Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Tourism New South Wales

Australia’s largest city stretches from the shores of the Tasman Sea to the foot of the Blue Mountains. Along with outstanding natural assets – stunning beaches, extensive parklands and the vast expanse of the harbour – Sydney boasts an impressive list of urban attractions, including world-class shopping and a host of superb restaurants and nightclubs.

Sydney began life in 1788 as a penal colony, a fact long considered a taint on the city’s character. Today, echoes of those bygone days remain in areas such as the Rocks, Macquarie Street and the western suburb of Parramatta.

Since those early days, the one-time prison settlement has become one of the world’s great cities. Home to two of Australia’s most famous icons, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, Sydney attracts more than 2.6 million international visitors a year. For a true Sydney experience, try watching a Rugby League Grand Final at ANZ Stadium with a crowd of 80,000 cheering fans. Or if good food and fine wine are more your style, sample the waterfront dining at Circular Quay or Darling Harbour, and multicultural flavours in inner-city Darlinghurst.

With a population of around 4,650,000, Sydney offers a multitude of activities. Surf the breakers at Bondi Beach or jump on a Manly ferry and see the harbour sights. Whatever you do, Sydney is a great place to explore.

Visitor information

Sydney Visitor Centre

Sydney Visitor Centre Level 1, 33 Wheat Rd, Darling Harbour (02) 9240 8788 or 1800 067 676

Getting Around

Sydney has an extensive network of rail, bus and ferry services. When negotiating the inner city, buses are probably best, with regular services on George and Elizabeth streets, between Park Street and Circular Quay, including the free 555 CBD Shuttle. Trains are another option, with services every few minutes on the City Circle line, which runs in a loop between Central Station and Circular Quay. 

The light-rail service runs from Central Station to the inner-west suburb of Lilyfield and will soon be extended further west, to Dulwich Hill. As Sydney’s only tram service, it is particularly useful for accessing places such as The Star casino and the Sydney Fish Market. The city’s famous monorail was decommissioned in 2013.

Ferries are also a great way to travel, with services to many locations on the inner and outer harbour . Inquire about Travel Ten and MyMulti Day Pass and weekly tickets, as these can considerably reduce the cost of your trip. On Sundays, families (a minimum of one adult and one child) can purchase, for $2.50 per person, a Family Funday ticket that provides unlimited access to all Sydney trains, buses and ferries. 

If you’re driving, an up-to-the-minute road map is essential. Tolls must be paid on the following roads: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour Tunnel, Cross City Tunnel, Eastern Distributor, M5 South-West Motorway, Westlink M7 Motorway, Hills M2 Motorway, Lane Cove Tunnel and Military Road E-ramp. Only the M5 toll accepts cash payment; in all other cases payment must be made by means of a Casual User Pass (valid for up to 30 days) or by E-tag, an electronic device that can be obtained through the state Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) department. 

Public transport

Train, bus and ferry information line 13 1500.


Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) 13 2213.

Motoring organisation

NRMA 13 1122.

Harbour cruises

Sydney Harbour Ferries 13 1500; Captain Cook Cruises (02) 9206 1111; Matilda Cruises (02) 8270 5188; Manly Fast Ferry and Sydney Harbour Eco Hopper (02) 9583 1199.

Car rental

Avis 13 6333; Bayswater Car Rental (02) 9360 3622; Budget 1300 362 848; Hertz 13 3039; Thrifty 1300 367 227.

Specialty trips

Metro Light Rail (02) 8584 5288.


ABC Taxis 13 2522; Legion Cabs 13 1451; Manly Warringah Cabs 13 1668; Premier Cabs 13 1017.

Airport rail service

Airport Link (02) 8337 8417.

Water taxi

Water Taxis Combined (02) 9555 8888; Yellow Water Taxis 1300 138 840.

Tourist bus

City Sightseeing (02) 9567 8400.

Bicycle hire

Centennial Park Cycles (02) 9398 5027; Bonza Bike Tours (02) 9247 8800.

Getting Around on Ferries

Ferries are a great way to get about and see the harbour. Sydney Ferries and private operators run daily services from Circular Quay to more than 30 locations around the harbour and Parramatta River. Timetables, network maps and information about link tickets (combining a ferry fare with admission to various tourist attractions) can be obtained from the Sydney Ferries Information Centre at Circular Quay. Matilda Cruises and Captain Cook Cruises are the main private ferry operators. Both run ferry cruises and some express services to various points around Sydney Harbour, including some not serviced by Sydney Ferries.


