Sydney Essentials:

How big is Sydney?
The urban area of Sydney covers approximately 1,600km² in the South-Eastern Australian state of New South Wales.
How many people live there?
There are approx 4.5 million people calling Sydney their home.
What are the language and currency?
Australian dollars will be in your pocket and the lingo is all English.
Anything else I need to know?
Sydney is 10 hours ahead of European standard time (GMT +10) and the international dialling code is +61.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge View of Sydney Opera House The Rocks Sydney Darling Harbour Sydney Sydney Harbour at night Sydney at night Bondi Beach Sydney Art Gallery of New South Wales Coastal views Down on Coogee Beach

Things to see in Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge
What are Sydneys top attractions?
The thing that gets people excited about Sydney is its harbour, but it’s not just any old harbour. Here you’ll find two of Sydney’s (and indeed Australia’s) best known landmarks:
The Sydney Opera House – Each year millions of tourists throng in and around this building with few and far between actually having an interest in opera. Regarded as one of the wonders of the modern world, the Sydney Opera House is one of mankind’s most famous buildings.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge – The world’s largest steel arch bridge rivals the Sydney Opera House as Sydney’s most recognisable landmark. You can walk across the top of the bridge for amazing views of the harbour, but this is quite expensive. If you’re counting the dollars then why not walk or cycle across the bridge for free!
And if I want to get out of the city for a while?
There is ample green space around the city with some great national parks but if you fancy going further afield (81km) The Blue Mountains National Park is a great place to see. Despite mountains being mentioned in the name the park is actually a large plateau which is cut into by several large rivers over an area of 2,482km². The mountains received their name due to the blue haze emitted from the eucalyptus trees.
What else is there to see around the city?
Another place to see is Darling Harbour – Just to the west of the city centre, an area almost entirely dedicated to entertainment and tourism. Formerly a derelict dockyard the area has been transformed to include many restaurants, bars, museums and clubs. Word of warning though: This area can get very busy during weekends and late night revellers take over the streets at night.
Luna Park is a large old-style theme park located close to Sydney Harbour Bridge. The park is actually heritage listed and has been open (on and off) since 1935, it is now the largest amusement park in New South Wales.
Bondi Beach is one of the world’s most famous beaches and is usually thronged with people drawn in by the surf, sand and sun. The water never gets too cold so you shouldn’t look too silly getting in, which is a good thing given that the beach is usually full of Sydney’s beautiful young things! Make sure to take heed of the flags which warn you which parts of the beach not to swim in.

Going out in Sydney

Sydney by night
Is going out going to break the bank?
A night out shouldn't cost too much with entry to most bars and clubs being free. Entry charges for live music or Dj's goes from about $5 upwards.
So, where should I go?
There are plentiful places to go after dark with a small number staying open 24hours if you don’t fancy going to sleep. For the backpackers among you I’d recommend Scubar which is unofficially Sydneys backpacker bar. There’s always something going on with the added attraction of drinks and food promotions. Wednesday nights should be reserved for a trip to The Bondi to join thousands of others looking for a good night out. Things can get pretty packed so make sure to have a plan for getting back to your accommodation! Home Nightclub is Sydneys finest and regularly sees crowds of more than 2000 revellers squeeze in past the ridiculously long queues, get here early!
Anything else?
Things to be aware of:
- Most places close at 3am but some close as early as 11pm.
- Have some form of I.D. with you as bouncers will be at the doors and will be asking for them. If you’re already quite drunk chances are you won’t get past the main door!
- Dress well. If you’re not looking respectable you may not pass the fashion polices (bouncers) requirements.
Other things to do at night include going to the theatre or concert hall, which usually attract a sizeable crowd. Tuesday nights should be reserved for the cinema though as you get a nice 50% off your ticket prices!

Eating Out in Sydney

Darling Harbour
What kind of foods can I find in Sydney?
Sydney is home to a huge multicultural mix and nowhere is this more reflected than in the food, every nationality and every type of cuisine is accounted for – if you can’t find it you’re not looking hard enough! Around every corner you’ll find something to eat and it should never get too expensive, takeaways are especially good value.
Anywhere in particular to check out?
In terms of districts to eat I’d recommend Chinatown and Haymarket. The Chinatown is the largest in Australia and also the oldest and it’s packed full of restaurants, all of which are very good value. As I’ve said Darling Harbour is also home to a number of restaurants but it’s very tourist focussed for the most part. One place you have to try though is the Sydney Fish Market. Here you’ll find a huge selection of the freshest seafood available and it’s a great place for lunch with many stalls cooking your fish for you! Another place in Darling Harbour that breaks from the norm is The Blackbird Café which serves good food at reasonable prices.
Anything else to know?
Last orders are usually taken at around 9pm so if you’re used to eating late make sure to get out for food nice and early or you may go to bed without your dinner! One more thing to wet the appetite: Australians love their mince pies, and so will you, so make sure you try one (or ten).

Transport in Sydney

A Sydney city bus
How many modes of transport are there?
There are four main modes of transport in Sydney; bus, train, taxi and ferry. The closer to the city centre you get, the better the transport gets.
Will I be needing to use public transport at all?
It depends how long you're staying in the city really. The centre is easy to walk around and many places of interest like The Rocks, Pitt St, Circular Quay (Opera House and Harbour Bridge) and Darling Harbour are all within walking distance of each other.
Are there any tickets I should look out for?
When using the trains it is advisable to buy yourself a CityHopper ticket which allows unlimited train travel for a day in the city ($7.40). There’s also a DayTripper ticket that’ll get you on to CityRail trains, buses and ferries for the day ($16).

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  • Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2011
  • Comments: 0
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