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- Sydney is the largest city in Australia with a population of over 5 million people, and is home to a beautiful harbour, waterways and magnificent surf beaches. Like most western cities, there is a diversified make up of peoples from everywhere, starting with the indigenous aboriginals.
- Sydney is the major finance hub of Australia and the largest office buildings with the most expensive rent. Sydney is typically the main destination for international tourists with excellent weather most of the year, the Harbour, the Bridge and the Opera House as well as being the first place settled in Australia with much associated historical significance.
- With so much going on there is a good public transport network of mainly trains plus a large water based ferry system. For commuters travelling by ferry is a fantastic journey to work and a great start to the day. The tram network in recent years has been slowly growing with a large infrastructure project nearing completion linking the city south at the main Central Station through the main city street to Circular Quay spanning a distance of some 6 kms. This is another congestion buster initiative.
Guide to Sydney
What to do
Sports are an important part of the culture of the state of New South Wales, and there are plenty of teams to support when you are in the area. Rugby league is the most popular spectator sport, with teams like the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Sydney Roosters, and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles competing in the National Rugby League. Super Rugby sees the New South Wales Waratahs come into action, competing against elite teams in exciting matches.
Netball is an incredibly popular sport across Australia, with some of the best players in the world competing in the Suncorp Super Netball league, allowing you to see both up-and-coming Diamonds such as Maddy Turner alongside icons like Caitlin Bassett, as well as international superstars like Helen Housby and Shamera Sterling. Two brilliant teams are based in Sydney. Both the New South Wales Swifts and Giants Netball are big contenders in the league, with the Swifts winning their first ever super netball premiership in the 2018/2019 season – there’s no better time to catch a game.
Sporting action in Sydney
If you feel like getting into the sporting action yourself while visiting Sydney, there are plenty of activities for the thrill-seekers. In Wollongong, you can soar through the air either skydiving or hang-gliding. For those looking to enjoy what the waters of Sydney have to offer, scuba diving, kayaking, and fishing are on offer, and you might even get a chance to see the bottlenose dolphins play. Increase your chances of getting a glimpse of the fascinating marine life by visiting Montague Island to dive with seals, or head to the North Coast and the Julian Rocks Marine Reserve to see beautiful manta rays and turtles.
Sydney is full of glorious and world-famous attractions waiting to fill your day with beautiful sights and moments to remember. The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, with its eye-catching architecture and range of brilliant shows making it a sure-fire winner for anyone lucky enough to be in the area. With opera, comedy, cabaret, circus shows and much more, the Sydney Opera House is a treat whether you see it from a distance or head inside. Another legendary piece of Sydney is the Harbour Bridge, and if you want a more thrilling time than simply appreciating it in all its grandeur, why not climb it? With plenty of different kinds of climbs on offer, this is an excellent way to experience the Harbour Bridge.
What about guided tours?
There are plenty of guided tours on offer in Sydney so that you can get a full sense of the city from the people who know it best. For example, the Dharawal National Park may be an hour away from the centre of town, but it’s well worth the trip for the spectacular views, and the chance to be led to the best spots by an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger. It’s the best way to get all the information about the beautiful flora and fauna that are local to the area, as well as the history of Indigenous Australians in that area. Similarly, if you want to see the most famous parts of Sydney and get the inside scoop, the TourChief Sydney Sightseeing day tours are a great way to ensure that you don’t miss anything in this amazing city. They also offer activity based tours, like sandboarding or a four-wheel drive ride, and give you the opportunity to enjoy the Australian cuisine alongside wine-tasting.
Westfield Miranda is the perfect place for any shopaholics, or someone looking to get something nice for a loved one back home; grabbing a token from Sydney is a great way to remember your visit. There are over 450 stores on offer in this shopping centre, open every day of the week, pop over to 600 Kingsway Miranda NSW 2228 for a chance to put your spending money to good use.
Outside of the entertainments offered by the vibrant city of Sydney, there is a wealth of natural attractions to explore. A particularly special area of vegetation can be found on the Wolli Creek Walking Track, a beautiful bushwalk and a nice short walk for a breath of fresh air. Alternatively, if you want to stretch your legs a bit further, challenge yourself to the invigorating coastal trek from Manly to Spit, either 9 km or 18 km long depending on whether you make it a return trip. You will be rewarded for your efforts by the spectacular views of the coastline, and get to see a handful of secret beaches. Bondi Beach is an absolute staple if you are visiting Sydney, one of the most famous beaches in Australia and the world, perfect for some time relaxing or for bringing the family and playing in the sea. It also offers another lovely walk, with two scenic walks on offer to bring you towards the south.
Things to do in Sydney
Places to stay in Sydney
With the layout of Sydney being rather spread out, it’s a good idea to think about what you want most to do in Sydney so that you can co-ordinate where you stay accordingly. The main locations to find accommodation are in the Central Business District (CBD), Kings Cross and Potts Point, Bondi, The Rocks and Circular Quay, and Central and Chippendale among a few others. Here are a few recommendations of places to stay for all budgets.
