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Sydney, Australia

Introduction

Sydney is the largest city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales with a population of just over 4.25 million.

Sydney is a European settlement, having been founded by the British as a penal colony on 26 January 1788 which is celebrated as a public holiday, Australia Day, with major festivities around the country.

Captain James Cook, the English explorer, discovered Sydneys twin harbours, Port Jackson and Botany Bay, in 1770 while navigating the east coast of Australia. Sydney's large, safe and beautiful natural harbour was the reason that the original penal settlement was established in the area. In 1788 the first fleet, with 1400 convicts, soldiers, administrators and their families, arrived in the area now known as Circular Quay located between the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. In 1793, Sydney's first free settlers arrived to make Australia their home. By 1840, convict transportation to Sydney had ceased and in 1851 gold was discovered leading to a huge population boom. By 1925, Sydney's population had reached 1 million inhabitants.

Sydney has an international reputation as one of the world's most beautiful and liveable cities. It is a multicultural and cosmopolitan city, with one third of its population born overseas.

Sydney was the host of the very successful 2000 Summer Olympic Games, which raised the city's global profile.

Cheap Sydney Hotels

Travel to Sydney

Sydney (Kingsford Smith) International Airport (SYD) is Australia's busiest airport and located 10 km (6 miles) south of the city CBD on Botany Bay. International terminal T1 handles all international flights. Domestic terminal T2 and T3 handle Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Blue and regional airlines. Transfer between domestic terminals T2 and T3 is by walking through the underground railway station or across the car park. A free shuttle bus is provided to transfer between T1 and T2/T3 for passengers connecting with their flights.

Taxis are available outside the arrival hall. For two or more people travelling together a taxi is the cheapest and most convenient option. [A taxi to the city centre is about A$30-$40]

Mini-Bus operators are available in the arrival hall to take passengers directly to the city hotels [A$15 per passenger, return $24]

Airport Link Train connects Sydney Airport (international and domestic terminals) with the CBD and is part of the CityRail commuter rail system. The train service is the easiest and cheapest way to get into the city. The train takes about 15-20 minutes and transits all the CBD stations - Central, Museum, St James, Circular Quay, Wynard and Town Hall. Passengers can travel virtually anywhere in Sydney from Central Station. [One-way fare Adult $15, child $10]


From Interstate

Car - To drive from Brisbane to Sydney takes about 11-12 hours, from Melbourne about 9-10 hours.

Coach companies operate to Sydney from all capital cities and many New South Wales regional centres. The Sydney coach terminal is located near the Sydney Central Railway station in the south of the CBD.

Cruise Ships Sydney Harbour arrive from all over the world at Sydney's International Cruise Ship terminal.

CountryLink Train services run daily services to Sydney from Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and many regional centres of New South Wales. Traveling time from Melbourne and Brisbane is around 12 hours.

The Indian Pacific Train service runs from Perth (Wed) to Sydney (Sat) via Adelaide, taking 3 days. Return airfares are less expensive than the train. However, the journey is great for train enthusiasts who want to see the outback of Australia. [Adult fare from Perth are A$1250 for a sleeper cabin, A$520 for a seat, Child fares are A$800 for a sleeper cabin, A$140 for a seat].


Sydney Discovery

4 Days / 3 Nights from US$160 per person

Per person US$
TwinSingle

Travelodge Hotel

160320sydney travelodge

Mercure Hotel

180360Mercure Hotel Sydney

Star City Hotel

350700Star City Hotel Sydney


Sydney Weather

The climate is comfortable for travellers to visit any time of year.

The summer months of January and February can be hot (above 30C) and humid. Winter is comfortable during the day but can be cold at night (below 10C, although it does not snow). Sydney's beaches are best between November and early-April. Sun protection is important as the UV exposure risk can be extreme especially in summer.

Sydney Transport

Taxis are metered and will always charge the metered rate plus any charges for toll roads.

Sydney Monorail travels a loop through the City above Chinatown, the Spanish Quarter, George Street, past the historic Queen Victoria Building to the entertainment and dining area of Darling Harbour. [7am-10pm, Adult & child over 6yrs $4.80, under 6 free]

Metro Light Rail ( a tram service) links Central Station and Sydneys Inner Western Suburbs. Destinations include Paddy's Market, Chinatown, Entertainment Centre, Darling Harbour and Star City Casino. [Operates 24 hrs, single fare from $3.20]

Trains run underground in a loop around the CBD from Central Station to Town Hall, Wynard, Circular Quay and back to Central Station. Trains from Town Hall & Wynard Stations go over the harbour bridge to the northern suburbs. Passengers can travel virtually anywhere in Sydney from Central Station.

