Sydney harbour bridge at twilight


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Sydney is perhaps Australia's most popular city, with sights such as the Sydney Opera House and natural attractions such as Bondi Beach appealing to travellers from all over the world. Sydney boasts a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere and excels at hosting events and festivals all year round.

Why go?

City culture, sport, shopping and amazing food, plus easy access to amazing beaches... Welcome to Sydney...

One of the most attractive and exciting cities in the world, Sydney is hugely cosmopolitan while maintaining an Aussie charm and friendliness.

There is most definitely something for everyone here. For sporty types, don't forget that in 2000, Sydney hosted the Olympic Games and today you can revel in the excitement once more with a trip around the Olympic Park. There is a range of activities available at the Park and the Visitor Centre is a good place to start if you want to find out what's on. Activities include golf, cycling and even tightrope walking.

You could then stroll to Sydney Harbour for one of the defining attractions of your visit. The harbour is a great place to admire the scenery and take a picnic by the moored boats. While you're there, take in the Harbour Bridge, which opened in 1932 and has special hinges that absorb the sun's rays and thus prevent the bridge from expanding in size.

Sydney Opera House is another of the classic sights you simply must see while in the city. Not only is the Opera House an astounding piece of modern architecture, but it's also the site of arts performances of many kinds. The city's State Theatre was opened in 1929 and its architecture incorporates styles ranging from Art Deco to Gothic. It is worth visiting for its exhibitions that showcase the works of famous Australian artists as much as it is for the performances that take place within.

For relaxation, go to Bondi Beach for fun in the sun and a chance to rub shoulders with some 40,000 other visitors who come on the beach's busiest days. You'll find Sydney Cove - or Warrane - a little more secluded. The Cove's history is closely entwined with that of the city as this was the site chosen to become Britain's first penal colony in 1788, which led to the birth of Sydney itself.

The seaside resort of Manly is close to Sydney Harbour and is noted for its Aboriginal sites, many beaches and secret coves, all of which are worth exploring. Sydney Aquarium is a great place for those with children. You will see seahorses and sharks and a whole exhibition devoted to the Great Barrier Reef.

Sydney - or Centrepoint - Tower was originally opened in the 1970s and contains a lot of shops. The building is a dominating presence on the Sydney skyline and is noted for its safety, since its construction makes it especially earthquake-proof and wind-resistant. Taronga Zoo gives travellers a chance to see animals and learn more about them from daily educational talks.

Not far from Sydney are the Blue Mountains, which include the Three Sisters. This unique geographical wonder is best viewed from a park near to the city. A trip to the Blue Mountains is a rewarding experience at any time of year and sights include the famed Eucalyptus trees of the region.

In terms of the districts of Sydney itself, Chinatown offers a break from the norm. Look out for the sculpture of Golden Water Mouth, made from a tree trunk, which is said to bring good luck to the area. If you want to go shopping, try the Rocks Markets, where you'll find charming jewellery stands, art shops and views of the nearby Harbour. Shopping is also top of the priority list for visitors to the Surry Hills area, where you'll find vintage designers and collectibles stores aplenty.

The suburb of Paddington is the place to go to see historic buildings or to enjoy a coffee, while in King's Cross you can visit nightclubs or vibrant bars. Wine lovers should make sure to visit the Hunter and the Hawkesbury Nepean regions, which are both nearby.

How to get there

These days flying 'Down Under' is convenient, with great flight and stop-over options. Be sure to compare prices for bargains...

Kingsford-Smith Airport (SYD), which is also sometimes called Sydney Airport, is where Sydney flights will land and you can even use your time in the air to view the city from above for some amazing views as you descend.

Flight duration from London is typically 20-24 hours, but there is a multitude of stop-over options too, so perhaps break up your journey with a stop-over in Singapore, Japan or Dubai.

Winter is a very popular time to visit Australia, so book your Sydney flight well in advance and use our price-comparison tool to get the best deals.

Getting to and from the airport

As a major international airport, Sydney's Kingston Smith airport has excellent transfer options...

From the airport, you have a few options as to how to get to the city. There are a number of trains available to take you to various points such as St James or the Town Hall and there is also a rail link between the airport and the city's Central Station.

Some travellers will find that they can use their hotel's shuttle bus to reach their accommodation, while others may take a taxi from the airport to Sydney Central Station.

Where to stay?

Sydney has so much to offer and that's reflected in the wide choice of places to stay - from the cosmopolitan city centre to the friendly outskirts or beaches, there's something for everyone...

Often classed as one of the most desirable places to live on the planet, it is not difficult to see why Sydney is a favourite with travellers too. It's a modern city, designed around its beautiful harbour - adding to the wonderful sense of space, despite it also being a thriving commercial location.
So, where to stay once you arrive? Well that depends on the nature of your holiday. If you want to really explore the city itself, it is worth staying central, and near the harbour is a great choice.

Expect to pay more for accommodation here though as you are right bang in the middle of the action - some of the most prestigious hotels are located in this district, but more affordable options are available too (often without the views though).

Sydney is surrounded by beaches and national parks, and for the more outdoorsy type, escaping the centre of Sydney for a beach hotel is a great option. Imagine waking up each morning and heading down to Manley Beach for a coffee and a surf?

Hotels along this stretch are often reasonable and there are even some budget options if you don't mind being set back from the sea front.

For those looking to spend a longer time discovering the city and really getting to know the neighbourhoods, some of the boutique hotels in the city suburbs are a great option. Families might want to check out a rental - lots of locals rent their houses or apartments to travellers during the British winter months (summer in Australia) and this a great way of making savings.

Sydney also has some of Australia's best backpacker and hostel accommodation, with affordable rates and great locations. Where you can, book ahead as these are often very busy year-round.

So, start looking at flights - there are some great bargains to be had when you use our price comparison tool and before you know it, you'll be Down Under!