So you finally took the plunge and decided to make the trek to the land down under, and chances are you’ve flown into the beautiful Sydney. At five million residents, Sydney is Australia’s largest city so no doubt you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to where to stay, what to eat, how to travel, and what things to do! Don’t worry though; this quick and easy guide will take you through my recommendations!
Where to Stay
Sydney CBD is best for those who want to be in the middle of the city, and don’t mind the flocks of men and women in suits rushing around during peak hour. Probably reserved for people visiting on business, the Sydney CBD is also within walking distance to various landmarks like the Opera House, Pitt Street Mall, and the Rocks.
The Rocks is best for those that want to be very close to the harbour, and have a picture perfect view of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge. You’ll be very close to all the main city attractions of Sydney. In the Rocks you’ll find that hotels are on the pricier and nicer side.
Central Station is best for those looking for convenience of travel. As the name suggests, Central Station is pretty much the transport epicentre of Sydney, with all train lines passing through it, making it very easy to travel to and from the city and beyond. You’ll find accommodation from back packers hostels to mid-range hotels in this area.
Newtown is one of the more lively parts of Sydney to stay in, with boutique shops, a wide array of eateries, and craft breweries. If you’re looking for a suburb with fun and colourful characters, no shortage of places to eat and drink, and loud streets, Newtown is the best pick for you.
How to Travel
Sydney is very easily connected by train lines and bus routes, so you’ll find that it’s far easier to catch public transport than to hire a car. Additionally, hiring a car is relatively expensive in Sydney, and timed parking is also expensive and limited at touristy areas like Bondi Beach, and Circular Quay. If you’re planning to go anywhere via public transport, I would recommend using Transport NSW’s Trip Planner.
However, if you’re planning to go beyond the city and do a day trip to the Northern Beaches, or Blue Mountains, or even do Sydney to Melbourne, hiring a car is definitely best for you! Rather than fly or take public transport, why not take in the stunning views of New South Wales with a road trip.
What and Where to Eat
If you’ve done any research on what Australians like to drink, the top of the list is undoubtedly COFFEE: Sydneysiders love their coffee and know how to make a fantastic cup. If you fancy yourself a bit of a coffee enthusiast, I would recommend stopping by Single O in Surry Hills. The café house roasts their coffee and features exotic blends. If you’re looking for the Australian experience, order the Aussie favourite: a flat white. Also lucky you, Single O is located in Surry Hills, one of Sydney’s best brunch areas.
After a long day of exploring the city, no doubt you’ll want to dig into a fantastic dinner. Chippendale’s Spice Alley features 7 cuisines from South East Asia, and offers a street food vibe with stalls for each cuisine and lanterns hung above the alley way. If you’re looking for a dinner with a view, travel up to 360 Bar and Dining where you’ll be 300meters high, eating fantastic contemporary Australian cuisine, with panoramic views of Sydney.
If you’re looking for suburbs with great food, try Surry Hills, Newtown, Barangaroo, Rushcutters Bay, and Chinatown.
What to Do
There is no doubt that the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is a stunning and once in a lifetime experience, but for most this is a pricey activity costing around $300AUD. However, not many people know that you can actually walk across the harbour bridge via the pedestrian walkway. You’ll still be able to get a stunning view of Sydney Harbour, and at no cost!
If you want to get on Sydney’s waters, but don’t have the funds to hire a boat for the day, take the ferry from Circular Quay! This 30 minute ferry ride is beautifully scenic, and takes you to the beautiful beach of Manly known for its chilled vibes and bustling promenade.
If you’re an art fanatic, you’ll definitely want to check out Sydney’s various museums and galleries. For a contemporary look at Australia, try the Museum of Contemporary Art. For historical paintings from Colonial Australia, Aboriginal art, and contemporary art, visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
And last but not least, visit the beaches! I know Sydney (and maybe even Australia) is known for the infamous Bondi Beach, but there are so many more that are just as beautiful but don’t draw the same big tourist crowds. If you want the beach views check out the Bondi to Coogee Walk, stopping by Bronte Beach for brunch. Other beaches you’ll want to check out are Milk Beach, Watson’s Bay, and Manly Beach.
So there you have it, an Australian’s guide to Sydney. You’ll get to travel Australia just like a true local, eating what we eat, and hanging out where we hang out! If you have a bit more time, take the time to check out what else NSW has got to offer, there is so much more to this beautiful state than just Sydney!
About the Author:
This guest post was written by Alex Johnson, a blogger and lover of the little things in life, from delicious brunch spots to interior design. Recently moving to Sydney, he began his blog, Inspire A Better Life to positively influence others to get out there and see all life has to offer. Join Alex as he discovers this life one day at a time, documenting his thoughts and others along the way!
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