Sydney is a hotbed of intrepid designers, fabulous foodies, young entrepreneurs, and iconic businesses, all of whom aren’t scared to go beyond boundaries to experiment with exciting new ideas.
Richard and Bérangère Graham (husband and wife) are modern day entrepreneurs, articulate and oozing self-confidence. Both of their business cards state ‘Tour Guide Extraordinaire’, which is a bold claim, but it happens to be true.
This dynamic duo offers Sydney’s most unique private tour experiences, or detours as they call them, taking in the city’s eclectic culture and history. Those prepared to go off-piste from Sydney’s well-trodden tourist tracks are in for a treat.
There are two different types of tour: one on four wheels, called My Sydney Detour and led by Richard, and one on foot, called My Walking Detour and guided by Bérangère.
My Sydney Detour (on wheels) does not divert to typical tourist destinations or use traditional tourist transportation. Richard conducts his bespoke tours from behind the wheel of his vintage blue and ivory General Motors 1964 Holden Premier, an iconic Aussie car built for Australians, by Australians, and for Australian conditions.
Urban cool is high on the agenda. My tour started in the once run-down and troubled suburb of Redfern, which is now a gentrified café-cultured neighbourhood, with many exciting surprises and affordable bohemian-style restaurants, bars and unique boutiques. We took in Sydney’s underground hotspots, where trends are set and from where budding artist flourish.
My tour included dropping into visit Richard’s celebrated artist friend and Darlinghurst neighbour, Hugh Ramage, who we found in his paint-splashed studio working on a huge installation. This was followed by a visit to a private collection at the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale (Chippo), and a historical stroll through the once troubled, yet fast-changing, Redfern area. We later drove to Bondi to see Hugh’s artwork on display along Bondi’s beach coast at the annual outdoor exhibition, Sculpture by the Sea.
There are five different tours, with the shortest lasting three hours and the longest lasting eight hours. Prices vary depending on the tour duration and number of guests. Richard can take a maximum of three guests – the car won’t fit any more people.
All tours include pick-up and drop-off (you decide what time to start). In addition, the four-hour detour includes morning coffee, and the five and six-hour detours include lunch. The eight-hour detour includes all of the above, as well as a harbourside walk and two tour guides.
Also a photographer, Richard provides his guests with professionally taken photographs taken during the tour.
Walking Sydney’s hidden shores Bérangère operates My Walking Detour. Using local ferries, she takes her guests across Sydney’s harbour to beautiful and secluded stretches of hidden harbourside and pretty bays to visit places that even most locals do not know about.
My six-hour walking detour started at Circular Quay, overlooking Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. After a 20-minute ferry ride that carried us to Rose Bay, we stopped for morning coffee before walking 1.8km along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk to Neilson Park and Watson Bay, where we picnicked on fresh fish and chips from the famous Doyles fish restaurant.
This beautiful coastal path passes along small and concealed beaches, through sections of Sydney National Park, and past some of the most expensive real estate in the southern hemisphere; the buildings in this area are worth millions of pounds and are home to Sydney’s rich and famous.
Good walking shoes are recommended and swimming gear too (just in case you want a dip in the sea to cool off on a hot day). The walking detour includes all ferry prices, morning coffee, lunch and a homemade muesli bar snack. All this is £110 ($199).
Passionate about their fantastic new initiative, this magnetic husband and wife team overflows with interesting knowledge about Sydney. They are open-minded, relaxed about different cultures, and always manage to find common ground with their guests. They want to show you the upcoming, trendy, hot and happening areas of Sydney, and the city they and their friends love.
For current detour prices visit:
Accommodation: YHA The Rocks, Sydney Harbour
Flights to Australia:
Etihad Airways offers daily flgihts to Sydney and other Australian destinations. Return Economy Class fares start at GBP874 for low season travel. For more information or to make a booking click here.