Last updated on 29 June 2020
If you haven’t been to Sydney, now’s the time to put this Aussie gem on your travelling radar. One of the world’s dream destinations, Sydney boasts the soaring sails of Sydney Opera House, glittering Sydney Harbour and world-famous beaches.
Beyond the icons, explore the urban essence of Sydney in neighbourhoods such as Chippendale, Surry Hills and Newtown. Find retro bars, cult bakeries and hip hotels just outside the heart of the city. Explore Sydney like a tourist, with the knowledge of a local.
Begin your Sydney experience amongst the iconic structures that edge the famed Sydney Harbour. Arrive in Circular Quay to see the white curves of Sydney Opera House, the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge nicknamed ‘The Coathanger’ and ferries criss-crossing the glittering harbour.
- Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of those travel experiences you’ll never forget. The team at BridgeClimb will take you safely to the summit of this living icon for a 360-degree panoramic view of Sydney.
- Boasting unrivalled views of Sydney Harbour is fine dining mecca, Quay with floor-to-ceiling windows framing the Sydney Opera House. Chef Peter Gilmore crafts innovative feasts from rare ingredients in a glorious waterside setting.
- Across from Quay, is the magnificent Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point. A path takes you right around the edge of the building so you can admire the huge, tiled sails. Take a tour inside to fully appreciate this World-Heritage listed masterpiece.
- Continue along the esplanade to the Royal Botanic Garden to stroll through Australian native plants and take a seat at historical landmark Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. The carved sandstone bench was crafted by convicts in 1810 and enjoys a postcard view of the harbour.
From Circular Quay, Chippendale is a 30-minute walk through the city, or short trip on the light rail as it snakes through George Street towards Central Station. A hub of hotels, restaurants, galleries and shopping, Chippendale is a creative, edgy, cultural mecca.
- Check into The Old Clare Hotel — this boutique inner-city hotel is housed in a heritage-listed building with refined industrial finishes and a rooftop poolside bar.
- Stroll down neighbouring Spice Alley, a buzzing hive of Asian street food where you dine in the laneway in a hawker-style setting.
- Nearby is White Rabbit Gallery, home to one of the world’s most significant collections of Chinese contemporary art. After browsing the collection, enjoy homemade dumplings and an extensive list of Chinese and Taiwanese style teas at the White Rabbit Teahouse.
- Through the leafy backstreets of Chippendale is Brickfields — this cult bakery and café turns out some of the very best baked goods in Sydney.
Surry Hills is all grit, glamour and gourmet delights. Stroll the tree-lined streets for vintage and contemporary boutiques, quirky cocktail bars and memorable dining experiences.
- Stay at Paramount House Hotel, a design-driven boutique hotel built in the former Paramount Studios building. The site houses a trendy cafe, the old Hollywood-esque Golden Age Cinema and a rooftop sports club.
- For a snug stay, Little Albion is a former convent transformed into a chic hotel with a colourful art collection.
- Thai diner Chin Chin is a local hotspot, offering big flavours, bold curries and inventive cocktails.
- Firedoor is another Sydney sensation where innovative chef Lennox Hastie cooks everything over wood fire. The five course menu changes daily and includes the freshest beef, seafood and vegetables grown bespoke by local producers.
- Visitors to Sydney’s village neighbourhoods will discover abundant street art and murals by many local artists. One recent addition to check out is the portrait of Indigenous football player, Adam Goodes. Immortalised on the entire side of a two-storey building right in the centre of Surry Hills, this is a big hit with locals, lovers of street art and supporters of Goodes’ former Australian Football League team, the Sydney Swans.
From the city, hop on a train to Newtown, a colourful university suburb of Sydney with vintage and antique shopping, global eateries, atmospheric pubs and live music venues.
- Stay at The Collectionist Hotel in neighbouring Camperdown — a unique inner-city oasis with a different interior theme for each room – guests can wander through and choose their favourite before checking in
- At Continental Deli Bar and Bistro, sip a Mart-tinnie (a martini from a can) and sample various kinds of tinned delicacies at this European-style bar and bistro.
- Bella Brutta is Newtown’s pizza darling. In a slick venue dive into inventive pizzas pulled fresh from the blazing oven.
- For a late-night drink, dive into Earl’s Juke Joint – this uber cool cocktail haunt has a retro butcher-shop facade and New Orleans vibes on the inside.
- Culture Scouts will take you on curated walking tours through this cultural hub. Explore the area rich in food, street art and history, guided by local artists and designers.