Sydney Ferries operate from Circular Quay, located in Sydney Cove between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The network connects destinations from Parramatta in the west to Manly in the north and Watsons Bay in the east. The Circular Quay to Manly excursion is very popular with visitors as a low cost harbour tour. [Adult fares from $6, takes 30mins]

Cars drive on the left side of the road. Sydney CBD parking can be challenging and congestion can be expected on roads from 6:30am to 9:30am and 4pm to 6:30pm. There are many toll roads in Sydney (M2, M4, M5 & M7 Motorways, Lane Cove Tunnel, Cross City Tunnel, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnel). Many are changing to electronic tolls only. E-Toll allows motorists to open an E-Toll tag account and register for an E-Toll pass online. If you hire a rental car purchase an E-toll tag, otherwise if you fail to pay an E-toll, the rental car company will charge you the toll and an administration fee.

Sydney Explorer & Bondi Explorer Bus - The red Sydney Explorer hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus visits 27 of Sydney's most famous attractions such as the Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Mrs Macquarie's Chair, Kings Cross, The Rocks, Darling Harbour and travels across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The 'blue' Bondi Explorer stops at 19 of Sydney's most picturesque harbour locations and surf beaches along a 30km circuit through Sydney's affluent Eastern suburbs, including cosmopolitan Double Bay, Watson's Bay and Sydney's famous Bondi Beach. The services are air-conditioned and include on-board commentary detailing the attractions near each stop for visitors to explore at your leisure. Each bus operates at 20 minute intervals; allow two hours to complete the entire journey. [One-day Sydney & Bondi Explorer ticket, adult $39, child $19, family $97]

Sydney Attractions

sydney harbour bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Sydney's most famous landmarks crossing the Harbour and has excellent views of the city and harbour, especially at dawn and dusk. Walk or cycle across the Harbour Bridge (access from the Rocks area). The eastern side is reserved for pedestrians and the western side for cyclists and there is no toll for crossing by foot or cycle. Climb the bridge with BridgeClimb during the day or night. Or climb to the Pylon Lookout on the south east pylon. [Open 10am to 5pm every day, adults A$8.50, children A$3, under 7 free].

sydney opera house

The Sydney Opera House is located on the harbour front of the city. The World Heritage Listed building is a world famous iconic building and a great architectural work of the 20th century. The Sydney Opera House has earned a reputation as a world-class performing arts centre and become a symbol of both Sydney and the Australian nation.

Star City Casino Sydney is located at Darling Harbour and operates 200 gaming tables and includes a 480-room hotel, two theatres with a total 3000-seat capacity, seven restaurants and a nightclub.

Sydney Tower Sydney Travel is the tallest structure in Sydney and is located above Centrepoint shopping centre, at the corner of Pitt Street and Market Street in the heart of Sydney's retail precinct. At the same height as the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Tower gives breathtaking views of one of the world's most spectacular cities. [Open daily, 9am-10.30pm, Adults $25, Child $15, Under 4 free, near Town Hall railway station]

Darling Harbour is a large tourist precinct next to the Sydney CBD. There are shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, convention centers, a Chinese Garden, museums and the Sydney Aquarium.

Sydney Aquarium located at Darling Harbour is Sydney's premier tourist attraction and one of the largest Aquariums in the world. Its themes and displays take visitors on a journey through the continent's rich and diverse waterways and marine ecosystems. The Open Ocean exhibit is a massive oceanarium comprising underwater tunnels allowing visitors to glimpse Australia's famous marine life at very close quarters. Sydney Aquarium also houses the largest collection of sharks in captivity. [Take the train to Town Hall Station, monorail to Darling Park Station, Sydney Explorer Bus or walk from the CBDs Market Street or King Street, Open 9am-10pm daily, Adult A$27, Child A$13.50]

Sydney WildLifeWorld is located at Darling Harbour next to the Sydney Aquarium. Explore nine unique Australian habitats (eg rainforest, grasslands) and have your photo taken with a koala, snake or kangaroo. [Open 9-6pm daily]

Taronga Zoo is just across the harbour from the city with great views of the city. [Arrive by bus or ferry, open 7 days].

Sydney Harbour Cruise is a must do experience while visiting Sydney. Take a sight-seeing lunch cruise or sunset dinner cruise under the harbour bridge, past the Opera house and magnificent foreshore homes.

Sydney Observatory built in 1858, is Australia's oldest observatory, and one of the most significant sites in the nation's scientific history. Historically the Observatory was essential to shipping, navigation, meteorology and timekeeping as well as to the study of the stars seen from the Southern Hemisphere. Today the Observatory is a museum and public observatory with hands-on displays. It is located near Sydney's historic Rocks district and the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, and is easily accessed by bus, train, ferry or car. [Open daily, 10am-5pm, free admission]

Sydney Olympic Park is located at Homebush Bay about 10km west of Sydney and was the venue for the 2000 Summer Olympics and is now an area of parklands, venues for sports and outdoor activities. [Take the CityRail train from Central Station to Olympic Park Station or a Sydney Ferry from Circular Quay / Darling Harbour to Sydney Olympic Park Ferry Wharf]

Luna Park is a theme park located at Milsons Point, just under the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is easily accessible by train, bus, ferry and car. Take a train to Milsons Point Station or a ferry from Circular Quay / Darling harbour to Milsons Point (Luna Park) wharf. [Entrance is free, purchase tickets for rides or buy a pass]

Sydney's Entertainment Quarter is only 10 minutes from the CBD and satisfies all your entertainment requirements. It's a retail shopping heaven with late night shopping seven days a week as well as the hugely popular EQ Village Markets, featuring fresh produce every Wednesday and Saturday and the EQ Village Sunday Market. The precinct offers a retail complex, including shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, cinemas, The Comedy Store (Sydneys premier comedy venue), lush parklands, sporting facilities and entertainment venues.

