The Insider’s Guide to Spectacular Sydney

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There’s more to organizing your Australian holiday than booking your Sydney flights. From bars to beaches, we’ve got it covered. Read on for our ten point guide to really getting under the skin of spectacular Sydney.

See the sights

Head down to Circular Quay and take in the stunning sight of the Sydney Opera House, framed by the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Take a short walk to The Rocks, Sydney’s oldest area, and check out the historical museums, buildings and pubs that lie in the shadow of the largest steel-arch bridge in the world.

Don’t miss: Stroll through the harbour hugging Royal Botanic gardens and head up to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for one of the best vantage points in Sydney.

Activities for Everyone

Darling Harbour, nestled on the western outskirts of Sydney’s central business district, is home to a plethora of waterside shops, bars and restaurants as well as activities for the whole family, including Sydney Aquarium and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Stroll to the Chinese Garden of Friendship to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and cross sparkling Sydney Harbour and visit spectacular Taronga Zoo.

Must-do: Splash out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb or head down to the golden sands of Bondi Beach (bus 380 or 333 from Circular Quay) and sign up for a surf lesson.

Immerse Yourself in Café Culture

Sydney is home to numerous cafes, spreading across the pavements of every suburb in town. Try some people watching over breakfast in the fashionable inner west suburbs of Balmain and Glebe or cross town and find your perfect beach-side spot for some great coffee in Sydney’s wealthy eastern suburbs.

Escape the Bondi crowds with a short stroll up quiet Fletcher Street to M Deli in Tamarama for long outdoor benches and massive homemade sandwiches.

Locals love: Catch bus 389 from Bondi Junction to upmarket Woollahra and try the house special pizza at popular Italian café Buzy Bakehouse. Make sure you leave room for a slice of Ricotta cake or scoop of authentic Italian Gelato – it will blow your mind!

Shop ’till You Drop

Like every major city, Sydney has a huge choice of shops, from massive malls to beautiful boutiques. The central business district is home to Sydney Central Plaza and Westfield Shopping Centre, while Westfield Bondi Junction offers a huge array of mainstream shops and free parking.

Head to the massive Paddy’s Markets to grab a bargain to take home and check out weekend markets in Glebe, The Rocks and North Bondi.

Pick of the bunch: – On a Saturday, head to upmarket Paddington for a choice of unique clothes, art and jewelry at the markets, before taking a stroll through the leafy suburb and hitting cosmopolitan Oxford Street to browse chic boutiques and interesting independent retailers.

Unleash Your Inner Beach Bum

Australia is famous for its sun, sand and surf and you will not be let down by the choice of sunbathing and swimming spots in Sydney.

Once you’ve seen the famous Bondi Beach, take the coastal walk to Coogee and take in the beauty of the lesser known beach suburbs on the way. Stop at Bronte for a swim in the ocean pool at the south end of the beach.

One of the best: Take the ferry to Sydney’s northern beaches and spend your day sunbathing or checking out the surfers on the Spit to Manly walk.

Escape Town

If you need a break from city life, skip town on a day trip to the beautiful Blue Mountains, an hour and a half from Sydney.

If you have a little longer, why not take a few days to visit the famous Hunter Valley wine region where you can take in wine tours and relax in the serenity?

Afternoon escape: Jump on bus L90 from the central Wynyard Station to Palm Beach in northern Sydney. Most famous as the setting for Australian television show ‘Home and Away’, Palm Beach offers miles of beautiful and relatively quiet beach and surf.

Feasts Fit for a King

Sydney offers a wealth of world class cosmopolitan cuisine. Try the seafood at the exclusive Rockpool on George, head to Leichhardt in the inner west for a multitude of authentic Italian restaurants or book a table at Icebergs for unbeatable views over Bondi Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

Best in town: Head to Doyles in Watson’s Bay for fantastic fish and chips in spectacular surroundings – truly the greatest harbor views in the city.

Dance the Night Away

Grab a window seat in the Sugar Mill and watch Sydney’s hedonistic underbelly come to life in the famous Kings Cross.

Explore the multitude of interesting bars throughout Darlinghurst and cross Oxford Street into Surry Hills where Crown Street is alive with bars and restaurants catering for all tastes.

Winding down: Feed the post-booze hunger with some fresh Mexican fast food at Mad Mex on Crown Street until 11.30pm on weekends. If you’re out for the long hall, a 3am yeeros or kebab, introduced by Sydney’s huge Greek population, should settle the stomach.

Sleep it Off

After all that activity, you’ll need a good night’s sleep. Sydney has accommodation options to suit every budget, from beach hostels to harbour side apartments.

Australia also has a huge choice of well-known chain hotels. Something different: For a real treat, try the award winning Hughenden in Woollahra. With grand staircases, Victorian dining rooms and marble fireplaces, The Hughenden prides itself as Sydney’s premier arts and literary hotel in a fantastic location.

Getting Around

Sydney has a comprehensive and convenient public transport system. After your Sydney flights deliver you to Australia’s biggest city, regular trains will transport you from the airport to the city centre within around 13 minutes.

While at the station, check out the range of weekly travel cards available for travelling around Sydney by train, bus and ferry.

Top tip: Many of the city buses only accept pre-paid tickets so invest in a My Bus Travel Ten so you never get caught short. This ten trip ticket has no expiry date and is cheaper than paying separately for each individual journey.

Photo credit: Wilf

Catherine Halsey writes for a digital marketing agency on a range of subjects.

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