Summer in Sydney means … Salmon Haul bay, Thirsty Merc and mangoes

Summer in Sydney means … Salmon Haul bay, Thirsty Merc and mangoes

December 28, 2022

What does Sydney mean to you?

I know I am supposed to say something poetic like, “To me, Sydney in summer means sunset walks through the suburbs, pink skies and a well-poured schooner.” And those things are all true, but to me, summer in Sydney also means trying (and failing) to find a car park at the beach, suffocating heat on public transport and rain, so much rain.

Basically, Sydney is a gentle metaphor for life; sometimes it’s beautiful, and sometimes it’s brutal, but it’s never boring.

First memory of Sydney?

Hanging off the back chains of the pool at Oak Park Beach in Cronulla with my grandmother Pam. As a kindergarten teacher, she was kind of like a celebrity in the area, so a trip to the beach with her took forever because every second beachgoer was an ex-student.

When the weather gets hot I …

Go to the beach early in the morning. Swimming after midday is a rookie error; you cop all the worst parts of the beachgoing experience (wind, crowds, aggressive sun).

The beach after lunch? A rookie error.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone

First place you take visitors?

If it’s someone from overseas, then I suppose you’re obliged to tick off the greatest hits/postcard bits: Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach. But a better plan is to make a beeline for the beer garden at Newtown’s Courthouse Hotel, then head into the city for dinner at Chinese Noodle House, aka Grapes on the Roof.

Favourite cafe?

SoBe in Dolls Point, my local. SoBe (short for South Beach) is a Miami-themed cafe, but it’s run by Greeks, and the televisions mounted to the walls exclusively show clips of the Greek islands on loop. It makes for a confusing dining experience, but I appreciate their legit Greek Freddo coffee.

Secret spot you escape to?

Salmon Haul Bay in Cronulla. It’s tucked away deep in South Cronulla, surrounded by jaw-dropping mansions. With direct access to the beach from the rocks and with crystal clear water, it is the shy cousin of Gordons Bay.

Best summer food?

Paul’s Hamburgers in Sylvania. The burgers have big milk-bar vibes; order with The Works and thank me later. I can also highly recommend the rainbow beef at Moorefield Bowling Club.

I know it’s summer when I smell …

Citronella candles and mangoes.

My favourite summer song is…

In the Summertime by Thirsty Merc. No better opening lyric in music history than, “I don’t have a job, I never liked them, I just wanna play in the sunshine.”

Worst thing about summer?

People who say, “Oh, mosquitoes don’t bite me,” while you’re being eaten alive.

And getting the train anywhere.

My closest bolthole is …

Palm Beach is closest geographically, but the furthest financially.

Guilty pleasure?

Eating fish and chips at the beach, purposefully leaving a few hot chips at the end, and then depositing them in the bin while the seagulls watch.

What aspect of Sydney would you change and what should always stay the same?

Sydney’s bowling clubs should all remain untouched; they are loved by both young and old, a haven for hipsters, young families and career drinkers. Perhaps the last bit of charm this town is holding on to, and we must protect them at all costs.

But I would change the pokies that sadly keep them afloat (by change, I mean blow up).

Summer in Sydney is a series in which Herald staff reveal the best – and worst – of our city in the hotter months.

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