Icon after icon swings into view in the lively and attractive harbour city of Sydney: the striking shapes of the Sydney Opera House; daring surfers and bronzed bodies on Bondi Beach; the huge arch of the Harbour Bridge; and the unstoppable Aussie zest for life outdoors. Sun-baked Sydney is the glamorous, hip and handsome city in Australia, and it features a lot more culture than its fellow cities would have you believe.
Holidays in this glorious east-coast metropolis are about living the Australian dream. Among the iconic landmarks and attitudes you'll find a diverse and multi-cultural destination, where you can cruise on the harbour, tuck into fish and chips in Manly, take the kids to cuddle a koala at the zoo, take a leisurely wine-fuelled lunch at The Rocks, or dip into global cuisine in one of the fascinating city neighbourhoods.
The capital of New South Wales is without doubt a favourite for many holidaymakers; book hotels in Sydney to create your own memories of this irresistible Australian destination.
Sydney hotels can be found all around the city, with the best five-star hotels offering extras such as harbour views alongside excellent hospitality and opulent surroundings. Sydney's luxury hotels are mostly found in the desirable Rocks and Darling Harbour areas. As well as the CBD (Central Business District), these are great areas in which to stay as you will have easy access to most of the main attractions.
You will find budget hotels and mid-range accommodation in these highly-prized districts, though the best will be booked up well in advance so be sure to secure your rooms early. If a small budget is dominating your decision, consider staying a little further out of central Sydney - public transport is frequent and cheap. and car hire is available.
As a big city, the international brands are well represented. Check in to hotels from the likes of Ibis, Hilton, Best Western, Sheraton, Shangri-La, Wyndham, Swissotel, Travelodge, Mercure, Novotel, InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Four Points, Courtyard, Crowne Plaza and Adina.
Of course the beaches are a massive draw for visitors, so if this is your holiday priority, look at hotels near the sands of Bondi Beach, Manly Beach and Coogee Beach.
Some of Sydney's distinctive neighbourhoods host boutique hotels, budget rooms, backpacker hostels and every other kind of hotel in between. Paddington is a nice area filled with cafés and shops, and Surry Hills also attracts visitors looking for a stylish stay.
Market-filled Haymarket, also home to Chinatown, is close to Darling Harbour and the CBD, and is worth considering as it has a good mix of hotels across all budgets.
Top five attractions
An iconic landmark linking the two sides of this vast city; climbing tours to the top are available for those who dare.
Royal Botanic Gardens
These picturesque gardens have been open to the public for almost a century and offer fantastic views of the harbour. Head for the central Palm Grove area for an interesting shop and quaint café.
An amazing collection of wildlife right on the edge of the city, the focus is on education and conservation with family fun times guaranteed.
One of the most popular seaside destinations in Australia, the area has fabulous beaches and great opportunities to try watersports. Catch the short ferry from the harbour for a fun day trip.
Perhaps the most well-known beach in the southern hemisphere, Bondi can get very crowded, so keep a close eye on belongings and family members.
Sydney Festival; January: Sydney prides itself on its cultural diversity, and this annual event allows for an opportunity to celebrate such a quality. Concerts, performances, parades, feasts and even a circus are assembled for three weeks at the height of summer.
Hunter Valley Harvest Festival; April - June: One of Australia's first wine regions, vineyards blanket this area of superlative natural beauty. In April, you'll hear the sound of popping corks as locals toast one of their finest exports of recent times, and look out for gourmet events in May and June.
City2Surf; August: A curious spectacle as throngs of athletic Australians run from the city centre to Sydney's favourite surfing spot - Bondi Beach. Thousands more non-runners follow the route throughout the day, punctuating the journey with some amber nectar.