Bondi Beach

Bodysurfing at Bondi

Sydney Visitor Centre

Wandering through the lanes and alleyways of The Rocks

The Sydney Tower Eye

Views from Sydney Tower


A trip on the Manly Ferry

Watsons Bay

Fish and chips at Watsons Bay

Kings Cross

Soaking up the atmosphere of Kings Cross

Taronga Zoo

A picnic at Taronga Zoo

Royal Botanic Gardens

Harbour views from Mrs Macquaries Chair

Sydney Opera House

A performance at the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge


A stroll through Balmain

South of the harbour

Bargain hunting at Paddy’s Markets

Sydney Olympic Park

Following the Games Trail at Olympic Park

Elizabeth Farm

Visiting Elizabeth Farm in Parramatta

City precincts

Museums & Galleries

Army Museum of NSW

Military pride in the colonial setting of Victoria Barracks, with the history of the army from 1788. Oxford St, Paddington; (02) 8335 5330; open 10am–1pm Thurs, by appt 10am–4pm first Sun of month; closed Dec and Jan.

Australian Centre for Photography

Exhibitions of work by the world’s best art, fashion and documentary photographers. 257 Oxford St, Paddington; (02) 9332 0555; open 10am–5pm Tues–Sun; admission free.

Brett Whiteley Studio

Paintings and sculptures in the former studio and home of this great Australian artist. 2 Raper St, Surry Hills; (02) 9225 1881; open 10am–4pm Fri–Sun; admission free.

Justice and Police Museum

Located in the old Water Police Court and Office, with exhibitions on crime and punishment in Sydney, including the city’s most notorious cases. Cnr Albert and Phillip sts, Circular Quay; (02) 9252 1144; open 10am–5pm Sat–Sun.

Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre

Over 100 years of navy history in the harbourside setting of Garden Island. (02) 9359 2611; take Watsons Bay ferry from Circular Quay to Garden Island; open 9.30am–3.30pm Mon–Sun. 

Sydney Jewish Museum

A history of the Jewish people in Australia, along with a poignant tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Cnr Darlinghurst Rd and Burton St, Darlinghurst; (02) 9360 7999; open 10am–4pm Sun–Thurs, 10am–2pm Fri; closed on Jewish holidays.

Sydney Tramway Museum

Historic trams from Sydney, Nagasaki, Berlin and San Francisco. Entry fee includes unlimited rides on the trams. Cnr Pitt St and Rawson Ave, Loftus; (02) 9542 3646; open 10am–3pm Wed, 10am–5pm Sun, weekdays during school holidays.

The Rocks Discovery Museum

A fascinating glimpse into the chequered past of the Rocks, featuring both interactive technology and archaeological artefacts. 2–8 Kendall La, the Rocks; (02) 9240 8680; open 10am–5pm Mon–Sun; admission free.

White Rabbit Gallery

One of the world's major collections of contemporary Chinese art, complete with its own teahouse serving Chinese teas and dumplings. 30 Balfour St, Chippendale; (02) 8399 2867; open 10am–6pm Thurs–Sun.

Grand Old Buildings

Customs House

Elegant sandstone building designed by colonial architect James Barnet in the Classical Revival style. 31 Alfred St, Circular Quay.

Department of Planning

This building is particularly noteworthy for the statues of famous explorers and legislators that grace the exterior. 22–33 Bridge St.

Conservatorium of Music

Much altered, but the castellated facade still recalls Macquarie’s fancy Government House Stables. Macquarie St.

Cadman's Cottage

Sydney’s oldest surviving residence, now a NPWS office. 110 George St, the Rocks.

Campbell’s Storehouses

Built from bricks made by convicts. The serried roof has long been a Sydney landmark. 7 Circular Quay West, the Rocks.

Garrison Church

View the red-cedar pulpit and the beautiful stained-glass window. Lower Fort St, Millers Point.

The Great Synagogue

Exotic and remarkable in its originality, with a gorgeous mix of Byzantine and Gothic architecture, and sumptuous interiors. Elizabeth St.

St Andrew’s Cathedral

With twin towers that recall York Minster, it is best seen in November through a cloud of purple jacaranda. Cnr Bathurst and George sts.

Old Darlinghurst Gaol

Impressive early Victorian sandstone prison with an imposing entrance. Now houses the National Art School. Cnr Burton and Forbes sts.

The University of Sydney

Landscaped grounds and historic sandstone buildings. Parramatta Rd, Broadway.

Other Suburbs

Surry Hills

Where old Sydney meets new urban chic, with 19th-century streetscapes, trendy cafes, bars and clusters of fashion warehouses close to Central Station. 


