• Cityscape Bridges, beaches, botanical gardens
  • City life Get out and stay out

Sassy Sydney is a supermodel of a city – and she knows it. The eye-popping setting, sprawled around one of the world’s best looking harbours, keeps tourists slack-jawed.

Locals, however, are more likely to be found ogling fashion-forward labels in Paddington’s glam boutiques or downing cocktails in party-hard Darlinghurst. There’s a buzzy urban feel here (it’s the nation’s advertising, media and fashion hub), so visitors may find the pace frenetic, but you can also hone your surf skills at a brace of beautiful beaches. Fancy more nocturnal action? The vibrant gay scene clubs till dawn and even straights aren’t backwards in coming forwards.

Do go/Don’t go

Sydney thrives in summer, so any time from December through to March is especially lovely.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport (www.sydneyairport.com.au), 10 kilometres south of the city, is Australia’s busiest. International and domestic terminals are a four-kilometre bus or train ride apart.
  • Boats Regular ferries depart from Circular Quay (www.sydneyferries.info), with popular routes including Taronga Zoo and Manly on the North Shore, Rose Bay and Watsons Bay in the Eastern Suburbs, and Darling Harbour and Parramatta to the west. There’s a ferry information office at Wharf 4.
  • Trains Central Station is Sydney’s main rail terminus, with a network of inner-city, intercity and country destinations (www.cityrail.info).
  • Automobiles Walking around Sydney is a pleasure, and it’s compact enough that you shouldn’t need a car. If you’re planning a trip out of town though, it’s worth having your own wheels. Hire a car at the airport, which has desks for all major companies.
  • Taxis These are plentiful in Sydney and easily hailed in the street, but if you need to call one try Silver Service Cabs (13 31 00) or Premier Cabs (13 10 17). Drivers don’t expect tips but often need directions – so it’s best to have an idea of where you are going beforehand.