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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in sydney

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Sydney is the capital city of the south-eastern Australian state of New South Wales. With a population of just over 4.2 million, Sydney is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia, renowned worldwide for its climate, lifestyle, unique architecture, food and friendly inhabitants.


sydney Travel Guide :



Sydney sprawls extensively around its Harbour in Port Jackson, up the Parramatta River to the west, along the adjacent coastlines (both north and south) and across the surrounding Cumberland Plain to the Blue Mountains. The city and its suburbs (many of which are cities in their own right) form a vast metropolitan area.

Owing to the city's size and variety, the districts of Sydney remain notoriously difficult to categorise.


Inner Sydney

  • Sydney City - the Central Business District (CBD) of Sydney, the historical centre of government, retail, culture and entertainment
    • The Rocks - bordering Sydney Cove to the west, includes the first colonial village of Sydney and the Harbour Bridge
    • Darling Harbour - an extensive, but somewhat tacky leisure and entertainment area immediately to the west of the CBD
    • Kings Cross - a once chic bohemian area now blighted by drugs, sleaze and backpackers.
    • Darlinghurst - once the site of countless brothels and speakeasies, now the site of chic eateries and the gay community.
    • Paddington - ranging from the camp (Darlinghurst end) to the posh (Woolahra end), Paddington is a must for fashion addicts and drinkers.
  • North Sydney - across the Harbour, linked to the CBD by the famous Harbour Bridge and the Harbour Tunnel, a major business and shopping district
  • the Eastern Suburbs - between the City and the sea, includes the world-famous Bondi Beach and other city beaches
  • the Inner West - Sydneys original suburbs are now bohemian, but still affordable. In particular, King Street, Newtown offers a hub of cheap eats, shopping and culture.
  • South Sydney - between Central Railway Station and Sydney Airport

Outer Sydney

Aerial view of Sydney's extentAerial view of Sydney's extent
Aerial view of Sydney's extent




Sydney is the oldest European settlement in Australia, having been founded as a British penal colony on 26 January 1788 (now celebrated as Australia Day, a national public holiday, with major festivities around the city and the Harbour).



One of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet, Sydney has attracted immigrants from all over the world - Italy, Greece, China, Lebanon, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and various Pacific Islands are just some of the backgrounds strongly represented. Sydney's culture, food and general outlook reflect these contributions to the majority Anglo-Celtic cultural basis.

Sydney has a prominent gay community. Every year, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is celebrated at the end of February, drawing people from all over Australia and the world for the celebrations.

Sydney became the centre of the world's attention in September 2000 when the city hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics - officially announced by the IOC Chairman at the Closing Ceremony as "the best games ever"! The Olympics saw a major building and renovation program take hold of Sydney, positioning it as one of the great world cities (if one of the smaller) of the 21st century.



Sydney is perhaps best described as "sub-tropical" - although Sydneysiders talk about "four seasons", it is truer to say that Sydney has but two seasons: a hot, generally humid one (summer), and a colder one (winter). Others , citing indigenous traditions claim up to six seasons (not all in the same year) : hot/dry, hot/humid, warm/dry, warm/humid, cool/dry, cool/wet. The city is generally comfortable for travellers to visit any time of year. The average annual temperature in central Sydney is 25°C (77°F). The city enjoys in excess of 300 sunny days each year - that said, when it rains, it really can rain, varying between days of grey drizzle to over a week of bucketing downpours with occasional localised flooding.

Summer can be extremely hot, with temperatures climbing to over 40 degrees Celsius, accompanied alternately stifling humidity and searing dry winds. Sydney is generally well equipped with air conditioning in public buildings, however, and the beaches and harbour are only a short journey away.... Hot summer days frequently (though not always....) end with a "Southerly buster", a cold front sweeping up from the south, bringing a clearly noticeable drop in temperature, driving rain and thunderstorms - a "mini monsoon". Within hours, the storm can pass and the evening continues cooler... Summer is also the season when bush fires on the margins of the city are most prevalent. For this reason, in hot weather lighting of outdoor fires (BBQ's etc) is generally banned.

Winter in Sydney is generally cool, not cold - daytime temperatures rarely drop below 13°C.

