Sydney Travel Guide

Sydney is beautiful, blessed with so much natural beauty. The harbour, one of the deepest natural harbours in the world, will hold you spellbound as you look at its beauty and the activity happening on and around it. The best way to appreciate the harbour is to be on it and feeling part of it.

Sydney’s climate is so wonderful you will want to be outdoors discovering all she has to offer. The beauty of this city will surprise you at every turn. Perhaps it is a glimpse of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (affectionately call The Coat Hanger) or the tips of the sails of the Opera House, an old pub in The Rocks oozing with history, the Sydney Tower rising above it all, Luna Park laughing down at us and Bondi Beach just bugging you to jump in and have a surf.

The two main day tours from Sydney are to the Blue Mountains, renowned for its natural beauty or to the Hunter Valley, to taste their wonderful range of wines. If your passion is dolphins then a day trip to either Jervis Bay or Port Stephens to get up close and personal with them, will be for you. Sydney and her surrounds are also great places to view the humpback whales during their migration. The season is from May – August as they head north and from late August to December, will see them heading south back to Antarctica with their calves.

The vibrant food scene and the fabulous shopping are two other major drawcards for the city. The city is full of great shopping centres, arcades with boutiques and the choice of great restaurants is overwhelming. Like all cosmopolitan cities there are suburbs which are renowned for dining and shopping. Surrey Hills is one such area, Paddington, Bondi, Double Bay, Woollahra are are others and that is only on the south side of the bridge!

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Sydney quick links and popular ‘Things to See and Do’

Sydney Weather

What’s the Sydney Weather like?

Summer (Dec – Feb): Min 18°C Max 26°C
Avg monthly rainfall 98mm Avg rain days per month 12

Autumn (Mar – May): Min 17°C Max 25°C
Avg monthly rainfall 126mm Avg rain days per month 13

Winter (Jun – Aug): Min 9°C Max 18°C
Avg monthly rainfall 79mm Avg rain days per month 11

Spring (Sep – Nov): Min 12°C Max 23°C
Avg monthly rainfall 76mm Avg rain days per month 11

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Sydney Public Transport


There is a range of apps for accessing Sydney public transport.

Covering fares, timetables, traffic apps and apps to compare public transport to driving.


If it is on the harbour then you can most likely catch a Ferry there. (Ferry Info). Circular Quay is the main Ferry terminal with ferries normally running from 6am to 1 am servicing Darling Harbour, Manly, Mosman Bay, Neutral Bay, Parramatta Taronga Zoo and Watson’s Bay.


Most areas of Sydney are serviced by train, with connections to popular destinations including the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley. (Train Network). As with any large city trains can be congested in peak hours. Sydney Airport is serviced by the train network with an additional fee payable. (Next Train Departure)


With frequent stops, connections with train and ferry services buses are an ideal way to get around Sydney. Buses are the only public transport option direct to Bondi Beach (Public Buses)


Taxis are a convenient method for point to point travel in Sydney. Throughout Australia dialling 131008 will put you in touch with the nearest Taxi service. Taxis can also be pre-booked.

Opal Card

The only paper tickets on sale from 1st January 2016 are single trip tickets for Ferries, Buses, Trains and the Light rail with return paper tickets not available for Buses.

You can buy and top up your Opal card throughout Sydney (Opal Retailers), and you must tap on and tap off using the Opal card reader, except for the Manly ferry as it only has one stop. With an Opal card there is a Daily, Weekly and Sunday cap, excluding Sydney airport, so it makes a cost effective way to get around the city. (Opal Card)

Light Rail

The light rail network runs from Central station in the CBD through Wentworth Park, Rozelle Bay to Dulwich Hill (Light Rail). The light rail operates from 6am to 11 pm or midnight on Fridays with 24 hour services from central to Star Casino.

