Sydney Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in SydneyWhere to Stay
Accommodations in Sydney range from boutique hotels to well-known hotel properties, hostels, apartments and bed and breakfasts tucked away in tree-lined streets. Staying in one of the inner city locales such as Surry Hills, Potts Point or Darlington gets you close to the city and public transportation, nightlife and dining. Newtown is near the city and includes Sydney University (read: cheap eats and bars). Several hotels offer guests the option to wake up to spectacular views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge including the Marriott at Circular Quay.
Hot Tips: Public transportation makes it easy to get around Sydney, so a car isn't required if you stay in an inner city locale.
What to Eat
Immigrants have brought to Australia its own flavors and Sydney’s chefs have tried to meld those cooking traditions with local ingredients to create “Mod Oz” cuisine. Eager diners form a line stretching down the street to enjoy Malaysian dishes at Mamak in Haymarket near Chinatown. Fresh seafood is plentiful in Sydney and those in the know head to RocIncludekpool where you may even notice a celebrity or two at the table next to you.
Be Sure to Sample: Adventuresome diners might want to try dishes with kangaroo and crocodile meat.
Things to See
No trip to Sydney would be complete without seeing attractions like the Sydney Harbour and Opera House. For those interested in Sydney history, head to the Australian Museum in the business district. Science enthusiasts may enjoy the Powerhouse Museum which also has great interactive exhibits for children. Bondi Beach is the most photographed beach in the country. The free beach is a half-mile long and has cafes and restaurants along the path.
Caution: Book ahead for the Sydney Observatory during peak summer months.
Take It or Leave It: The roof of the Sydney Opera House is composed of over one million tiles in two colors.
Places to Party
Tucked away below the Opera House concourse lies one of the best beer gardens in the world which boasts a wine list of over 40 wines. The stunning views of the ocean, Opera House and Sydney Harbour don’t hurt either. A real night out on the town in Sydney includes Oxford Street, and for local music, head to the Oxford Art Factory. Hidden beneath Slip Inn, locals flock to Chinese Laundry, one of Sydney’s biggest and longest running nightclubs which brings the best of international and local kings of house, electro and tech in-house.
Caution: Do practice caution when visiting Oxford Street on a busy night as you would when partying on any major strip of nighttime establishments.
Where to Shop
Sydney shopping ranges from luxe labels and home-grown fashion to busy markets. City Centre has Westfield Sydney, four floors of fashion brands like Zara and Gap. The Strand Arcade is Sydney’s oldest arcade, has beautiful interiors and fabulous fashion boutiques featuring local and international brands including Strand Hatters, one of Sydney’s oldest shops which stocks the Akubra, Australia's most famous hat. Paddington’s Oxford Street is well-known for its funky boutiques and high-street fashion. On Saturdays at 10 am, Paddington Markets features local arts and crafts, gourmet foods and live jazz music.
Hot Tips: Has can be steamed, cleaned and fitted while you wait at Strand Hatters.
Best Local Souvenir: Didgeridoos and boomerangs.
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Sydney Is Known for...
Five of Sydney's most unique features and characteristics.The Harbour and Harbour Bridge
Walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge – known affectionately by locals as The Coathanger due to its shape. The Bridge celebrates its 80th birthday this year (2012). Walking across or climbing the bridge affords great views of the Opera House, the Parramatta river and North Sydney. Circular Quay is the main hub for ferries, trains and buses and is one of the most action-packed places in town for outdoor restaurants, art galleries, markets and the heritage Rocks area. Sailing in or out of this iconic spot on a ferry across the Harbour and past the laughing mouth of the clown entrance to Luna Park or by the iconic Opera House as the sun glitters on its white sails, is always a breath-taking moment.The Opera House
Probably the most famous landmark and international symbol of Sydney, the Opera House is the jewel in the city’s crown. Modern, ahead of its time in terms of design and filled with fantastic theatre, music and song, the Opera House proudly sits on the water basking in the sunshine. Designed by Dutch designer Joern Utzon, construction began in 1958 and was completed in 1973; the acoustics took a long time to perfect. Have your photo taken on the steps up to the main foyer and...
Read the full list of five »