travel

Australia Guide: Sydney

For my trip to Australia my last destination was Sydney and it was the longest time I spent in one place as I chose to stay for 6 nights. 

Sydney is one of Australia’s largest cities which is known for it’s spectacular waterfront. 

Accommodation

Whilst staying in Sydney I stayed at Quay West Suites located in The Rocks area. This hotels rooms are apartment style as they have a small kitchen, lounge area, bedroom as well as a bathroom. There are some rooms which offer spectacular views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.  

This hotel is in a good location as it is easy to access the many sights that are available around the city of Sydney. You are also a short walk from the ferry terminal at Circular Quay where you are able to get a ferry to Manly, Taronga Zoo and other places. There is only one downside to staying at this hotel as it is accessed by walking up 2 steep hills as well as a set of stairs which can be tiring after a full day of exploring.

Things To Do

Sydney is a city where you will never struggle to find something to do as there are plenty of sights to visit around the city. There are also a number of places nearby which are perfect for a day trip from the city. 

One of the most famous attractions is Sydney Opera House with its distinctive sail like design which was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon. Located at Bennelong Point it’s a venue where you are able to watch various performances such as opera and ballet. Within the grounds of Sydney Opera House there are various places to eat and drink such as Bennelong, and Opera Kitchen. There are tours of the Opera House available starting from $42. If your wishing to explore the surroundings of Sydney Opera House I would recommend getting there early to avoid the crowds and you will also be able to get photos without people in them. 

Another famous attraction in Sydney is Sydney Harbour Bridge with a nickname of ‘the coathanger’ due to it’s arch based design. Visitors are able to climb this bridge where once they reach the top they can enjoy breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour, tickets for the climb start at $198. Sydney Harbour Bridge links  Sydney CBD and the North Shore as people are able to drive, walk and cycle across the bridge, there are also trains that go across the bridge. 

Former working port Circular Quay is probably one of the most recognised harbours in the world which is now used as an international shipping port, public piazza as well as being used for transport in Sydney. Located between Bennelong Point and The Rocks it is a very popular tourist spot as it boasts a number of parks, restaurants and ferry quays. Circular Quay is often known as the gateway to Sydney with its views of Sydney Opera House as well as Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Located adjacent to the the city centre you can find Darling Harbour which is a pedestrian precinct located on the outskirts of the central business district. Within Darling Harbour there is Cockle Bay which is one of the waterways making up Darling Harbour which opens into Port Jackson. Around Darling Harbour you are able to find attractions such as Madame Tussaud’s,  Sea Life and Wildlife Sydney Zoo where you are able to get close to animals such as koalas, kangaroos and sharks. Close to the zoo and aquarium is King Street Wharf which is where you are able to get a ferry which can take you to Circular Quay or Manly. On the western side of Darling Harbour across Pyrmont Bridge is the Australian National Maritime museum where you are able to climb aboard a submarine. South of Darling Harbour is the Chinese Garden of Friendship which is a tranquil haven that is filled with pathways, waterfalls and exotic plants. 

Whilst visiting Sydney a must do for me is to visit The Rocks Markets which are on Fridays 10am-3pm as well as Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm. I recommend visiting these markets as they are the perfect way to enjoy the local atmosphere as you roam around the stalls selling gourmet street food as well as jewellery, art pieces and clothing. The Rocks isn’t just about it’s weekend markets as you are able to stroll around the cobbled streets where you are able to find stores such as Aesop, Deceim and Ugg. 

Located in the central business district is The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) which is a late nineteenth century heritage listed building. The Romanesque Revival building fills a city block as it stands at 30m wide and 190m long with domes along the top. Inside the building you are able to find two mechanical clocks one features moving figures from moments in history. Originally designed as a marketplace it was used for a variety of purposes and is now used as a shopping centre you are able to find stores such as Kate Spade, Kikki K, Bath & Body Works and Coach. QVB is somewhere to visit even if you don’t wish to shop as you are able to walk around and marvel at the architecture of the building, most of the tile-work is original. 

