Sydney’s suburbs are much more diverse than Home and Away would have you believe,, so let Sydneysider Amanda Hoe guide you through the Harbour City’s best suburbs

… is Kate Moss
The vibe:
Enjoys a good party but swings between classy and trashy. “The Cross” is an edgy buffer between the bustle of the city and posh Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay. The area has what you would call “a reputation” but has cleaned up significantly in the last few years with lines of trendy bars along Darlinghurst Road. Some streets are pretty with overhanging trees, terraces and cafes which hints
at Notting Hill.
Why live here?
It’s party central – and walking distance to the city. Even if you’re not a big party person, it’s a great place to people watch, and you’ll certainly get characters to watch here. The station is on the same line as Bondi Junction. Handy.
Where is it?
Just walk up William Street – head towards that huge neon Coca-Cola sign – from Hyde Park, and flick a left.

BONDI (pictured)
… is Elle Macpherson
The vibe:
Annoyingly ageless, always in a bikini, and forever smiley, Bondi isn’t Australia’s most famous beach for nothing. It’s hot and not just because of the sun – beautiful people are everywhere.
Why live here?
Who doesn’t love that sea-salt smell in the morning? It’s always alive, which makes staying here fun. The nightlife kicks arse, as do the cafes – a good place to practice your surfing too. Stay here to get your mates back home jealous.
Where is it?
Bondi kick-starts the line of beaches usually referred to as the “eastern suburbs”. Catch a 380 or 333 bus from Bondi Junction or Oxford Street.

… is George Clooney
The vibe:
Handsome, even with grey hair, less showy than most celebs and everyone wants to be its friend, Coogee has a local and casual feel to it. Inviting cafes and a couple of semi-legendary pubs give it more of a “seaside holiday” feel than ostentatious Bondi.
Why live here?
Ideal for those who find Bondi too in love with itself/boisterous/expensive. Though the beach is smaller than its famous neighbour, there are enough bars, cafes and shops to keep you happy. (Psst, pronounce it “cud-gee” to avoid looking too fresh off the boat.)
Where is it?
A couple of beaches down from Bondi. Buses 339 or the 370s from Central or Circular Quay will take about 30 minutes.

… is “Brangelina”
The vibe:
Always the centre of attention, with a train (see what we did there?) of kids flowing behind. Central may look like it’s from the 1800s, but there’s far more to this compact and highly convenient spot. The place swarms with internet cafes, travel centres, hostels and bars, plus Chinatown is only 10 mins away.
Why live here?
Sure it doesn’t have the beach, but the biggest perk is it’s unrivalled convenience. You can pretty much get anywhere –
in Sydney and Australia – from here, by bus or train.
Where is it?
Like, duh!

… is Kirsten Dunst
The vibe:
Quirky, bohemian and hippy chic (well, it smells of incense sticks anyway). The main thoroughfare, Glebe Point Road, is a smorgasbord of Fairtrade cafes, lesbian bookstores and healing centres. From Mexican, to Spanish, Indian to Vietnamese cuisine this is the best place for budget eating too (probably why the Glebe-ophile TNT editor looks increasingly plump).
Why live here?
Glebe sits outside of the bustle of the CBD, but close enough for nights out in the city. There are bookstores and cafes to spend hours in, and the popular Glebe markets every Saturday attracts locals from all over Sydney.
Where is it?
Glebe sits on the outskirts of Central in the inner west. The closest train station is Central, but most buses going through the city will stop along Parramatta Road near Broadway Shopping Centre, or the 431 and 433 go along Glebe Point Road.

… is Johnny Depp
The vibe:
Cool, alternative and androgynous. From body piercing studios, to metal studded fashion, Newtown is a community of alt culture and a lot of students. Enticing bars and restaurants are spread along King Street and Enmore Road along with day-devouring second-hand book stores. Enmore Theatre often hosts pretty big bands and its another great suburb for people watching.
Why live here?
Because it’s the coolest, edgiest and most alternative place
in Sydney. There’s a huge student crowd so the atmosphere
is fairly young and loud. It has some of Sydney’s best pubs and the Marlborough Hotel, or “Marly Bar” as the locals call it, is always crowded (we recommend the Coopers too). Restaurants (marginally better, but pricier, than Glebe) and cafes are numerous too. The suburbs of Enmore and Marrickville are on its doorstep and offer a quieter alternative to the king of alternative.
Where is it?
Almost like a student town with Sydney University right in the middle, Newtown is part of the inner west and like Glebe, sits on the outskirts of the city. Newtown Station provides good tra(i)nsport options. Buses in the 420s start from Circular Quay and take you through the city to Newtown.

