Sydney City Guide
Sydney, which is the largest city in Australia, is one of its most well known urban centers. Sydney is a favored vacation destination known the world over for its several iconic landmarks, simmering sand beaches, its vibrant dining and nightlife scene and great shopping options. It’s hardly a surprise then that tourists of all ages regularly choose to book vacations to Sydney, and it regularly ranks as one of the world’s top holiday destinations.
Where to stay in Sydney
Most visitors to Sydney like to stay in the heart of the city at hotels that are located within an interesting area known as ‘the Rocks’. The Rocks is a restored 19th century village that is located at the southern end of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
This historic area dates back to first European settlement in Australia in 1788. The Rocks with its cobbled streets is home to gas lamps, craft stores, hotels, restaurants and two of Sydney’s oldest English style pubs. The Rocks area of Sydney is considered to be the birthplace of the Australian nation. The Rocks affords access to the Pylon Lookout on the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which is another heavily tourist trafficked site that offers gorgeous views of the harbor, the Sydney Opera House and beyond.
Yet another popular accommodation option in Sydney is the Circular Quay area, which is located at a small inlet called Sydney Cove near the Sydney Harbor. This area is also believed to be the founding site for Sydney and Australia and it affords access to most of the city’s attractions based around the harbor like the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Harbor Bridge and The Rocks. Additionally, the quay is also a busy, bustling spot that features ferries that leave every few minutes, which transport passengers to popular beach suburbs of Manly, Watsons Bay, Taronga Park Zoo and others. Circular Quay is located at the foot of the city’s central business district and the many hotels located here are popular with both business travelers as well as leisure travelers.
The various hotels located around Darling Harbor are also extremely popular with tourists as they offer good access to local facilities like museums, the Sydney Aquarium and the central shopping districts around Sydney Tower and the Pit Street Mall.
The Kings Cross area of Sydney is the city’s red-light district that offers a wide array of hotels that range from discount hotels and budget accommodations, which are popular with backpackers to mid-range hotel properties. This area is Sydney’s gritty inner city, which offers easy access to nightclubs and restaurants located around the Darlinghurst, and Oxford Street areas.
Glebe is yet another popular area for accommodation in Sydney. This inner city suburb, which is located just ten minutes from the city center is a bohemian village that offers myriad hotels and more than 40 restaurants that offer a wide array of cuisines. Glebe is also renowned for its many shopping and nightlife opportunities.
Bondi and Manly Beaches
If the focus of your Sydney vacation is beaches, then the city’s beach side suburbs of Manly and Bondi are worth a consideration. If you choose to stay at a hotel located either of these two beach side locations, you might want to consider renting a car for the duration of your stay in Sydney for the public transport connections to both these locations are not very convenient.
Places to see in Sydney
Sydney is known for its many golden sand beaches of which Bondi Beach is perhaps the most famous. Bondi is known for its excellent surfing conditions and numerous social activities though the city does have other great beaches like Manly and Coogee, which are also popular with visitors.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney’s most well known attraction is its iconic Opera House, which is often regarded as the symbol of this port city. This white sailed landmark situated on Sydney Harbor at Bennelong Point is the country’s premier performing arts center believed to be equipped with the finest acoustics in the world. This magnificent center for the arts was built in the early 70’s with funds that were raised from national lotteries.
The Opera House has a concert hall that can accommodate more than 2500 concert-goers at a time. In addition to its massive concert hall, the Sydney Opera House also has a smaller Opera Theater, which is often used for ballet performances, a Drama theater, a small Playhouse and the Boardwalk Dance and music venue. The Sydney Opera House is definitely a must-visit attraction on any vacation to Sydney.
Sydney Harbor Bridge
Another famed attraction of Sydney is its Harbor Bridge, which is known as the ‘Coat Hanger’. This bridge was completed in 1932 and extends over 1600 feet and connects the north shore to the south shore of Sydney. The Harbor Bridge initially used to be accessible only by ferry but now it hosts pedestrian walkways, two railway lines and an eight-lane road. The Sydney Harbor Bridge is a favorite with adventure tourists who love to climb to its summit to take in the breathtaking views from a height of 285 feet (87metres) above the ground.
Darling Harbor Attractions
One of the most heavily tourist trafficked areas of Sydney is its Darling Harbor area. This waterside zone is located close to Sydney’s Central Business District and is chock a block with a wide assortment of attractions like an Imax Theater, the Sydney Aquarium considered to be one of the best aquariums in the world , Wildlife World, the Star City casino , the Sydney Entertainment Center, the Power House Museum and the National Maritime Museum.
The Sydney Tower
The Sydney Tower or the AMP Centrepoint Tower is yet another landmark of the city that also offers breathtaking vistas. This building is located above the Centerpoint office building and is the tallest free-standing building in the city and the second tallest building in the country. The Sydney Tower is equipped with an observation deck that allows visitors to take in the views from 820 feet (250m) above the city; though it also has a Skywalk platform which soars even higher at 853 feet (260m) above city. The Skywalk platform is definitely not for the faint hearted.