A suburb with a funky, alternative feel, Newtown seems to sleep late and party late. It is best visited in the afternoon and early evening, when the shops and cafes of King Street come alive.


Sydney’s Little Italy, with some of the city’s best Italian restaurants, superb shopping in Norton Street and the unique shopping and dining precinct of the Italian Forum.


The heart of the Vietnamese community, with a vibrant shopping strip specialising in fabrics, fresh Asian produce and fabulous pho (rice noodle soup).


Pretty beachside village with a stunning backdrop of bush-clad hills, and a laid-back shopping precinct crammed with delis, cafes and some very up-market clothing and homewares stores.


Close to the Nepean River, this is a paradise for watersports enthusiasts, with the Cables Wake Park and the Whitewater Stadium located here. There is a pleasant shopping precinct with some good eateries, and an excellent regional gallery. 


One of Sydney’s most far-flung suburbs, with a pleasant rural atmosphere, pretty, old-world streetscapes and good cafes. 


With some interesting shops and cafes in the main street and a superb beach close by, this is a good starting point for trips to Royal National Park and the important historical site of Kurnell (Captain Cook’s landing site and the birthplace of modern Australia).

Harbour Islands

Sydney Harbour is dotted with islands, but only five of them are open to the public. Four come under the authority of the National Parks & Wildlife Service, which charges a $7 landing fee per person. Visits must be prebooked and prepaid, so the information and tour-booking office located in Cadmans Cottage, George St, the Rocks, is the starting point for any tour or visit to the islands (except Cockatoo Island).


Fort Denison Crime, punishment and the defence of Sydney Harbour are all part of Fort Denison’s past. Access is by ferry or water taxi from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay. Guided tours are available and there is a restaurant.

Shark Island Sandy beaches, shaded grassy areas and superb views of the harbour make this the perfect place for a picnic. Captain Cook Cruises runs a daily ferry service from Darling Harbour and Circular Quay to Shark Island, with the fare including the landing fee.

Clark Island Clark Island is a place of unspoiled bushland and pleasant grassy areas, and is popular with picnicking families. Access by private vessel, water taxi or guided tour.

Rodd Island Another favourite picnic place, Rodd Island has a colonial-style hall, which dates back to 1889, and 1920s summer houses that shelter long tables, making the island suitable for picnicking in all seasons. Access by private vessel or water taxi.

Cockatoo Island A former prison and shipyard, Cockatoo Island has abandoned workshops and wharves, a camping ground and cafe, and hosts art and concert events. Tours are available. It’s free to visit and accessible by regular ferries from Circular Quay Wharf 5 or 4.


Pitt Street Mall, City

Sydney’s major shopping area.

Castlereagh Street, City

Sheer indulgence with some of the world’s leading designer labels.

The Galeries Victoria, City

A dazzling array of top-quality fashion and lifestyle brands.

The Rocks

The place to go for top-quality Australian art, jewellery and clothing.

Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Up-to-the-minute street fashion and funky, alternative clothing.

Oxford Street, Paddington

Cutting-edge designers and a mecca for antique hunters.

Double Bay

Sydney’s most exclusive shopping suburb.

Birkenhead Point, Drummoyne

Designer shopping at bargain prices in a historic venue.

Military Road, Mosman

Classy shopping in a village atmosphere.

George Street, City

In recent years, several major designer labels have moved to the northern end of George Street, between Town Hall and the Rocks. This includes the Apple store and Luis Vuitton Maison.

Walks & Tours

The Rocks Walking Tours

The history of the Rocks and its many colourful characters are brought to life during this 90-minute tour. Bookings on (02) 9247 6678.

Harbour Circle Walk

For a comprehensive overview of Sydney’s harbour, this walk covers 26 kilometres and could take you the whole day. Download a map from:


Various tours of the Sydney Harbour Bridge that involve climbing to the top of the span clad in protective clothing and secured with a harness. Bookings on (02) 8274 7777.

Sydney Ferry Harbour Walks

Discover some of Sydney’s more out-of-the-way places on foot. Pick up a brochure at the Sydney Ferries Information Centre at Circular Quay, take a ferry to any of the listed destinations, and start walking.

Oz Jetboating Tours

Tour the harbour in a high-performance V8 jet boat. Bookings on (02) 9808 3700.

Sydney Whale Watching

Close encounters with humpback and southern right whales, May to December. Bookings on 1800 309 672.

Destiny Tours

Stories of sex, scandal, murder, suicide and the supernatural. Explore Sydney’s darker side on this night-time minibus tour. Bookings on (02) 9487 2895.

