Sydney is a world-class, cosmopolitan city.
We were warmly greeted everywhere we went. The city is abuzz. We arrived to friendly faces and warm greetings at Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney. Our flight from Los Angeles to Sydney was on Air New Zealand, one of the South Pacific’s premier airlines. Since it is an overnight flight, the 14 hours floated by in our sleep. We arrived in the early morning, refreshed and ready to tackle the sights of the city.
A great place to start your city visit is atop the AMP Tower, in the heart of downtown Sydney. The Observation Deck, which is 250 meters above street level, affords one of the greatest 360-degree views of this magical city, and gives you an idea of how the city is laid out. We admired the wonderful Sydney Harbour, and this is where we first sighted the famous Sydney Opera House and the fantastic Sydney Harbour Bridge. After checking out the views, we checked out the shops at Centrepoint, one of the city’s great shopping areas, we proceeded to Circular Quay, Sydney’s transportation hub. We joined up with one of the great Harbour Day Cruises, which brought us around one of the prettiest harbours in the world.
There is no finer way to see the city and sights than from the deck of one of the day cruise boats! The Sydney Opera House is right in front of you, in all of its splendor – it really is more impressive in person! The enormous Sydney Harbour Bridge frames this beautiful city. The harbour helps define the city, and it is a great place to sail.
Shopping in Sydney
Sydney is a shopper’s paradise.
Some of the great shopping areas include Darling Harbour, the historic area of The Rocks, Centrepoint, and the wonderfully restored Queen Victoria Building. Shop for items that are unique to Australia, whether it be opals, authentic Aboriginal art, a digeridoo, or a great Drizabone coat. Whatever your shopping needs require, the shopping-friendly atmosphere of Sydney is sure to please.
Cultural Destinations in Sydney
For those seeking culture, Sydney offers plenty. Check out a theatrical performance or a classical concert at the Sydney Opera House. Visit one of the world’s best natural history museums at the Australian Museum. Discover historic Sydney at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. For art lovers, there is a fine collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Other great city sights include: a stroll through the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens; the unique Australian animals at Taronga Zoo; the gothic revival style St. Mary’s Cathedral; the underwater realm at the Sydney Aquarium; or simply walking the wonderful streets of this fantastic city.
Sydney’s Restaurants & Cuisine
Eating in Sydney is a real treat. With such a diverse, multicultural population, you have a choice of food from around the world. Sample some Asian cuisine, French fare, Portuguese specialties, and traditional British food.
Don’t miss out on Australia’s wonderful wines and beers. A great place to grab a pint is at The Lord Nelson, Sydney’s oldest pub (and they also have great pub grub).
Getting Around in Sydney
Getting around Sydney could not be easier. The taxis are driven by friendly Aussies who invite you to sit up front and have a chat. A unique way to get around the city is via ferry. The Sydney ferry system, centered at Circular Quay, is one of the best in the world.
Other transportation options include buses, trains, and a monorail between the city center and Darling Harbour.
Other Sydney Attractions
For the adventurous, the Sydney Harbor Bridgeclimb. can not be missed! Come and feel the thrill of making your way over 1,500 metres of steel as you venture across catwalks, steep ladders and arches. Wonder at the courage of the men who built it as you give a wave to those who still climb the girders to maintain the Bridge today. As you climb, before you lies a spectacular 360 degree view of one of the greatest harbours… one of the greatest cities.
“We arrived at the Bridgeclimb office in plenty of time for the informational video and introduction. After signing consent forms and taking a breathalyzer test…” Read Paul’s personal experience from his Sydney Harbor Bridgeclimb.
Want some quality time on the beach? The high-speed Jet Cat ferry from Circular Quay to Manly takes only 15 minutes. The wide, white sand beach is huge. Take a swim, check out the surfers, or go for a stroll along the beach. Enjoy lunch in one of the oceanfront restaurants, or go shopping at one of the many stores that line the pedestrian street. As you stroll the great beach, it is hard to realize that the hustle and bustle of Sydney is only 15 minutes away!
Day Trips from Sydney
A day trip to the Blue Mountains is a must. Our 4-wheel drive day trip departed the hotel early in the morning. After going across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, we continued on until we reached Koala Park. This wonderful animal reserve is full of Australia’s unique wildlife. We were able to get up close and pet many of the animals, including a dingo, a very large wombat, cute koalas, and adorable kangaroos.
Continuing on into the Blue Mountains, we took some of the less-explored fire roads, before stopping for morning tea beside a river. Our very experienced and knowledgeable guide pointed out many of the wonderful flora and fauna of the area. We stopped several times and hiked through some beautiful terrain, with amazing overlooks, waterfalls, and pristine nature. After lunch at a mountain retreat, we continued on to see some kangaroos in the wild. Not only were we treated to kangaroos, but were surprised to see hundreds of cockatoos! This was Australia at it’s finest. We returned to Sydney in plenty of time to freshen up and enjoy another wonderful dinner at a historic pub in the heart of The Rocks.
Why Visit Sydney?
Sydney is one of the few cities in the world where there is a wonderful mix of beautiful nature, friendly people, and an easy-going atmosphere. Throughout our stay in Sydney, we assured ourselves that we would continue to return to this world-class city.