The Taronga Zoo
If you are on a Sydney vacation with young children; you have to make it a point to take them to one of the city’s premier attractions, the Taronga Zoo. The best way to get to the Zoo is ride on a ferry from Circular Quay. The Zoo is located on a hill and affords gorgeous views of the Sydney Harbor, the Opera House, and the Harbor Bridge. The Taronga Zoo is home to many species of animals, which are arranged in enclosures according to their origin. The most popular exhibits seem to be the gorilla and the chimpanzee enclosures as well as the nocturnal house where you can observe some of Australia’s indigenous animals like the platypus. The zoo also has a farmyard section where children can touch and feel the animals that are handled at all times by the keepers. Other attractions at the zoo include the Seal Show and the Free Flight Bird Show though the zoo also offers several educational programs to teach children about conservation.
Best time to visit Sydney
The port city of Sydney is located in the Southern hemisphere and accordingly it’s ‘peak’ tourist season coincides with its summer season that extends from the months of November to March. Temperatures during this time routinely touch approximately 90F (35 C). However, since summer is such a favored season to visit Sydney, it is often quite difficult to snag a cheap air ticket for a Sydney vacation. However if you are really keen to visit Sydney in the summer then you would do well to contact us at Fare Buzz with your requirements as we routinely offer attractive flight deals for Sydney that are bound to be in line your price expectations.
The winter season in Sydney is generally experienced between the months of June and August and is typically characterized by relatively warm temperatures that range between highs of 62F (16C) and 68F (21 C) which enable visitors to enjoy the many pleasures that this energetic city has to offer. All in all it can be said that Sydney is an all weather destination that can be visited at any time of the year.
Getting around in Sydney
Sydney is accessed by its Kingsford Smith International airport situated six miles (9km) south of Sydney. This airport dates back to the 1920’s though it was upgraded and modernized when Sydney hosted the Olympic Games in 2000.
Sydney’s airport is well connected to the city via the Airport Rail Link, which offers the fastest and most convenient commute to the city. Buses, shuttle buses, hotels buses and taxis are other modes of transport that serve Sydney’s airport.
The city of Sydney actually has an impressive and efficient public transport system that includes buses, a light rail, a monorail and an excellent suburban rail network, which has its main hub at Circular Quay in the city centre. The city also makes full use of its waterways and is equipped with passenger ferries and jet boats that offer connections to the outer suburbs at various points in the city.
Most visitors who live in the city center don’t usually plan to rent a car for their vacation in Sydney as the city often experiences traffic gridlocks and parking within the city center is quite pricey. However if you plan to stay in one of the many suburbs in Sydney then perhaps it would make sense to rent a car to get around for public transport connections in the suburbs are not especially convenient. At this instance as well, we at Fare Buzz can be of assistance as we offer a wide array of affordable car rentals for Sydney, which can be booked at the same time and through the same platforms that you make your other travel bookings for your Sydney vacation.
Where to shop in Sydney
If you love to shop till you drop, you are bound to find yourself in heaven in Sydney for the city has it all, luxe labels, local ingenious fashion finds and bustling markets. The city offers much retail therapy at various diverse locales like the old-world Queen Victoria Building, which dates back to the 19th century and now hosts 180 of Sydney’s upscale fashion boutiques, jewelry and home are stores along with chic cafes and restaurants. The Strand Arcade is yet another restored, old-world edifice which houses many of Australia’s leading designer labels, jewelry stores, beauty salons, gift shops and trendy cafes and restaurants.
The gargantuan Westfield Sydney is a shopping and dining heaven, located in the heart of city that offers more than 330 fashion, dining and lifestyle stores. Both Australian and global high street brands have a presence here. A similar shopping experience can also be had at Westfield Bondi Junction, locally known as ‘WBJ’ which is even larger than the city-center mall and offers more than 388 stores, including branches of popular Australian department stores like David Jones and Meyers and supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths.
Aside from these malls and shopping arcades, Sydney also offers much retail within its precincts like Oxford Street and the Intersection in Paddington, both of which are home to trendy boutiques and outposts of well-known Australian labels like Sass and Bide, Willow, Ksubi, Scanlan and Theodore amongst others.
Where to eat in Sydney
The ever-changing and evolving culinary landscape in Sydney features an eclectic mix of fine-dining restaurants, steakhouses, gastro pubs, cafes and bistros, which offer a smorgasbord of local and global eats. Sydney’s restaurants set high standards in terms of the quality of food served and ‘great’ restaurants can be found throughout the city. Some of the ‘best’ Sydney restaurants currently include eateries like Toko, Jimmy Liks, and Tetsuya’s (all Asian fusion), Doyles on the Beach, Jonha’s, Swell, Catalina (all modern Australian restaurants that offer oceanfront dining) and Hugo’s Bar Pizza, Roosevelt and Lord Nelson’s Brewery (more casual but wholesome fare).
Nightlife in Sydney
Sydney’s nightlife scene offers a bounty of great bars and clubs. The city’s many bar neighborhoods include areas like the Rocks, Darlinghurst, Potts Point, Surry Hills, Bondi Beach, Newton and Kings Cross. In a city with so much nightlife choice, it’s easy to get confused and to ease your navigation of Sydney’s nightlife scene we have listed a few spots which can be considered a must-do on any visit Sydney itinerary. The Opera Bar located in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera house is a great casual bar that offers stunning views along with good cocktails and food. Other must-visits include the Hero of Waterloo, one of Sydney’s oldest bars located in the city’s the Rocks area, the Marble Bar, the Zeta Bar in the Sydney Hilton, the Blue Bar located on the 36th floor of the Shangri-La that affords a panoramic view of central Sydney and beyond and stylish bars like The Rum Diaries and the Flying Squirrel in Bondi.