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Pocket Guide: Sydney

Travel guide Sydney

With its iconic bridge and spectacular opera house, Sydney is the most instantly recognisable city in Australia. A fantastic destination for a city break, and a must-see for anyone on a tour of Australia, the city boasts culture, nightlife, breathtaking architecture and easy access to the country’s outstanding coast.

Sydney was founded as a penal colony at the end of the 18th century, but quickly expanded to become one of the most important cities in the region. Today, Sydney is home to a huge variety of attractions. Spend your days exploring the city’s museums, drinking in its cafes, indulging in its outstanding cuisine or cooling off with a dip at one of its beautiful beaches.

Thanks to the wide variety of things to do in Sydney, the city appeals to holidaymakers of all ages. From backpackers and travellers on a budget to families and visitors looking for a bit of luxury, the city has something for everyone.

Where to stay in Sydney

Sydney is made up of a number of distinct neighbourhoods, all of which have something to offer. If you’re interested in shopping, fine dining and good transport links, the Central Business District may be a good choice for your stay. Busy during the day, the area can be a little quieter at night when all the bankers and professionals head home.

To be near the harbour and the world-famous opera house, choose one of the Sydney hotels in Circular Quay and The Rocks. A number of the hotels in this well-positioned area offer panoramic views of the city, making them perfect for a romantic getaway or luxury escape.

If you’re looking for nightlife and contemporary culture, Surrey Hills, Darlinghurst and Kings Cross all have a wide variety of bars, restaurants and cultural spaces. The Inner West area also has a lot to offer visitors in search of Sydney’s famous nightlife.

Alternatively, book yourself a hotel on one of Sydney’s eastern beaches and experience a different side of the city. Bondi is the best-known destination in this area, but there are lots of other beaches and small towns to explore in the area, many of which offer fast and convenient transport links to the centre of the city. Explore Bronte, Tamarama, Clovelly, Gordon Bay and Coogee to find the best beaches in the area.

Hotels in Sydney

As you’d expect from a city of its size, Sydney has a huge variety of hotels to choose from. From high-end 5 star hotels that come complete with sweeping views of the harbour to affordable guesthouses that cater to backpackers and travellers on a budget, a range of hotels can be found across the city.

Many of the luxury hotels in Sydney are located close to the harbour in Circular Quay and The Rocks. The Central Business District is also home to a number of high-end establishments and you’ll find some fantastic upscale hotels close to the city’s coast. Unsurprisingly, the Central Business District is also where you’ll find most of the hotels geared towards professional travellers, with families and couples generally choosing to stay in the city’s livelier areas.

Affordable hotels are dotted across Sydney although most are located in the city’s popular nightlife hubs. Some affordable hotels, and hotels catering for families, can also be found close to the eastern beaches.

As well as high-end resorts and backpacker friendly hotels, Sydney has a huge choice of guesthouses, B&Bs, hostels, self-catering apartments and holiday lets available. This wide variety of accommodation options ensures there’ll be something to suit your needs perfectly during your stay in Sydney.

What to do during your stay in Sydney

One of the most popular things to do in Sydney is the Harbour Bridge Experience. Giving you the chance to climb the world famous structure and take in panoramic views from the top, it’s a must-do during your time in the city. The city’s other iconic sight is its unique opera house. Take in a show in one of the venue’s many theatres and studios or simply enjoy the iconic building from the outside.

As Sydney is on the coast, a stay in the city is the perfect opportunity to experience another Australian institution, surfing. Head to Bondi or one of the other eastern beaches where you’ll find a number of surf schools and rental shops. If you’re not a confident surfer, it’s better to go out with an instructor as the waters around Sydney can be unpredictable.

If you want to see a little more of the coast around Sydney, you can explore the numerous footpaths that link the nearby beaches. Or if you’d rather stay in the city, you can spend your days discovering Sydney’s excellent museums and galleries.

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If you like Sydney then why not explore some of Australia's other magnificent cities? Book great deals on hotels in Melbourne and Brisbane hotels with Expedia.