’s almost not heard of to have blistering heat.
Anywhere in Sydney is never swarming..take it from me I’m a true Sydney sider born and bread…all the beaches are beautiful and each has its own unique vibe. Viva la SYDNEY AUSTALIA