West Hotel, 65 Sussex Street, Sydney CBD. With funky architecture and right on the doorstep of the brilliant dining options in Barangaroo, this hotel is also walking distance away from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, and King Street Wharf. A brilliant choice and prime location for the city, but the CBD is also not the best option for those looking to stay on a budget.
YHA Sydney Harbour, 110 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. Their rooftop terrace provides a lovely view, and this hostel is both award-winning and right on the cusp of an exciting stretch of nightlife providers. Perfect for younger travellers or groups of friends looking to get the most out of Sydney, while also being willing to make the extra effort to travel to all the best places.
Hilton Sydney, 488 George Street, Sydney. If you’re looking for a more luxurious place to stay, and want to be right in the middle of the action, the Hilton is the choice for you. This hotel includes award-winning restaurants, a brilliant bar, and much of what the city centre has to offer is mere moments away.
Young Henrys cellar door is a quirky place to enjoy the locally brewed beer just outside the brewery where it has been made – it doesn’t get any more local than that. Plus, if you head down on a weekend, you’ll also get the chance to enjoy some delicious food on offer from the trucks that pitch up by the door, just make sure you get down there in plenty of time, this is a popular spot.
One of Sydney’s best nightclubs is the Imperial Erskineville, known for bundles of outrageous and colourful fun as well as being a well-loved gay club. Upstairs and downstairs in this venue offer two rather different, but both amazing, nights. Upstairs you can find nightly drag shows ready for you to sing along until the early hours, while downstairs is the perfect place for any all-night ravers to dance until daylight. There’s something magical about this club, and it’ll be a treat if you go.
There’s plenty of invigorating live music on offer at the Oxford Art Factory, a live music venue on Oxford Street that has outlasted many others. It isn’t the biggest venue, but that makes for brilliant intimate shows with a buzzing atmosphere. Their roster includes indie DJs and local up-and-comers, so it’s a great place to try something new.
The Ivy Pool Club is a rooftop bar in the heart of central Sydney, a bit more on the expensive side, but a deliciously indulgent day-to-night place to dance your heart out while also having a dip in the pool. The transition between the more relaxed daytime vibes into the late night party is seamless, and therefore accommodates any kind of partier.
Eating out in Sydney
Tetsuya is a contemporary Japanese multi award winning Michelin rated restaurant attracting the rich and famous from all over.
Address: 529 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Bennelong is a high end multi award winning fine dining restaurant with many tourists heading there most nights as its set within the Sydney Opera House overlooking Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge.
Address: Bennelong Point Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Hugos at Manly Wharf is set right on the Harbour delivering a relaxed casual dining experience with amazing sunsets at dusk while watching the comings and goings of the ferries and their passengers.
Address: Manly Wharf, 1 E Esplanade, Manly NSW 2095
Doyles at Watsons Bay is on the other side of the Harbour and has a fresh seafood offering with exceptional views. This is a traditional low key restaurant that has been patronised by just about everyone who has visited Sydney.
Address: 11 Marine Parade, Watsons Bay NSW 2030
Catalinas is again on the south side of the Harbour, closer to the City and settled in amongst one of Sydney’s most prestigious suburbs, Vaucluse. This is fine dining with the restaurant name originating from the flying boats that take tourists from this harbour location on a sight seeing tour up along the Northern Beaches.
Address: Lyne Park, New South Head Rd, Rose Bay NSW 2029
Bistro on the Greens is a great option for family-friendly dining, complete with a play area section for the little ones and a lovely view of the greenery just outside, ready for kids of all ages to have a run around and work up their appetite. Their woodfired pizzas come with a great variety of toppings, and the rest of their extensive menu will please all of the family.
Address: South Coogee Bowling Club, Corner of Henning Avenue and Moverley Road, South Coogee, NSW 2034
Another lovely option for families is the Armory Wharf Café, found in the Blaxland Riverside Park. With breakfast and lunch dishes on offer all day long, enjoy the guilt free pancakes at any time of day, and pair them with the delightfully refreshing smoothies – the funky monkey is a popular choice. Enjoy your food with a view of the water, while the kids can let off some steam in the Blaxland Riverside Playground, situated right next to the café. A top tip is to get there in plenty of time, and make a booking, because the park, car park, and café is known to fill up fast.
Sydney Airport (code: SYD)
Kingsford International airport is Sydney’s main airport and is also the busiest international airport in the country, as it is the best connected not only internationally but also for domestic flights. The airport is well connected to the city - there is a suburban train, a local bus and a shuttle bus that will take you to the city centre.
Buses and Trains
Sydney has plenty of bus services: the two major bus terminals are Circular Quay and CBD.There is also an underground system with central stations which make all tourist attractions accessible.
In Australia, they drive on the left hand side of the road, similarly to England. In order to drive out there as a foreigner, you must insure you have an International Driver’s License. Sydney is well connected to all the major cities by road and there are truly magnificent views to enjoy along the Pacific Highway. Cars are a good way to go sightseeing in the city, especially as public transport does not run 24/7.Speed limits through residential areas are generally 50km/h. On Sydney's motorways, the speed can be as high as 110km.