Blessed with more than 100 beaches and buzzing with youthful vitality, when it comes to the good life it’s hard to beat the Harbour City.

Although it’s not the capital, there is little doubt that Sydney remains Australia’s premier city. The Harbour City, home to over 4.5 million people, offers a blend of vibrant bars and beaches that’s a draw for young people, but it also has a laid-back and self-confident vibe that will appeal to visitors of all ages.

Sydney is symptomatic of an evolving Australian culture, often being described as one of the most cosmopolitan and charismatic cities on the planet. Sydney residents are also renowned for going out of their way to make visitors feel at home, making this an ideal holiday destination.

Sydney plays host to some of the world’s most recognisable tourist attractions, with the inner harbour housing the distinctive Sydney Opera House and the ocean side boasting the warm golden sands of Bondi Beach, perennially lapped by clear blue waves.

There is much to explore elsewhere within the city, however. In the CBD, Sydney Tower provides breath-taking views over the city, and is the starting point for the popular Skywalk—a guided tour around the outside of the tower, 268 metres above the ground. If heights aren’t your thing, Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens provide a beautiful backdrop for a relaxing harbour-side stroll, and lead visitors to the iconic Sydney Opera House. From here, it’s a short walk to Circular Quay, where you can catch a ferry to many harbour locations, or just enjoy the round trip. Dock into Darling Harbour and explore the award-winning Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and the fascinating Australian National Maritime Museum.

Sydney’s waterfront throngs with diverse restaurants and bars. The Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Potts Point areas are famed for the fine-dining choices they offer. Numerous scenic parks provide a relaxing location to enjoy food and drink if you prefer the self-catering option.

If you’re looking for some scenic thrills, don’t miss Luna Park with its roller-coaster, Ferris wheel and other traditional amusements, right under the famous Harbour Bridge. If you have a head for heights, try the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb for spectacular views.

Kids will love Taronga Zoo, home to many species of native Australian animals, while the inner-city suburbs of Paddington and Newtown will appeal to adults with their café culture and eclectic mix of boutiques and galleries. For some retail therapy, make your way to Bondi Junction, and the well-stocked Westfield mall.

Above all else, Sydney’s uniquely Australian natural beauty shines through at all times, with the Bush, beaches and the Harbour City’s coastline only a stone’s throw away. A relatively mild climate, stunning scenery, excellent transport networks and no end of things to do make Sydney a simply unmissable experience.

Where to stay in Sydney

Sydney Central Business District
Sydney Town Hall showing street scenes, central business district and heritage architecture

Sydney Central Business District

Known for Ports, Shopping, Opera Houses

4.5/5(219 reviews)

Known for its captivating waterfront views and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Sydney Central Business District. Check out top attractions like Sydney Tower and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, and jump on the metro at Wynyard Station or Martin Place Station to see more of the city.

Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour showing city views, a city and night scenes

Darling Harbour

Known for Ports, Shopping, Dining

4.5/5(56 reviews)

Once the site of disused railway yards and dilapidated wharves, one of Sydney’s greatest urban renewal projects has breathed life into this location once more.

Parramatta CBD
Parramatta showing a city and night scenes

Parramatta CBD

Though Parramatta CBD may not have many top sights, you can venture to the surrounding area to see attractions like Parramatta Park and Rosehill Gardens Racecourse.

Wynyard
Wynyard, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
trover photo by Minul Tennakoon

Wynyard

Known for Friendly People, Ports, Walking

Abundant dining options and waterfront views are just a few notable features Wynyard is known for, and you can get around the area by hopping on the metro at Wynyard Station.

Chatswood CBD
Chatswood CBD, Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
trover photo by Andy Yee

Chatswood CBD

3.5/5(3 reviews)

While visiting Chatswood CBD, you might make a stop by sights like Mandarin Center and Chatswood Mall.

Collaroy Beach
Collaroy Beach, Collaroy, New South Wales, Australia
trover photo by Fran Tapia

Collaroy Beach

When in Collaroy Beach, you can plan a visit to Narrabeen Beach and Dee Why Beach, some noteworthy sights in the nearby area.

Top hotels in Sydney

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
5 out of 5
176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, NSW
Rs11,203
per night
17 Dec-18 Dec

Located in Sydney Central Business District, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Museum of Contemporary Art and Circular Quay. The Rocks Markets and ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (3,684 reviews)

"Superb service. Location a bit quiet, all restaurants closed after 11pm"…"

Reviewed on 15 Nov 2019

Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel
Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel
4 out of 5
8 Arrival Court, Sydney International Airport, Mascot, NSW
Rs9,343
per night
8 Dec-9 Dec

Situated in Mascot, this luxury hotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Allianz Stadium, Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House. Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach ...

4.4/5Excellent! (6,822 reviews)

"Very convenient location. Comfortable bed. Good gym."…"

Reviewed on 7 Nov 2019

Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel
Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour
Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour
4.5 out of 5
100 Murray Street, Sydney, NSW
Rs8,410
per night
15 Dec-16 Dec

Located in Darling Harbour, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of International Convention Centre Sydney and Australian National Maritime Museum. SEA ...

4/5Very Good! (3,070 reviews)

"Location and view. Close to harbour side, china town, city centre....."…"

Reviewed on 12 Nov 2019

Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour

Popular things to do in Sydney

Sydney Opera House
Image for Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

4.5/5(231 reviews)

Take in a performance or just take in the splendour of one of the world’s most famous buildings.

Bondi Beach
Image for Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

4.5/5(157 reviews)

This beach can lay reasonable claim to being the most famous expanse of golden sand on the planet, attracting visitors from Australia and all over the world.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Image for Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

4.5/5(243 reviews)

An iconic structure on a beautiful harbour with breath-taking views at any time of day or night. Climb it, walk it, photograph it or just stand back and admire it.

Circular Quay
Image for Circular Quay

Circular Quay

4.5/5(236 reviews)

Under the gaze of the magnificent Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Sydney’s transport hub is a terminal of unexpected beauty.

Taronga Zoo
Image for Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo

4.5/5(55 reviews)

For a wild experience combined with magnificent views over Sydney Harbour, this world-renowned zoo is a must-visit.

Manly Beach
Image for Manly Beach

Manly Beach

4.5/5(164 reviews)

Resplendent with golden sandy beaches, crystal blue seas perfect for swimming and surfing, and the best bars, shopping and views around. Welcome to Manly Beach.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Sydney

Walking Sydney
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Walking Sydney

Seeing the sights in Sydney on foot

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