Most Sydney residents would agree that autumn and spring are the most equable times to visit. March and April, especially, tend to have clear, warm days with mild nights. Spring is very similar, though perhaps with the chance of more rain.

  • Sydney 128 km Radius Weather Radar 1 (

Arrival - Getting here


By plane

Sydney has one major airport (SYDSYD, MascotMascot, or Kingsford-SmithKingsford-Smith) and one smaller airport (BankstownBankstown):

Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD) 2 ( is Sydney (and Australia's!) largest and most important international and domestic airport, located 8 km from the city centre at MascotMascot in South Sydney.

Multiple daily flights link Sydney with key city destinations in the Pacific, Asia, Europe and North America. The Asian-Pacific transport hubs of Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok and Tokyo are particularly well-served, as are various European centres via Asia. Multiple flight links also exist with New Zealand. In addition, the west coast of the US and Hawaii are popular inbound / outbound destinations.

Travellers from Europe and the Middle East tend to travel into Sydney via Asia, whilst travellers from South America fly via either North America or New Zealand.

In addition to the international terminal, the Sydney Airport has two terminals dedicated to domestic air traffic: one terminal shared between several domestic airlines, the other terminal dedicated to Qantas ( domestic flights alone. The twin domestic terminals are located a little distance from the International Terminal: transferring passengers, if not transferred by their airline, can transfer using Kingsford Smith Transport buses (tel 02 9666 9988) or via the rail link.

You can fly to Sydney directly from all other Australian capital cities and from many major regional airports. Otherwise, you will usually need to fly to the state capital and transfer to a Sydney flight. Sydney can be reached within an hour and a half from Melbourne and Brisbane, a little less from Canberra and just under four hours from Perth.

Several transport options to the City exist from Kingsford-Smith:

  • a train service known as Airport Link 3 ( connects Sydney Airport and the CBD, single fares are about $12. Airport Link connects with the Cityrail 4 ( commuter rail system and shares a ticketing system
  • several mini-bus operators will drive a group of passengers to the city and deliver them to their hotels - a typical charge is $8-$10 per passenger
  • Taxis to the city centre should cost approximately $25, a little more to other Sydney destinations (North Sydney $35, Manly $50, etc.) From 1 November 2004, a $2 airport toll is also payable by all passengers taking a taxi from any of Sydney Airport's taxi ranks (added to the fare)
  • Vehicle rental is available at all Sydney Airport terminals from a variety of rental companies
  • Local Buses operate from Sydney Airport to the suburbs of Bondi and Burwood. Cost is under $5, or $32 if you purchase a "Red" bus/train/ferry travelpass

Bankstown Airport 5 ( - located in the mid-west of Sydney, Bankstown Airport is Sydney's second airport and is primarily dedicated to commuter and private aviation


By car

Sydney is within a reasonable driving distance (minimum 10 hours driving) of Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.


By train

All major train links to Sydney terminate at Sydney's Central Station in the south of the CBD area. Travellers can transfer to Cityrail trains or the light rail service to Darling Harbour, as well as to taxis.

Australia's long distance train service CountryLink ( (ph 13 22 32 within Australia) runs daily services to Sydney from Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and many regions of New South Wales including the North Coast, New England, the Central West and the Southern Highlands. Travelling time from Melbourne and Brisbane is around 12 hours. Fares range between $30 and $100 for standard class seats.

The Indian Pacific ( train service (ph 13 21 47 within Australia or 08 8213 4592 internationally) runs from Perth to Sydney via Adelaide and Broken Hill. Adult fares from Perth are $1250 for a sleeper cabin and $513 for a seat. Children's fares are $805 for a sleeper cabin and $139 for a seat. The train departs from Perth on Wednesdays and arrives at Sydney on Saturdays. Note that these fares are much higher than return plane fares to Perth, this journey is really for train journey enthusiasts who want to see the interior of Australia.

The Cityrail ( network runs services several times a day from close regional cities: Newcastle via the Central Coast (New South Wales), Goulburn via the Southern Highlands, Nowra via the South Coast and Lithgow via the Blue Mountains. Fares on these trains range from $4 - $25 for adults.


