Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales and the point of entry for the majority of travellers starting their vacation in Australia. It is one of Australia's most popular holiday destinations, a sprawling giant of a city with a population nearing 4 million, Sydney stretches about 70 kilometres north south and 55 kilometres east west.
That still leaves all the historic sites, colonial buildings and cobbled streets, tourist precincts, the 2000 Olympics site, cosmopolitan nightlife, harbour and river cruises, inner city monorail, world class aquarium, museums and art galleries... Sydney has it all and there is no shortage of great sightseeing tours for visitors.
The city is renowned for its breathtaking surroundings, early Australian historical sites, numerous beaches, water sports, boating, fabulous scenery, gourmet food, great shopping, an excellent climate... and that distinctive bridge!
No visit to Sydney is complete without a harbour cruise. Take a tour of the world famous Sydney Opera House and nearby Sydney Harbour Bridge. Visitors will find an exceptional range of hotels and apartments throughout central Sydney and surrounding areas, suited for both business and leisure visitors.
Things To Do In Sydney
There is no shortage of things to do in Sydney. The city offers every activity imaginable with watersports being very popular. Swimming, surfing, sailing, boating, cruising, windsurfing, diving, jetskis....if it can be done on water, you can do it in Sydney. Many major sporting events take place in Sydney so there is usually a range of choices from the sporting calendar.
Sydney harbour is a must. Take a harbour cruise tour and see the Harbour Bridge and Opera House as they were meant to be seen. Sydney Ferries have all-in-one tickets for travel as well as admission to many of the popular attractions. There are all varieties of vessels offering harbour tours. Choose from a replica of the HMAS Bounty, paddle wheel showboats, luxury yachts, harbours cruisers, sailing vessels or the majestic Sydney Harbour ferries and harbour cats. Not forgetting canoes, kayaks....
Get close to Australian wildlife at Waratah Park Earth Sanctuary, Featherdale Wildlife Park and Australian Wildlife Park. While on the animal trail, Taronga Park Zoo is a must as is the Sydney Aquarium. For a change of pace, visit any one of Sydney's nine museums and galleries. Natural history buffs should not miss the Australian Museum adjacent Hyde Park.
The harbour shoreline offers many great walks suitable for all tastes and levels of fitness. There are numerous other walks, organised tours and bicycle tours throughout the city. Walk across the Harbour bridge and stop off at the Harbour Bridge Museum in the south-east pylon for some of the best views in Sydney. The Star, a glittering harbourside casino, includes a theatre, showroom, hotel, restaurants and of course, the casino. Take a magical voyage of discovery in the IMAX theatre at Darling Harbour. Enjoy your sundowners or happy hour at Cockle Bay Wharf. Entertain the children with a visit to Sega World, Australia's largest indoor theme park with rides, games and entertainment.
Popular Day Trips From Sydney
Places of Interest In Sydney
The Sydney Beaches - Sydney is renowned for its numerous popular beaches, amongst the best to be seen anywhere in New South Wales. Bondi with its famous surf, now a centre of trendy restaurants and a must for any Sydney itinerary. Coogee has an excellent ocean beach and fine hotels, restaurants and cafes. Fairy Bower with its ocean walks and cliff-top homes. Balmoral Beach with its two harbour beaches, esplanade and historic Bathers Pavilion. Cronolla, the longest beach in Sydney with its great walking track around the cliffs, sea pools and coves.
And of course, Manly, on the north side of the Sydney Harbour with its wharf, beaches and Oceanworld Aquarium. Then stretching north from Manly through Freshwater, Curl Curl, Dee Why and Narrabeen. On and on they go, one beach after another.
Sydney City - Take in the views from the Sydney Tower at 305 metres high. Dine in the revolving restaurant. Enjoy a performance at the Sydney Opera House or just visit to appreciate its beauty. Better appreciate the early days of settlement with tours to Cadman's Cottage, Hyde Park Barracks, St James Church and Elizabeth Bay House. The early colonial district of Millers Point is a sharp contrast to the modern shopping and leisure centre at Darling Harbour.
Give your plastic a hard time at the many shopping centres and markets. Darling Harbour, Piccadilly, Paddington Markets, Royale Arcade, Strand Arcade, Skygarden, The Rocks Markets, Paddys Markets. If there is any money left you can choose from hundreds of restaurants and eateries catering to all tastes and budgets. Try some fresh fish at the Sydney Fish Markets near Darling Harbour. Use the inner-city monorail to get around.
Much of Sydney's charm lies in the cosmopolitan inner fringes. On the south side of the harbour is Darlinghurst with its Italian influences, Surrey Hills with its market and pubs, the Victorian terrace houses of renovated Paddington, the harbour view apartments of Elizabeth Bay and the wall-to-wall yachts at Rushcutters Bay.
On the north side lie the attractive residential areas of Neutral Bay, Cremorne and Mosman tucked around coves and parks. The beach suburb of Balmoral fronts onto Middle Harbour with views across to Manly, the holiday centre of the north shore.
Parramata lies to the west and is the site of the second European settlement in Australia. Now part of Sydney's urban growth, the town has retained many of the historic colonial buildings and links to the past. Parramatta Park is the site of the town's first farm, the Old Government House, now a museum, still overlooks the Parramatta river. St John's Cathedral and the Town Hall still exist and Elizabeth Farm is the oldest surviving home in Australia, dating to 1793.
The areas on the outskirts of the city are covered in their own separate page entitled "Sydney Surrounds".
Author's Note: Sydney has a huge metropolitan area and if you plan on seeing the best the city has to offer, we strongly recommend using the adblock on the left of this page to check out the best prices available for renting a car in Sydney.