Sydney is a rare jewel – sparkling both day and night – and the city reflects the Australian personality – a bit brash, a bit cheeky but warm, outgoing and friendly. And it knows how to party! There is something for every visitor – first class hotels, restaurants, beaches, theatre, sight seeing, nightlife and its overall vibrancy.
No matter how many times you sail its waters or explore its seemingly endless chain of coves and bays and reaches, Sydney Harbour will unveil a hidden face that has inspired generations of painters, poets and sailors.
To the east, the waterways are bound by a chain of ocean beaches, some of whose names and wave patterns are a siren call to surfers across the world – Bondi, Narrabeen, Cronulla, Manly, Queenscliff, Collaroy, and Newport. Less known but equally spectacular and inviting are the beaches, estuarine playgrounds, resort towns and fishing hamlets that stud the entire New South Wales coastline to the north and south of Sydney.
Sydney is a glittering city with its iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Sydney is a generous host and perfect launching pad for a tour of Australia that has so much to offer the traveler.
Things To Do
The Rocks Historic Area – an area of sandstone buildings and winding lanes with a rich history of how early Sydney was formed.
Macquarie Street area – see old colonial buildings such as Macquarie Place, Customs House, Government House, the State Library, New South Wales Parliament House, Hyde Park Barracks, Justice and Police Museum, Law Courts and The Mint.
Sydney Observatory – a museum of astronomy with hands-on displays.
Museum of Contemporary Art – at Circular Quay, for wonderful displays of modern Australian art including Aboriginal collections.
Sydney Harbour Bridge – one of Sydney’s two most famous landmarks crosses the Harbour connecting the north and southern parts of the city. Take a guided Bridgeclimb tour over the steel arc structure during the day or night.
Sydney Opera House – for concerts, opera, drama or just to sit and take in the view over a glass of wine.
Sydney Explorer Bus Loop – a tourist bus that travels around the city daily and stops at leading attractions around the city centre. Also try the Bondi and Bay Explorer.
Circular Quay – at the harbourside for buskers, restaurants and superb harbour views.
Fort Denison – an island in the middle of the harbour, formerly a prison, now a fascinating museum.
Museum of Sydney – on the site of the first Government House, examining Sydney’s history between 1750 and 1850.
Royal Botanical Gardens – more than 24 hectares of harbourside garden, the first farming area of the early European colony. Displays of native and exotic plant specimens from around the world.
Art Gallery of New South Wales – shows the state’s prized art collection with exhibitions and tours. A new Asian art wing was recently added to the building.
Australian Museum – holds a wonderful collection of natural history and culture.
Queen Victoria Building – refurbished in the 1980s now houses over 160 shops in delightful Victorian architecture.
Sydney Town Hall – wonderful 1860s architecture and a 19th century organ with 8,500 pipes.
Darling Harbour Sydney – complex with convention centres, shops, outdoor activity, Chinese Garden, National Maritime Museum, restaurants and hotels.
Sydney Aquarium – underwater tunnels displaying an amazing range of sea life.
Powerhouse Museum – technology exhibits and hands-on displays.
Paddy’s Markets and Chinatown – a bustling area with restaurants, supermarkets, specialty shops and fruit and vegetable market.
Sydney Fish Markets – for the best in Sydney’s seafood and one of the best gourmet experiences.
Star City Casino Sydney – the first and only legal casino in Sydney, with bars, restaurants, theatres and hotel.
Taronga Zoo Sydney – the zoo with the best views in the world! Get there by bus or ferry, open 7 days.
Sydney is in the southern Temperate Zone and does not suffer extremes of cold or heat. Seasons in Australia are the reverse of North America and Europe. Summer is December to February, autumn (fall) March to May, winter June to August, and spring September to November. The climate is similar to coastal California and the northern Mediterranean. Summer temperatures can exceed 30 degrees Celsius with high humidity, particularly around February.
Australians drive on the left, which can be disconcerting for visitors used to driving on the right side of the road. Roads are generally good and major routes well signposted. Speed limits and distances are expressed in kilometres and vary substantially from 50 kph in residential and heavy traffic areas to 110 kph on freeways (please follow signage for speed limits). Drink driving is a serious offence and heavily policed. Drivers can be stopped anywhere at random and subjected to a breath analysis test. Offenders are arrested and fingerprinted, so it can be a bad end to a fine evening or a long lunch. The legal limit in Australia is a blood alcohol content of .05%.
There is so much to see and do in Sydney! Allow as much time as possible in this city so you can enjoy yourself. Whether you are an adventure group from Seattle who wants to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge or a family from Victoria Canada who wants to visit famous Bondi Beach- there is something for every age group and every interest in this iconic city.