Sydney Beaches

Sydney is famous for it's great beaches close to the city.

Bondi Beach Bondi Beach Sydney is the most well known and closest beach to the city. Catch a regular bus from the city or ride the Bondi Explorer Bus - The blue Bondi Explorer stops at 19 of Sydneys most picturesque harbour locations and surf beaches along a 30km circuit through Sydneys affluent Eastern suburbs, including cosmopolitan Double Bay, Watson's Bay and Sydney's famous Bondi Beach.

Manly Beach is across the other side of Sydney's spectacular harbour. Enjoy a seafood lunch or dinner at one of many restaurants lining the bay. Take the Manly ferry from Circular Quay, located in Sydney Cove between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

Double Bay is a harbour beach just a few kilometers east of the city. Known for its up-market hotels, shops and restaurants - this is where the rich and famous go when visiting Sydney.

Nightlife and Entertainment

The Sydney CBD has a multitude of restaurants, bars and clubs. Within walking distance of the CBD is the Darling Harbour area with many restaurants, bars and nightclubs encircling the harbour including the facilities at Star City Casino.

The Rocks area around the southern CBD-side of the Harbour Bridge is popular for its restaurants and Irish pubs. While Kings Cross to the east of the CBD is Sydney's red light district with many bars, strip clubs and night clubs. Paddingtons Oxford Street area south-east of the CBD is popular with drinkers.

Over the Harbour Bridge North Sydney is a popular area with Sydney's younger party-goers.

Sydney Dining

Sydney's multicultural mix of people presents a huge range of cuisine from around the world.

The CBD area is full of many restaurants, bars and cafes.

The Summit revolving restaurant and bar has great food and fantastic views of Sydney. It is located on level 47 of the Australia Square building on George Street.

Sydney Tower Restaurants host the fabulous revolving buffet restaurant and a la carte restaurant [lunch from $49, dinner from $64]

Darling Harbour is lined with many quality restaurants and cafes overlooking the waterfront making a very pleasant dining experience.

Chinatown has excellent food at the many good quality restaurants and inexpensive food from the many food courts.

Food Courts are located in most of Sydneys many shopping malls and offer visitors good value meals. Sydney has most of the usual American fastfood outlets such as McDonald's and KFC. Coffee shops such as Starbucks and Gloria Jeans are very common in malls and commercial centers.

Sydney Shopping

The Pitt Street Mall in the CBD is the citys main pedestrian mall located between Market Street and King Street. There are many shops lining the adjoining streets. Castlereagh Street is popular for fashion boutiques, jewellery stores and internationally branded goods.

The Queen Victoria Building is located in the CBD on George St adjacent to the Sydney Town Hall. It was refurbished in the 1980s into over 400 stores but still retains its historic and beautiful architectural Victorian style. The basement connect through to the underground Town Hall Railway Station.

Darling Harbour Mall located on the waterfront hosts many stores merchandising internationally branded goods, designer boutiques and features restaurants and cafes with waterfront vistas.

Strand Arcade is Sydney's epicentre of style and design, housing many of Australia's top designer labels, manufacturing Jewelers, unique shops and beauty salons. The arcade was named after the famous Strand in London and opened in 1892 and is the only remaining Victorian-era arcade in Sydney. The lower ground floor hosts one of Sydney's largest Duty Free stores offering duty free and retail prices.

Oxford Street to the east of the CBD is a popular area with visitors as the streets are lined with shops, bars and nightclubs.

Paddy's Markets located at the southern end of the CBD in Dixon St is a huge open hall full of vendors selling merchandise at bargain prices. [Open Thursday to Sunday]

Sydney Fish Markets is popular with tourists and is a great experience for the best in Sydney's seafood and one of the best gourmet experiences. Try to get there before 9am to catch some of the action and sample from one of the market's many restaurants. [Take the metro light rail]

Westfield Shopping Centre Bondi Junction is located in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and is the closest large shopping complex outside the CBD and is easily accessible from Bondi Junction railway station which is ten minutes ride by train from Town Hall Station.

Beyond Sydney

Hunter Valley Wineries is a very popular day tour. The Hunter Valley is located one hour north of Sydney, inland from the city of Newcastle.
Blue Mountains Sydney

The Blue Mountains are located about a one hour drive inland from Sydney or the area is easily accessable on the CityRail network to the town of Katoomba. The Katoomba area has a number of lookouts overlooking the beautiful mountains and valleys. There are a many walking tracks and visitors can tour the famous Jenolan Caves. During winter, snow can occasionally fall in the mountains however not enough for a skiing.

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