Easyrider Motorbike Tours

See Sydney from the back of a Harley-Davidson. Bookings on 1300 882 065.

Gourmet Safaris

Choose from a range of foodie tours that uncover Sydney’s multicultural world of gourmet food. Experienced chefs will take you to local shops and invite you to try traditional Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Portuguese, Turkish or Vietnamese cuisine. Bookings on (02) 8969 6555.

City Sightseeing Sydney and Bondi Tours

Cover the city and the eastern suburbs in a double-decker, open-topped bus, hopping on and off as often as you like. Bookings on (02) 9567 8400.

Chocolate Espresso Tours

Tour the city’s CBD and shopping districts, with a focus on either coffee or chocolate. Bookings on 0417 167 766.

The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tour

Experience the Dreamtime of the Rocks with an Aboriginal guide. Bookings on (02) 9240 8788.


Sydneysiders have always been passionate about their sport. As a city that has recently hosted the Olympic Games, Sydney is now home to some of the best sporting facilities in the world.

Football, cricket and racing dominate the sporting scene. Although Sydney does have two AFL (Australian Football League) teams – the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants – Rugby League and Rugby Union hold more sway here, with the season for both codes beginning in March. Key games throughout the Rugby League season are played at the Allianz Stadium at Moore Park, with the Grand Final taking place in September at ANZ Stadium, in Olympic Park. A particular highlight is the State of Origin competition, which showcases the cream of Rugby League talent in a series of three matches between Queensland and New South Wales. These take place in the middle of the season.

The Waratahs are the New South Wales side in the Super XV Rugby Union competition, in which local and overseas teams go head to head. These games are played at the Allianz Stadium, while the Bledisloe Cup games (between Australia’s Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks) are played at ANZ Stadium and attract up to 80,000 spectators.

In summer, cricket takes centre stage. The highlight is an international test, followed by the One-Day Internationals, all of which are played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Sydney’s official soccer (football) team is Sydney FC, which competes in the Hyundai A-League at the Allianz Stadium.

Netball test series between Australia and New Zealand are always exciting, with at least one game usually held at Homebush in Sydney.

Other sporting highlights include the BMW Sydney Carnival, an autumn horseracing event, the highlight of which is the Golden Slipper, the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, on the first Saturday in April.


Located in George Street, between Bathurst and Liverpool streets, the 17-screen Event Cinemas George Street complex is the major cinema centre in the CBD. Arthouse cinemas include the Chauvel at Paddington Town Hall; the Dendy at Newtown and Circular Quay; and the Cinema Paris at the Entertainment Quarter. For a unique cinema experience, try the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in Cremorne, famous for its Art Deco interior and Wurlitzer pipe organ. See the newspapers for details of films being shown.

Day Tours

Blue Mountains

Only 100 kilometres from Sydney, the brooding sandstone cliffs and deep, tree-lined gorges of the Blue Mountains provide a superb natural retreat. Aboriginal cave art, cool-climate gardens, charming mountain villages, walking trails and adventure activities are among the many attractions to be explored, along with historic towns like Katoomba.

Central Coast and Hawkesbury

The Upper Hawkesbury, north-west of Sydney, encompasses a scenic river landscape dotted with charming Georgian villages. It is Australia’s most historic rural area. On the coast, on the north side of the Hawkesbury, is the scenic water playground of the Central Coast, with quiet bays in Bouddi National Park and popular surf beaches.

Ku-ring-gai Chase

North of Sydney, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park encloses a magnificent stretch of bushland, set around the glittering waters of the Hawkesbury River and Broken Bay.

South along the coast

Abutting Sydney’s southern suburbs, Royal National Park encloses a landscape of sandstone outcrops, wild heathland, rainforest, plunging cliffs and secluded beaches. Beyond the park you’ll find the city of Wollongong and a magnificent stretch of surf coast dotted with pleasant resort towns.

Southern Highlands

Nestled into the folds and hills of the Great Dividing Range, the Southern Highlands offer pretty rural scenery, historic townships with superb European-style gardens, a variety of festivals, and wonderful guesthouses and restaurants.

Eco-friendly activities

Bushwalking in and around Sydney

Surprisingly, Sydney does offer some superb bushwalking through secluded bushland. Aboriginal engraving and art sites are quite common, and many are not publicised, simply leaving you to discover them, appreciate them, and leave them alone.