 Car Rental

Sydney is serviced by many car rental companies, as with any large city be prepared for congestion delays during peak hours. (Vroom Vroom Vroom)

Travellers Autobarn Campervans Australia

Hire a campervan, campers or station wagons or buy one with a guaranteed buyback from 6 Australia wide locations: Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Perth and Melbourne. Travellers Autobarn (est. 1993) is a ‘one stop shop’ for the backpackers and budget travellers planning their self drive trip around Australia or simply up the coast in a campervan. (Travellers Autobarn)

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Sydney Major Events

New Years Eve

31st December, 2018

More than a million people head to the harbour to watch Australia’s most famous NYE celebrations. Get in early for the best vantage spot and make sure you have a view of the centre piece of the display the Sydney Harbour bridge.

More information: Sydney NYE

Tropfest Australia – 2019

9th February 2019

This is the world’s largest short film festival and it is FREE to attend. The event day and Trop JR are both held at Parramatta Park and are the highlights of this week long film festival.

More information Tropfest Australia

Sydney Mardi Gras – 2019

15 February to 3rd March, 2019

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival runs from three weeks from the February and features sports, visual and performing arts and the most amazing parties. The signature event is the Mardi Gras Parade and Party

More information: Mardi Gras

Six Foot Track Marathon

9th March, 2019

This 45 km walking trail becomes a running track for one day a year as competitors race from The Explorer’s Tree to Jenolan Caves. Public Access to the track is restricted during the race.

More information Six Foot Track Marathon

The Longines Golden Slipper

23rd March, 2019

This is the world’s richest race for two year olds, with a $3.5 Million prize pool in 2017. The race is run over 1,200M and is Sydney’s biggest race day. Supported by Group 1 races and with live music and trackside entertainment it makes for a great day.

More information:  Golden Slipper

Royal Easter Show

12th to 23rd April, 2019

Come along and be a Junior Farm Hand or watch the sheep dog trials. For a metropolitan show the Royal Easter Show works hard to make sure that for two weeks your agricultural side is well catered for.

More information Royal Easter Show

Sydney Comedy Festival

24th April to 19 May, 2019

The stellar line up for the 2018 Sydney Comedy Festival continues to grow. Stephen K Amos, Ross Noble, Jonathon Pie and Urzila Carlson are all set to perform, along with a range of up and coming new talents in comedy. Shows occur at various venues across Sydney with the more popular tours selling out well in advance, so get your tickets early.

More information: Comedy Festival


To be announced for 2019

Most people come to Vivid to see the light shows, but there is so much on offer. There are three parts to Vivid, Light, Music and Ideas. Each year leaders in their field descend on Sydney to share their insights and ideas against a festive backdrop.

More information: Vivid

NRL – State of Origin – Game 2

To be announced for 2019

Sydney is hosting just one State of Origin in 2018 and for the first time in almost 20 years the game is being played on a Sunday. As part of the revised schedule the kick off has been moved forward to 7.45pm.

More information: NRL

Supercars – Sydney Motorsport Park Supersprint

To be announced for 2019

To add to the challenge of this demanding track the 2018 event will be run under lights. This track provides plenty of overtaking opportunities and as the track temperature drops as night descends there will be plenty of action for fans.

More information: Supercars

The Sun-Herald City2Surf

To be announced for 2019

A serious race, a fun run and a fundraiser, the City to Surf is a bit of everything. In 2017 the race raised almost $4.5m with a target in 2018 of $5M . The 14 klm course from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach has an 80m climb between the 6 and 7 klm marks that will test even the best runners.

More information: City2Surf

Sydney Fringe Festival

To be announced for 2019

This is New South Wales largest Independent Arts Festival and a chance to see fringe art move from its hidden venues and back streets into the main stream for the month of September.

More information: Sydney Fringe

NRL Grand Final

To be announced for 2019

After a hard year of competition it all comes down to this match. In 2017 the Cowboys fairy tale finals series was ended by the Melbourne Storm who went on to take their third premiership. What will be the story of 2018.

More information: NRL Grand Final

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

26th December, 2019

Be on the harbour or get to your vantage point early to catch the yachts as they race out the heads on their way to Hobart. The beauty of the harbour and the party atmosphere in Sydney masks the gruelling 628 nautical mile race facing the skippers.

