Sydney is one of the world's premier destinations. Situated on the world-famous Sydney Harbour, Sydney is one of the most picturesque cities in the world, and, as Australia's oldest and largest city, an Australian cultural must.
The economic centre of Australia, Sydney is famed for being more fast-paced than Australia's other large economic centres, Melbourne and Brisbane. But with its beaches, gardens, and the nearby Blue Mountains, there's plenty of opportunity for kicking back and relaxing too.
Home to many world famous natural and man-made landmarks such as Bondi Beach, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as some of Australia's biggest events and festivals including the Sydney Festival, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney Film Festival, and one of life's must-experience events, New Years Eve on Sydney Harbour, there's something for everyone in Sydney.
Getting in and around Sydney
Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport is Australia's largest and most important international and domestic airport, being the only Australian airport with connections to every continent in the world. Connections also exist to all other capital cities in Australia as well as to many other of the country's airports. Regular flights link airports in New Zealand to Australia via Sydney Airport.
Getting around Sydney is easy, with much of the city's area covered by frequent bus, train and ferry services. Taxis are plentiful, while in the CBD a monorail links many of the popular tourist sites while providing a birds-eye view of the city en route.
Sydney Car Hire
If you need a rental car to travel in and around Sydney, car rental is available from the domestic airport in Sydney as well as from Hertz, Avis and other car hire brands' outlets located around town.
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There's a wide range of Sydney hotels and accomodation available, from world-class five-star hotels to self-service apartments and backpacker accommodation. Where you stay in Sydney will depend on the purpose of your trip, but over the summer months, most travellers prefer to stay around the Eastern and Northern Beaches of Sydney. Popular beach destinations are Bondi, Manly and Coogee Beach.
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- The Shangri La Hotel provides unsurpassable views over Sydney Harbour and Opera House. Located in The Rocks district so within walking distance of all the harbour attractions, and billed as as one of the world's finest luxury hotels.
- Four Seasons Sydney
Located right in the city, for absolute luxury the Four Seasons has all you are after.
- Railway Square YHA can't be beaten for space, cleanliness, and proximity to everything. Regular dorms available, or opt for a bed in a genuine old carriage on a disused train platform. Carriages are popular so book early, though keep in mind too that early departing trains right next door could prevent that sleep-in you had planned!
- Funkhouse Backpackers, Sydney located in Kings Cross, you are close to the best of Sydney's night life.
Things to do in Sydney
Circular Quay is a first port of call for visitors to Sydney. The hub of Sydney Harbour, Circular Quay offers fantastic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Ferries also leave frequently from here for Manly and other parts of Sydney. A ride on the water is a great way to see the iconic Opera House, Harbour Bridge and nearby Luna Park, as well as catch a glimpse of Sydney's harbour lifestyle — make a day of it!
Bondi Beach Australia's most famous beach. Learn to surf with one of the surf schools based here, or just stretch out on the sand amongst the bronzed bods who do. Nearby Coogee Beach offers the same experience; the two are linked by a popular coastal walk starting at the south end of Bondi.
Darling Harbour has an array of attractions that make it a great destination for families. All year round enjoy Sydney Aquarium, the huge-screened IMAX theatre, Sydney Wildlife World, paddleboating, mini-golf and other fun activities; check a calendar to see if your visit coincides with one of the precinct's many festivals.
Paddington is one of Sydney's hippest suburbs. Restaurants, cafes, and high-end fashion, accessories, and homewares shops line the east end of Oxford Street here, while on Saturday the long-running Paddington Markets attract both locals and tourists in the market for the unique hand-crafted products including fashion, jewellery, homewares, photography and gourmet foods.
Darlinghurst , is today a cosmopolitan neighbourbood of chic restaurants, bars, boutique shops, and attractive terraced houses. You'll also find here the section of Oxford Street widely understood to be Sydney's main gay district, where the world-famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade wraps up the month-long Mardi Gras festivities in early March each year.
Kings Cross on Darlinghurst's edge has a long-standing reputation for being Sydney's sleazy underbelly, although around its edges today you'll also find hip cafes and restaurants springing up too. On William Street its notorious red-light district is business as usual, though today it's anyone's guess who does more of the ogling here: the traditional patrons of its strip clubs, adult shops and tacky nightclubs, or the curious tourists drawn at night to stroll through the area's gaudy lights, nightclub sprukers and the colourful people the area attracts!
Newtown is a vibrant inner-city suburb with a strong student flavour thanks to its proximity to Sydney University. Stroll the main strip, lined with interesting shops, colourful pubs and entertainment venues, and enjoy the smorgasboard of international-flavoured restaurants so plentiful there's a street often referred to in the media as "Eat Street".
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Day trips in and around Sydney
Blue Mountains, Many tours depart Sydney daily headed to the spectacular and world heritage-listed Blue Mountains, which is high on most visitors' must-see lists. You can see The Three Sisters, Katoomba, Jenolan Caves and other main attractions in a day-trip, but the area is one that deserves more than a single day if you can spare the time. Plenty of accommodation options are available in Leura and other Blue Mountain townships. Consider renting a car to get there, and stay a few nights.
Canberra is only a three-hour drive from Sydney, worth the trip to see Parliament House and the displays of Australian history and culture exhibited in the city's first-class array of museums and galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, and the Australian War Memorial. Well-maintained rest stops along the way provide somewhere to stop and picnic on the drive.
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