An introduction to Sydney
With Sydney, the immense continent that is Australia manages to compress the beauty and adventure of this sun-kissed paradise into a thriving, modern metropolis that has consistently proven itself as a destination of choice for millions of regular visitors. With such internationally beloved sights as the Sydney Opera House on their door step the citizens of Sydney can boast an impressive social, cultural and arts scene that will rival most capital cities.
There’s not much you can’t buy in Sydney. Street markets, shopping centres, surf shops and vintage boutiques jostle together to attract the visitor dollar, and whether you’re after brand-name clothing, kooky crafts or the standard Aussie keepsakes, you’ll find plenty of options. There’s a shopping complex with a difference at the Queen Victoria Building (455 George Street), which is set in a gorgeous 19th-century construction, while edgy Aussie fashion labels are well represented at The Intersection (corner of Oxford Street and Glenmore Road). The best of the city’s markets include the style-conscious Bondi Markets (Campbell Parade) on Sundays.
Food & Drink
Sydney is nothing if not multicultural, which makes dining out a treat. The city’s food and wine can be exceptional – try to snag a table on the rooftop terrace at Cafe Sydney (Customs House, 31 Alfred Street) for superb views and Mod-Oz cooking, or push the boat out at Tetsuya’s (529 Kent Street), where the Japanese-French fusion menu has seen it named one of the world’s best restaurants. For something more laid-back, Ms G’s (155 Victoria Street) is a funky Asian eatery with eye-catching décor, or try your own hand at cooking with a lesson at the Sydney Seafood School (Sydney Fish Market).
A three-week arts festival combining free shows and ticketed events across the city, with space given over to drama, dance, circus acts, classical music and more. The programme is made up of more than 100 events.
This annual public holiday invariably sees a shindig of sizable proportions, as Sydneysiders take to the parks and beaches to celebrate Australia’s national day. The date marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.
Mardi Gras Parade
The hugely entertaining Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade has become one of Sydney’s biggest drawcards, with crowds lining the pavements of Oxford Street to witness a rainbow procession of good-time performers. It’s the culmination of the month-long LGBT Pride Festival.
Sydney Royal Easter Show
Officially an agricultural show, this annual event takes place over two weeks and places as much emphasis on fairground rides and sideshow entertainment as it does on livestock and fresh produce. It invariably draws huge crowds.
Billed as a festival of ‘light, music and ideas’, this engaging two-week event is best known for its huge light installations, many of them projected onto buildings. It also features a number of creative forums, public talks and contemporary music performances.
Australia’s most photogenic city draws tourists by the million, which makes its hotel portfolio mighty impressive. Those looking for a grandstand harbour view should consider the 509-room InterContinental Sydney (117 Macquarie Street), which overlooks the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, while if mod cons are the priority then the 31-room Establishment Hotel (5 Bridge Lane) comes equipped with iPads, Apple TVs and BOSE sound systems. For a holiday vibe, the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach (242 Arden Street) is just steps away from the sand, as is the Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach (69-73 Hall Street).