If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful New South Wales Capital, Sydney, whether from overseas or from other Australian States, you’ll have a lot of choices about what to see and do on your holiday. There are so many options you might not know where to begin, so the following ultimate travel guide can help you decide on the best places to visit and where to stay. There are five million people living in Sydney, which is the largest city in Australia, so the choices about where to eat, how to travel, and what to do are just as varied and numerous.
Things to remember if you’re coming to Sydney from Overseas:
- You cannot bring your pets with you and should carefully read Customs information.
- The overall risk of contracting diseases is low but always check with your travel doctor.
- If you are coming from a county where Yellow Fever is endemic you will need a vaccination certificate.
- For Rabies, vaccination is advised for veterinarians and other high-risk workers, cavers etc. who might come in contact with bats.
- Insect-borne diseases may be present (Dengue, Ross River fever, Murray Valley encephalitis) so discuss this with your travel doctor for advice.
Places to Stay in Sydney
The Sydney CBD – If you want to be right in the middle of the city where all the business or legal action happens this is a good place to start, providing you don’t mind mixing with the power-dressed suit brigade. This is probably the best location to stay for anyone visiting on business or shopping or to go to the Opera House since the famous landmark is only a walk from the CBD. There’s also The Rocks and the Pitt St Mall and plenty of top-class, luxury hotels.
The Rocks – This famous area is not only close to the Opera House, but Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge plus all the major Sydney city attractions. The Rocks is famous for its upmarket and very pricey but simply fabulous hotels.
Central Station – For travel convenience here is the best place to start. It’s central to the city, and as such is more or less the epicentre for transport in Sydney. All train lines pass through Central so it’s easy to go from there to whatever destination you choose and also outside of the city to regional areas. Accommodation around Central ranges from backpackers to medium-priced hotels.
Newtown – This inner-city suburb is a lively place in which to stay and has some fantastic boutiques, craft breweries and places to eat. It’s a fun suburban full of colourful characters, loud streets and plenty of wonderful places to eat and drink.
Surry Hills – This Sydney suburb is the cultural heart and soul of the city, and only a hop, skip and a jump from some of Sydney’s most popular eateries and bars. Surry Hills is cool, and if it’s the food you’re looking for, then this is the cuisine capital of Sydney. But there’s plenty more to the 2010 postcode than its never-ending supply of cafés and restaurants. There’s live theatre at the Belvoir, plenty of op shops for vintage clothes, contemporary art galleries and more.
The Best Way to Travel in Sydney
The public transport system in Sydney is reliable and convenient and easily connects with bus and train line routes, and it’s far cheaper and easier than driving in a hire car or catching taxis. Hiring a car is far from cheap in Sydney, and parking is timed, limited, and expensive. Parking is limited in high tourist areas such as Circular Quay and Bondi so if you want to go somewhere try the trip planner on the Transport NSW website(1). But hiring a car is your best bet if you plan to travel outside Sydney to the Blue Mountains, or North up to Palm Beach or the Central Coast.
Eateries in Sydney City
Sydneysiders love their coffee and there are places that make a fantastic brew. If you’re a like-minded enthusiast, stop by the Surry Hills Single O cafe house (Single Origin Roasters) where they source ethically and environmentally sound beans and products. They roast their own coffee and offer some exotic blends. For dinner try Spice Alley in Chippendale where you’ll have seven South East Asian cuisines to choose from and enjoy a street-food atmosphere for every choice and hanging lanterns over the alleyway. For a meal with an incredible panoramic view of Sydney, you can’t go past 360 Bar and Dining where you’ll be eating at an altitude of 300 metres. The food is contemporary Australian cuisine. Other Sydney suburbs with great food include Rushcutters Bay, Barangaroo, and Chinatown.
Things to do in Sydney
The three most famous landmarks in Sydney are the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and the historic district of The Rocks. Try a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Prince Harry did it recently, and it’s a fabulous experience, even though a bit costly at about $A300. But you can simply take the pedestrian walkway and cross the Bridge to get a breathtaking view of the Opera House and the Harbour for free. Be sure to also stroll up to the Opera House for a close-up look.
Fun on the Water
The Manly ferry ride from Circular Quay is a great way to ride across the harbour if you can’t afford to hire a boat for the day. Take the ferry and see some wonderful sights, and in only 30 minutes you’re on the Northern Beaches in Manly, famous for its chilled ambience and lively promenade, not to mention the gorgeous beach. There’s also the Bondi to Coogee Walk and you can stop by Bronte Beach for a fabulous brunch. Other beaches worth visiting include Watsons Bay, and Milk Beach and plenty more. A ferry can also take you to Darling Harbour where the kids can have a ball. For some culture, visit any of Sydney’s various art galleries and museums and galleries. There’s the Art Gallery of NSW for Aboriginal art and historical works, or the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Don’t miss a day trip to the sensational Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Plenty of tour companies will take their passengers out to the mountains, or you can catch a train from Central and explore the natural wonders such as The Three Sisters rock formations and the Hydro Majestic hotel at your own pace.
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, financial support and health care. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.