Out of the bag: Australia’s urban gems revealed
As Bally launches online in Australia, James Draven explores where to go and what to do in Australia's top cities, and what to pack in your Bally Crew backpack
Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, Sydney is the commercial capital of Australia with a bustling CBD and majestic harbour views that give Rio a run for its money.
Match the city’s suave spirit with the urbane style of Bally’s plain calf leather Crew backpack in effortlessly chic Cowboy – and pack your cologne and a few essentials for a long night out.
Sydneysiders in-the-know spend their evenings in the city’s endless string of secret speakeasies and unmarked cocktail bars, so take a stroll down to Earl’s Juke Joint, a blues bar serving local brews, inauspiciously concealed behind a butcher’s shop facade on 407 King St, Newtown; head to The Barber Shop, a British-inspired gin parlour that can be accessed through a functioning hairdresser’s at 89 York St; or try Jacoby’s, a 1950s-style, Hawaiian Tiki bar, hidden behind a Thai restaurant shop front at 154 Enmore Road.
Hip and down-to-earth with European vibes, Melbourne rivals Sydney for Australia’s most essential city destination but plays very much by its own rules. As well as the country’s capital for sporting events, the city's also a very laid-back left-hander, with an off-the-wall style of its own.
Fitzroy is the city’s hipster enclave and right-on restaurants line Brunswick Street. Fit in at Smith & Daughters vegan bar and eatery with Bally’s Crew backpack in black, which offers European style in resilient nylon, equally at home on AC/DC Lane – home to Melbourne’s most rock’n’roll street art – as it is at the Australian Open. Tickets are released in waves to stamp out touting, so check out Tennis Australia’s temporary booth at Federation Square every January and you can nab face-value seats at the final, just days before the match.
Perth is officially Australia’s sunniest city, and while this remote metropolis boasts top-flight culture and cuisine, it’d be a shame not to spend some time exploring Perth’s great outdoors. Mirror the sunshine with Bally’s Crew backpack in durable, dazzling yellow, the flap opening of which conceals a cavernous interior, ideal for packing beach gear, spare shoes, a camera, and batteries to recharge your phone on the go.
Head west of the city across Western Australia’s legendary waves to Rottnest Island to meet southwest Australia’s singular marsupial, the quokka: rare, friendly, diminutive creatures that just beg to be popped in your backpack (but please don’t do it).
Spend an afternoon down by Blackwall Reach on the Swan River, and you’re almost guaranteed to see dolphins frolicking in the water, without ever leaving the city.
Likewise, many locals don’t know that Perth’s Heirisson Island is home to a family of kangaroos who don’t mind posing for a selfie with discerning visitors.
This ostentatious city in Queensland has been referred to as Brisvegas to outsiders but don’t let the glitz fool you: Brisbane is really a beautiful boffin. The Queensland Cultural Centre, which hugs the south bank of the Brisbane River, is every bit a central hub for arts and culture as London’s South Bank, New York’s Museum Mile or Madrid’s Golden Triangle, with the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) offering world-class exhibitions.
Channel the artist Mondrian, and the city’s often unseen cultural streak, by toting Bally’s colour-block, calf leather Crew backpack, available exclusively online.
New Farm is the city’s hippest neighbourhood, boasting parks, cafes and hipster barbershops. Check out Brisbane Powerhouse, a looming 1920s power station, which has been reimagined as an arts centre, theatre, and music venue. Coffee lovers can grab a flat white, and delicious eggs for breakfast, at nearby Little Larder, which has its own chicken (yes, a real one) patrolling the pavement outside, greeting customers.
Australia’s only UNESCO City of Music, and famed for its plethora of festivals – from the Adelaide Fringe, and Adelaide Festival, to WOMADelaide – this city certainly wears its love of music on its studded sleeve.
Adelaide is unique and Bally’s ink-coloured suede Crew backpack is similarly one-of-a-kind, and only available online. Redolent of Elvis’s Blue Suede Shoes, and sporting checkerboard straps reminiscent of 1980s Two-Tone ska, it’s the perfect offbeat bag with which to explore the city.
Pack some spare strings and picks and head to Adelaide Guitar Festival to compete for $10,000 in its classical guitar competition before absorbing the swarms of bands that flood the city’s bars and venues in August. Not that there’s any shortage of music year round: take in a gig at the Grace Emily Hotel, a local, cosy hangout bar that hosts international rising stars, or get down with the hipsters with Wednesday-night jazz at music, cabaret, and burlesque venue, La Bohème.
Bally.com.au is now live for customers in Australia.