Millions travel to Sydney every year for pleasure, work or school. The capital of New South Wales, Sydney is located on the southern bank of Sydney Harbour and is filled with activities, excitement and cultural attractions.

 

Getting to Sydney

International visitors and many domestic visitors fly into Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith Airport, which is located just 15 minutes from the CBD at Botany Bay. Flights arrive and depart for all major and capital Australian cities and a number of international cities. When travelling to Sydney from another Australian city, visitors can take advantage of buses or trains. Both arrive at Central Station.

Driving is also an option for domestic travellers. The Pacific Highway, the Federal Highway and the Hume Highway are frequently travelled. The drive from Melbourne lasts about 10 hours while driving from Canberra is about three.

 

Sydney explorer bus
Getting around on the Sydney Explorer bus is a great way to see the city.

Getting Around Sydney

Although Sydney covers more than 1,100 square kilometres and has a population of more than 4 million, it has a well-developed transportation system. Visitors to Sydney can rent a car from any one of the numerous rental agencies scattered throughout the city. Trains and buses are also available and service both the city itself and the suburbs. Roadways can be congested during peak hours, which can make public transportation that much more attractive. Ferries service the areas around Sydney Harbour while harbour cruises can make the trip itself an adventure.

Many of Sydney’s most famous attractions are located in and around the harbour, so people rarely need to move beyond that area. The central business district, or the CBD, has numerous entertainment options, dining and attractions, and the nearby suburbs can round out any visit nicely. Walking is not just a great way to get closer to the sights but can be a great way to get in a little extra exercise during your vacation.

For more dedicated sightseers, the City Circle Train and Monorail are available. You can also take advantage of the Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing bus, which stops at all the top attractions and has a route that extends all the way to Bondi.

 

What to Do in Sydney

This city is alive with excitement, and whether you have a few days or a few weeks, chances are you have some ideas about how you would like to spend your time here. Sandstone caves, sunny beaches, pleasant weather, brilliant waters and blazing nightlife combine to make this cosmopolitan city a world-class destination.

The Opera House with its dramatic white sails stretching towards the sky is a top attraction for many visitors. You can stop by for a picture on the steps, or you can spend an evening taking in a show. Stop for a tour of the Opera House and enjoy tapas in the Opera House’s flagship restaurant.

Not far from the Opera House is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, also known as The Coat Hanger. Construction on the bridge began in 1924, but it was not opened until 1932. More than 1,400 men worked on this bridge using 53,000 tonnes of steel and 6 million rivets. Eight traffic lanes and two rail lines carry more than 160,000 vehicles every day. Visitors can also walk across the bridge and climb to the Pylon Lookout at the top for a spectacular view of the harbour below. Climbers can take a series of stairs, ladders and catwalks during the day, the evening or night, and climbs begin every 10 minutes.

The Opera House and the Harbour Bridge may be the best-known attractions here, but Sydney also has a number of cultural attractions from the Art Museum of New South Wales and the Museum of Sydney to the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Customs House Library.

Taronga Zoo, the Powerhouse Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens are popular stops for the young and the young-at-heart. If you are in the mood for some of Sydney’s abundant fresh air and sunshine, talk a walk along the Bondi-to-Bronte cliff path or just relax on one of Sydney’s many beaches. The heritage-listed Royal National Park is another option. Its beaches, lush gullies, rain forest and rugged bush feature numerous walking and bicycle trails. The Royal National Park is the world’s second oldest park and is the ideal spot for an afternoon’s picnic or a weekend camping trip.

 

Strand Arcade, Sydney
The Strand Arcade in Sydney is popular for both locals and tourists.

Shopping in Sydney

There is no place like Sydney when it comes to shopping. From weekend markets to cosy boutiques and from upscale shops to vast shopping centres, Sydney has virtually every type of shopping experience you could possibly imagine. Spend an afternoon browsing the latest fiction, crime thrillers and picture books at Darlinghurt’s Bookshop. The Rocks Market features a completely different type of experience, including Australiana, handmade jewellery, freshly baked goods, original artwork and fashion in handmade clothing. For a more extensive selection of art, head to one of Sydney’s many art galleries. Aboriginal art, sculptures, glass and paintings are all available, and you may even have the opportunity to meet the artists who create these works. The Queen Victoria Building brings it all together with five levels of dedicated shopping. This Victorian building is perhaps Sydney’s most popular shopping centre and features top shops and designer boutiques.

 

Dining in Sydney

Some of Australia’s best restaurants are located right here in Sydney. Stop off at a beachside food truck, or head to the world famous Doyles at the Quay for fresh fish and chips on the promenade. Chinatown, which is located in the CBD, features a variety of Szechuan, Cantonese and other Asian restaurants.

Quay restaurant, which has been listed on the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants and named The Best Restaurant in Australasia, offers not just fine dining but also incredible views of the harbour, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The 360 Bar and Dining offers sweeping views of the Sydney skyline from the top of the Sydney Tower. For an evening of quiet romance, numerous harbour cruises are available.