Get around

Sydney has a good public transport system, especially in areas closer to the city area where many attractions are. You can find out timetables, fares, and routes by phoning 131 500 within Australia for the cost of a local call, or by visiting (

The cheapest way to use the buses, trains and ferries is to purchase one of the many travel cards: multi-use tickets typically sold at a 20% discount. Some are unlimited use within a time limit, others let you travel for a certain number of trips but have no time limit. Information about the discounted commuter tickets ( and leisure tickets ( is available from Cityrail; otherwise a quick visit to the TransitShop in Circular Quay (cnr of Loftus & Alfred Sts) will get you all the info you need. Most newsagents also stock travel cards. If you are in Sydney for a week or more, or even planning a busy day on the ferries then one of these passes will save you a few dollars, maybe even enough for an extra cold beer at the end of your travels at one of Sydney's many pubs.

Of particular interest to short-term visitors are the CityHopper ticket ($6.80 adults and $3.40 children, cheaper if bought after 10am) which allows unlimited train travel for a day in the center of the train network; the DayTripper ticket ($15 adults and $7 children) which allows unlimited travel on all metropolitan Cityrail trains, Sydney Bus services and Sydney Ferry services; and the longer term SydneyPass tickets, allowing unlimited travel for up to 8 days.


By car

Apart from peak hour, you can drive around Sydney reasonably freely. The car is a good option if you want to travel between parts of the city other than the CBD, since almost all train lines travel in and out of the CBD. Many outlying areas are now served by motorways, most of which charge tolls: a typical toll 2005 ranges from $2 to almost $6. On most tollways there is the option to pay in cash (you will find it faster if you have exact change) but on the newest tollways, the Cross-City Tunnel (which passes underneath the CBD area), and the Westlink M7, the western orbital motorway and Sydney bypass, are exclusively electronic tollways. Tolls may only be paid by purchasing an electronic pass from the tollway management up to 24 hours before or after using this road. It is expected that this system will eventually be introduced to all tollways in Sydney.

As with the rest of Australia, driving is on the left hand side of road. Travel times from the CBD to outlying suburbs can range from 30 minutes if you use motorways to 60+ minutes if tolls are avoided. As an indication, travelling between Sydney CBD and Penrith, one of the furthest West suburbs at the base of the Blue Mountains takes approximately 60 minutes if using the M4 tollway outside of peak hour.


By taxi

Taxis are a convenient way to get around Sydney if you don't know it. They can also be the only transport option available late at night when the trains and buses stop. All Sydney taxis are metered: it's rare for drivers to forget to turn the meter on, but it's important to check the meter because there are two meter rates: a day rate (rate 1) with a flag fall of $2.75, a distance rate of $1.56 a kilometer, a waiting rate of $0.68 a minute and a booking fee of $1.45; and a night rate (rate 2) which adds a 20% surcharge to the distance rate. The night rate applies between 10pm and 6am: check the meter of your taxi at other times for a 1 or a 2 next to the current charge: if it's set to 2, remind your driver to switch to the day rate.

Passengers are expected to pay all tolls for their trip. In addition, passengers who are taken north over the Harbour Bridge, for which there is no toll, are expected to pay the driver's southbound toll for the return into the city (currently $3). Drivers will sometimes take toll roads without asking you, and will simply add the toll amounts before quoting the fare. Do ask if you are unsure why they are asking for an amount above that shown on the meter.

Multiple taxi companies provide services to potential passengers; Taxis Combined ( (tel 131 008) perhaps provide the most extensive coverage.

Tipping is never expected anywhere in Australia, but it might be nice if you round a taxi fare up to the next dollar (or five or ten dollars, depending on the base fare).


By train

Sydney has a patchy suburban rail network operated by Cityrail ( Sydney trains are often very crowded in peak hour, but at other times a Cityrail train is the fastest way to get to the CBD.

In addition to the discounted tickets discussed above, Cityrail has single trip and return trip tickets valid until 4am the day after purchase. There are discounted single and return trip tickets for children, students and pensioners. A return trip ticket is much cheaper than two single tickets if you purchase it after 9am (called off peak).

Outside of operating hours, between 12am and 5am, Nightride buses are available on some routes within Sydney. Any CityRail train ticket is valid for the equivalent Nightride bus except a single. If you don't have a ticket, you'll need to buy a Nightride single, which is more expensive than a single for the train. Nightride buses stop at most CityRail stations and a few additional stops. They don't travel on the same routes. If you intend catching a nightride bus home, check the Nightride route map at the station while you are waiting for your train.

On weekends check for trackwork ( before leaving for the station; Cityrail will transfer passengers to buses if lines are closed for trackwork, and the process will add about half an hour to a typical journey. Trackwork will be advertised at the station for about a week before it begins. Train tickets, single, return or travel card, are valid on trackwork buses between the same stations.

You must always purchase a ticket before boarding a train or trackwork bus from either the ticket office or from the ticket machines that are located on most stations. There is no opportunity to buy a ticket onboard. If you are caught by an inspector travelling without a ticket the fine is at least $200 and up to $550. If you are found with a student or pensioner ticket and you don't have the appropriate authorisation card, the same fine applies.

The ticket machines on the platforms only sell full fare tickets when the ticket office is open: students and pensioners must purchase their ticket from the office. After-hours, the machines will sell concession tickets too. Be aware that the ticket machines may accept $50 notes but usually give less than $20 in change.


By bus

Sydney has an extensive bus network. Most of the buses in the inner city and inner suburbs are run by the government owned Sydney Buses ( Their buses are mainly blue and white, with the exception of the red Sydney Explorer loop bus. The Explorer visits 26 stops around the city, and a ticket ($36) allows unlimited rides for one day; services run every 20 minutes. The rest of the commuter network is run by private bus companies. These services don't compete so you'll usually only have one way of getting somewhere by bus. Importantly, the off-peak services from private bus companies are woeful.

When you are waiting at a bus stop, you must raise your arm and wave to the bus to tell the driver to stop.

Unlike many cities, a Sydney bus fare depends on how far you are travelling, measured in "sections" of about 1.8 kilometres. It is usual to simply name your destination and the bus driver will work out the number of sections. There are some points on the network where you can transfer from one bus to another free of charge (you purchase a ticket from the first driver all the way to your destination) but typically you pay each time you board a bus. There are no return tickets.


By boat

Sydney Ferries ( run all around the harbour and up the Parramatta River. The central hub is at Circular Quay at the bottom of the CBD. More than just a utilitarian means of transport, the ferries are a great way to see the harbourside. The best ferry excursion for visitors is from Circular Quay to Manly. Be prepared to take a stunning photograph of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge as you leave Circular Quay.


By bike

Bonza Bike Tours ( offers bike hire/rental for full and half days. They offer top of the line equipment, and hire/rental includes a bicycle (men's or women's), helmet, bike lock, bike mounted bag (for smaller items), and secure storage for larger bags while you are out. Bonza can provide you with information on some of the best areas to visit. You'll find that a bike really allows you the freedom to see a lot of Sydney's sites faster and easier than you would by foot. (, +61 02 9331 1127)



Sydney skyline at nightSydney skyline at night
Sydney skyline at night


Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House
  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge. This single span bridge, briefly the longest in the world after its construction in the 1930s, crosses the harbour from the city to North Sydney.
  • The Sydney Opera House ( in the city.
  • Darling Harbour is an especially constructed tourist area with a lot for tourists to see, including regular fireworks displays.
  • Visit Sydney Olympic Park, home of the 2000 Summer Olympics ("the best Games ever"!), in the Outer West.

Historical areas

  • See The Rocks in the city.

Museums and galleries

Museums and galleries are concentrated in the city and in Darling Harbour. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • The Australian Museum in the city.
  • The Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.
  • The Art Gallery of NSW in the city.
  • The Powerhouse Museum in Darling Harbour.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art in the city.



Sydney Harbour

Yachts in Sydney Harbour; business district in backgroundYachts in Sydney Harbour; business district in background
Yachts in Sydney Harbour; business district in background

Sydney's large natural harbor, usually called Sydney Harbour (correctly Port Jackson), was the reason that the original penal settlement was established in the area now known as Circular Quay, rather than further south at Botany Bay as James Cook recommended after mapping the coast in 1770. While it is now very built up (and Sydneysiders will pay a premium for views of the water) it is still very beautiful.

The harbor is served by a dedicated ferry service which transports passengers across the harbour. An excellent way to see both the harbor and Sydney attractions is to take a ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo, Manly or Parramatta.

There are a number of islands in the centre of the harbor which you can visit for a picnic: Shark, Goat, Clark and Rodd Islands. These are very beautiful and have magnificent views of sailing boats on the harbor and of Sydney's harborside buildings. At most times of the year they will be nearly deserted. You will need to reserve a place and pay a fee of approximately $5 per head to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (ph 02 9960 6266 or fax 02 9960 3965). You also cannot moor a boat at any of these islands, and they are not served by ferries, so unless you can arrange for a private drop-off, you will need to charter a water taxi at a cost of approximately $20 per head. Contact Water Taxis Combined 6 ( by phoning 02 9247 5033 or faxing 02 9241 3303.

You can arrange a guided tour of the islands by contacting Cadmans Cottage, 100 George Street, The Rocks. ph 02 9247 5033. fax 02 9241 3303.

Fort Denison is another, more popular, island on the harbor. Its entire area is a large fort, completed in 1857 and built to defend Sydney against Russian attack. The National Parks and Wildlife Service runs a half-hour guided tour for $22 per adult, $18 per child and $72 for a 4 person family. They also run a morning brunch for $47 adults and $43 children. Contact Cadmans Cottage as above.


Things To Do


Sydney Walking Tour

The main sights in central Sydney can easily be covered on foot in a days walking tour and best of all nearly everything is free.

  • A good place to start is on the steps of the Sydney Town Hall ( This is the place where Sydneysiders meet, wait and watch. If open, walk inside and have look around at the ornate interior and note the massive pipe organ. To the left of the entrance is a quiet café.
  • Walk across Sydney Square and enter St. Andrew?s Cathedral ( via the main entrance located at the far end of the Square. After looking around, exit via the side entrance and head east up Bathurst Street towards Hyde Park.
  • Cross Elizabeth Street and past the Obelisk (which is actually a vent for the sewer system) and into Hyde Park and head towards the ANZAC Memorial ( You can enter the building via the side entrance at the ground level. There is a small museum to the right and ahead is a statue of a dead solider being carried by the grieving women left behind in his life. Read the explanatory plaque and head upstairs to the main chamber where the eternal flame burns. Exit via the main doors and walk around the reflecting pool. On your right across College Street is the Australian Museum (, which might be worth a few hours visit on a rainy day.
  • Continue down the central path of Hyde Park and cross Park Street. Note the amazing canopy of trees as you walk towards the Archibald Fountain ( This is a beautiful place, especially on a sunny day when rainbows form in the spray from the fountain. Head east towards the Cathedral and cross the road. Located under the far end of the plaza (skateboard park) is the Cook and Philip Olympic Pool ( You are welcome to have a look at the complex if you ask the staff member at the entrance counter.
  • Enter St. Mary?s Cathedral ( via the main stairs off the plaza and have a look around. The layout of the cathedral is unusual in that it runs north-south, rather than the usual east-west. Exit the Cathedral via the shop on the left side. Head north towards Macquarie Street.
  • On your right is the Hyde Park Barracks ( which was the principal male convict barracks in New South Wales until 1848. Enter via the front door and have a look at the first room on the left, which shows some of the historical uses of the building over the years. Also have a look through the shop and note the pet rats. You might also like to pay the entrance fee to look through the museum. Exit back onto Macquarie Street. Across the street is St. James Church ( and the Supreme Court of NSW.
  • The next building as you head north along Macquarie Street is The Royal Mint (,which you are free to look around, followed by Sydney Hospital ( Make sure to make a wish (and a donation) by rubbing the nose of the pig statue outside the Hospital.
  • Across the road from the Hospital is Martin Place. The first building on the left is the Reserve Bank of Australia (, which has a free museum accessed via the buildings main lobby.
  • Continuing north along Macquarie Street, the next building past the Hospital is the New South Wales Parliament House ( Enter via the stairs on the left and have a look around. Free tours are also available and give you direct access to the floor of the parliament chambers. Exit the Parliament and again continue north up Macquarie Street.
  • Enter the new wing of the State Library of New South Wales ( via the revolving doors. Head up the stairs and left along the corridor to view the latest exhibition from the Library?s collection. Continue through to the end of the gallery, through the large doors and down the stairs to the main lobby of the old library building, note the old map in the floor. Enter the magnificent old Reading Room, which many Sydneysiders would never have visited. Exit the Library via the main entrance, note the images of aboriginal life in the heavy steel doors.
  • Turn right at the bottom of the library stairs and head east into The Domain (, where main city workers play sport and relax during their lunch breaks.
  • Continue east towards the Art Gallery of New South Wales ( Walk in and have look around the many and varied displays. If you are in a hurry, have a look in the second room on the right inside the main entrance which displays many famous Australian paintings depicting the development of the country since European settlement and how the nation?s wealth was created through the sacrifices of early settlers, the development of the wool industry and the discovery of gold. Exit the Art Gallery via the main entrance and turn right. Head north-east and down the stair towards Woolloomooloo.
  • Head east past the main entrance to the Finger Wharf to Harry?s Café de Wheels and have a pie with mash and peas. This place is a Sydney institution and there is no place better after a long night on the town. Note the pictures which show some of the famous customers who have sampled the pies. From here you can also see the Garden Island Naval Dockyard ( Head back to the Finger Wharf and enter via the main doors. Inside is located a hotel, posh bar and apartments which are home to some of Sydney?s most famous residence, include Gladiator Russell Crowe who lives at the very end (which can only be accessed externally). Once finished here, head north along the water front past the yellow apartments, follow the path and climb the stairs. Go right at the top of the stairs and continue north. The Naval Dockyards should now be on your right.
  • You will soon come to the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool ( Continue north past the pool.
  • You will soon come to Mrs. Macquarie?s Chair which offers the best photo opportunity in Sydney. Make sure to climb up into the sandstone caves and take in what must be one of the most beautiful views of any city in the world. If ever there was a place that made you feel like you are standing inside a postcard, then this is surely it.
  • Continue south along the path towards the Royal Botanic Gardens (
  • Sydney Opera House
  • East Circular Quay
  • Customs House
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Overseas Passenger Terminal
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Milson?s Point
  • Observatory Hill
  • The Rocks
  • Australia Square
  • The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • The GPO
  • Pitt Street Mall
  • The Strand Arcade
  • The Queen Victoria Building
  • Pyrmont Bridge
  • The Sydney Aquarium
  • The National Maritime Museum
  • Darling Harbour
  • Imax Cinema
  • Sydney Convention Centre
  • Sydney Exhibition Centre
  • Chinese Gardens
  • Sydney Entertainment Centre
  • Chinatown
  • Paddy's Markets

  • Swim at Bondi, Manly, Cronulla or Wattamulla
  • See a movie at Fox Studios in the Eastern Suburbs, or a performance at the Opera House.
  • Swing by the National Botanic Gardens, the Australian and Powerhouse Museums, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Cycle around Centennial Park in the Eastern Suburbs
  • Drive a dodgem car at Luna Park in North Sydney
  • Go to a football match. Football (Soccer) August to February - Sydney FC is currently in second place in the A-League, starring Dwight Yorke (ex Man U) and David Carney (ex Everton), home ground Aussie Stadium at Moore Park.

Other codes of football played in Sydney are Australian Rules (AFL / VFL), Rugby Union and Rugby League (March to September).

  • A great alternative to the standard bus/boat/walking tour is a guided bicycle tour. A bike tour allows you the freedom to get up close to the attractions, while ensuring that you will have time to see all that you want to see (which you certainly couldn't do by foot in a single day). Bonza Bike Tours offers really fun guided bicycle tours, including the "Sydney Classic" which covers many of Sydney's most popular sites. It is a great way to see all that city has to offer. The ride is easy and is especially perfect for someone that is in Sydney for a just short period of time. The Sydney Classic tour rides two times a day and costs $60 for adults and $45 for children/students/backpackers. (, +61 02 9331 1127,

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge has an excellent view of the city, especially at dawn and dusk, although the drivers and train passengers relegated to the middle of the Bridge don't see it. There are four things to do on the Bridge:

  • Cross it on one of the protected lanes on either side of the bridge accessible from Milsons Point in North Sydney or the Rocks in the city. The eastern side is reserved for pedestrians and the western side for cyclists and there is no toll.
  • Climb to the Pylon Lookout on the south east pylon. ph 02 9240 1100. fax 02 9241 2151. email See the bridge climb view for less time and money, with a little less excitement. The pylon is open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day. Admission is $8.50 adults, $3 children under 13, and free for children under 7.
  • Bridge Climb, 5 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. ph 02 8274 7777. fax 02 9240 1122. email Climb to the very top of the Bridge. Note that this climb is more demanding than climbing a set of stairs: you will be fitted with special climbing suits and secured and you must be 12 or over to climb. The climb takes three and a half hours and a climb leaves every ten minutes. You can climb during the day, at twilight and at night. Book your climb as early as possible as the climb is very popular. Standard rates are $160 adults and $100 children (Monday to Thursday, day and night climbs), $185 adults and $125 children (Friday to Saturday, day and night climbs), and $225 adults and $175 children (all week, twilight climbs). Peak rates are in place between the 25th December and 9th January and are $195 adults and $125 children (day and night climbs) and $250 adults and $175 children (twilight).

The Bridge Climb team now also do CentrePoint Tower climbs.

  • Bonza Bike Tours offers a Sydney and Sydney Harbor Bridge guided bicycle tour that starts in The Rocks and includes a ride over the bridge (and back) and a tour through Sydney's North Shore. The cost for the full day tour is $95 for adults and $75 for children. Lunch, beverage, bikes, and guide are all included. (, +61 02 9331 1127,


Sydney is home to a number of major and minor festivals and calendar events each year:

  • The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a huge festival organised by and for the queer community. It includes sports, cultural and arts events that run throughout February, culminating in a huge Mardi Gras parade in Darlinghurst on the first Saturday of March each year. The festival began as a street protest, and has grown into a huge celebration.
  • The Sydney Festival is an arts festival held in January each year. It aims to be international in reach, inviting acclaimed international artists to exhibit their work or perform in Sydney. A number of free outdoor events are held alongside the festival including the hugely popular Jazz in the Domain and Symphony in the Domain concerts held in the Domain in the city.
  • The Baccardi Latino Festival in Darling Harbour is held in early January as part of the Sydney Festival, and contains a week of Latin dancing and music.
  • The Royal Easter Show is the major agricultural show in New South Wales, and is held in the two weeks before Easter each year at Sydney Olympic Park in the Outer West. Farmers from all over the state come to show their prize produce. But it isn't just an agricultural show: a huge number of amusement ride operators set up for the Show as well, together with vendors of the worst kind of child baiting junk food: fairy floss and deep fried hot dogs (known as "dagwood dogs" or "pluto pups").
  • The Sydney Film Festival is held in June each year and shows over 200 movies in 16 days, including an enormous number of Australian movies, most of which will premiere at the festival.
  • The Big Day Out, an Australia-wide rock/alternative music festival with a side of dance, plays to up to 60 000 Sydneysiders at a time for one or two days in late January (normally on the January 26th public holiday). Past acts have included Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Chemical Brothers and Marilyn Manson from overseas, and Powderfinger, Regurgitator and Gerling from Australia. It normally sells out about a fortnight in advance.
  • The Homebake festival is a rock/alternative/dance festival featuring only Australian acts. It is held in the Domain in the city each year in December.
  • The Carols in the Domain are held annually in the Domain in the city on the last Saturday before Christmas. 100 000 people with candles sing along as night falls and the show is also telecast live.


Sydney is an amazing multi-cultural city. The range of food out there is huge and isn't necessarily expensive. Yum Cha in Chinatown is very good - arguably even better now than Hong Kong since many of their best chefs moved to Sydney in the 1990s. Local fresh produce - fruit, meat and especially seafood - is excellent. Yum Cha is an entire meal comprising many small dishes. Dim Sum (actually Dian Xin) means small snacks e.g. spring rolls.

  • Eat at some of Sydney's finest restaurants in the city.
  • Visit the Fish Markets in Darling Harbour.
  • Eat Chinese in the city's Haymarket area. Qing jin!.
  • Eat Thai in one of the many low priced Thai outlets in Newtown's King Street in the Inner West.
  • Eat Italian in one of the restaurants in Leichhardt's Norton Street in the Inner West. Buenvenuto !.
  • Eat Spanish in Liverpool St. Hola !.
  • Eat Portuguese in Petersham. Buon Diao !.
  • Eat Indian in South King Street, Newtown. Namashti !.
  • Eat Nepalese in Glebe Pt Rd, Glebe.
  • Eat Turkish in Enmore Rd Enmore / South King St Newtown. Get your Sucuklu and Pastirmali here.
  • Eat Lebanese in Cleveland St. Baba Ghanouj, Lahem Begin and Baclawa here. Salam Alaikum.
  • Name any nationality you can think of, Sydney has a great restaurant for you. Seriously.


Sydney has an enormous number of places to drink and party. Some types of nightlife are concentrated in particular areas.

Backpackers drink near the hostels, and will find a lot of fellow budget travellers in pubs in the Southern Beaches

In some ways Irish pubs are a global phenomenon, but they've certainly taken Sydney by storm. Irish pubs are concentrated in the Rocks area of the city, and are outrageously popular on the 17th March when the St Patrick's Day parade is held.

Business pubs also cater to the city crowd: lawyers, financiers and brokers and are very busy Friday nights when the city workers are let loose for the week.

Large nightclubs are concentrated in the Darling Harbour area.

Sydney's large gay scene is concentrated in Darlinghurst

Sydney's students drink in the Inner West

Some nightclubs and Sydney's younger partygoers are found in North Sydney

Those intending to have a drink in Sydney may like to consult or


Stay safe





Sydney has a wide range of backpackers' hostels - popular districts for these include the southern half of the CBD and Kings Cross, the Southern Beaches (Bondi, Coogee) and the Northern Beaches (Manly).



You find many mid-range accommodation providers within a short distance of the city by public transport, including in North Sydney, the Inner West and the North Shore.

  • Menzies Sydney Hotel 7 (, 14 Carrington Street, Sydney, tel 02 9299 1000, fax 02 9290 3819 - good value inner city hotel overlooking Wynyard Park - easy stroll to Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay ferries and The Rocks tourist precinct. Rooms cost approx $175-$300 a night.
  • Mercure Sydney Hotel 8 (, 818-820 George Street, tel +61 2 9217 6666, fax +61 2 9217 6888 - 4 star Sydney hotel with 517 rooms, adjacent to Central Station - easy access to Darling Harbour, Sydney's shopping and retail centre and major attractions. Accommodation rates range between $149-$300 per night.


Sydney's most expensive hotels are generally located in the CBD and the Rocks district, near the business hub of Sydney, close to many restaurants, and with excellent harbour views. Some other high quality hotels are located in Darling Harbour.

  • InterContinental Sydney Hotel 9 ( - as one of the leading five star hotels in the region, the hotel has recently emerged from an AUD$30 million refurbishment with stylish new guest rooms and a stunning rooftop Club InterContinental Lounge.

Serviced Apartments

Serviced, short-term apartments are widely available throughout Sydney and are available for stays as short as one night. Amenities typically include kitchen, washer and dryer, and separate bedrooms. A range of properties exist from budget to 5 star.

  • Southern Cross Apartment Rentals 10 ( - offers a wide range of serviced apartments throughout Sydney.


  • Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore - the early chapters in this fantasticly evocative treatment by one of Sydney's favourite sons is a real eye-opener to Sydney's convict beginnings. Highly recommended.
  • John Birmingham (, Leviathan, The Unauthorised Biography of Sydney - a history of Sydney from its beginnings as a penal colony to contemporary times. Non-fiction, it discusses incidents and themes in an anecdotal fashion. Definitely not your usual historical work! ISBN 0091842034, Random House, 1999.

Get out

There are a number of good day trips from Sydney.


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