- 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.
Woolloomooloo Wharf, just a short walk from the CBD, offers the ultimate Sydney experience. Designed to accommodate the fleece-carrying merchant ships that once provided the backbone of Australia’s export industry, the dock now welcomes visitors in search of a little luxury and sensational food. With its multitude of alfresco waterfront restaurants and bars, it’s a prime haunt for celeb-spotting and people watching.
- 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.
- Tipping culture
- Tips aren't expected, but 10 per cent will do nicely.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Shops are generally open 9am–6pm Monday–Wednesday, and until 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays, but close earlier (around 5pm) at the weekend. Restaurants start to fill up around 7pm and bars usually keep serving until around 2am.
- Packing tips
- Swimmers, flip-flops and anything flashy – Sydneysiders aren’t shy of strutting their stuff.
- Recommended reads
- Richard Flanagan’s The Unknown Terrorist, set in post-9/11 Sydney, tells the terrifying tale of a pole dancer’s fall in seedy, strobe-lit Kings Cross. If you’re a fan of the Sydney Opera House, curl up with A Tribute to Jørn Utzon by photographer Katarina Stube and the architect’s son Jan Utzon.
- Regional specialities
- Sydney has blossomed into one of the great restaurant capitals of the world, offering every imaginable cuisine, but it’s perhaps best known for pioneering Pacific Rim and Mod Oz dishes. Quality is high and is delivered at reasonable prices.
- Australian dollar (AU$).
- Time zone
- Dialling codes
- The international code for Australia is 61; the state code for New South Wales is 02.
- Do go/don't go
- Sydney thrives in summer, so any time from December through to March is especially lovely.
Don't go home without...
posing in a pavement café in boho Darlinghurst, the ideal spot for a skinny latte or fattening cocktail. Accessorise with trainers, a bicycle or a small dog for a sporty but chic look.