Sydney Opera House at nIght
The Sydney Opera House at night (Photo credit: Pixabay)

Sydney Travel Guide

QUICK FACTS

  • Sydney is Australia’s most populous city, with a population of ~4.6 million 
  • The city was founded on 26 January, 1788 (now celebrated as Australia Day)
  • Sydney’s Harbour is the largest in the world (562 million cubic meters of water)
  • Nicknames: Harbour City, Syd, Steak & Kidney, The Emerald City

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • Spoken languages: Australian English (an acquired accent, featuring plenty of slang). 
  • Best time to visit: from November to January (Sydney gets quite cold in the winter)
  • Arriving via airport: train is $15 AUD, bus is $12 AUD, taxi is about $40 AUD 

WHERE TO STAY

For budget accommodations, look for hostels in the southern part of the CBD (Central Business District) and in Haymarket. Rooms in hostels start at about $25/night. Top-notch hotels can be found in The Rocks, Darling Harbour and at the heart of the CBD.

GETTING AROUND

  • Sydney has an extensive rail network, consisting of both skytrains and subway lines. Fares start at $3.20.
  • The city’s bus network features several free shuttle loop buses that will take you the most popular attractions. Bus fares start at $2.20.
  • Arguably the best way to see Sydney is by boat. There are numerous ferries between key points in the city, with fares starting at $5.80.

SYDNEY NIGHTLIFE

  • Drinking age is 18, no official last call (nightclubs start closing around 3 AM)
  • Hip scene: Darling Harbour is the place to be (some nightclubs stay open until 6 AM).
  • Out of town crowd: Bondi Beach is Australia’s most visited beach, and its bars/clubs will appeal to all.

UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT

  • The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. A must-see.
  • Opened in 1932, the Harbour Bridge is the world’s tallest steel arch bridge (134 meters).
  • Darling Harbour is Sydney’s most popular tourist area, featuring restaurants, museums, parks and boardwalk activities.
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens cover 30 hectares and overlook the Sydney harbour. Home to over 7000 species of plants, the gardens make for a great picnic location.

INTERESTING WALKS

  • Go for a mid-day stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
  • Darling Harbour is best seen mid-day, before the hoards of tourists arrive. Walk to the National Maritime Museum and check out the warships on display.
  • Balmain’s main street is packed with hundreds of cafes, shops, and restaurants. Take the ferry to east Balmain and walk west towards Rozelle along the famous Darling Street.

LOCAL WISDOM

  • Sydney’s traffic can be frustrating for pedestrians (traffic lights every 200 meters).
  • Where to find good cheap eats: hard to find in Sydney (one of the most expensive cities in the world). While cheap food is available (fast food), your best bet for a good meal at a reasonable price is to visit one of Sydney’s many gastropubs.
  • Dangerous areas: Sydney is generally very safe. One recommendation is to avoid crowds of drunk youngsters (while harmless, they can be very annoying).

RECOMMENDED SYDNEY GUIDE BOOKS

Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days


SEE ALSO:
Sydney Travel Guide was last modified: September 20th, 2016 by Nick
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