Nevermind the media reports of Australian bushfires, etc. Sydney truly is a city to visit, down under. Situated on Australia’s southeastern coast, it rests on one of Earth’s largest natural harbors. The city is the capital of New South Wales and you may know from when it played host to the Summer Olympics, back in 2000.
What to Do in Sydney
You can start off your visit to Sydney by visiting the very famous Taronga Zoo. Opened way back in 1916, the zoo is home to over 4,000 Australian and international animals and is a must-stop if you’re traveling with kids.
If it’s waves you’re seeking, the famed Bondi Beach is under 20 minutes away (by car). If you go, we recommend grabbing drinks at Bondi Icebergs. No guide to Sydney, Australia is complete without mention of this beach.
For a more spontaneous adventure, drive along the famed Grand Pacific Drive. One experience that’ll really get you off the ground is with Southern Biplanes. Here, pilots provide aerial views of the coast and country, along with stomach-in-mouth moments when they start performing barrel rolls and flips.
Where to Eat in Sydney
Once you feel the lunchtime hunger pangs, head over to Parlour Burger. Specializing in top-quality beef, their Black Widow Burger and duck fat chips are must-orders. If you’re obligated to visit the Opera House, stop in for a coffee or beer at the Opera Bar. But beware: the restaurant’s spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour, live music and great raw bar make it nearly impossible to leave.
Another option looking out over the Harbour is Quay. There, chef Peter Gilmore makes authentic yet innovative meals like steamed pink snapper with shaved southern squid. For those craving authentic and damn good craft beer, Rocks Brewing Co should be your next stop, even if it’s a short drive away. Each of their brews, from their Boxer Red Ale to their Hangman Pale Ale, tell a genuine story of the brewery’s difficult past. You can always try drinking a whiskey if you’d prefer.
Once the sun starts to set, head over to Mr. Wong. The lauded two-story restaurant serves a Cantonese-style menu that’s influenced by classic Chinese cuisine. Order their dim sum platter and you can’t go wrong.
Where to Stay in Sydney
Before adequately acquainting yourself with the capital city, check into QT Sydney. The 200-room boutique hotel is a confluence of the city’s old and new. It’s set within the historic Gowings department store and State Theatre building, with an Art Deco- and Gothic-inspired interior.
An oasis for art, fashion and design lovers, the QT is within walking distance of the Opera House, Hyde Park and other downtown must-sees.
For the outdoorsy travelers looking for something a bit more off the cuff, crash at Q Station. Situated in Sydney Harbour National Park, on the grounds of the historic Quarantine Station, the hotel has a bit of rustic charm.
A range of outdoor walks and activities allows guests to explore the national park, and historic and paranormal tours are offered to shed light on the area’s opaque past.
Travel from Sydney
As enticing as Sydney can be, there are also many adventures to be had just outside the city’s limits. Just north of the city, guests can catch a ferry to Manly Beach and the quaint town of Manly. With small shops and local restaurants, the beach town provides the perfect low-key getaway.
For those looking for raw nature, drive south. You’ll find Fitzroy Falls a little over 90 minutes south of the city. The epic 266-foot waterfall is the grand attraction in Morton National Park, but there are copious nature walks and stunning vistas awaiting as well. Instead of heading south, drive your car west to the Blue Mountains.
The national park boasts epic panoramic views, hiking trails, the famed Three Sisters sandstone rock formation and copious oil-rich eucalyptus trees. But if renting a car is too much for just 72 hours, take a leisurely walk around the beautiful inner-city suburb of Potts Point.
There’s your quick and easy guide to Sydney, Australia – enjoy your trip!