Beautiful Sydney, on Australia's south east coast, is the largest and most populated of the Australian cities. Due to its scale, this world-renown city is often mistaken for being the capital, fuelling its long-standing rivalry with Melbourne.
One of the joys of Sydney is that it offers the best of both worlds. On the one hand you have the epic harbour, home to the world-famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. On the other hand, a mere 20 minute drive will take you to some of Australia's most famous beaches such as Bondi and Manly.
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The city is home to a variety of highly cosmopolitan suburbs suiting every walk of life. A perfect day could be spent browsing the boutiques of Paddington, exploring the bohemian shops of Newtown or checking out the fabulous galleries in the CBD (central business district).
Foodies will especially enjoy the rich café and restaurant culture that you can immerse yourself in. You could spend the morning eating delicious macaroons at the Zumbo Patisserie in Balmain, lunch at the fabulous Winery Restaurant in Surrey Hills and drink long into the night, celeb spotting at ivy on George St.
Of course, Sydney isn't all about expanding your waistline. For the more adventurous, the Blue Mountains are just two hours out of the city, home to some of the most spectacular scenery in New South Wales. If time isn't on your side, there are a variety of inner-city adventures to be had, including the Bondi to Coogee walk.
If you're after culture, Sydney plays host to a variety of events throughout the year including the world renowned Sydney Festival in January. For the more hedonistic, Sydney's Mardi Gras Festival (February-March) is not to be missed.
With excellent flight, bus and train links across the rest of the country, Sydney is the perfect base to start your Australian adventure.
Sydney Travel Tips
What many people don't realise is that Sydney's harbour beaches are some of the city's most beautiful. Head down to Circular quay and hop on a ferry to Watson's Bay. Once on the ferry you can enjoy jaw-dropping views of the city, whilst appreciating its sheer scale. At Watson's bay, head down to Doyle's for fish and chips and a cooling glass of Chardonnay. Walk off lunch by checking out the nearby lighthouse. Then head down to Camp Cove for a spot of sunbathing and paddling. Bliss.
If you're a budding wine connoisseur, take a trip to the Hunter Valley. Just one-and-a-half hour's drive out of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is well suited to day-trippers or those seeking a mini-break from city life. The area is home to some of the world's largest wineries such as Lindemans, The Wyndham Estate and Tyrell's. You can also choose from a variety of boutique wineries offering a great selection of Champagnes and rare blends. You can arrange winery trips and tours from most hotels. If you do self drive, head to the tourist information centre in Pokolbin and grab a map of all of the wineries. Remember to get a designated driver as most tastings are free and measures can be quite liberal.
For those with a sweet tooth, head to Gelato Messina in Darlinghurst. Catering to Sydney's large Italian population, it boasts over 40 different weird and wonderful flavours and also has a large range of gelato cakes. The Blood Orange Sorbet is to die for.
Paddington Markets is not to be missed. Every Saturday from 10am onwards, over 150 market traders come together to sell a wide range of locally-made goods. From here, you can purchase a selection of unique gifts ranging from hand-made jewellery to photography. It's great for people-watching or whiling away the afternoon with a good book.
It may sound clichéd, but one of the most magical ways to spend an evening is by having a sunset picnic on the Northern Shore. Head to Milsons Point for unrivalled views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.