Sydney is a hard-working city which knows how to relax and enjoy everything on offer. It is home to some of the most iconic sites in Australia, as well as an amazing café culture, and some world-class bars.
During the day there are so many things to do, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, head to Bondi Beach, or pose in front of the Opera House. But then, ditch the touristy things and do what the locals like to do on weekends. While you’re in Bondi, visit one of the amazing cafes for some of the best brunches you will ever have. There are plenty of vegan and wellness options, as well as places to indulge. Once you’re done eating, join the locals on the Bondi to Coogee walk to burn off your meal. If you’re feeling really active, there are exercise machines along the walk, or join the people jogging along the path. This walk takes you over the cliffs and if you’re lucky you may spot some whales or dolphins.
If you prefer culture over beaches, then there are plenty of art galleries to choose from. Head to the Art Gallery of NSW for a mix of European classics and amazing Australian artists. The MCA is a gallery packed with modern and contemporary Australian art and shows some fantastic temporary exhibitions. If you visit, be sure to head up to their rooftop bar and restaurant for a great view of bustling Circular Quay.
While Sydney has some strict laws governing their bars and the serving of shots, they also have a fantastic selection of quirky bars to discover. If whiskey is your drink, head to speakeasy-style Baxter’s Inn which has over 1000 whiskeys, and knowledgeable bartenders, see if you can find it! If you want to dance, head to the Arq on Sydney’s LGBTQIA hot spot, Oxford Street. This two-level club is decked out with amazing sound and light systems and boasts some famous DJs on its roster. The Argyle always has something going on, whether it’s a great DJ, comedy nights, or just a place to go and dance.
Sydney is a great destination all year round. Spring and Summer (September to February) are warm to scorching hot and perfect for days at one of the many beaches or for a BBQ. Weather can easily get to 35 degrees in the middle of summer, so be sure to pack sunscreen! In Autumn and Winter (February to August) the weather is mild and still quite warm in the middle of the day.
The official language in Australia is English, but an English littered with slang and mercilessly shortened words. Australians are extremely friendly and won’t mind explaining slang words if you don’t know what they mean. Australia is a very multi-cultural place, especially in the big cities, so you will likely find a mix of different languages spoken by tourists and ex-pats.
VOYA’S FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT INCLUDE
Bondi Beach is often packed, but local hotspot Manly Beach is much quieter and laidback. You will be able to find your own little section of the beach to relax and enjoy the Australian sun. There are plenty of cafes, gelaterias, and restaurants to choose from when you’re ready to eat. We recommend Havana Beach, which is a little bar and restaurant that serves amazing cocktails with beach views. The best thing about Manly is it is a ferry ride away from Circular Quay, so you get the best views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge as you pass by them.
The Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney are an amazing place to get in touch with Australia’s nature, see waterfalls, and stop at one of the cute little teahouses. It is a great place to spend the day, but also home to a spectacular cultural experience. While you are in the Blue Mountains, you can pay to take a bush tucker walk which will teach you all about the Aboriginal culture and their relationship with the land. Through their knowledge, passed down over generations, you will learn which plants are edible and which have medicinal properties.
VOYA'S FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY INCLUDE
Paramount House Hotel is the best place to stay in central Sydney if you are looking for a cool and quirky hotel. Its location is amazing for exploring, with the LGBTQIA hub of Oxford street just around the corner, Paddy’s Markets a short walk away, as well as plenty of great restaurants. In the basement, the Paramount screening room still shows movies with the new addition of a cocktail bar. On the rooftop, there is a multitude of fitness classes available to guests.
The Shangri-la Sydney is an iconic part of Sydney’s skyline. Its bar, Blu Bar on 36, offers amazing views of Circular Quay, and is where locals go to celebrate or impress dates. All of the rooms at this hotel offer either views of Darling Harbour (and amazing sunsets), the Opera House, or the Harbour Bridge. Either way, you will get breath-taking views that look fantastic on Instagram. If you have time for a bit of pampering, their onsite spa Chi Spa, has won all sorts of awards for their services.
VOYA'S FAVOURITE DISHES TO TRY
Australians love a sausage sizzle; a BBQ’d sausage in a piece of bread with ketchup. It sounds simple, but Australians are so mad for it that it is a popular fundraising technique for charities, and on election days every polling centre across the country will have a sausage sizzle. With free to use public BBQs by the beaches and in most parks, you can easily have your own. Just bring sausages, a loaf of bread, and ketchup!
Lamingtons are a popular Australian treat that tastes delicious; you will be able to find them in most cafes and bakeries in Sydney. It is a sponge cake with jam in the middle that is dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. They are as light as a cloud and ridiculously delicious.