MANLY (pictured)
… is Paris Hilton
The vibe:
Not so much skankiness, rather a rich heiress who just demanded “full steam ahead” on the good ship to Fun Town. The village is full of surfers and bikini babes strutting the mall and heading to one of the three beaches. Nightlife is lively, with clubs and bars close together. Manly can get crowded at weekends,
but it’s beach culture at its best.
Why live here?
Manly is filled with activity. There are always people around and
if you’re into water sports (stop that), you’ll certainly be happy here. Though it does take a bit of time to get to and from the city, Manly also offers more of a chance to mix with locals.
Where is it?
It’s time to explore the Harbour by catching a ferry to Sydney’s north. Cracking views, especially coming into the city.

While trying to drive across the Simpson Desert, LIZZIE JOYCE and her partner were forced to hitch a ride with some dodgy truckers.

Early one January morning my boyfriend Dan and I set off on our trip across three states, covering 3,000 miles on what would turn out to be the best trip I have ever done, not to mention the most dangerous. We were attempting to cross the Simpson Desert on our way to Alice Springs from Sydney. We were fully prepared and set off in our 4WD loaded with equipment, including 60 litres of water, a double swag, a laser beam,
and an Epirb signal.

After 10 hours of driving, watching the landscape turn from highways and tall buildings to red earth and eternal horizons we glided past an old mining town called Cobar, stopped for a wee and drove on through, thankful that this ‘Hicksville’ town was not our destination. But while driving at an average speed of 120km per hour, the trusty car (which I was assured had “just had a full service and was made for driving across such terrain”) was disintegrating and the entire wheel was about to fall off.

Ugly mothertruckers

Suddenly, the brakes started to fail and smoke started pouring out the front passenger tyre. We were 120km from the last town and with at least 100km to the next, Dan decided we should drive on (without brakes) and see if we could make it to our destination. Luckily it didn’t last long anyway as the car stopped in defiance and we were forced to pull off the road in the middle of nowhere. Within minutes two semi-trailers driving in convoy by brothers, pulled up to offer us help and I’ve never been so glad to see two spectacularly ugly truckers before in my life. Freaky Brother One then began to undress me, with his eyes, almost frothing at the mouth at coming in such close proximity to someone of the opposite sex, while Freaky Brother Two was pretending to be a mechanic and baffling Dan with his bullshit. It was turning into Wolf Creek.

Nothing could be done with the car, and we had no choice but to accept a lift from Freaky Brother One to the nearest roadhouse 13km up the road. But then he said there wouldn’t be enough room in the cab so Dan should travel with his brother and I should hop into his cab by myself. By this point I was close to hysteria and there was no way I would be getting in that lorry by myself.

So we both hopped in with Brother Number Two. Dan settled in the middle of the very spacious cab which had enough room to house a small Albanian family! Relieved to be on our way to a phone box and in relative safety, (even if we were in being driven by an axe wielding maniac I had enough faith that Dan could knock him out if it came to it) I thought it would be plain sailing from here. After a couple of minutes on the road Brother Number One starts becoming agitated – he thinks he has lost his keys as he can’t use the radio to contact his brother. He pulls into the side of the road and asks me to hop out to see if he had left them in the door lock. This forced me into ungraceful acrobatic maneuvers in order to hang myself out the door and reach round to grab the keys, with freaky brother one more than enjoying the view of my ass in the air. The keys were there, so off we set again in stilted silence.

Roadhouse blues

Finally we caught sight of the roadhouse and saw our escape was only minutes away and we made a sharp exit from the freaky brothers. Good riddance!

The roadhouse turned out to be a petrol pump and a shop that was about to close. They had a phone though and we arranged for a tow truck to pick us up and take us back to the nearest town… Cobar (the Hicksville town we drove through scorning) where we would have to wait for the next three days for the car to be repaired. How ironic that the town we were laughing at turned out to be our refuge.

So we skipped the Simpson Desert and took another route to Alice Springs where we arrived two weeks later with the biggest smiles and the best memories!

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