Last Updated On: July 11th 2016
Can you fall in love with a city? Here is my answer; yes, you can! Sydney is a city which has it all. The famous beaches, the breath taking view of the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, the skyscraper view from the ferry and Westfield tower, and not the mention the food diversity ranging from Western food, to Asia, to you name it. There is absolutely everything you can wish for in Sydney. I can talk endlessly about my love for Sydney but for now I will give you some tips and useful information for you to know when you are planning to visit Sydney.
Most people assume that the weather in Australia is always nice and that everyone is relaxing at the beach. In general the temperature and weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are really good. But there are four seasons which you have to keep in mind. If you are coming from Europe it’s the other way around.
The seasons in Sydney, Australia are as following:
* Summer: December to February
* Autumn: March to May
* Winter: June to August
* Spring: September to November
Throughout the year there are many tourists visiting Sydney. However, in December and January it gets really busy due to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The weather at this time of the year is warm and on some days even hot. If you are a beach person than this is definitely the best time to enjoy Sydney and all it’s wonderful beaches. If you prefer traveling during the winter season than it’s still a good time of the year to do this. However, it might be a bit too cold for swimming and on some days you might need an umbrella. But other than that, Sydney is a great city to visit throughout the year.
Sydney is situated in New South Wales, Australia and can be reached from Sydney airport.
There are 44 international, 22 domestic interstate, and 22 regional destinations connecting to the airport. Sydney airport is situated only eight kilometers from the city center.
The city can be reached by:
Train: There are two train stations at Sydney airport which are the International airport and the Domestic airport station. Traveling by train is really convenient and takes only 15 minutes. Tickets can be bought at the train station or at a convenience store (such as 7Eleven) at the airport. The train runs approximately every 10 minutes.
Taxi: The city also can be reached by taking a taxi. There are taxi ranks at each terminal. A one way fare estimated from the airport to the city is approximately 45-55 Australian Dollars (AUD). Please note that passengers pay for any bridge or road tolls on top of the fare.
Shuttle bus: There are shuttle bus services from the airport to the centre. These shuttle bus services depart from the terminal. Tickets must be pre-booked and can be done online. The shuttle busses are mini busses and will pick you up from the airport and drop you at the hotel. A return ticket cost approximately 30 AUD.
Hotel transfer: Some hotels or accommodations offer transfers for a minimal fee. You can inform your hotel with your flight details and the hotel will make the pick up arrangements.
Sydney Opera House – Sydney Opera House is known from it’s iconic shell shaped design. The opera house was built in 1973 and added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2007. Sydney Opera House is one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world. It is located in the harbor, in Circular Quay area. It is beautiful to walk around and enjoy a drink or some food at Opera’s Kitchen restaurant. On some evenings of the week there is live music. A great way to enjoy this stunning masterpiece.
Harbour Bridge – Sydney’s Harbour Bridge is the world’s largest steel arch bridge which was opened on the 19th of March 1932. The bridge is an iconic landmark with a fantastic view. You can either walk on the bridge, drive, drift under the bridge by boat or climb the bridge. Positioned in the harbour with Sydney’s Opera House makes this a breathtaking view and great place to capture the moment with your camera.
Bondi Beach – Bondi is one of Australia’s most famous beaches. The aboriginal meaning of ‘Bondi’ or ‘Boondi’ is water breaking over the rocks. It’s a sandy beach and great for surfing. Throughout the year there are many events and activities. If you are in Sydney then you should visit this popular beach! Bondi can be reached by bus from the city centre and takes approximately 30 minutes. During Christmas and New Year’s the busses and the beach get really busy, but it is still worth visiting!
Bondi to Coogee walk – Going from either Bondi or Coogee, you can walk a scenic coastal walk. The walk leads you alongside cliffs, rocks ,and beautiful beaches, such as Tamarama and Bronte. While walking this coastal walk you can have a break at one of these beaches. Make sure that you bring your camera during the walk because the view is absolutely amazing!
Royal Botanical Gardens – The Royal Botanic Garden of Sydney was established in 1816. This is the oldest botanical garden in Australia. It’s located between the business district and the harbor and has the size of 64 hectares. There are several beautiful look out points where you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It’s a beautiful garden with a broad diversity of flowers, trees, art, and so on. There are free guided walks in the Botanical gardens. Have a stroll, have a picnic, enjoy the view and all it’s beautiful flowers, plants, and trees.
Manly – Sunday’s are well spent at Manly. The reason why a lot of people are going to Manly on Sundays is because there is a fixed fee for traveling on Sundays with the Opal card. This makes it really cheap to go from the city to Manly by ferry. In Manly there is a lot of things that you can do. Arriving at the wharf you can walk straight to the main beach or have a stroll to all the other beaches. I would definitely recommend you to visit all the lovely beaches at Manly. At one of the beaches you can even spot some penguins! If you are up for an even longer hike than you can walk all the way to the national park and from there on you will have an incredible view of the city and the waters surrounding. Shelly beach is a popular beach and easy to have a swim in the water without any surfers. But if you do like surfing than the main beach at Manly is the best beach to have a surf! Manly’s town is a small town with lots of surf shops and laid back restaurants. On Sundays there is live music at Hotel the Steyne, a great way to finish your day in Manly.
