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What to do in Sydney

Sydney, Australia is a dynamic, exciting, metropolitan hub located in New South Wales, on the east coast of the country. It is the largest city in the country, home to roughly 5.3 million people and has everything from exceptional dining to stunning beaches and fantastic cultural entertainment options on offer. Whatever your interests or desires, there is a good chance that Sydney will deliver some fantastic and exciting day trips or weekends away! Be sure to include it in your Australia holiday plans!

Taste the city 

If you explore new destinations by sampling their flavours, you’re in for a treat! Thanks to its ethnically diverse and dynamic nature, the food scene in Sydney is as varied as it is decadent! One of the best ways to wear off your jetlag and begin your holiday in Australia is to wander to one of the city’s many rooftop bars and drink in the city skyline with a couple of cocktails. A couple of great spots are The Glenmore and the Royal Hotel. 

The Glenmore is one of Sydney’s oldest rooftop bars and is an icon in the city. Located in The Rocks, Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood, this charming pub has some of the best views on offer, overlooking Circular Quay, the harbour, and the Opera House. With an extensive food and cocktail menu, and bubbles and beer pouring all day, you can’t go wrong.

The Royal Hotel is a local’s favourite and has the best rooftops views in Paddington. Pull up a seat and grab a cocktail - it is the perfect venue to rest your legs after an afternoon of visiting the shops on William Street below. 

For some of the best value dining options in Sydney, head to Burger Project at Bondi Junction after spending some time on the beach. They source their beef from Cape Grim, Tasmania (considered among the best grass-fed beef in the world) and their burgers can be described as ‘upmarket fast food’. 

Another great option is Spice Alley. Located in the trendy suburb of Chippendale, this laneway is made up of 4 different restaurants led by some of the city's best Asian chefs. Singaporean, Hong Kong, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisine are all on offer.

Lastly, if all your exploration has left you with a pang for pizza, Rosso Pomodoro is home to some of Sydney’s tastiest and cheapest pizza on offer! The tell-tale sign of locals queuing out the doors confirms this!

A swimmer’s paradise

Sydney is spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a place to cool off and have a swim. With countless beaches - including the world-renowned Bondi Beach and Manly - and rock pools with water temperatures that resemble a heated swimming pool, a dip in the sea is never a bad idea! 

For those unfamiliar with rock pools, they are coastal swimming pools that have been carved out of rock and are replenished by ocean waves; they are often historically very significant and will rival the best infinity pools out there. One of the most famous is the Icebergs Pools at Bondi.  Learn more about Sydney’s best beaches in this blog.

Find some hidden gems

Perhaps this isn’t your first time visiting Sydney, or you’re looking for something a little bit more off the beaten track. If you want to get the views of the Sydney BridgeClimb at a local’s price, head to Pylon Lookout - you can access the pylon from the pedestrian track leading away from The Rocks.

After visiting the many beaches, sailing the harbour, and drinking in the city’s spectacular views, not far from the Royal Botanic Gardens is Angel Place; here, hanging high above the street, is the Forgotten Songs display, representing 50 bird species that once lived in the city but were forced out due to settlement. Originally set up as a temporary art display, it was so well-received that it stayed on as a permanent fixture. Speak to your consultant about how much time you'll need to explore the city's iconic sites as well as its hidden secrets.


Take me to the Opera

The Sydney Opera House is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks; with so many of its photos taken from the water, what often gets overlooked are the ways to immerse yourself in its character from within. By joining a tour, you will learn about the building’s inspired architecture; by joining a backstage tour, you can see what goes on behind the curtain. For an extra special addition to your Sydney travel package, take a look at their upcoming shows before you arrive and ask your travel specialist to book one in for an evening of entertainment. 

For an exceptional dining experience, make a dinner reservation at Bennelong, the Opera House’s in-house fine dining experience. Led by Executive Chef Peter Gilmore, the restaurant is celebrated both at home and internationally for its menu highlighting Australian produce and wine. If you have got dinner plans elsewhere, plan to get your evening started at Bennelong for some show-stopping drinks - you will not regret it! 

Get outta town 

If you have seen the sights in the city centre and are keen to get away from the hustle and bustle, consider joining one of the many day trips to the surrounding regions.

The Hunter Valley is 2.5 hours north of Sydney and is a beautiful wine region. One of the most memorable ways to experience the Hunter Valley is to take a hot air balloon ride and see the region’s beauty from above. Home to some of Australia’s best and oldest wine regions, in addition to artisanal cheeses, olives and chocolatiers, the Hunter Valley is bound to please the palate! 

Another very popular tour is a trip to the Blue Mountains for a spectacular day of dramatic scenery, rock formations and waterfalls. Located just 2 hours from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a must-visit, whether by joining a shore excursion if you’re arriving by cruise ship, or by including it as a part of your Australia self-drive holiday itinerary. 

There are many benefits to joining a tour to the Blue Mountains, including fantastic commentary from your knowledgeable guide, the opportunity to get up close and personal with koalas and kangaroos, and a delicious Aussie BBQ at the end of the day at the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens. Regardless of how you get there, we highly recommend taking the Scenic Skyway Cable (the steepest railway incline in the world) to view the Three Sisters rock formation. In our 7 Day Sydney, Daintree, and the Great Barrier Reef package, we include a fantastic all-inclusive day tour to the Blue Mountains so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy this wonderful part of New South Wales without having to lift a finger!

- City Experiences
- Things To Do

Written by: Liz Wilson

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