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Stylish and tailor-made Sydney experience

No one denies that Sydney is a beautiful city – in fact it’s probably one of the prettiest in the world.  And for first-timers to Australia, a Sydney experience is must – the Harbour sparkles, the Bridge stands proud and the Opera House radiates.

But there’s the Sydney that most tourists see and then there’s the real Sydney, which in our eyes is even better. At Alquemie we like to reveal this side of our stunning city with bespoke private tours, introducing you to the locals that live and breathe it and taking you to secret places only locals know about.

Here are some ideas of what’s available…

Experience Sydney harbour like the school children do - by stand-up paddle board
Experience Sydney Harbour like these school children do – by Stand-up Paddle board

Bespoke Sydney Experience – An Alquemie Exclusive (half, full, multi-day – as required)

This is one of the most creative Sydney experiences you’ll find. See the icons from a local’s perspective, meet with the locals and, based on your own interests, explore and learn about daily life in this beautiful city. Explore the back streets, local cafés & parks, and experience the most important and defining element of Sydney, our spectacular harbour. Starting with a rough schedule this raved about experience is highly-tailored yet ticks all the boxes of Sydney’s must see locations. Please enquire for examples of just how tailored and creative these Sydney experiences have been for our past clients.

Discover Sydney's fabulous roof-top bars
Discover Sydney’s fabulous roof-top bars in The Rocks – perfect for sunsets

See Sydney by Bike & Walk (full day)

You don’t need to travel by vehicle to enjoy some of the best aspects of Sydney. This Sydney experience helps you slow down to see the city more intimately by foot and pedal power.

  • Walk the historic Rocks quarter, the oldest part of Sydney’s colonial township
  • Meet an indigenous guide at Barangaroo to learn about the native plants and foods and hear about the Aboriginal culture and history in Sydney
  • Climb the pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Take a 3 hour biking tour of Sydney, crossing the Harbour Bridge, cycling through the Quay and seeing all the sights at at a relaxed pace
Swim at beautiful harbour beaches
Swim at beautiful beaches around Sydney

New Years Eve Harbour fireworks & Pittwater by luxury yacht

Why stay in a hotel when you can celebrate New Years Eve in the best way possible – on board a luxurious yacht with your friends and family. Frock up, dine on Australia’s freshest seafood, then let the party begin. Fireworks explode at 9pm for the kiddies and then the big bang goes off at midnight. As you sleep, your captain will relocate the boat to a beautiful bush setting just north of Sydney. Enjoy breakfast with the smell of the gum trees and the noise of galahs in the surrounding bushland. This is a day to relax and spend time together in beautiful, natural surrounds.

Even wth grey cloudy skies, a swim at Manly beach looks appealing!
Even wth grey cloudy skies, a swim at Manly beach looks appealing!

Australia’s Best Guides – Richard Graham | Bespoke Sydney

Richard Graham has travelled to some of the most exotic destinations in the world and he has many amazing photos and stories to keep you entertained for hours – but no matter where he travels, he still calls Sydney home.

His new and exciting concept in tourism has come from a rich family travel history spanning three generations. Richard started travelling at the age of 5 and has travelled to a different country every year since then.

What got you started with showing people around Sydney and what do you find most interesting about it?

For young Australians, going on a solo trip overseas has long been a rite-of-passage. When I was a young man of 24 I went on a 14-month trip to South America where I tracked 16 countries along the Andes. While I referred to my Lonely Planet Guide, I wasn’t interested in following the “gringo” trail. Instead, I would befriend locals and wander back streets until I felt I had uncovered the town or city in all of its gritty glory. On returning, I wasted no time by setting up with little more than myself and a vintage 1964 EH Holden. I’d always had a real passion for the city of Sydney, storytelling, and the unbeaten track, so sharing that with visitors came naturally to me.

How do you bring Sydney to life on your tours?

My point of difference is to bring an element of creativity and surprise into everything I do. My wife always jokes that “no” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. Because of that, I’ll come up with pretty out-there ideas, like having a barbeque on top of the Harbour Bridge or an open air movie night in the Botanic Gardens. The difference is that my team and I will always find a way to connect our guests to Sydney by giving context to their experience with us.

Why do you think it’s important that people learn about Sydney?

I try to steer clear of the expected, tired, and overdone. I always go beyond by adding an extra layer of knowledge and perspective. I also have a real passion for our country’s Indigenous culture and history, and I work with local elders and communities to incorporate that into what we do.

If people wanted to find out more about Sydney are there any particular books, documentaries or websites you would recommend?

Crocodile Dundee: I know it’s a cliché, but it really is an essential guide to understanding our dry and colourful sense of humour.

