Top 18 travel tips for Sydney, Australia is the world’s sixth-largest country with an area of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi), but a small population of just 26 million, mostly living in urbanized city. Canberra is the nation’s capital, while the largest city is Sydney, and other major cities are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. The middle part of Australia is mostly inhabitant or has very less density due to its 10 deserts hot climate and is dry with little or no rainfall. All big cities are situated near the sea or 50 – 100 miles from the beach.
Ten Australia deserts
Listed from greatest size to smallest, these are Australia’s ten deserts that total up to 1,371,000 sq.km or 18% of Australia and about 35% of the Australian continent receives so little rain
- Great Victoria Desert (348,750sq.km)
- Great Sandy Desert (267,250sq.km)
- Tanami Desert (184,500sq.km)
- Simpson Desert (176,500sq.km)
- Gibson Desert (156,000sq.km)
- Little Sandy Desert (111,500sq.km)
- Strzelecki Desert (80,250sq.km)
- Sturt Stony Desert (29,750sq.km)
- Tirari Desert (15,250sq.km)
- Pedirka Desert (1250sq. km)
I visited Sydney back in Nov 2015, springtime, September to November & March to May are the best times to visit Australia. Most of the tourists opt for these months to visit Australia. The weather during these seasons is neither too hot nor too cold that making it perfect to have a walk around Australia. I have a friend living in Sydney so accommodation is taken care. She recommends getting an Opal card with a minimum top-up of A$20. You can use an Opal card for an Opal fare on metro/train, bus, ferry or light rail services in Sydney and surrounds with Opal Pay, just tap with your Opal card for a fast, convenient way to pay your fare.
Opera House and Harbor Bridge
Sydney have lots of attraction to see, here are some recommendations, top on the list and well known throughout the world is the Opera House which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the star attraction on the glittering harbor. This graceful building, shaped like shells or billowing sails, perches on a finger of land surrounded by water. Second on the list is Sydney Harbour Bridge (you can see from slides above) built in 1932 was the world’s largest steel arch bridge till today connecting north and south shores in a single curve rising 134 meters above the waters. Besides 8 lane highway its also run two railway lines. You can stroll across on a walkway or if you are daring enough and not afraid of height, try this spectacular bridge climb, there are tours that takes you up to 134 meters summit. You may be shivering once on top but the view is rewarding. Also don’t miss out on one of the most popular things to do here and the Sydney waterfront setting by hopping on their Harbor Cruises from Circular Quay, their city’s main ferry terminal that takes you on cruise nearby, there are many wharves that you can alight, like Sydney Olympic Park and Kissing Point (pictures on above slides) and other prime spots like Manly, Watsons Bay and Taronga Park Zoo. If you happen to be here between May to November, another interesting trip you can explore is Sydney Whale Watching Cruise where they sail you to the open ocean on a custom-built catamaran with large windows. You may often encounter dolphins, sea birds and other marine animals during the 2.5 hours tour. For those who are willing to stretch their wallet a bit for a special experience in Sydney, can book a 3-course gourmet lunch at Cottage Point Inn by seaplane tour that includes a scenic flight that provides an excellent perspective on the iconic sights of Sydney Harbour before landing before your seaplane gently lands near the restaurant’s dock. Read more about Lunch at Cottage Point Inn by Seaplane from Sydney 2021 . In the evening, you can experience Sydney Harbour by joining an all-inclusive Dinner Cruise to enjoy the beautiful harbor view with a 3-course dining experience and wine
Darling Harbour, Madame Tussaud, Sydney Zoo
Not forgetting another hot spot nearby, while you are here, is Darling Harbour, which is a waterfront pedestrian area filled with restaurants, shops, museums, exhibitions and entertainment which include Madame Tussaud, Sydney Zoo and Sea Life Aquarium which contain the world’s largest collection of Australian marine life. There are also the Powerhouse Museum which offers exhibits on science, technology, design and history and the Australian National Maritime Museum featuring past the naval defense of the nation. A replica of Captain Cook’s ship also docks here for the nautical-minded history buffs (picture above). Other attractions here include IMAX and 9D theater, harbor jet boat rides, simulated flights and racing car adventures. Within walking distance from here, you can visit a Romanesque-style Queen Victoria Building built between 1893 and 1898, this elegant building is crowned by high central dome surrounded by 20 smaller ones. If you want to see the Sydney skyline, head to 309 meters high Sydney Tower that rises from the busy Centre point shopping mall. There is an observation deck at the top as well as a glass-floor platform. Enjoy panoramic views while having a meal at one of the revolving restaurants or cafes. Plan your next vacation here 12go.asia or Trip.com
For beach lovers, you can take a bus (A$2-4 around 40 min) cheapest option but slowest or by train (A$4-7 for 20 min) or taxi (A$28-35 about 10 min) from Sydney town. Bondi Beach beckons with its great surf, café scene, and cosmopolitan vibe. The water here is pretty cool, my leg shivers when it touches the seawater but some still dive in. For amazing ocean views, take the coastal walk along the cliffs from Bondi to Coogee. Other ocean beaches you can visit include Cronulla (the only one easily accessible by train from the city), Bronte, Tamarama, and Maroubra. A 30-minute ferry ride from the city, Manly is another favorite seaside destination with its beachfront promenade, netted ocean pool, and excellent shops and restaurants. Further north from the city, surfers will find some fantastic locations like Collaroy, Dee Why, and Narrabeen.
