News, Culture & Society

50 reasons you should stick around in Sydney 

Most holidays to Australia start in Sydney, where the famous harbour and Opera House are show-stoppers. 

But there’s so much more to the cultural capital. 

Here are 50 tips on how to make the most of one of the finest cities on Earth.

1. High and mighty

Head for heights: Hair-raising climbing tours of Sydney Harbour Bridge cost from £145 with a safety briefing included

Hair-raising climbing tours of Sydney Harbour Bridge cost from £145 with a safety briefing included (bridgeclimb.com). But if you just want to see great views – and get your bearings – ascend one of the support pylons for £8.20. pylonlookout.com.au

2. On the Rocks

Afterwards, go for a drink in the heart of Sydney, where settlers first stepped foot in 1788. The Glenmore pub is situated up a small hill in the Rocks neighbourhood. Most tourists stick to the waterfront, so it’s quieter here – and perfect for an afternoon tipple. theglenmore.com.au 

3. Bridge picnic

Feel jet-lag evaporate at Bradfield Park, next to Sydney Harbour Bridge on the north bank – it’s fantastic for a quiet picnic with views of the Opera House.

4. Pool with a view

Make a splash: North Sydney Olympic Pool has 50-metre open-air lanes and old-fashioned locker rooms

Make a splash: North Sydney Olympic Pool has 50-metre open-air lanes and old-fashioned locker rooms

How about a city swim? Next to Bradfield Park is North Sydney Olympic Pool, which has 50-metre open-air lanes and old-fashioned locker rooms. Entry £4.50. northsydney.nsw.gov.au

5. Contemporary art

The Museum of Contemporary Art in the Rocks – not far from the Glenmore pub – has free exhibitions with a focus on new Australian works, plus a great little gift shop. mca.com.au

6. Art for all

Is the Art Gallery of New South Wales home to the most important art collection in Australia? More than 33,000 works are here – and they’re free to see. Plus there are the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens next door. artgallery.nsw.gov.au

7. Opera house tour

The architecture inside the Sydney Opera House. Don't forget to have a drink or a meal at the Opera Bar

The architecture inside the Sydney Opera House. Don’t forget to have a drink or a meal at the Opera Bar 

Hour-long behind-the-scenes Sydney Opera House tours are £23. Add a meal at the Opera Bar and it’s £37. sydneyoperahouse.com

8. Top coffee

Wharfside Celsius Coffee, in the neighbourhood of Kirribilli facing Sydney Opera House, is a marvellous pit stop after walking across Sydney Harbour Bridge. celsiuscoffeeco.com.au

9. Aboriginal tours

Dreamtime Southern X offers incredible 90-minute tours, led by Aboriginal guides, of indigenous people’s history in Sydney Harbour for £24. dreamtimesouthernx.com.au

10. Take in a show

The State Theatre on Market Street in the Central Business District is home to the Sydney Film Festival and is a glittery, golden treat. Book ahead. statetheatre.com.au

11. Ocean pools

It’s £4.40 to go to the Icebergs pools by Bondi Beach (above) but free to swim at the quieter Bronte Baths, just one-and-a-half miles away

It’s £4.40 to go to the Icebergs pools by Bondi Beach (above) but free to swim at the quieter Bronte Baths, just one-and-a-half miles away

The city has more than 40 seawater pools. It’s £4.40 to go to the Icebergs pools by Bondi Beach but free to swim at the quieter Bronte Baths, just one-and-a-half miles away.

12. Don’t get sunburnt

Make like a Sydneysider and buy a tube of factor-50 suncream produced by Cancer Council Australia, widely available (£8.15).

13. Super seafood

North Bondi Fish restaurant serves first-rate oysters, sashimi, scallops and fish tacos. About £40 for two courses. northbondifish.com.au

14. Street art

Wall murals on the southern end of Bondi Beach are like an open-air gallery with Aboriginal works.

15. Bondi to Coogee

Bondi to Coogee beach is about a four-mile walk and passes the sandy cove at Bronte Beach, where there are free outdoor gas barbecues.

16. Opal cards

Get an Opal card (which works like London’s Oyster card) for cheaper travel on ferries, buses, trams, trains and metro. transportnsw.info

17. Hit the surf

For great surfing, catch the 30-minute ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach. It costs £5.20

For great surfing, catch the 30-minute ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach. It costs £5.20

For great surfing, head for Manly Beach. Catch the 30-minute, £5.20 ferry from Circular Quay. transport.nsw.info

18. Uber Down Under

The city is swarming with Ubers. Sydney is brilliant for both Ubers and regular taxis for easy sightseeing.

19. Rock ’n’ pizza

Let your hair down at Frankie’s pizzeria, a lively music venue just off Circular Quay. frankiespizzabytheslice.com

20. Cool cocktails

The Baxter Inn serves whisky cocktails in a dimly lit basement on Clarence Street. Open till 1am Monday-Saturday. thebaxterinn.com

21. Comedy nights

The Sydney Comedy Club holds events at Luna Park. Shows are £16.50. sydneycomedyclub.com.au

22. Kangaroo steaks

Try skewered kangaroo steak (£21) at the Meat and Wine Co’s Bangaroo restaurant, also near Circular Quay. themeatandwineco.com

23. Croc and emu

Foodies rave about the crocodile and emu pizzas at the Australian Hotel pub/restaurant in the Rocks; £12.60. australianheritagehotel.com

24. Learn to shuck an oyster

Tours of Sydney Fish Market in the Pyrmont district – where 55 tons of seafood are sold each day – start at 6.40am on weekdays, last just under two hours and cost £24. sydneyfishmarket.com.au

25. Delicious dumplings 

Eastern promise: An impressive variety of Asian specialities is available in the Chinatown diners

Eastern promise: An impressive variety of Asian specialities is available in the Chinatown diners

Still peckish? Nearby Chinatown is where ten dumplings are to be had for £6. Try the Chinese Noodle Restaurant on Quay Street.

26. Little Hanoi

The western suburb of Cabramatta is home to a Vietnamese community – and excellent Vietnamese restaurants (naturally).

27. Market life: Saturday

Carriageworks Farmers Market is held on Saturdays in a former train carriage factory in the Eveleigh district. Stalls sell pies, juices, wines, herbal teas and Vegemite muffins. carriageworks.com.au

28. Market life: Sunday

Foodies make a beeline for Marrickville Organic Markets on Sundays, where there are also clothing stalls. marketsandfairs.com.au

29. Inner-city tour

Culture Scouts offers two- to three-hour tours of Redfern and neighbouring Chippendale inner-city districts (£54). Redfern has strong Aboriginal ties and vibrant community spirit among old terrace houses, while Chippendale is home to avant-garde galleries. culturescouts.com.au

30. Acai juice

Sydneysiders love acai berry smoothies. Sip a glass at Pride of Redfern cafe by Redfern Station.

31. Into the future

Check out cutting-edge art at the White Rabbit Gallery on Balfour Street in Chippendale then the futuristic apartments in Central Park.

32. Spice Alley

Around the corner from Central Park, Spice Alley is a warren of Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean food. Wok-fried Singaporean chilli chicken with rice is £8.70. spicealley.com.au

33. Hang out with hipsters

Hang out with hipsters in Newtown, a bohemian suburb with vintage clothes shops, cafes and rooftop bars

Hang out with hipsters in Newtown, a bohemian suburb with vintage clothes shops, cafes and rooftop bars

Newtown is a bohemian suburb three miles west of the Central Business District with vintage clothes shops, cafes and rooftop bars.