Ten Canoes: This is one of my favourite films. I would go as far as to say a masterpiece. A raw and eye-opening glimpse into Aboriginal life before British settlement, Ten Canoes is a great way to get familiarised with the culture and history of the world’s most ancient civilisation.

What’s your favourite Australian animal and why?

Kookaburra as it has the responsibility for singing out to the sun to rise every morning.

What place is Australia’s best-kept secret?

Shark Island in Sydney Harbour.

What haven’t you seen / done in Australia that you’d like to and why?

Follow the songline of the Echidna from Yengoin NSW (a sacred site for Aboriginal people) to Uluru in the Northern Territory. This ancient route was walked along by hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal people and to experience it today with an Aboriginal Elder would be a once in a lifetime experience.

Finally, how can people follow you on social media?

Instagram: @mydetour_australia


Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie


Pretty Beach House

Oooo so Pretty!

It is such a joy to experience properties that make you go ‘WOW!’… and Pretty Beach House is one of them.

The Alquemie team recently visited Pretty Beach House, a 90 minute drive north of Sydney that feels worlds away. This exclusive four room luxury lodge represents so much of what we love about Australia. While its name comes from the suburb that it is located in, the property is actually in the middle of Australian bushland. Immediately you feel connected to the surrounding environment: the smell, the sounds, the view are all incredibly tranquil.

Treetops Bedroom at Pretty Beach House on the Bouddi Peninsula, New South Wales
Treetops Bedroom at Pretty Beach House on the Bouddi Peninsula, New South Wales

Then you eat… and oh my do you eat… with a highly regarded chef behind it all guests enjoy quality Australian produce prepared perfectly. Meals are served in the dining room of the main house, with an open kitchen allowing guests to learn about what they are eating from the chef. Want to get closer to the action? Then you are welcome to dine right at the kitchen bench… the choice is all yours!

Gorgeous Angophras tree at Pretty Beach House on the Bouddi Peninsula, New South Wales
Gorgeous Angophras tree at Pretty Beach House on the Bouddi Peninsula, New South Wales

Filled to the brim it’s time to retire to your room or the living area for a bit of relaxation – a good book, a luscious bath, or perhaps a dip in the main pool or your own private plunge pool (with the exception of one room).

For those more active you could opt for one of the various bush walks, and you can easily head down to some of the nearby beaches or local towns. Being such a small property the choice is all yours, and the team go out of their way personalising your stay. In saying that with a property this stunning no one could blame you for staying put and making the most of it!

Bayview Suite at Pretty Beach House on the Bouddi Peninsula, New South Wales
Bayview Suite at Pretty Beach House on the Bouddi Peninsula, New South Wales

Rooms are generously sized, and each has its own character. The design is luxurious without being over the top, and the collection of artwork by some of the Australia’s most famous artists is really impressive. All very much in keeping with the surrounds.
Just when you think things can’t get much better you are called for a traditional Aboriginal welcome ceremony. This intimate and interactive experience is extremely interesting, and you walk away with a well rounded perspective on Australia’s indigenous culture. A very touching and personal story.

It is not simply the individual elements that stand out here, but rather Pretty Beach House is the whole package!

An Elder - part of an Aboriginal cultural experience near Pretty Beach House, Bouddi Peninsula
An Elder – part of an Aboriginal Welcome to Country Ceremony near Pretty Beach House, Bouddi Peninsula


Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie

Bennelong at Sydney Opera House

Bennelong Reborn

As one of the most iconic landmarks in Australia, the Sydney Opera House is hard to miss. Housed in one of the heritage sails is Bennelong restaurant that opened a few months ago with much fanfare. Peter Gilmore is the man behind it all, with a loyal following and several restaurants (Quay is right across the water), he is considered one of Australia’s best chefs.

Gilmore’s goal was to create dining spaces that are a little more casual than the Bennelong restaurant that occupied the same space previously under a different chef. The result is rather impressive with the cathedral like space renovated to allow various dining areas. On the top level there is a private dining space along with a more casual eating section. The middle level is home to the ‘cured and cultured’ bar serving a variety of raw and cold produce (picture a glass of bubbly with a few oysters). The flagship restaurant is on the main floor serving refined Australian cuisine on a three course a la carte menu.

Bennelong restaurant at Sydney Opera House
Bennelong restaurant at Sydney Opera House

The food is stunning and showcases fine Australian produce prepared perfectly to highlight its quality. Everything is of the highest standard from the super fresh oysters, to the tender beef, to the perfectly prepared single carrot that sits on your plate like an artwork. The wine list boats a great selection of Australia producers, and again re-inforces Gilmore’s desire to create a dining experience that is utterly Australian.

With panoramic views of the city this is a dining experience you won’t forget anytime soon. Get in touch with us to book your next exquisite dinning experience in Sydney.

Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie