Sydney is, by far, the most dazzling city in Australia. With its iconic beaches, unique landmarks and rich cultural history, it is a bucket-list destination for all travellers. Though it's not the capital, Sydney is an exciting economic and cultural hub, captivating by day, and perhaps even more stunningly beautiful when its focal points are lit up at night. It's hard to remain impassive towards this vibrant crowd-pleaser packed with must-see destinations. Ideally, you should stay for at least a week to try and take in all the sights, taste local specialities and experience the city vibe. To prepare well for your trip here are a few tips on what you definitely shouldn't miss, where to stay and what dishes to try out.
Sydney Opera House
A UNESCO world heritage site and Australia's best-known landmark, the Sydney Opera House is a majestic sight to behold. Its attractive location by the harbour and its design resembling billowing white sails make the Opera House simply unique. The building comprises of five performance spaces where you can admire dance shows, concerts, opera and theatre plays. You shouldn't miss the opportunity to watch some of the various spectacles that are on offer. Apart from its artistic and cultural value, the Opera House has an interesting history you can learn about by taking the one-hour multilingual tour of the building.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Popularly known as the “Coathanger“, Sydney Harbour bridge used to be the city's main landmark before the Opera House was constructed. It was built in 1932 and at 134m high, it is still the highest arch bridge in the world. The best way to admire its proportions and architecture is to walk over it. Adventure buffs should check out bridge climb tours which take groups of up to 13 people to the top. The climb takes about 3.5 hours and the price isn't low either, but it's thrilling and fun. The view is not as good as the one from the Sydney Eye Tower, but the experience is unforgettable. The tours are being held during the entire day.
Pick the right starting point
Rather than staying at touristy places in the city centre, opt for a location which allows you to experience Sydney from a local's point of view. By staying at the beautiful Randwick hotel, near The University of NSW, in a building which dates back to the 19th century, you will be in the proximity of Coogee Beach, Darling Harbour, Sydney Cricket Ground, Centennial Park and other local Randwick attractions. Away from the hustle and bustle of main streets, you will be better positioned to explore the reality of everyday Aussie life.
Taste the variety
Sydney's eclectic food scene is full of fancy restaurants, trendy cafes as well as fast food chains. To better understand what Australian cuisine is like, you’ll have to try a bit of everything. In Sydney, don’t miss out on the beet burger, a somewhat uncanny combination which is unexpectedly popular. Also get some freshly baked meat pies or sausage rolls to eat on the go. Moreover, make sure to indulge in some local seafood specialities, such as the bold combination of green noodles with blue swimmer crab at Lucio’s. For dessert, try some of the locals’ favourites – ricotta hotcakes topped with honeycomb butter at Bills or rosewater meringue with watermelon at Mercado.
Keep in mind that these are just the essentials. Try and squeeze in a visit to Hyde Park Barracks Museum for a bit of historical background, go sunbathing at Bondi beach or hike through the intact Blue Mountains. Preferably, do all of these. Set off boldly on your Sydney adventure and you'll soon understand why this city is the heart and soul of modern Australia.