Sydney, Australia

Always aim to book a window seat for your flight to Sydney.  I have been several times and I never tire of the view.  It is an amazing city to approach by air either by day or night.  

Water Taxi- Darling Harbour
View of Sydney Harbour on Arrival  by My Passport to Shangrila


Sydney belong’s to the exclusive club of cities that generate excitement.   At the end of a marathon flight the thoughts of seeing those yachts suspending on the dark water and the sails of the Opera House glistening in the sun.  Sydney is a cosmopolitan city surrounded by iconic beaches, world heritage sites, and acclaimed wine regions. Besides being Australia’s largest city, Sydney is also its most visited.  With an incredible variety of attractions and sights to see, including the very famous Bondi and Manly beaches, it is easy to see why people come here and stay a while—try to stay at least a week if you can – there is a lot to do in Sydney. It is worth a long stay.


ℹ️   Travel:   Sydney’s airport can be a marathon of a flight to reach but once you arrive things are swift.  The airport trains to the city centre are frequent and and takes around 15 minutes to a cost of AUS$18.  Every nation must apply for an electronic tourist visa before travel.  ​

ℹ️   Currency:   The Australian Dollar AUS$.  The currency in Australia is bright and the notes made of plastic.  

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NOTE:  there are no 1c coins.  Everything is rounded up/down to the nearest 5c. ​

ℹ️   Credit Cards and Banks:  ATMs are common place in almost every shopping street, with several ‘bureau de change’  around the city centre, with almost every retailer accepting Mastercard and Visa.  There is no fear of an establishment declining card payments.  ​

ℹ️   Weather:    Remember Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere so the seasons are the opposite to the Northern Hemisphere.  

Summertime is between December – February- with average temperatures range from 18-25°C (65 – 78°F).   Wintertime is between June – August-  with average temperatures between 8-17°C (47- 62°F).  Sydney’s rainfall is generally highest in June.

Airport Link Train to the City




So with possibly a week or longer in Sydney where and what should you consider?  Obviously if your time is short then its a matter of prioritising.

To help here are some top points to consider:-

SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE

The bridge was built in 1932 as a government employment project during the Great Depression.  Its steel frame has become an iconic symbol of the city.  While tours that climb the bridge cost roughly AU$160  (GB£97),  it is free to walk or bike across it for panoramic views of the harbour and Opera House.



I had an incredible experience during the bridge climb.  Whilst trying to calm a friend who was afraid of heights at the apex of the bridge a cruise ship sailed underneath us.  To book a Bridge climb  click here   PLEASE NOTE:  before you are allowed to access the bridge climb you be given a short medical, including a breathalyser test.

Sydney Harbour Bridge  by My Passport to Shangrila





THE ROCKS DISTRICT

The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney. With it narrow lanes, fine colonial buildings, sandstone churches, and Australia’s oldest pubs, this neighbourhood is where Sydney began when the British first landed.  

Beautiful Architecture in The Rocks District


The Rocks’ weekend markets, art museums, street entertainment, restaurants, and beautiful views of the harbour, Opera House, and bridge make this is one of the coolest areas of the city.  I love heading up to the Sydney Observatory Hill Park for a good view of the city, wandering the harbour promenade, and hitting the bars at night. 

Landing point at The Rocks




MANLEY BEACH

Sydney is synonymous with its beaches, and the area is also especially famous for having world class surfing. Since it’s warm and sunny most of the year, the city has a strong beach culture, and on the weekends locals flock to the seashore.  

From Palm Beach and Manly in the north to the famous Bondi and Coogee in the south, Sydney has a beach for everyone.  All the beaches are easy to get to via public transportation or car and there are tons of restaurants and surf shops around, too!  My favourite beaches are Manly (wide and beautiful) and Bronte (small and quiet).

Manly Beach   by My Passport to Shangrila


The ferry ride to Manly roughly costs AU$12.50 (GB£7.60)  return offers sweeping views of the harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the world famous Opera House.  It’s a picturesque 30 minute ride each way that puts you in one of the coolest parts of the north end of the city.  Manly is famous for its wide beach, giant waves, surfing, and incredible nightlife.

Sydney Ferry Terminal




SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE


Just as iconic as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House is famous for its white shelled roof.  As an architectural delight and feat of engineering.  There are guided tours costing AU$40 (GB£24)  give you a whole new appreciation for just how challenging the building was to design and erect.  Tickets for a show in the Opera House are surprisingly affordable costing around AU$45  (GB£28-30), so try to take one in if you can.

Opera House by Night


OPERA HOUSE BAR

adjacent to the Opera House on one side and the Harbour Bridge on the other, this perfectly positioned terrace manages to marry the laid-back and the sophisticated atmosphere of the harbour.  Why not have a few drinks before taking in a show?






KINGS CROSS AND OXFORD ROAD DISTRICTS

If you are looking to go out and get wild on the cheap, then go to King’s Cross. This is where the beer is inexpensive and the backpackers, and locals, party late.  The famous World Bar is where most of the action happens.  Keep your wits about you as it can sometimes prove to be a little ‘rough around the edges’.  

Centre point of Kings Cross


For a less traveller time, head to Manly, The Rocks, or the CBD (Central Business District) where there are more locals and fewer travellers (but more expensive cocktails and beers).  Just be wary though of certain areas within Kings Cross as you will soon discover its own ‘Red Light District’ too.

If you prefer the another lively night head to the Gay district of Oxford Road.  Here are trendy bars like ‘Stonewall’ where you can sip long drinks in the early evening sunshine or party until late in ‘Beyond’ nightclub.

Oxford Road




TORONGA ZOO

Take the ferry to Bradleys Head, Mosman.   The Zoo is located 12 minutes from Circular Quay by ferry or a short bus/train trip from the city or North Sydney. Great discounts are offered with combined public transport and zoo entry tickets!  For more information click here

View of Sydney from Toronga Zoo




SKY TOWER

twice as high as the Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Tower offers amazing panoramic views of the city from its Skywalk at the top. At AU$50 (GB£30) it is cheaper and easier than climbing the bridge itself, and the views are equally as good.  Also included with your purchase of a Skywalk ticket is access to the “4-D” cinema experience, which includes in-theatre effects like wind and fire.






THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

the ancient sandstone of this national park has been weathered into gorges lined by steep cliffs and separated by narrow ridges. Some activities in Blue Mountains National Park include seeing the magnificent rock formation of the Three Sisters or hiking along the paths that offer excellent views of the valley, sheer rock walls, tumbling waterfalls, and magnificent forests.



The park is free to visit and you can get there by train from Sydney, which takes 90 minutes. If you want to hike further afield, it’s best to stay overnight! The park is free to visit.