Watson Bay – This is a place where you can have a lovely day at the beach, enjoy the walk along the rocks (sometimes you can spot dolphins) and up hills towards Hornby Lighthouse. Watson Bay has a wharf with a Western atmosphere. While visiting Watson Bay you should definitely grab the famous fish and chips from the restaurant at the wharf. Getting to Watson Bay from the city centre is easy by bus or by ferry from Circular Quay.
Blue Mountains – When you are a nature lover or an adventure seeker then the Blue Mountains are a must see. The Blue Mountains were inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000. The area consist of 1.03 million hectares. You can reach the Blue Mountains by car, train or by tour from Sydney. There are several lookout points which can be visited in the national park. Other activities are hiking, ride the sky way, explore caves, waterfalls, and many more.
Tangaroo Zoo – Tangaroo Zoo is Sydney’s biggest zoo located in Mosman. From Circular Quay you can catch the ferry to Tangaroo Zoo. The zoo is enormous and has a beautiful view of the city.
Haymarket – Haymarket is an area in Sydney where you will find Paddy’s market. This is Sydney’s biggest market where you can find good bargains for souvenirs, gifts, fruits and vegetables, and many more products. It’s located near Central Station, approximately a 10 – 15 minute walk.
Eat and Drink
Ordering a drink or food in a restaurant in Sydney, Australia is different compared with Europe. If you are in a restaurant or a pub and you sit with your friends or family on a table then you need to be aware that you need to order your drinks and food at the bar. There are waitresses in the restaurant but they only bring the drinks and food and they don’t take orders. If you are coming from a European country than this is something to remember.
Below you will find a list with places where you could go to eat and drink.
Darling Harbour- This is probably one of the most touristy and busy area for entertainment. The harbour is big and has a lot of variety of restaurants and places to eat and drink. The buildings are quite impressive and you will find a lot of other entertainment options in this area such as the Imax (this is the biggest Imax of the World), Madame Tussaud, shopping (malls), and cruise tours. Every Saturday evening around 9pm there is a firework show, which is a must see! A recommendation to eat and enjoy an unique restaurant is the South Steyne (Harbourside Jetty, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW, Australia).
Circular Quay – Is the place where you have an amazing view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera while dining or drinking. It’s also the place where you can catch a ferry to, for instance, Manly, Watson, Mosman, and so on. During New Year’s Eve this area gets packed due to it’s breathtaking view. The prices of the restaurant are a bit more expensive than the other locations but while you are there and your budget allows it I would definitely recommend that you enjoy the amazing view while enjoying a typical Aussie Barramundi! – The Waterfront (27 Circular Quay, The Rocks, Sydney NSW, Australia) has an amazing view while dining.
The Rocks – The CBD is full with skyscrapers and new buildings but the Rocks on the other hand is surrounded by historical buildings. The Rocks is the area where the settlement began and where you can have a stroll around these wonderful buildings or have a drink in Sydney’s oldest pub. On Friday there is the market and there are many events which relate to the history of the Rocks.
Surry Hills – If you like vintage stores and looking for a hipster vibe than Surry Hills is the place to go. There are lots of unique places to eat, drink, and shop. Not only are the places unique but so is the street and its buildings. The Victorian styled buildings are romantic, colourful, and one of a kind. You can find all kinds of food styles in Surry Hills such as organic food, Western food, Asian food, etc. The Clock Hotel (470 Crown St, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW, Australia) is a good place to hang out and enjoy the food and has a relaxed, easy going vibe.
Chinatown – Is located in the Haymarket area close to Paddy’s market. In Chinatown you will find lots of Asian food for relatively low to medium average prices.
King’s Cross – An area well know for backpackers and it’s party atmosphere. Every evening of the week there is something going on somewhere in the pubs, clubs or bars.
The Establishment Hotel (5 Bridge Ln, Sydney NSW, Australia) – A luxurious hotel accommodation in the heart of the city where you have everything within reach. The building of the hotel is beautiful with an extraordinary garden.
If you are travelling on a budget then Wake Up (509 Pitt St, Sydney NSW, Australia) is a well know accommodation located near Central Station. A great place to meet other people if you are travelling solo.
Here are additional options for where to stay in Sydney.
Travel Tips and Local Blogs
For more travel tips and suggestions for Sydney, have a look at these local blogs and resources. Or leave a message and I might be able to help you answering your questions!
City of Sydney – Get information about Sydney, places to go, how to get there, and much more.
Sydney Information Visitor Center – A good website for things to do, events, accommodation, and deals.
What’s on – Is Sydney’s official event guide.