holidays in Sydney, Australia
favourite urban attraction is undoubtedly the city of Sydney, with one of the most pleasant year round climates and
sights to impress even the most jaded traveller, such as the Opera House and Harbour
when viewed from the lovely, sqwawking Botanical
The city is vibrant and dynamic yet still
laid back with shops and restaurants galore, old men in tight
shorts and a booming nightlife.
On the north coast are some pretty vacant coastal sunspots up to Palm Beach as well as trendy beaches
such as Bondi and Manly with their surfers, swimmers and bustling promenades to complete
the Australian ideal.
• it is not cheap; expect to pay as much as in some European cities.
• Sydney beach waters are not warm, even in mid summer.
• the suburbs are a bungalow and barbie burntopia stretching forever...well, until the Blue Mountains get in the way.
• truly cultural offerings, like opera
and theatre, are good but not in big supply.
Jan-Feb for heat, swimming and excellent partying/festivals, or
March, April, Oct, Nov for less crowded sight-seeing,
though clouds and rain are not unusual any time. Expect Nov-Jan
temperatures to head into the 40s occasionally.
Worst: June-July. Even in winter (June,
July) nights are rarely below 10C but it may be damp, cool and non-beachy,
plus crowded with holidaymakers who don't know better.
Skiing July-Sept. in the mountains.
Things to do
Sydney Opera House is a must (free music
recitals on Sunday afternoons). Try an opera if you can get a ticket,
or just walk around it and savour the views.
Walk or climb the Harbour
Bridge. The climb of
1.5kms (1mile) along the arched span - 134 metres above the water
- uses safety lines and will scare the bejesus out of most but costs
silly money; only over 12s. Some visitors
think the climb is a 2.5 hour waste of time.
The Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens are for plant and bird lovers (is the cockatoo the noisiest bird
on the planet?) or just people escaping from crowds, concrete and
Catch a ferry to Manly for great views
of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Sydney's regular water environment
and on to funky beach life and great surfing on the big beach.
Visit the cool bars and live bands in Paddington and the funky markets in the 'alternative'
areas such as Newtown and Glebe for a taste of Sidney's subculture.
Stroll Darling Harbour for post modern family oriented shopping and entertainment - touristy but well done, especially the Aquarium.
The Rocks, at the south end of the
Harbour Bridge is not only a over-restored historic
area but also arguably Sydney's best market, great for souvenirs.
Oxford Street is Sydney's top entertainment area and perhaps prime target
for a wild night out, whatever your preferences might be.
And if you can make it in February, well, it's the wackiest time
of all, the Gay Mardi Gras.
Macquarie St is good for lovers of
historical buildings and stories.
Woolahra's Queen Street has some stunning
terraced houses, art galleries and antiques shops.
Bondi (picture top right) is
a must-see beach, not far by bus or train, offering surfing, stylish
off-beach services and a wonderful coastal walk, especially 1-14
November during Sculpture by the Sea, or
September during the kite festival. Everything necessary is rentable.
There is no shortage of spectacular helicopter
trips, at a staggeringly high price of course.
There's masses of choice of hotels in Sydney, though best to book ahead for
the Christmas - February premium season. Backpackers and Flashpackers
are especially well catered for, though space is not cheap.
Bugbog Australia Guides:
Australia introduction, Melbourne
Guide Pictures, Cairns
Jan 8-30, Sydney Festival, a solid
arts event though lacking the mad, bad Fringe that makes Edinburgh
so bizarre. Very little street action, regular theatres mainly.
26, Australia Day, nationwide
but especially lively in Darling Harbour, with free outdoor shows,
regattas and a lively night spectacle.
1st Fri of Feb-early March, Sydney Mardi Gras.
A huge and deservedly famous celebration of gaiety in all artistic
spheres. Fun for straights too!
June, 1st Sat/Sun, Manly Food & Wine Festival.
Oct, 1st Sat, Sleaze Ball. An unbelievably
November, 1-14, Sculpture by the Sea, Sydney.