More information: Sydney to Hobart

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Sydney Airport

Kingsford Smith Airport

Kingsford Smith (SYD) is the main airport servicing Sydney with separate Domestic and International terminals. It is just 8 klm from the city centre and holds the record for the longest running commercial airport in the world and Australia’s busiest airport. (Sydney Airport)


The Airport Rail Link has stations at both the Domestic and International terminals and connects to Central Station, Circular Key, Town Hall as well as four other stations, with regular departures seven days a week. (Airport Link Train). The trip takes approximately 15 minutes.

The domestic train station is between Terminals 2 and 3 and is accessed from the arrivals area.

The International terminal is also accessed from the arrivals area and is located at the northern end of the international terminal.

The train can also be used as a transfer service between the International and Domestic terminals.

An Opal card is the only way to access public transport in Sydney and can be purchased from the ticket windows at both the international and domestic stations. (Opal Card)

Public Buses

Bus route 400 services both the Domestic (T3) and International terminals with regular buses to Bondi Junction and Burwood. (Buses) An Opal card is the only way to access public transport in Sydney. (Opal Card)

T Bus (Terminal Transfers)

The T Bus is a regular transfer service between the domestic and international terminals and cost approx. $5.50. Look for the T Bus signs and purchase your ticket from the ticket machine near the T Bus stop.


This is a convenient way to get to and from the airport directly connecting with your destination. Undercover taxi ranks are located at each terminal with kerbside supervisors assisting in busy periods. Pre-booked taxis are advised if you have special needs and there is a special pre-booked taxi area at each terminal. (Taxi) Taxis are not permitted to pick up from outside these areas.


As an alternate to a taxi a pre-booked limousine service which must be arranged in advance with a pre-determined meeting point. For international arrivals there is a Limousine reservation counter in the arrivals area.

Car Rental

Six car rental companies have outlets located at Sydney Airport, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty and Redspot.  There are rental car counters in the arrivals area of both terminals. (Vroom Vroom Vroom)


Soliciting for fares is not permitted.


There are parking stations located adjacent to each terminal. For longer term domestic terminal parking there is a dedicated parking station. All these options are within walking distance of the terminals. Valet parking options are available at each terminal. For domestic terminal long term parking from a minimum of one day use the Blue Emu parking station and catch the regular domestic terminal bus. (Airport Parking)


There are bicycle racks located throughout the airport and a publicly accessible shower at the International terminal.

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Sydney Top Things to Do

Top things to do in Sydney

Aside from being home to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the iconic Sydney Opera House, Australia’s oldest city is a thriving cosmopolitan mecca, built on one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. An intriguing mix of architectural styles, Sydney offers a rich tapestry of landmarks dating back to its discovery, as well as a wide array of cultural influences, including food, fashion and entertainment. With miles of golden beaches and a moderate climate year round, Sydney’s Top 10 is just the beginning of an intriguing journey.

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Discover Sydney

Sydney has many other sides to her away from the harbour, hard to believe isn’t it? A lot of her old suburbs have distinctive character and it is well worth wandering around some of them. Many wonderful old trees line the charming streets with cottages and terrace houses showing us how Sydney looked in her earlier days. I love walking around Surry Hills, Paddington and Woollahra then I head off to catch the ferry to Mossman and head to Balmoral. Before I know it my day has been well spent.

Sydney has many vantage points and the most amazing one is the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Yes, that’s right you can take a tour and climb to the top so why don’t you? There is another place to go for a great view (local knowledge). Go to Centre Point Tower and say you want to go to the bar for a drink, you don’t have to pay for the entrance to the viewing station and you get an amazing 360 view of Sydney in the revolving bar (it takes approximately 55 minutes to go around). All you have to do is sit there and enjoy your drink while Sydney shows herself.

