With its iconic features, dazzling clear waters and vibrant city life, Sydney is the first stop for many on their trip to Australia. The cultural and financial capital of Australia really does have it all, but it is not just the world-famous sights and structures that make this city so captivating: it is the weather, the people, the laid-back feel that is so utterly unique. On your trip to Sydney, you will fall in love with the architecture, the ambience, the golden sand beaches and the unique charm of this sprawling, sunny city with a big heart.
Much more than the sum of its parts, this beguiling city promises to seduce, delight and captivate you. Your only problems will be prioritising what to see and do, and leaving it behind you when you return home.
Direct Flights to Sydney will bring you to Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport (SYD), Australia’s busiest airport, located about 8 miles from the city centre.
Situated in the Southern Hemisphere, Sydney’s summer is December – February and its winter is June – August. Sydney is busy all year round, with tourists flocking to the city during the winter months, which coincide with the UK school holidays. Sydney’s New Year celebrations are considered to be one of the best in the world, so the festive season is popular, both for the warm temperatures – perfect for enjoying the beaches - and for its world-famous New Year’s party. If you are looking for good deals on hotels and cheap flights to Sydney, plan your trip for spring or autumn, when the weather is pleasantly warm but the city is slightly less busy.
Of all the coastal cities in the world, Sydney seems to get the balance the best. Here, residents work hard and play hard. With some of the most beautiful beaches on the globe located within 6 miles of the city centre, surfing and swimming are central to Sydney’s culture. Spend time exploring, walking and taking in the sights before relaxing on white sands and taking a dip in azure waters.
A trip to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without spending time on Bondi beach. Throughout the year, the beach is a vibrant hub of activity; from early risers who want to catch the dazzling sunrise before indulging in a spot of breakfast at a beach café, to night-time revellers who party from sunset and beyond. If you are feeling active, you can grab a surf lesson and ride the iconic waves, or take a walk along the coastline from Bondi to Coogee. There is no shortage of restaurants and cafes, along the way, from simple food shacks to fine-dining. So, relax, indulge, and enjoy.
For every famous beach in Sydney, there are dozens of “secret” beaches and if you are not afraid to go slightly off the beaten track, you will be rewarded with these hidden gems. Tucked away in Hermit Bay, you will find Milk Beach, one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets. With crystal-clear waters, Milk Beach provides incredible views of Sydney Harbour. One reason this beach is such a secret is that it isn’t accessible by public transport – if you have a hire car, there is a small amount of off-street parking. Alternatively, you can access the beach by foot or boat - well worth the effort for an escape from the crowds.
Your trip to Sydney would not be complete without devoting time to explore Sydney Harbour, the beating heart of the city. Aside from the beaches, the harbour is central to life in Sydney, and is a fantastic way to take in iconic structures and admire the city’s skyline. If you take your trip to Sydney in January or February, you can enjoy the open-air cinema, where residents and tourist alike go to catch a film and enjoy a picnic in a fantastic, laid-back environment overlooking the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The film that you see is really a minor detail: the experience is one that you will never forget.
At the Royal Botanic Gardens, you can discover more about Sydney’s heritage and learn about Aboriginal culture. Within this city oasis, you will find thousands of species of plants and wildlife – take a guided tour or explore alone and enjoy breath-taking views across the harbour.
You will be forgiven for becoming more than a little star-struck when you meander along Sydney Harbour. You will be familiar with the image of Sydney Opera House’s quirky architecture, but nothing can quite prepare you for the magnificence of the building when you see it for the first time. At 185 metres long and120 metres wide, the undulating structure cost over £60million; more than 15 times the original estimate. In addition to its majestic beauty, the Opera House represents an incredible feat of engineering; the roof is made of 2,194 concrete sections, each weighing up to 15 tons. The uber-modern construction appears to rise from the water in front of Sydney Harbour Bridge: among the hustle and bustle of the city, take a moment to process the incredible view and to let it sink in: you’re in Sydney!
Once you have acclimatised yourself, take the time to scratch a little bit beneath Sydney’s surface, where you will encounter cobbled streets, kitsch cafes, and fantastic shopping opportunities.
The Queen Victoria Building is worth a visit, for its exquisitely restored architecture, as well as the international fashion designers and brands that are represented within its opulent boutiques. If you prefer al fresco shopping, there is a broad choice of outdoor markets, selling everything from fresh produce to arts and crafts. Browse start-up brands and buy one-off pieces direct from the designer: you never know, they could be the Next Big Thing.
Take in a spot of retail therapy at Westfield Sydney, with its almost limitless retail opportunities. For unrivalled views of the city, head to Sydney Tower Eye on the fifth floor, where you can enjoy a dazzling, 360-degree views of the city from the 268-metre-high glass viewing platform.
Sydney’s temperate climate means that it is perfect for dining al fresco. Restaurants and cafes spill into the streets as the city’s inhabitants come out to enjoy some well-earned downtime. Grab a cocktail as you watch the sun set over Harbour Bridge, enjoy exquisite seafood and indulge in simply irresistible ice-cream. The fusion of cultures present in Sydney means that you can find world-class food from across the globe – choose from Korean, Chinese, Greek and Italian dishes. Of course, no trip to Sydney would be complete without a beach barbeque, complete with deliciously grilled shrimps and washed down with a local beer.
Sydney is a city of opportunities, where the natural and the manmade co-exist in perfect harmony, enabling you to walk, swim, eat, shop and explore at your leisure. With so many unique things to see and do, Sydney is just waiting to be discovered – your way.
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