Ask the Expert: Ben Thomas' Tips for Exploring Sydney in June

Ben Thomas, chief concierge at West Hotel Sydney, shares his top tips for visitors to Sydney in June 2019.

If you had just one day in Sydney, what would you do?
You have to start by seeing the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. A stroll through the Royal Botanical Garden Sydney brings you to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, which provides a stunning backdrop of the skyline. In the afternoon, a ferry ride to Manly beach is definitely a highlight. Finish the day exploring The Rocks and kicking back in one of its many historic pubs or bars.

Do you have any top tips for seeing Vivid?
Start the night off with a Vivid-inspired cocktail at the West Hotel's own Solander Dining & Bar. Vivid is great to see from the water. I would recommend one of Captain Cook Cruises' Harbour Lights cruises. If you're feeling more adventurous, climb Sydney Harbour Bridge on The Vivid Climb—a truly breathtaking experience.

What is your favourite thing to do as the weather gets colder?
I really enjoy checking out the craft beer breweries that have been popping up, many of them in old industrial areas of the inner-west. You can grab a tasting tray of seasonal ales and lagers. My go-tos are Wayward Brewing Co. in Camperdown and The Grifter Brewing Co. in Marrickville.

Where is the best place to pick up an authentic souvenir?
The Rocks Markets is a great spot to pick up authentic and handmade souvenirs. If you’re willing to splash out on a unique Australian product, a pair of R.M.Williams boots fit perfectly into a suitcase. 

If you were spending the weekend out of town, where would you go?
The Southern Highlands is very popular with locals and only 90 minutes’ drive south of Sydney. It's a great place to relax and spend the night in one of the charming old historic towns such as Bowral, Berrima or Kangaroo Valley. The area is home to many picturesque landscapes, colourful gardens, culinary delights and, overall, it offers a real sense of escape from city life!