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A CNN insider's guide to Sydney

By Anna Coren, CNN
  • Bondi beach is the best place in the city to people watch
  • See another side of the city with walks to Woolloomooloo and Bronte beach
  • As a visitor try not to have your head stuck in a guide book and avoid sunburn
  • The harbor with the iconic bridge and Opera House are must-sees

Anna Coren is an anchor and correspondent for CNN International. A native of Sydney she has lived in Hong Kong for the last two years.

(CNN) -- Where are you from?

I was born and bred in Sydney and that's where my two sisters live.

Where can you get the best view of the city?

The best view in Sydney is from the air, especially when I've been away for many months and fly back home. It's the most beautiful city in the world. Watching the sun rise over Sydney Harbor and seeing it sparkle; catching your first glimpse of the Harbor Bridge, Opera House and the city. It truly takes your breath away.

Which restaurant would you take your loved one to for an anniversary or other special occasion?

My favorite restaurant in Sydney is Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point. It's Italian, authentic and truly delicious. You can't make a booking, but you can always go next door and have a drink while waiting for a table. It's well worth the wait.

Where is the best place to people watch?

A great place to people watch is Bondi. It's an iconic beach with an eclectic mix of people -- locals, professionals, families, surfers, fitness fanatics, tourists and backpackers. It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from or what you do. Everyone on the beach is equal and are there to have a good time.

What is your favorite neighborhood? Why?

All the tourist attractions in Sydney are worth seeing. Definitely climb the Harbor Bridge if you have time and are not scared of heights!
--Anna Coren, CNN

My favorite neighborhood is Elizabeth Bay. It's where I lived in Sydney and I still love it. I could walk out the front door and stroll down tree-lined streets to my favorite coffee shops, restaurants, book store and boutique stores. And every Saturday they have markets in a park off Macleay Street where you can buy the best produce in Sydney and the best take-away egg and bacon roll.

Elizabeth Bay is also like stepping back to the 1950's and '60s. It is home to some magnificent art deco apartment buildings and, to get away from city living, you can wander down to the parks lining the harbor.

How do tourists stick out and what's the best way to blend in?

Tourists stick out because they're walking around with a Lonely Planet book, a camera around their neck and they've turned bright red at the beach from a terrible sunburn.

What's the biggest misconception about your city?

The biggest misconception about Sydney is that kangaroos are jumping down the streets!

Where do you go to relax?

When I want to relax, I go to Rushcutter's Bay Park, pull out a rug under the big Morton Bay fig trees and have a picnic with the delicious food I've bought at the markets. It's a beautiful place to laze away the day, listening to the clinking of yachts' masts at the nearby Sydney Cruising Yacht Club while reading the day's newspapers.

What essential thing should visitors see/experience if they only have a few hours?

If you only have a few hours in Sydney then you must do the main attractions. Walk across Sydney Harbor Bridge, around to the Opera House and through the Botanical Gardens, past Mrs Macquarie's Chair and down to Woolloomooloo and have a meat pie at Harry de Wheels. I would then head down to the iconic Bondi Beach, have a swim and stroll along the coastal walk to Bronte. Now that you've worked up an appetite, head back and have a cold beer and some fish and chips at Bondi Icebergs overlooking the water. What a perfect few hours!

What's the biggest tourist trap? Is there a "tourist trap" that's actually worth seeing?

All the tourist attractions in Sydney are worth seeing. Definitely climb the Harbor Bridge if you have time and are not scared of heights - it's a stunning view. And catch a ferry to Manly. Getting out on Sydney Harbor is not only breath taking, it's exhilarating.

Where was your most memorable meal?

My favorite place to spend an evening in Sydney is at my favorite restaurant, in my favorite neighborhood with the people I love. But if you're visiting my magnificent city, then I'd suggest you head to Circular Quay and have drinks at the Opera Bar -- it's outside overlooking the harbor and the bridge --, a magnificent place to soak up Sydney.

What is a good local souvenir?

A good local souvenir to pick up is a photo print of Bondi Beach from Aquabumps in Curlewis Street, some Tim Tams (chocolate biscuits) and a Sydney fridge magnet -- so you always have a piece of Sydney with you.