Posted by & filed under 2008, Best of Sydney.

Best Tourist Attraction: James Craig *READER PICK*
It’s hard to surpass Sydney Harbour as one of the best tourist attractions this city has to offer, so it’s not surprising that many voters opted for activities on, or around it, as our best tourist attraction. The Sydney Opera House, BridgeClimb, Taronga Zoo and a variety of boating options all featured heavily in the voting, but our winner is the refurbished barque James Craig. The James Craig is berthed at Wharf 7 Pyrmont and is open to the public for guided tours from 10am to 4pm daily. You can also charter this gallant tall ship for a cruise under sail on the open sea, or under power in Sydney Harbour. Find out more: www.shf.org.au JM

Best Public Space: The Rocks *READER PICK / EDITORIAL PICK*
It doesn’t get more Aussie than standing in the middle of a crowd echoing back the lyrics of Tucker’s Daughter to Ian Moss on stage at The Rocks with a tinny in your hand. Free concerts like this are just one of the diverse ways you can enjoy the historical and beautiful public space at The Rocks. There’s also a weekend market soon to be revitalised with a Farmers’ Market; and countless dining options from quaint cafes to some of the big names in the Australian dining scene. Pick up a souvenir, check out the art in one of the many galleries, or stimulate your senses at the annual Aroma Festival.
For a guide check out: www.therocks.com JM

Best Weekend Markets: Paddington Markets *READER PICK*
In terms of sheer numbers, Paddington Markets really pulls them in every Saturday, between 10am and 4pm. The funky, inner-city fashionable vibe actually appeals to the people that live in the area too. A smart shopper can pick up a new outfit or a great gift at an incredibly reasonable price, especially if you’re partial to the works of emerging designers and artists. Picking out the next big thing could save you a bundle too. Why not see if you can spot the next Third Millennium, Lisa Ho or Sarah Jane – all of whom began at Paddington Markets. Celebrity spotters are often rewarded here too.
395 Oxford Street, Paddington (grounds of the Paddington Uniting Church) (02) 9331 2923 www.paddingtonmarkets.com.au JM

Best Church: All Souls Anglican Church, Leichhardt *EDITORIAL PICK*
While many voters nominated their local parish, there was no clear winner in this category so our editorial team has chosen All Souls Anglican Church in Leichhardt, who often have drivers-by in stitches with their quirky signage. According to Reverend Tim Foster, the ‘signs are really just a fun way to engage people as they go past. We aim to be playful rather than preachy.’ But he admits they can ‘piss a few people off.’ The most controversial followed the Croatia-Australia match of the last World Cup and read: ‘Jesus saves better than Kalac’. Tim’s parish is ‘diverse, and welcomes all kinds of people. We are a bit rough around the edges and don’t try to pretend we are something that we are not.’ Their website home page acknowledges and apologises for the Anglican Church’s role in raising some of the Stolen Generations.
Cnr Norton & Marion Streets, Leichhardt (02) 9569 2646 www.allsouls.net.au JM

Best Animal Attraction: Taronga Park Zoo *READER PICK*
At a time when the justification for the very existence of zoos is under challenge, Taronga Zoo scrubs up pretty well ‘ in fact, they’re recognised by the World Conservation Organisation as a leader in the world zoological community. Their captive breeding programs help justify why we still have zoos in the days of the National Geographic Channel. If the countless animal exhibits aren’t reason enough, special events at the Zoo provide a range of adult reasons to visit. Where else can you picnic in the setting sun overlooking the Harbour as you watch Frank Bennett sing Radiohead songs, with genuine animal sound effects thrown in’
Bradley’s Head Road, Mosman (02) 9969 2777 www.taronga.org.au JM

Best Bus Ride: Route 324/325 Circular Quay to Watsons Bay *READER PICK*
Bus Route 324 operates every day from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay via Old South Head Road, Vaucluse. It’s one of the archetypal Australian coastal bus trips. It transports you to some of Sydney’s most prime real estate for less than the cost of a Happy Meal. You can continue indulging champagne tastes on a beer budget once you arrive at Watsons Bay, with a cliff-side walk to The Gap; then perhaps a spot of fish and chips at the Doyles on the Wharf Seafood Takeaway. Return on the 325 to take in scenic Parsley Bay and Nielsen Park. Route map available from: www.sydneybuses.info JM

Best Urban Walk: Bondi to Bronte *READER PICK*
The walk from Bondi to Bronte has Eros and Thanatos rolled into one. Against the grandeur of the Pacific Ocean, you pass the beautiful Waverly Cemetery ‘ a built-in moment to ponder the fleeting nature of mortality. At night it’s a slightly different experience as Eros takes hold, and celebrates our more primal urges towards life. Marks Park plays host to amorous gentlemen; and the gothic angels at the cemetery play witness to the children of the night reciting Morrissey lyrics and bursting their cherries on someone’s tombstone. The walk is about 3.5km in all. For a brochure that includes a map, go here: www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/council/parks/coastwalk.pdf JM

Best Out of Town Experience: Blue Mountains *READER PICK*
Whether your tastes are for ye olde Devonshire Tea, or some truly fabulous food, the Blue Mountains has it all. From boiled humbugs to duck sausage at Vulcan’s at Blackheath, you can satisfy your stomach whatever your budget! There’s ample opportunity to work up an appetite too, from a bracing bushwalk in a World Heritage Listed National Park, to a relaxing soak in an outdoor hot spring bath at the Japanese Bathhouse www.japanesebathhouse.com.au. For the shop-a-holic, the Blue Mountains boasts enough antiquarian bookshops, bric-a-brac stores and art galleries to empty your purse. To plan your trip: www.visitbluemountains.com.au JM