As many of you, I have watched the terrible news of the wildfires that are devastating Australia and threatening the beautiful city of Sydney. As I write this, Sydney is preparing for its annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display amidst the controversy of whether they should hold the show this year. I just pray that the new year brings relief for those who are labouring to protect life and property throughout the entire Aussie countryside.
Sydney is a fabulous cosmopolitan city that is beautifully situated around its picturesque harbour. Sydney Harbour is one of the finest natural harbours in the world and has sparked the development of this world-class entrepôt. With 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions, there is plenty of variety in this metropolis.
The only way to enjoy the Harbour is on the water!
There is so much to see and do in Sydney that any visitor is spoiled for choice. Here are my favourite “must-see” places:
- Sydney Opera House – this iconic building is world-famous and is effectively the symbol of the city. Attending a symphony or opera in this edifice of beauty is an awe-inspiring experience!
Under the Harbour Bridge!
The Bridge Climb: not for the faint of heart!
- Sydney Harbour Bridge – this easily recognisable structure is one of the best known and loved bridges in the world. If you are brave like me, you can even do the Bridge Climb and test your fear of heights!
- Sydney Tower – the views from this tower are panoramic across the entire city and well worth the entrance fee.
- Darling Harbour – this former industrial area has been repurposed as an entertainment and restaurant venue. It is close to the CBD (“Central Business District”) but feels less stressed and pressured.
- Sydney’s Beaches – some of the most spectacular beaches enjoyed by any metropolitan area are in Sydney. There are fourteen public beaches including the world-famous Bondi and Manly Beaches and many smaller and quieter venues like Balmoral Beach and Palm Beach.
Here’s a pro-tip: If you are looking to stretch your legs on a fun exercise, I recommend the coastal walk between Coogee and Bondi Beaches. The views are spectacular and it is difficult to believe this walk is within the metropolitan area!
Manly Beach is great for catching the sun!
Visiting Sydney is easy – even though the distances can be daunting from Europe or the USA. The Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport is located near Botany Bay and is convenient for the CBD. Most major long-haul airlines serve Sydney. There is a good network of light rail, buses and ferries for efficient public transport. Both taxis and ride-sharing services are widely available. Most of all, though, Sydney is a walking city.
All major brands of hotels are represented in Sydney and most are reasonably priced for such a large city. I like the Sofitel at Darling Harbour because it is close to many food and entertainment options. The Four Seasons Hotel has excellent service and is right in the CBD. The Langham is right on the harbour near “The Rocks” and is famous for its service. I also like the Pullman Sydney Olympic Park when I want to be in that neighbourhood. Increasingly, home-sharing is becoming popular and there are many excellent short-term options in every area of the city allowing flexibility to fit any budget.
With so many cultures represented in the metro area, Sydney is a foodie paradise! Almost all of the options you’ll select are wholesome, with fresh ingredients and prepared to an exacting standard. I enjoy Aria Sydney Harbour because of its picturesque location right on the Harbour. The Rockpool Bar and Grill is perhaps the most famous restaurant in town with excellent seafood. Firedoor cooks all of its food over various natural woods that provide fantastic flavours. My favourite, though, is Mr. Wong down an alleyway in the CBD. Its authentic Chinese recipes are cooked perfectly and the décor of the restaurant evokes Shanghai in the 1920s!
The Archie Rose Distillery: a great product in a fun venue!
Here’s another pro-tip: Palmer & Co., is conveniently located right underneath Mr. Wong and there is a secret elevator that can take you between the two venues. I always have a pre-dinner cocktail at Palmer & Co. before enjoying a scrumptious dinner at Mr. Wong!
Here’s a final pro-tip: Sydney’s liquor laws are quite strict and bars are not allowed to over-serve a customer. This makes a safe and wholesome environment for everyone!
Let’s all wish our Aussie friends success at fighting their wildfires and returning to normalcy.