City guide: Sydney, Australia

As one of the world’s most liveable cities, Sydney attracts tourists, travellers and expats alike. It is a true melting pot where myriads of cultures from all over the world converge to create a truly great world city. Here are some suggestions on how to explore this vibrant metropolis.

History and overview:

Sydney is the capital of the state of New South Wales and its 5M inhabitants live in Australia’s largest and most diverse city. Sydney is so large that most people do not refer to Sydney as one big city but divide the city into many interconnected agglomerations.

The city was founded in 1788 when legendary explorer lieutenant James Cook established a settlement in an indigenous area which he later claimed for Britain. The city has grown ever since and extended its limits to areas beyond its original borders.

In 2000, Sydney hosted the Olympic games which sparked huge infrastructure developments and boosted its liveability. This world renowned quality of life coupled to Australia’s economic success have sustained Sydney’s growth and popularity ever since.

 

Darling Harbour

Accommodation:

Vibe Hotel: A great mid-range option which scores points with its good location, its crisp and modern rooms and its rooftop pool and gym facilities. Check it out here

Bounce Sydney Hostel: My budget option for Sydney is a nicely thought out and well located hostel with a bar on top to enjoy a refreshing drink in the evening. Check it out here

Sydney Harbour Bridge

 

Cultural offer and activities:

Darling Harbour & Aquarium: The famous Darling Harbour will delight travellers with its many bars and restaurants, its lovely views and most of all its world famous Sea Life Aquarium.

Manly Beach: Walking Hiking enthusiasts will love the numerous walks starting or ending in the beautiful coastal town of Manly beach which can be reached by boat from Sydney’s various ports.

Bondi Beach: Surfing As one of the world’s most acclaimed surfing hotspots, Bondi Beach is definitely a must in order to experience one of Australia’s top sports first hand.

Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge: Two structures that need no introduction. Whether you want to see one of the many famous shows or just admire the Opera’s stunning architecture, Sydney Opera House should definitely be on your schedule. The Harbour Bridge is another must, guided tours enabling you to climb up to the top are available in local agencies.

Rock swimming pools: One of the features that marks Sydney aside from most cities in the world. The location and layout of the rock pools turn an ordinary swim into a genuine experience and should therefore definitely not be missed. Two great ocean pools are Bondi Iceberg’s Pool (1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach) and Bronte Baths

Blue Mountains National Park: A destination that nature lovers will embrace, its proximity to Sydney is an enormous advantage considering the size of Australia and the distances from most cities to the national parks.

 

Stunning colour show at Sydney Opera House
Bondi Beach
Manly Beach walk at night
Blue Mountains National Park
Bronte Baths

Wine & Dine:

Cyren Bar & Grill: (Harbourside Shopping Centre, 2-10 Darling Dr) A waterfront food temple that will enable you to taste all the Australian varieties of meet and also an extensive a array of fish and other local delicacies.

Braza Darling Harbour: (Darling Quarter, 1-25 Harbour St) An amazing Brazilian churrascaría in Darling Harbour, not a local option but definitely a great one.

 

Going out:

360 Bar & Dining: (Westfield Sydney, 100 Market St, Sydney) One of the best views in Sydney, the 360 Bar enables you to enjoy a drink while slowly turning around above the roofs of the city. Enjoy a cocktail in the sky with the Opera house and the Harbour Bridge in full view.

The Ivy: (330 George St) A club located on top of the complex with the same name where you can party until the early morning while enjoying a swim in one of the various rooftop pools

Home Nightclub: (101/1-5 Wheat Rd, Darling Harbour) A modern house and dance music nightclub in Darling Harbour. An expensive option but one of the best places to party in Sydney.

King’s Cross area: An area with an enormous amount of bars and restaurants where everybody will find something to his taste

Newtown Hotel: (174 King St, Newtown NSW) An old hotel transformed into a nice cozy pub, situated a bit outside of the affluent parts of Sydney’s central nightlife hotspots.

 

Darling Harbour at night

Final tips & verdict:

Sydney is a destination worth staying in for at least one week. There are so many locations and activities that the usual weekend getaway won’t cut it. Sydney is also very expensive and there are many many rules and signs to follow (no alcohol in the street, no noise at night, last call in bars and so on). So prepare your trip well in order to enjoy this magnificent city without any unpleasant surprises!

Check out other articles on Australia here

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