Visit this hustling city for World Heritage sites, chilling on the iconic beaches or marvel at the impressive architectural feats
From the blue waters of the harbour to the mystical mountains, Sydney is a cosmopolitan hub and arguably Australia’s most famous city.
The New South Wales capital offers everything from beachside lifestyles to foodie mecca.
Looking past the world-renowned opera house or the surfers paradise and find a place that is shaped by indigenous history and aboriginal art.
Getting from the airport:
The city centre is around a 20 minute-drive from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. The easiest way to reach the centre though is via the train. Catch the T8 Airport and South line that stops at stations on the city circle.
The travel time between the city and airport is around 10-15 minutes, with services running approximately every 10 minutes.
Sydney has an expansive public travel network, that includes buses, trains, ferries and light rail. In order to travel on any of these, you need to purchase an Opal card and top it up before your first journey.
You can buy these cards from participating newsagents, post offices, convenience stores and supermarkets. Just look for the Opal symbol.
You can also purchase an Opal card when you arrive at domestic and international airport terminal stations.
To use your Opal card, tap your card on the reader when you board your selected mode of transport and be sure to tap the reader again when you disembark.
With an Adult Opal card you can travel as much as you want on metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail services within the Opal network and for no more than $16.10 a day.
An adult Opal single trip ticket fare costs $4.50.
Tip: The Opal network includes services in the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter Valley, Illawarra and the Southern Highlands.
Ferry services operate around Sydney Harbour from Circular Quay to eight main destinations. An adult Opal single trip ticket fare costs $7.60. You can catch the ferry from: Manly, Taronga Zoo, Parramatta River, Cross Harbour, Neutral Bay, Mosman Bay, Double Bay and Cockatoo Island. Click here for a network map.
Tip: To get to Manly beachside, catch the non-stop F1 service.
The City Circle is the easiest way to get around the city centre. This train network that runs a loop around the city and stops at several stations, such as Central, Town Hall, Circular Quay and Martin Place.
If you’re staying north of the bridge, you can travel across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the lower north shore on the T1 North Shore and Northern Line that stops at Central, Wynyard and Town Hall before travelling north across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Many buses travel through the city from Wynyard and Circular Quay, and beyond to Sydney’s suburbs, beaches and regional areas.
Sydney’s Big Bus Tour allows you to stop at 33 destinations across the city, with services running every 20-30 minutes, first departing from Circular Quay. You can choose either a 24 or 48-hour ticket. Tickets start from $52.50 per adult.
What to see:
The Sydney Opera House was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2007 and is one of the most iconic buildings in the world.
Located on Bennelong Point, the house has over 40 shows a week and you can visit for free to explore the foyers inside the building.
However, to explore further, you can buy a guided tour that runs from 9.00am – 5.00pm and lasts around 1 hour. It’s advised to book in advance and tickets sell quickly. The cost for a ticket is $42 per adult but you can get a 12% discount if booking online.
You can catch public transport (bus, train, ferry) to Circular Quay and enjoy a six-minute walk to the Opera House.
Tip: Take a great picture on the steps with the sails in the background.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes as the walking tour includes 200+ steps.
Harbour Bridge Climb:
Get a wonderful 360-degree panoramic views of the city on this climb. Containing 1,332 steps, the climb starts at the base below the Bradfield Highway.
After a walk below the road-deck, visitors climb up four ladders to the start of the upper arch. Climbers then travel along the Bridge’s upper arch on the Opera House side until hitting the top.
Climbers can buy tickets for dawn, day, twilight or night.
Tickets start from $174 per adult.
To get there, catch a ferry, bus or train to Circular Quay.
Tip: Ensure that you have eaten before your climb and you’re well-hydrated as the tour can last up to 3.5 hours. Wear comfortable, enclosed rubber-soled shoes, sunglasses and comfortable clothing.
This world-famous beach of fine sand is enjoyable all year round and is 30 minutes from Town Hall Station by train and bus.
You can dine in the award-winning restaurants that boast great views at both ends of the beach, which stretches for 1.5 km or enjoy the relaxed cafés on Campbell Parade.
To get to Kings Cross and Bondi Junction (the gateway to Bondi Beach), catch the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra train line that goes from Central, Town Hall and Martin Place stations. Ig going by bus, catch the 380 or the 333.
Tip: You’ll find public showers on the beach.
Tip: Enjoy the views along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk.
Tip: In October and November, join the crowds at Sculpture by the Sea, an outdoor exhibition of artworks along a 2 km coastal walk
Sydney’s Chinatown holds many different stores and restaurants and has become a tourist hotspot. There are many shops selling different things that are located on either sides of the streets. Grocery shops and markets sell an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Visit for the smells, bustling streets and vivid lights.
Tip: The city’s light rail network goes from Central Station to Dulwich Hill and is the most convenient way to get to Chinatown.
From Echo Point Lookout at Katoomba, it is here where you can see the iconic Three Sisters.
The Blue Mountains get their name from the natural blue haze created by vast eucalypt forests in this World Heritage area. Additionally, droplets of oil released from the trees mix with water vapour and sunlight to produce the distinctive colour.
The Aboriginal Blue Mountains Walkabout tour includes a challenging off-track walk but visitors can see incredible Aboriginal art and ceremonial sites, while listening to Dreamtime stories.
A range of accommodation options are available if you plan to spend more than a day exploring the Blue Mountains.
If you are planning on travelling to the Blue Mountains, catch the Blue Mountains line from Central. The journey takes around 2 hours.
Alternatively, bus companies such as AAT Kings and Gray Line provide tours from hotels in the city centre.
Tip: Tours run daily from Sydney and Katoomba to Jenolan Caves.
Tip: Tea lovers and antique hunters should visit Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum and Tearooms in the pretty village of Leura. The village is 90 minutes’ drive west of Sydney.
The train journey from Sydney to Leura railway station is two hours. Bygone Beautys is a stroll from the railway station.
Checking out C & J.