34. Artisan ales

Young Henrys in Newtown, a cool microbrewery that opened in 2012, produces ales, ciders and lagers on Wilford Street. younghenrys.com

35. For Veggies

Lentil As Anything, also in Newtown, gets the thumbs-up from vegetarians and vegans. Pay as you can policy; £7 is a guide price. lentilasanything.com/newtown

36. It’s a scoop

Gelato Messina ice cream stores offer apple pie, tiramisu and chocolate-chip cheesecake flavours; £2.90 a scoop. gelatomessina.com

37. Secret garden

Wendy’s Secret Garden, an oasis with ancient trees and hidden terraces, has views of Sydney Harbour from Lavender Bay. Wendy Whiteley began transforming the garden as therapy after her artist husband died in 1992. Free entry. wendyssecretgarden.org.au

38. Best for books

Enjoy an espresso, a glass of wine or excellent poached eggs on toast (£5) at the little cafe of Berkelouw bookshop in the Paddington neighbourhood. A Sydney literary institution with rare second-hand books. berkelouw.com.au

39. Hip hotel

On the edge of the super-cool Surry Hills neighbourhood, Paramount House Hotel recently opened in the former Paramount Pictures HQ. There’s a cinema, rooftop gym, hip cafe and urban-chic rooms from £110. paramounthousehotel.com

40. Brilliant breakfast

Around the corner, Cuckoo Callay offers super-sized breakfasts including ‘Return of the MacDaddy’ croissants with macaroni cheese, bacon and poached eggs for £11. cuckoo-callay.com.au

41. Retro guesthouse

The nearby Little Albion guesthouse has vibrant, retro rooms inspired by the 1920s and 1970s in the heart of Surry Hills; from £111 B&B. i-escape.com

42. Sleep at the zoo

Wild: Taronga Zoo offers ‘Roar and Snore’ packages in a luxury tent with views of Sydney Harbour and the lion enclosure

Wild: Taronga Zoo offers ‘Roar and Snore’ packages in a luxury tent with views of Sydney Harbour and the lion enclosure

Taronga Zoo offers ‘Roar and Snore’ packages in a luxury tent with views of Sydney Harbour and the lion enclosure. From £618 a night for a family of four. taronga.org.au

43. Sydney’s best brew

Pablo’s Vice is a lovely little cafe on Crown Street in Darlinghurst – close to Surry Hills – with an open window into a sunken room where some of Sydney’s best coffee is brewed each morning.

44. Home and Away

Palm Beach is where soap opera Home And Away is filmed. See Alf’s Bait Shop and the Summer Bay Diner from the series.

45. Bush walking

Explore: A breathtaking view of Garie Beach in the Royal National Park

Explore: A breathtaking view of Garie Beach in the Royal National Park 

Head to Royal National Park for a seven-mile walk through the bush, taking in magnificent Garie Beach, waterfalls, rocky outcrops and swimming and picnic spots. nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

46. Skating

The Monster Skate Park is a complex of ramps for skateboarders and BMX bike riders in Sydney Olympic Park.

47. Kayaking

Sydney Harbour Kayaks offers rental kayaks from £11 an hour. sydneyharbourkayaks.com.au

48. Running

Join Sydneysiders for a morning run in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

49. Skiing and surfing

It’s a five- to seven-hour drive south-west to the Thredbo and Perisher ski resorts. Plan it right and it’s possible to ski and surf from Sydney in a single day. thredbo.com.au, perisher.com.au

50. Catch the light show

Vivid Sydney is an annual May- to-June light show when the Sydney Opera House is a blaze of artily choreographed lights

Vivid Sydney is an annual May- to-June light show when the Sydney Opera House is a blaze of artily choreographed lights 

Vivid Sydney is an annual May- to-June light show when the Sydney Opera House is a blaze of artily choreographed lights each night, with many other bright displays in the downtown area. There are accompanying cultural talks, workshops and music gigs. vividsydney.com

TRAVEL FACTS

T. D. Isacke was a guest of Destination NSW (destinationnsw.com.au) and Vivid Sydney (vividsydney.com). This is the city’s annual May-to-June light show with accompanying cultural talks, workshops and music gigs. Emirates (emirates.com) has return flights from Gatwick to Sydney via Dubai from £630 this month.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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