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Sydney is one of the greatest cities in the southern hemisphere, with a cosmopolitan atmosphere, outstanding food and a fine selection of museums and galleries.
And whether you’re lapping up the culture or simply enjoying the lapping waves as you sail in one of the world's great harbours, Sydney is full of memorable experiences.
Down by Sydney Harbour Bridge, for example, The Rocks is an historic district that will see you wandering narrow cobbled streets occupied by stylishly converted warehouse bars and restaurants. You can also climb the Sydney Tower to the observation deck and enjoy truly stupendous views of the city.
Elsewhere, Sydney Opera House is an obvious must-see. Culture vultures should also check out while Sydney State Theatre, near Sydney Tower on Market Street. It is a listed building that hosts the Sydney Film Festival, plus lots of other exciting events.
For animal lovers, meanwhile, Sydney Zoo, or Taronga Zoo, is just a short drive from the city centre, across Sydney Harbour Bridge onto the Warringah Freeway towards Bradleys Head. Alternatively, visit Sydney Aquarium; you’ll find cheap parking near to the city centre location. Close by, you can enjoy fine cuisine at Sydney's Chinatown, just to the south of the city centre, in Haymarket.
Other areas worth a look include Paddington, which is excellent for restaurants and boasts a lively pub scene. To the east of the city centre, Kings Cross offers an edgy, inner city atmosphere with many nightclubs. And to the south, Surry Hills hosts Sydney's fashion industry and boasts good markets.
When you tire of urban life, you can also head to Sydney’s splendid beaches, such as Bondi, Coogee and Manly. Many are just 15 minutes from the city centre in a hire car, versus up to an hour on public transport.
If you are thinking of booking car hire, Sydney has an extensive network of trunk roads to make use of, with the Sydney Orbital Network featuring 10 motorways linked with freeways and expressways. These are well-maintained toll roads and hiring a car will make it quick and easy to see the sights. Unlike some other major cities, parking is also relatively plentiful. (And driving is familiar as it’s on the left – bonus!)
Secure cheap rates and the ideal vehicle type when you pre-book car rental in Sydney. You can opt to collect your car at a downtown location if you wish, but for many wanting the convenience of car hire, Sydney Airport, also known as Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD), is an ideal collection point; simply touch down, breeze through arrivals, and pop to the car-rental desk in the terminal. You could be away within minutes – and saving on the cost of taxi transfers.
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While the Sydney city area has much to offer, why not use your cheap hire car to get out and explore?
For a change of pace, take full advantage of your Sydney car hire and drive out of the city onto the Great Western Highway to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Blue Mountains and the stunning Three Sisters rock formation. It takes just 90 minutes to go from urban to extraordinary when you drive to see the Sisters.
Wine lovers are also in for a special treat during their visit to Sydney. The Hawkesbury wine region, with its historic villages and pretty wineries, is just an hour away from the city. A little further out, around two hours northwest of Sydney, there is also the famous Hunter Valley wine region. Australia's oldest wine-producing region, it is justly famed for the quality of its Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz grapes.
Other options include the Grand Pacific Drive from Sydney to Wollongong (a two-hour drive), and a trip to Brisbane, which is just 10 hours away by road. Book hotels along the way and see the best of Australia’s lovely east coast.
Alternatively, head south from Sydney towards Melbourne and the spectacular coastal drive could include a detour to Ben Boyd National Park.