Heading over to Sydney but have limited time to explore this amazing world class city that is rich in history, vibrant culture and spectacular natural beauty? Featuring a combination of gorgeous beaches, relaxing natural harbour, artsy Sydney Opera House & more, we have made a quick list of the top attractions and experiences that you should go for to make it a memorable holiday in this lovely Australian city.
1. Sydney’s Icons: Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge
Considered by many to be one of the wonders of the modern world, The Opera House is one of Sydney’s most popular tourist icons. Located on Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point, the stunning architecture comprises of multiple performance venues which hosting over 1,500 performances every year for about 1.2 million audiences. Don’t just visit for its facade and performances; make prior backstage tour arrangements for the best experience.
One of Australia’s most famous and photographed landmarks, Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. Built in 1932, the bridge is fondly known by the locals as the ‘Coathanger’ because of its arch-based design. If you are adventurous and sporty enough, go for the BridgeClimb. It will be an experience, you will never forget!
2. Bondi Beach
Golden sands, turquoise waters and perfect waves make Bondi Beach an iconic Sydney attraction. Originating from “Bondi” or “Boondi” – an Aboriginal word which mean water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks, this one kilometre long city beach is one of the city’s busiest beaches hosting event all year round from community art shows to surfing and marathons. Pack in your swimwear for some gorgeous tan!
Check out the weekend Bondi Market for exciting stuff like original designer clothing, handmade jewellery, retro furniture, vintage clothes and even fresh produce Farmers Market!
If you are an artsy beach person, enjoy Sculpture by the Beach – Bondi, the world’s largest annual outdoor sculpture exhibition from 23 October to 9 November 2014.
3. The Rocks
Tucked at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and on the western shores of Sydney Cove, The Rocks showcased Sydney’s oldest preserved colonial district that has recently gone through a makeover. The transformation into a vibrant pocket of cafes, restaurants, boutiques and shops was completed tastefully without destroying the area’s old world charm and historic buildings.
Be sure to visit the Rocks’ weekend market for gifts, souvenirs, fashion and even homemade jams! To start the weekend early, the Rocks Foodies Market on every Friday, gives you a smorgasbord of seasonal and artisan produce, fresh flowers and mellow jazz tunes.
4. Blue Mountains
Located in the outskirts of Sydney city, the Blue Mountains is a lovely place to visit any time of the year. The name came from its characteristic blue haze from the mixing of sunlight with drops of oil released by the eucalypts that blanket the region’s mountainous terrain. The Greater Blue Mountains was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000 and was one of 15 World Heritage places included in the National Heritage List on 21 May 2007.
While you are there, explore the mountains connect, create and celebrate with wild nature’s vitality through planned nature walks. You get to visit great forests, ancient canyons, sacred sites and experience the magic and mystery of Aboriginal “Dreamtime”.
If you are unable to complete everything a day, do a cosy bed and breakfast stay in the quaint Leura Village nearby.
5. Port Stephens
With over 150 bottlenose dolphins calling home, Port Stephens is renowned as the dolphin capital of Australia. Plus if you are visiting between late May to early November, you get to feast your eyes on the magnificent acrobatic displays of migrating humpback whales some weighing up to 48 tonnes off the waters of Port Stephens. Other than the marine life attractions, sand dune adventure on quad bikes are particularly popular with visitors too!
6. Hunter Valley
From fine wines and gourmet fare to luxury accommodation and stunning scenery, the Hunter Valley offers visitors a taste of good life. Located just two hours’ drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is Australia’s most visited wine region with more than 150 wineries, and plenty of activities for visitors including cooking classes, wine tasting, golf courses, luxurious day spas and the magnificent themed gardens at Hunter Valley Gardens.
Christmas comes early this year at Hunter Valley. Hunter Valley Gardens will be donned in attractive Christmas Lights from 7 November 2014 – 26 January 2015. After which, stay a little longer to view the harvest of grapes, which starts around the end of January and continues on until March 2015.
7. Grand Pacific Drive
Grand Pacific Drive is a 140km award winning coastal drive that begins south of Sydney at the Royal National Park – the second oldest National Park in the world. While making your way to Wollongong, you get to drive through coastal rainforests and villages and cruise along the magnificent Sea Cliff Bridge. Besides the big cities, the drive also takes you through to the lovely coastal towns of Shellharbour, Kiama before ending at the beautiful Shoalhaven region.
8. ARIA Week
If you are big on Music, The annual ARIA (Australian Record Industry Association) Awards is an event not to be missed! A celebration of all that is great and popular in local Australian music, the very first ARIAs were hosted by Sir Elton John and winners included INXS, Crowded House and a young John Farnham.
It has seen grew and established itself into Australia’s pinnacle Awards ceremony, forging careers and playing host to countless memorable moments and crowd-awing performances.
Be sure to catch ARIA Week for the week-long program of gigs, showcases, conferences and events from 25 Nov – 4 Dec 2014.
9. Sydney Christmas & New Year
Since we are already in the last quarters of 2014, let me welcome all to celebrate Christmas in Sydney! Embrace the atmosphere, as the beautiful sandstone walls of Sydney Town Hall and other magnificent historic buildings such as the St. Mary Cathedral, will be illuminated from 25 November to 25 December 2014!
After Christmas, prepare yourself to countdown to 2015 in Sydney and feast your eyes on the spectacular performances and breath-taking fireworks display on 31 Dec 2014.
10. Art @ Sydney
Art lovers must make it a point to pay homage to Sydney International Art Series happening from 1 November 2014 to 15 March 2015.
Sydney Festival, one of the most anticipated festivals of the year should not be missed. A celebration of the highest quality art and big bold ideas that will enliven and transform Sydney, jolt down these days in your travel itinerary: 8 to 26 January 2015.
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