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Sydney

Where to stay in Sydney:

About Sydney:

This vibrant and dynamic yet relaxed city is the most populous in Australia, with nearly 5 million inhabitants. When you discover it for yourself, it is easy to see why! Sydney has everything you would expect from a cosmopolitan metropolis but offers so much more besides. Located on the east coast, the city surrounds the world’s largest natural harbour, home to the famous Harbour Bridge and the iconic Opera House, and includes, at its outer limits, some of the world’s most renowned beaches.

 

Getting to Sydney:

Sydney airport is a major international hub served by many of the world’s leading airlines. Flights from Europe are mostly routed via the Far East (commonly Singapore or Hong Kong), although a change in Dubai is also a popular choice and is primary route for the Australian flag carrier, Qantas. British Airways flies from London via Singapore in just under 23 hours; or why not stop over at one of our fantastic places in Thailand. At just over 9 hours from Sydney, Bangkok is the perfect place to break the journey in either direction and is just a short hop to any of our resorts or villas there, which is ideally located to allow your body clock to adjust more gradually en-route between Sydney and home.

 

Best time to visit Sydney:

Sydney has a good year-round climate and is free from extreme temperatures, so is a suitable destination at any time of year. Seasons are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere: summer is December to February and winter runs June to October, although temperatures rarely drop below 7°C.

 

 

Highlights in Sydney:

For thrill-seekers and those looking to get a bird’s-eye perspective of Sydney, what better way to start a visit than with a climb across the top of the spectacular Harbour Bridge. However for a more relaxed way to take in the impressive sight of the Sydney skyline, the roof top café at the Museum of Contemporary Art is a great place to take in thebreath-taking view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Discover Darling Harbour – a diverse mix of waterside walks, restaurants, shops and museums, including the Australian National Maritime and the Powerhouse Museum. It is also home to exhibition halls, Imax cinema, boating venues, aquarium and wildlife. Darling Harbour extends along the western, southern and eastern sides of Cockle Bay and takes in the King Street Wharf restaurant area, just south of Barangaroo.

Sydney has a number of centrally located parks and gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens, adjacent to the Sydney Opera House and bordering the harbour in Farm Cove, make for a beautiful afternoon stroll. Hyde Park, right in the heart of Sydney, is Australia’s oldest park and contains the ANZAC memorial building and visitor’s centre as well as hosting a number of cultural events throughout the year, including the Sydney Festival, Australia Day, ANZAC Day and the Food and Wine Fair. Other national parks are in the city itself or within easy driving distance and are easily accessible.

For those who love exploring museums and art galleries, Sydney is fortunate in having a number of them right in or close to the city centre, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Police and Justice Museum, the Sydney Museum, the Australian Museum, Hyde Park Barracks and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, to name but a few. St. Mary’s Cathedral , the oldest site of Catholic services in Australia, is also worth a visit. However, the best viewpoint for photographing the whole cathedral is from the top of the Sydney Tower Eye.

No visit to Sydney would be complete without a trip to some of its spectacular beaches. Bondi is arguably the most well-known of these, with its golden sands, turquoise waters and perfect waves that make it a surfers paradise. Beyond the waves, gorgeous coastal walks, eclectic markets and buzzing night life, as well as options for fine dining make Bondi a vibrant and beautiful must-do for all first-timers to Sydney. Manly is another popular choice that is readily accessible by an enjoyable 40 minute ferry journey from Circular Quay and offers more sophisticated dining and shopping. The waves here are smoother too, making it an ideal spot for newbie surfers. Palm Beach and Clovelly Beach are great for the family. Despite the name, another great location is Shark Beach at Nielsen Park, with its own shark net and spectacular view of the Harbour Bridge. There are many other impressive stretches of sand and hidden coves to explore, which make this city unlike any other.

If you have time to make a short side trip, a visit to the Blue Mountains is highly recommended. So called because of the characteristic blue haze visible across the region’s awe-inspiring landscape as sunlight mixes with drops of oil released by the eucalypts, this World Heritage Area has breath-taking views, beautiful native birdlife, stunning waterfalls and Jurassic rainforest, not to mention attractions such as the glass-floored Skyway and the world’s steepest incline railway. 

In order to get up close to some of the native wildlife, as well as more exotic and endangered species, take the ferry over to Taronga zoo, just 12 minutes away from the city. Set up as a not-for-profit organisation supporting wildlife conservation, this rates as one of Sydney’s top attractions and is open 365 days a year. For an additional fee, you have the chance to interact with some of the zoo’s most amazing animals, such as the adorable koalas, in an ‘Animal Encounter’ experience.

Culture in Sydney:

To find out more about Sydney’s convict past and early settlements in this incredible city, then head for The Rocks. This is the location where European settlers stepped ashore back in 1788 and established a base. The cobbled lanes, dating back to those times, were a raucous and unsavoury habitat frequented by soldiers, sailors and street gangs. The area is now home to cosy cafés and some of the oldest pubs in the country but has transformed in to a modern precinct with trendy apartments, restaurants and funky bars. Markets are held most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Discover more about the history on The Rocks self-guided walking tour or take the organised tour, beginning at Cadman’s Cottage every evening at 6pm. 

Sydney offers many opportunities to discover more about Australia’s indigenous inhabitants. As well as numerous public museums, there are numerous fascinating tours and experiences that tell the story of rich Aboriginal culture and history from the perspective of these original inhabitants. For the most authentic insights, look for experiences that are run, or predominantly operated, by Aboriginal people. We particularly like the Aboriginal Heritage Tours at the Royal Botanic Gardens (10am Fridays, or by request for groups), where you will find out how the native plants are used for bush foods and medicine; or explore the links between the wildlife and the people on the  Nura Diya Aboriginal Discovery Tour. Alternatively, cross the footbridge to Bare Island on the first Sunday of the month for the arts festival, where traditional skills and crafts, such as spear making and basket weaving, are demonstrated.

 

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