Images of Sydney’s iconic cityscape and harbor may be imprinted on the mind, but there are lesser-known – yet no less exciting – sides to this amazing city
NEED TO KNOW
Sydney’s little neighborhoods and hidden corners must be explored to discover quiet parks offering spectacular views; gems of modern art and flamboyant counter-culture; chic restaurants and quirky bars; and deserted coves and leafy lanes.
FORGET THE SYDNEY TOURIST TRAIL?
Watch almost any Australian movie and the cinematographer will, at some stage, pan across Sydney’s most spectacular sights: Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The world is also familiar with seeing them illuminated by spectacular midnight fireworks at New Year.
The key Sydney sights are so well known and photographed that visitors may have a sense of déjà vu upon arrival – you might not experience that true traveler’s thrill of discovery. And comparisons could be odious if you first get to see them on a dull or rainy day.
DOING IT ANYWAY?
Catching these icons from different angles can bring a fresh outlook.
Watch the setting sun silhouette the bridge and Opera House from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in the Botanic Gardens, and make sure you stay for the floodlights which follow. Or walk across the deck level of the Harbour Bridge to Millers Point before catching a ferry that traverses the harbor and stops at some of the smaller bays.
Getting There and Around
Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport is 6 miles (9 km) from the city center.
Where to Eat
Sydney’s multicultural heritage has inspired an exciting fusion of food traditions. Try Cafe Sydney on the top level of Customs House, relax on the open deck at Catalina in Rose Bay or mingle with local beachgoers at Speedo’s on Bondi.
Where to Stay
Blue Parrot Backpackers is a friendly hostel located in trendy Potts Point. The Lord Nelson is the city’s oldest hotel, and is full of character. The luxury Park Hyatt is next to the Bridge, with views of the harbor and Opera House.
When to Go
Sydney’s weather can be rather unpredictable. However, in general, the summer (Dec–Feb) is great for festivals and beaches if you don’t mind the holiday crowds. Spring and fall are cooler, but spring is generally drier and less humid. There may be some cold snaps in winter (Jun–Aug), but it’s a good time for indoor cultural events.
Budget per Day for Two
Allow at least US$170 per day, depending on accommodations, excluding tours and admissions.