Sydney is one of the worlds iconic cities and is a must visit for everyone. With it’s famous beaches and stunning harbour Sydney is a playground to enjoy the outdoors and plenty of culture on offer. Having lived here for 5 years I am excited to share with you some of my highlights and also to research some new and interesting things to do.
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales and hosted the very successful 2000 Olympic games and there are still many sporting arena’s that attest to this like ANZ stadium and the Dunc Gray velodrome. There are even sections of the marathon’s blue line that can be seen in Centennial Park in the Eastern Suburbs.
Sydney has many iconic vista’s but none more so than the Sydney Opera House and Harbour bridge. Sydney has been the setting for many movies like Mission Impossible II and the Matrix.Fox studios is where the movie magic happens and can be found in the entertainment quarter at Moore Park, close to the Sydney Football stadium and Sydney Cricket ground.
Here's a breakdown of year round activities:
Beaches - Sydney has an abundance of white sandy beaches, beautiful surf and a magical climate to make the most of them. This list is by no means exhaustive as there are just too many to talk about and they are all great. Closest to the city is world famous Bondi Beach which is a popular destination year round with a happening energetic atmosphere this is a must visit for everyone. They have outdoor cinema, loads of great restaurants and bars there is something for everyone. My picks are the Beach Burrito Company and the North Bondi RSL on the north side serving up great food at good prices, the Beach Road Hotel a couple of blocks back from the beach for watching sport and Bondi Social on the south end for a fantastic dinner with unbeatable view over Bondi as the Sun sets. If the surf isn’t for you then Bondi Icebergs could be your scene with a 50 meter laned ocean pool to swim in or relax beside.
There is a scenic coastal walk from Bondi down to Coogee Beach that is about 5 kilometers long that is a great way to spend a few hours and you can choose which beaches you stop at along the way as you pass through Tamarama, Bronte, Clovely beach and Gordon’s bay before reaching Coogee. Most of this area is part of a marine reserve so there is great scuba diving along the coast. All these beaches have buses back to the city so transport isn’t a problem. One of the most popular events is in early summer and is sculpture by the sea and I highly recommend it if you are in Sydney in November.
Manly is a beautiful beach on the north headland of the harbour and is a beautiful ferry ride from Circular Quay (near the opera house) and the ferry ride shows off the harbour well and for those on a budget is the best way to see the magnificent harbour. You’ll feel relaxed as you arrive and you can hire bikes and kayaks or sit back and relax and have some fine food.
Right in the middle of town is Darling Harbour and you could spend days exploring all the different activities here. There are many very good restaurants and bars at King St Wharf and just over the foot bridge is the Australian National Maritime Mueseum. The museum is a fine tribute to the maritime history of Australia and there is HMAS Vampire, one of the last gun based destroyers for the Royal Australian Navy and HMAS Onlsow, a cold war era submarine that was on active duty as recently as 1999. A fantastic spot for seeing and experiencing some exciting science and technology is the Powerhouse Museum. You will be able to spend hours in the interactive exhibits, see the oldest surviving rotative steam engine, see the science behind musical instruments and the history of man’s passion for space travel. There is also a temporary exhibit showcasing the props, characters and costumes from the Harry Potter movie series. If you are after a little more culture there is the Chinese gardens which were built by the local Chinese community to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 and is an excellent change of pace in this bustling city. Speaking of bustle there is plenty at Paddy's markets which are a 5 minute walk from Darling Harbour and they offer excellent shopping. Great range of products like clothes, homewares, gifts, souvenirs and many more at great prices.
If you are after a bit more of an active experience then you could head out to do some whale watching from May to September or blast under the harbour bridge and do spins year round in the jet boat experience. I can also thoroughly recommend the Sdyney Harbour Bridgeclimbwith the guides and organisation of this experience making it a standout way to travel back in time and see a young nation building it’s identity.
There are so many things to do in Sydney there really are a wide variety of activities and there are great things within easy driving distance too. Just a short list would include:
Skydiving down in Wollongong which is amazing as you can see out to the Blue Mountains and you land right beside the beach.
Blue Mountains with the star attraction being the 3 sisters.
Hunter Valley for all the wine lovers.
Hopefully you are fired up to come and visit Sydney and some of the other fantastic world class tourist sights in Australia (and don’t forget to jump over to New Zealand if you have time) so here are few details to help with logistics.
When booking accommodation in Sydney most of the major websites will cover a wide range of the offerings and two you could try first for hotels would be expedia and wotif. For hostels try Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. Sydney is a very big metropolitan area so if you are staying for more than a couple of nights you may want to think about staying in two different areas and getting round may involve changing between train lines and bus routes. Click on the following link for Sydney transport options and maybe think about renting a car as there are many interesting things to do within a short drive. Good luck planning your trip and I hope you enjoy Sydney as much as I have.
Would you recommend this destination: Yes
Overall rating: 5/5