Cocktail & a pretty cabinet at Sydney’s Hemmesphere Bar
Every time I visit to Sydney I make it a point to go to the Hemmesphere Bar for a cocktail and a little something to eat. Hemmesphere is located in the Central Business District and has a chic living room area filled with club chairs and couches. There is also semi-enclosed bamboo filled smokers terrace. It’s a fun place to people watch when the after work crowd comes in for Happy Hour.
Cocktail Culture is alive and well in Sydney: Sloe Sangaree at Hemmesphere Bar $A 18
They have an excellent cocktail menu filled with everything from Champagne cocktails, Highballs, punches, muddled drinks, fancy cocktails as well as a full selection of high end spirits– many of them showcased in a beautiful glass cabinet. This time I went for the I went for the sloe sangaree made with sloe gin, plum pisco, cynar, topped with homemade spicy ginger beer ($A 18). It was tasty and not overly sweet and topped with freshly spanked mint. While I appreciated the fragrance and visual appeal of the mint, a straw might have made drinking it a bit easier.
Left: Kingfish= yellowtail from Sushi e Right: Prawn filled shumai dumplings
Sushi e, located at the back of Hemmesphere provides a tasty selection of Asian-inspired bar food. The Chinese influenced steamed prawn shumai dumplings with ponzu dipping sauce were so exceptional we ordered more.
Sushi chefs at work at Sushi e
I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out that the fish known as yellowtail is called kingfish in Australia. Hemmesphere’s version from the sushi e kitchen featured 12 slices of kingfish topped with slices of ginger, chives, sesame seeds, drizzled with garlic and ponzu and lightly seared with olive oil. The kingfish dish was absolutely beautiful and flavorful, but a bit heavy on the oil for my taste.
Cool signage at Hemmesphere
Hemmesphere is just one of the restaurant & bar options in the Establishment Hotel complex. I’m a fan of the Establishment– it’s a lovely boutique hotel property right in the CBD. I also highly recommend chef Peter Doyle’s prix fixe lunch at est. restaurant where they have the best wines I’ve tasted in Australia.
Level 4, Establishment
252 George Street, Sydney, 2000
Sydney’s Harbour Bridge above the Park Hyatt Sydney
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the city’s most iconic architectural structures. During my recent stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney, I was invited to view the hotel’s Sydney Suite, which has stunning panoramic views of Sydney Harbour– including the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House from it’s wraparound terraces. You can even see Luna Park on the other side of the bridge.
I made this time lapse of the Harbour Bridge from the balcony of the Sydney Suite using the TimeLapse app on my iPhone 5.
Night Timelapse of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Another way to get up close and personal with the Harbour Bridge is to check out Sydney’s BridgeClimb which is very well organized tour where you get to actually climb the bridge and get unbelievable views of the city. I recommend it to all first time visitors to Sydney.
Stay tuned for future posts about the Sydney Suite and more about my stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney.
A Ride Home by Dutch Doscher
Check out my latest feature on Grryo (formerly known as We Are Juxt) where Brad Puet and I interview director & photographer Dutch Doscher about mobile photography & video and where it’s headed. He gives some great pointers for shooting mobile video.
It was really fun to interview Dutch because he’s not only a talented photographer and videographer, but a pioneer in the mobile creative arts. He also talks a little time travel. You can read the interview here: Dutch Doscher on the Future of Mobile Photography & Video.
I love this photo Dutch Doscher took of me at MoMA NYC
You can follow Dutch Doscher on Twitter, EyeEm and Instagram @DutchDoscher.
A View of the Sydney Opera House from my Room at the Park Hyatt Sydney.
There are some views I will never get bored of and looking at the Sydney’s iconic Opera House is one of them.
This is my view from my Opera House Deluxe room at the Park Hyatt Sydney, which I think is the best located city hotel in the world. I’m lucky to staying here for a few days this week. It’s a view that can be appreciated even through the foggiest of jet lag.
I’ve stayed at this property quite a few times but this is my first time back since it was completely renovated in 2011. Honestly, I didn’t think the hotel needed much of renovation, but after seeing the new property I’ve been blown away. The improvements are sublime. I will know (and share) more after I get the proper hotel tour later during my stay..
The Opera House is a popular background for wedding photos in Sydney
What I do know is that the view of The Sydney Opera house is gorgeous day and night– perhaps that’s why I’ve seen no fewer than 3 wedding couples take photos in front of it and a even a full-blown magazine photo shoot happen right out side my window.
I hope you enjoy this time-lapse video I made of the Sydney Opera House at sunset using the TimeLapse app on my iPhone 5.
Sydney Opera House Time Lapse at Sunset
Another View of Sydney from Opera House Deluxe Room at the Park Hyatt Sydney
The view in the other direction isn’t too bad either. Stay tuned for more posts about this amazing property.
I recently got an email from my friend, Laurel, who is a serious traveler. She asked:
Do you have any recommendations or ideas for good deals to the Galapagos Islands? Been dying to spend my 40th there, but it quickly approaches and the trip is looking prohibitively expensive. Figured it was worth a quick email to see if maybe you had any good insider knowledge?
Since I had recently answered the same question recently for another friend, I figured it was time to write a post about how to do the Galapagos without going broke. Here’s my advice: go with a land-based tour and focus on just a few islands.
Land-based Tours Save Money
I LOVED the Galapagos. LOVED IT. It was funky and cool and just really unique. At first I was hesitant because you pretty much have to go with tour company, and I prefer to be independent when I can.
Me and some of the Friendly Locals I met in the Galapagos
There are tour operators to pick from, but I needed the “entry level survey course” not the once-in-a-lifetime Sanctuary Retreats Dream Trip. Also, I’m not a huge fan of boats and many of the tours (especially the expensive ones) are based out of boats. I also wanted as much wifi as possible, and the ability to seek privacy from my tour mates in the event I found them annoying.
Sea lion sunning himself
I decided to do a “land based tour” and went with Red Mangrove because I had a friend who had had a positive experience with them and they had what I needed at a comfortable price point. Overall My outfitter was good, not great. They had pretty good value for the money and all the people were cool. I wouldn’t recommend them for honeymooners because some of the lodges (especially on Floreana) are really rustic. Still wicked cool, though.
The Giant Turtle & The Japanese Tourists
It’s worth noting that most Galapagos tours start out of GYE (Guayaquil, NOT Quito, which is in the mountains). I got there via American connecting through MIA and stayed at the glamorous Sheraton Guayaquil, which has everything you’d expect from a South American Sheraton, including a view of Hooters.
Approaching Isabella Island, Galapagos
Don’t Try to See Everything
I only hit 3 of the islands: Santa Cruz, Isabella, Floreana on the Darwin’s Triangle Long Tour, but felt I got a good feel for the place. I found Isabella Island particularly charming and would have liked to stay there a day or two longer. There was an exceptionally cool bar– the kind of hole-in-the wall beach spot was called Bar Beto in Puerto Villamil and it’s worth throwing back a few beers there. If I were going again I’d probably see if I could stay an extra day or two on Isabella.
I also have a friend who spent more money than I was willing to who used a company called Quasar Expeditions and had a positive experience with them.
Here’s a video I made of of some of the giant tortoises I met during my trip to the Galapagos.