Sydney Travel Guide
Sydney is a spectacular city, which always surprises the visitor. Its landscapes include the blue beauty of the harbour, located between the metal bridge and the emblematic Sydney Opera House, beautiful ocean beaches and a diversity of neighbourhoods.
In addition to the wonderful buildings of its urban landscape, this great city has countless natural attractions. It’s a pleasure to stroll through its beautiful gardens, admire the islands of the bay and explore its unspoilt coastline.
Sydney’s present brightness hides the city’s past. In the 18th century it was the largest prison in the UK. Today you can learn about this history at The Rocks, a maze of cobbled streets where some of the city’s oldest pubs are located.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Sydney
- What to do in Sydney
- When to visit Sydney
- Getting to Sydney
- Where to stay in Sydney
- Getting around Sydney
- Cost of living in Sydney
- Where to eat in Sydney
Top 5 reasons to visit Sydney
One of its greatest exponents is the Sydney Opera House, with its characteristic candlelit ceiling that has become the icon of the city. It was opened in 1973, and has been a World Heritage Site since 2007. The Sydney Bay Bridge, inaugurated in 1932, is also noteworthy. It has pedestrian and bicycle lanes, two train tracks and eight car lanes.
Bondi Beach is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and is about 10 kilometres from Sydney’s city centre. This area of the coast is ideal for surfing and other water activities. There are many other spectacular beaches including Manly Beach, Bilgola Beach and Bronte Beach.
This beautiful park is Australia’s oldest, and is in the heart of downtown Sydney. It’s home to several landmarks, including the Archibald Fountain, the ANZAC War Memorial and the Pool of Reflection, among others.
There are a lot of museums in Sydney. From the Museum of Contemporary Art to the National Maritime Museum of Australia, the city has plenty of places to learn about local history and culture.
The foodies have several appointments in Sydney. A dinner at Quay Restaurant, considered one of the best restaurants in the world, provides a dreamy view of the harbour. Among many others, Sepia Restaurant offers contemporary Japanese-inspired cuisine and fine wines.
What to do in Sydney
Getting to know the Sydney Opera House
From Circular Quay you can take a tour to discover this great enclave. With its varied and complete programme, the Sydney Opera House is one of the most important centres in the world for musical and artistic performances.
Climb the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge
On the Sydney Bay Bridge you can take part in fun expeditions to the top of its superstructure. No special climbing skills are required, and there are sunrise and sunset departures.
Explore the Royal Botanic Gardens
These vast and beautiful gardens are crisscrossed by trails, which allow for great walks. Train rides for children and free guided tours are also available. In addition, there are special Aboriginal heritage tours and delicious Australian food.
Walk the Trail from Bondi to Coogee
This path runs alongside the sea, and its undulating forms create almost fantastic effects. The path links all the beaches in the area and displays fascinating sea views. In addition, there are cafes, monuments and fantastic places to swim along the route.
Visit the Taronga Zoo
The zoo is home to almost 3000 species of native and exotic animals. Among them are gorillas, tigers, chimpanzees, leopards, giraffes, kangaroos and koalas. You can get there by a ferry trip, which departs from Circular Quay.
When to visit Sydney
If your intention is to fully enjoy the beaches, then the best option is to travel during the summer season, preferably at the beginning or end, as in the middle of summer temperatures can reach over 38 °C. In case you want to admire the architecture, gastronomy and culture of the city, any time of the year is excellent.
Keep in mind that in September there’s the Wind Festival dedicated to kites, and in December the Sydney Film Festival, both on Bondi Beach.
Getting to Sydney
Most travellers enter the city through Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD), located 10 kilometres from the city centre. The easiest way to get to the city from there is to take the Airport Link train, which costs A$18. The cheapest option is the 400 bus, which goes to Mascot train station.
Trains come to Sydney from cities like Melbourne and Brisbane. Train journeys from Perth or Darwin take between one and two days. All arrive at Sydney’s central train station, located in the heart of the city.
From Melbourne and the southern tip of the country, you can approach Sydney via the A1, M1 or M5. Those driving from Brisbane or other northern cities should take the A1 or A15.
Greyhound Australia provides affordable bus services to Sydney. Direct services depart from Melbourne, Canberra or Brisbane. Like trains, buses arrive at the city’s central station. The price of a coach journey from Melbourne to Sydney, for example, starts at A$99.
Airports near Sydney
(SYD) Sydney Kingsford Smith
(NTL) Newcastle Williamtown
Where to stay in Sydney
Some of Sydney’s best hotels are located in the CBD or central business district. They offer views of the harbour and the Sydney Opera House. Among the five-star hotels is the Shangri-La Hotel, which charges around A$353 per night.
There are also good, cheaper and more convenient options for families, such as the Adina Serviced Apartments Sydney, which offers apartments for A$ 240 per night, and hostels such as the Backpackers Sydney, where you can relax for rates starting at A$ 73.
Popular areas in Sydney
The CBD. This is the heart of Sydney, and is home to high-rise residential and office buildings. It is also home to large commercial stores, such as the Westfield Shopping Centre and the Sydney Tower Eye.
Newtown is a bohemian residential neighbourhood, famous for its alternative music scene. It also has a wealth of restaurants, art galleries, theatre spaces, second-hand shops and bars.
Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour’s old docks have been transformed into Sydney’s tourist Mecca. Here you’ll find the Chinese Friendship Garden, Sydney Aquarium, National Maritime Museum of Australia and IMAX cinema.
Getting around Sydney
Sydney has an efficient city bus network and a tram or light rail line, which runs along the coast. You can also hire bicycles and there are trains, boats and long-distance buses linking the city to beaches and the Blue Mountains. It is possible to buy the Opal transport card, which can be recharged. The price of tickets ranges from A$ 2.10 to A$ 5.
Taxis offer affordable fares, although they are not the most comfortable alternative, due to the intense urban traffic. The flag drop costs A$ 4, and then increases to A$ 2.17 per kilometer driven. Most transfers around the city cost between A$ 20 and A$ 55.
A large number of car rental companies serve the entire city. These include Hertz, Avis and Budget. A standard car for four or five passengers costs approximately A$ 56 per day.
Cost of living in Sydney
The exclusive brands are concentrated in The Strand Arcade and the historic Queen Victoria Building. Fashion chains and other brands are located in Westfield, Broadway or World Square. For clothes of all kinds and electronics, the best option is to go to places like King St, William St and Oxford St.
Supermarkets and grocery stores
The most popular supermarkets in Sydney are Woolworth’s and Coles, but you can also find some Aldi and other smaller chains. To get your bearings on prices consider that a loaf of bread costs A$ 1.40 and a dozen eggs A$ 5.80. In markets, such as Northside Produce Market and Paddington Markets, prices are usually cheaper.
Where to eat in Sydney
Thanks to its location by the sea, eating out is common in Sydney. Many restaurants offer beautiful views, such as the Icebergs Dining Room and Bar on Bondi Beach and the Searock Grill next to the Sydney Opera House. The Rocks neighborhood is home to bistros and cafes, as well as good restaurants for dining, such as the Cut Bar & Grill and Scarlett’s Restaurant.
At an intermediate level restaurant, the price is usually around A$ 15 per person, and if it’s an exclusive restaurant, it can cost up to A$ 40 per diner. Drinks prices range from A$ 14 to A$ 40.