An extensive display on Bondi's gorgeous coastal path.
Dec 26, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race,
a great harbour spectacle.
Dec 31, New Year's Eve Fireworks. A
Dec 31, Sydney Pride, New Year's Eve
The most convenient way to get around Sydney's outlying attractions is to rent a car as
public transport is limited and roads are usually empty so it's easy and pleasant to scoot around, take time when you feel like it or disappear in a cloud of dust if the sight is a dud.
- The Blue Mountains and its weird rock formations, caves and waterfalls are an hour
or two away by train/car, though don't expect many kangaroos to
come bouncing up to you. Possible activities include hiking,
climbing, white-water rafting, and canyoning.
Mountainous Katoomba is one of the
Mountains' primo tourist targets, offering views and activities
galore. 2 hours from Sydney. A paddle boat runs through the Nepean Gorge of the Blue Mountains
- About thirty excellent beaches are
within the metropolitan area, including Manly,
a lovely ferry-ride across Sydney Harbour.
- Beach lovers who wonder if there
is life after Bondi should walk a while south on the delightful coastal path to Tamarama, Clovelly, Bronte
and Coogee where they'll find the answer is 'yes'.
- The Royal National
Park (30kms/19mls) is a massive old park offering
varied activities from bird-watching to surfing.
- Botany Bay National Park (50
mins drive) is much smaller than the Royal (above) but provides
excellent walks, beaches and sea views.
65km (40mls) north has an 'Old Sydney Town' with actors and street
theatre, 200 year old Aboriginal engravings at Bulgandry and
some superb surf and schools a mere 15kms away.
Skiing in the Snowy
Mountains and Mount Kosciuszko National Park from July-Sept
and hiking, fishing, golfing in the summer. Roughly equidistant
between Melbourne and Sydney, about 5 hours drive.
Australia wine buffs will enjoy visiting Hunter
Valley's 50 wineries and their free tastings, about 2 hours
north of Sydney. Don't drive back!
Coffs Harbour is good for markets,
beaches and rainforest; close by Oz standards but at 640kms (400mls)
is not exactly a morning's drive away.
The city resident's eating habits have altered recently, going for
less posh, more value and more often - but still quality grub.
Asian restaurants have been particularly good at supplying these
The good news is that tasty, healthy Pacific
Rim cuisine - especially seafood dishes - is diverse, reasonable
value and easily accessible; the bad is that stylish creativity
can be in short supply.
Bondi and Manly are great for breakfast on the beach.
Classical Music: at the Opera House
Dance/Opera: Sydney Opera Company and Ballet
at the Opera House.
Live Music & Clubs: All over the
place but especially Manly for Jazz Festivals, Oxford St and Paddington
for the popular clubs and pubs and gays.
Check The Metro section of Sydney Morning Herald and free weeklies
for info on live music.
The Maritime Museum and Powerhouse Museum in Darling Harbour are worth a visit.
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Sydney Map | Australia
From Sydney to Melbourne on a direct route is 963 kms (600 miles), taking about 9 hours. Alternatively choose the beautiful coast road, with endless views of beaches, lakes, national parks, wildlife and some cute little resort towns en route. This is 1160kms (719 miles) long and takes about 14 hours.
On the way some of the best sights are Croajingolong National Park; the southernmost point of Australia at Wilson's Promontory - with attendant wildlife and panoramic scenery; the Phillip Island Penguin Parade at dusk when thousands of the little chaps head for their burrows. It's a hoot.
Sydney to Brisbane is 1010 kms (672 miles), taking about 11 hours.
Sydney to Canberra is 288 kms (178 miles), taking about 3 hours.
Sydney to Cairns is 2730 kms (1,695 miles), taking about 32 hours.
Sydney to Alice Springs is 2850 kms (1,770 miles), taking about 32 hours.
Sydney to Darwin is 3991 kms (2,478 miles), taking about 43 hours.
Sydney to Perth is 4110 kms (2,552 miles), taking about 44 hours.
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