Sydney Fish Market
This Sydney Fish Market located at Blackwattle Bay foreshore, is just a short 4 km from Opera House or just 1.5km from Darling Harbor, you can catch a cab here are if you prefer a little exercise, just walk. It is the 3rd largest fish market in the world started in 1966. It sells a whole lot of marine species from fishes to crabs to lobsters (you can see from slides above). They also offer cooked seafood, almost everything you can order and ask them to cook or buy ready cook (cheaper). I enjoyed my delicious and rather expensive lunch (A$70+) with wife there.
Other attractions in Sydney which you can explore
Barangaroo Reserve – a four-minute walk from Wynyard station, and you can also take a ferry direct to the new Barangaroo Wharf, this is an urban renewal project transforming container terminal into walking and cycling tracks, shops, restaurants and exhibition space opened in 2015. You take a stroll at Wulugul Walk which has a scenic waterfront promenade that stretches 2 kilometers between Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour. You may be interested to join an Aboriginal cultural tour here to learn about their rich indigenous heritage here.
The Rocks, a fantastic base for sightseeing is the city’s historic district, with its spectacular harbor views, heritage-listed buildings, shops, museums, galleries, and courtyard cafés. A historic area was once home to the Gadigal aboriginal people and later became the country’s first site of European settlement. Rocks Discovery Museum, reminds the area’s fascinating transformation from traditional aboriginal lands to convict slums to tourist hot spots.
Taronga Zoo – Your entrance ticket lets you enjoy close-up encounters with iconic Aussie natives such as the koala, kangaroo, and platypus and other animals from around the world, plus superb views of the Sydney skyline with the Sky Safari cable car, which gives you the chance to look down into the animal enclosures and enjoy sweeping views of Sydney Harbour Bridge Highlights include the Lemur Walk-Through, Koala Encounter, and Seal Show. From the city, buses to the zoo depart from Wynyard or you can hop aboard a ferry at Circular Quay.
George Street – here is where the city’s major high-rise office blocks, shops, and historic buildings converge together the elegant Romanesque-style Queen Victoria Building, and plenty of high-end stores, designer boutiques and jewelry stores. Nearby, the Sydney Town Hall (1869) is a major city landmark sporting a medley of architectural styles. Another architectural standout is the neo-Gothic St. Andrew’s Cathedral, completed and consecrated in 1868.
Hyde Park – as the name indicate is a sanctuary of sprawling lawns, fig trees with ample picnic spots and a bronze Archibald Fountain. At one end, there are 3 fine Georgian buildings, namely Hyde Park Barracks, St. James Church and Supreme Court built by convict labor between 1817-1819. Australian Museum sits on the east side fills with the largest collection of the country natural history.
Art Gallery of New South Wales – most distinguished art museum that houses a collection of works from European and Asian artists inside a building that dates back from 1885. It also keeps one of the largest collections of aboriginal art in Australia. After admiring all the masterpieces, you can also relax at the café or restaurant, or shop at the gallery gift shop.
St. Mary’s Cathedral (1868-82) – opposite Hyde Park, this neo-Gothic style Catholic Church is a symbol of the spiritual beginnings in Australia and the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney. Topped by twin spires, and its imposing façade reflects the design of Notre Dame in Paris. Intricate stained glass windows cast beautiful patterns of light inside the cathedral. Christmas festive season is an especially good time to visit, when the cathedral is adorned with lights and decorations.
Chinatown – Just 800 meters from Darling Harbor, you can walk over in less than 10 minutes. Being Chinese, of course I don’t miss out on this place. I visited and had lunch at one of the restaurants here. You can shop for Chinese specialty items or feast on their Asian cuisine. The entrance and exit were framed by lion gates, this small district lies in the pedestrian zone of Dixon Street. If you happen to be here on Friday, catch up on their night market that serves everything from dim sum to Vietnamese pho to teppanyaki.
Sydney and Bondi Hop-on Hop-off Tour – if you don’t want to walk, hop on a double-decker bus sightseeing tour to discover the highlights of Sydney and Bondi Beach. The bus would take you around top destinations like Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Darling Harbour and Bondi Beach, choice of 1 day or 2-day ticket
Blue Mountains Day Trip – if you like nature, you can join a small group tour to this majestic World Heritage Blue Mountain full-day tour from Sydney where you can hop on board the Scenic Railway to enjoy the spectacular Blue Mountains view plus other sites like Three Sisters and Jamison Valley. Also visit the Featherdale Wildlife Park to see kangaroos, koalas and other Australian animals. Later can cruise by boat back to Sydney Harbour on Parramatta River while enjoying your lunch along the way.
Hunter Valley Wine Tour – join a small group tour and taste the fine wines and culinary delights of Australia’s famous Hunter Distillery. Enjoy tours and wine tastings at the region’s prestigious wineries as well as sample local cheeses and chocolates.
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