Surfing or swimming is a must when visiting Sydney so if you haven’t tried surfing then make sure you book a lesson and before the lesson is over you will have surfed your first wave! Afterwards reward yourself with a meal or drink in one of Bondi’s numerous restaurants and bars. If you are an animal lover, then you can take a tour to Taronga Zoo or one of the many wildlife parks. Taronga Zoo is only 12 minutes from Circular Quay and there are so many animals to see and things to do you will be there for ages.

A little something special for Home & Away fans, you must go on the tour and see where their daily life is lived. You will see where love has bloomed, hearts have broken and then been mended. Not to be missed if you are a diehard fan!

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Sydney Harbour

One of the greatest attractions Sydney has is her harbour. Described as one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world. On a wonderful warm sunny day, it turns into a playground for all types of water vessels. The different colours of the sails create a vision that remains with you. Whether you are on the harbor or near the harbor there are so many attractions bidding for your time. Whatever type of harbor cruise you are after there will be one to suit you. Sailing, cruising, power boating, or the ferry, they are all available.

If you are down on Circular Quay you will find lots of restaurants and shops. If you head to the southern side of Circular Quay you will come to the Sydney Opera House and if you keep going you will find yourself in the wonderful Royal Botanical Gardens. Make sure you go as far as Mrs Macquarie’s Chair as it is here you get the spectacular view of both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge (image at the top of the page). If you venture to the northern side you will come across the Harbour Bridge and The Rocks (great history of Sydney in this area).

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Blue Mountains

A trip to the Blue Mountains is not to be missed. A 90-minute drive from Sydney will find you in the Blue Mountains National Park. Whether you are a family, nature lover, bush walker or adventurer, you will find your path. Steep cliffs, Eucalyptus Forests, water falls, all help to create this dramatic scenery. Mixed in with this scenery is a selection of Australia’s great Flora & Fauna. Scenic World has 4 amazing experiences, the Scenic Railway is the steepest railway incline in the the world, Scenic Cableway is the steepest & largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere and takes you on a trip of 545 metres with unsurpassed views, Scenic Walkway, 2.4 kilometres walkway, and Scenic Skyway has 360 degree views, 720 metres, and the adventurous may choose the glass floor cabin option!

For a more comprehensive guide to the Blue Mountains including tour reviews and videos see the ‘Tours to go’ Blue Mountains Travel Guide.

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Hunter Valley

In the 1820’s the first Australian vines were planted in the Hunter Valley region. The Hunter Valley is famous for producing a unique Semillon previously know as the Hunter Valley Riesling.

As well as the white wines the region is famous for, there is a growing number of softer reds now being produced. For the foodies the area produces cheeses and chocolates as well as having a number of specialist micro-breweries.

Although a stand alone destination, Hunter Valley is only 2 hours from Sydney so it can easily be included as part of your Sydney holiday, with lots of tour options from Sydney.

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Explore Sydney Beaches

With over 100 beaches, varying in size from a few feet to several kilometres, there is a beach for every taste.

Sydney has lots of beach walks so it is just a matter of which area you want to explore.

One of the most popular walks is the Coogee Beach to Bondi , a beautiful 6 kilometre beach walk. This is where you can see Sculptures by the Sea which takes place late October each year.

By venturing a little further south you can swim in the famous figure 8 pools, tour details here.

If surfing is more your style then you can always take a learn to surf lesson at Bondi Beach

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Visit Vivid

Welcome to the world’s largest outdoor art gallery. This year there will be over 60 installations. Sydney comes alive in the evenings during Vivid and you can really feel the energy of the city. The majority of the installations are scattered around the harbour.

If visiting Vivid Sydney, you really need a minimum of 2 nights to see the installations and then you won’t see them all. It does overload your senses. The lights come on as soon as the sun goes down. If possible, get down to the harbour before the light show begins and watch “nature’s own” light show as the sun sets over the harbour and the Opera House. One of my favourite memories. If you thought the harbour couldn’t be more impressive then you will be surprised. Even the vessels and ferries dress up for the occasion.

Click Here to Learn more about Vivid and see our tour options

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Sydney Things to Do and Itineraries

Sydney Tour Reviews