Across from the QVB you can find Westfield shopping centre with shops such as Zara, Cotton On and Typo. Within the shopping centre there is Sydney Tower this is Sydney’s tallest structure which is open to the public and you are able to go up to the observation deck to enjoy 360 degree views across Sydney, if you go up on a clear day you may be able to see the Blue Mountains. On the day that I went up Sydney Tower the weather in Sydney was miserable so there were no views of Blue Mountains unfortunately. Tickets to go up the tower start at $24.80. 

From Circular Quay you can get a ferry to take you across to Taronga Zoo where you get a cable car once you are off the ferry to the entrance of the zoo. On the cable car ride you will be able to get your first glimpse of the elephants. Taronga Zoo is one of the most famous zoo’s in Australia as you are able to enjoy breathtaking views of the Sydney skyline from certain parts of the zoo. Home to over 4,000 animals of 350 different species across 69 acres Taronga Zoo is the largest zoo in Australia. Tickets to access the zoo start at $44 where you are able to see animals such as kangaroos, koalas, giraffes, chimpanzees, tigers and Tasmanian devil. Visitors are also able to enjoy an overnight stay at Taronga Zoo as well as intimate animal encounters. 

Other attractions across Sydney include:

  • St Mary’s Cathedral: a Roman Catholic Church located in Hyde Park
  • St Andrew’s Cathedral: a Anglican cathedral located in the central business district
  • Luna Park: heritage listed amusement park located on the northern shore of Sydney Harbour
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales: one of the largest public galleries in Australia
  • Sydney Town Hall: a late 19th century heritage listed building which houses the chambers of the Lord Mayor as well as council offices

Food

Sydney is a city where your options for food are endless as you find yourself spoilt for choice. 

On our last night in Sydney we went for a meal at Peter Gilmore’s restaurant, Bennelong which is located in Sydney Opera House. This is a restaurant I would recommend reserving a table for as it does get busy quickly. Bennelong is a fine dining restaurant which comes with a heavier price but it is worth every penny as the food here is delicious. For starters I had scallops in a xo sauce which followed by chicken in a jus with a side of garlic potatoes and then finished with a cherry lamington. Whilst dining here I didn’t take any photo’s inside which is something I regret as I was so busy soaking in the wonderful atmosphere of the restaurant as well as admiring the views across Sydney harbour. 

The Squire’s Landing is a restaurant and brewhouse set over two floors with 270 degree views of Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as Sydney Opera House. Whilst dining here I enjoyed rib eye steak which was cooked perfectly followed by a chocolate dessert which was also enjoyed with a cocktail. I would recommend visiting here for a meal or drink as the atmosphere is relaxing and you are able to enjoy spectacular views of the harbour. 

Located a short walk from our hotel was The Morrison which is the perfect place to go for a small meal after a busy day which is what we decided to do. Whilst dining here I ordered a Waldorf salad which I enjoyed with a glass of chardonnay. 

On the day that we visited the QVB we decided that we would have some lunch at Metropole Cafe. This is the perfect place to stop for a rest whilst shopping or exploring, whilst here I had a ham and cheese toasted sandwich with a twist. 

Within the grounds of Sydney Opera House there is Opera Kitchen which is a market food hall that allows you to take a seat along the waterfront whilst enjoying some food. As we had arrived at Sydney Opera House early so that we could explore the surroundings as well as take pictures before it got busy we stopped for a coffee at Opera Kitchen as well as a cake which was delicious. Opera Kitchen is open from 7.30am serving bakery treats and then from 11.30am it serves delights from Japan and Italy.

The Rocks an area which is located near to Circular Quay has over 50 different cafes and  restaurants such as:

  • Tap Rooms: a brewery, bar and restaurant with outdoor seating on the cobbles.
  • Harbourfront Seafood Restaurant 
  • Caminetto Restaurant: a quaint Italian courtyard restaurant 
  • The Cut Bar & Grill
  • Pancakes on The Rocks
  • The Tea Cosy: a quirky cafe where you are able to enjoy a cuppa with a scone whilst enjoying some knitting with the wool and needles provided on the tables.

Is Sydney somewhere you have visited before or would like to visit?

Sydney was my favourite city that I visited on my Australian trip and is somewhere that I would like to visit again.

LauraJane

At the time of this being posted we are in the middle of a pandemic, please remain safe and abide by any travel restrictions. Any further informations on travel restrictions can be found on the government website.

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