In the north of the city, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a must – particularly the river walk from Apple Tree Bay along Cowan Creek, or any of the steep tracks down to the water from West Head Road. In the south, Royal National Park’s Coast Track is a 26-kilometre overnight classic, with dramatic cliffs, isolated beaches and pockets of rainforest.

Alternatively, for an informative guided day walk and tour of the sights in this park, using public transport from Sydney or a carbon-positive bus ride, try Understand Down Under, which has an admirable environmental policy.

One of the newest long-distance walks in Sydney is the 100-kilometre Great Coastal Walk, from Barrenjoey Headland, at the end of Palm Beach in the north, right through to Cronulla, crossing the Harbour Bridge along the way. It is anticipated that most people would take about seven days to complete the walk, and there is a wide range of accommodation available. The website has maps and plenty of information, including where to buy food and drink.

Kayaking in Sydney

Surprisingly, this activity has only taken off in Sydney in the past few years. With a city centred on such great waterways, there is plenty to explore, whether just for an hour or two, or a whole week. Sydney Harbour Kayaks at the Spit Bridge runs a four-hour guided kayak tour through parts of Garigal National Park every Saturday and Sunday morning, and will also hire gear and recommend other great paddles. Bundeena Kayaks at the other end of Sydney, offers tours into Royal National Park, including an unusual Night Owl Kayak Tour, which starts among jumping fish about an hour before sunset.

Learn to surf

With mother nature supplying the power, surfing is a great way to experience eco-friendly thrills and spills, and Sydney has plenty of people keen to help you get on your feet. Try Let’s Go Surfing, on world-famous Bondi Beach, or the Manly Surf School at various beachside locations (Manly, Collaroy Beach, Long Reef Beach and Palm Beach).

Snorkelling and diving in Sydney

A growing number of Sydneysiders and visitors are discovering the joys of snorkelling in and around the harbour city. There are marine reserves to explore and an ever-changing aquarium of sea creatures. Some of the larger fish that are easy to find include friendly blue groper and the unusual wobbegong sharks and Port Jackson sharks, but seahorses and weedy sea dragons are also surprisingly common in some locations. Great, safe spots to try snorkelling include the Long Reef Aquatic Reserve, along the swimming nets at Manly Cove and in the narrow Clovelly Bay. On a clear summer’s day, another great option is to make a day of the 10-kilometre Spit to Manly walk by carrying a mask and snorkel, and diving in for a swim or two at any of the sheltered coves along the way. Diving shops abound in Sydney, and all will offer advice and boat-based dives nearly every weekend. Easy shore dives include Gordons Bay, Clifton Gardens and the very popular Cabbage Tree Bay off Shelly Beach. Recommended dive shops include Deep 6 Diving.

Taronga Zoo

One of the world’s best zoos, Taronga is involved in a wide variety of threatened species recovery operations, wildlife rehabilitation and animal research work. As well as having a great day by Sydney Harbour, among a menagerie of animals from Australia and around the world, zoo-goers are encouraged to contribute directly to wildlife programs. You can also stay overnight in luxury tents as part of the Roar & Snore experience.

Whale-watching around Sydney

Many Sydneysiders used to travel elsewhere to do their whale-watching, not realising that between May and November, hundreds of the mammals were passing them by. Some now even enter the harbour to pose by the Opera House. You do not need to get in a boat to see them – just keep an eye out from any of the headlands from Palm Beach to Cronulla – but several companies run trips of a few hours from the city. Sydney Eco Whale Watching operates a yacht with small groups of only 20 passengers.

Cafes & restaurants around town

a Tavola 2 km

‘To the table’ indeed. Nestled in one of Sydney’s trendiest areas, a tavola bursts with Italian warmth, rustic charm and an incredible selection of homemade pasta dangling just outside the kitchen,... Find out more

Ash St. Cellar

The Ivy is Sydney’s new playground for the city’s ultra groovy A-list, a gaudy, fabulous labyrinth of dining and drinking pleasures, most of them delightfully over the top. Thankfully, this stunning,... Find out more

Bathers’ Pavilion 6 km

North of the harbour, Bathers’ Pavilion is a pearl in Sydney’s waterfront dining scene. Reclining above beautiful Balmoral Beach, this restaurant’s casual, comfortable ambience deftly complements the... Find out more

Bécasse 1 km

Bécasse is a star in the galaxy of established Sydney restaurants, with chef Justin North winning the coveted 2009 Chef of the Year award in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. A master of innovative and... Find out more

Bel Mondo 1 km

Contemporary Sydney cuisine served with delicious glimpses of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. ... Find out more


Bodega gleams from its unlikely location on a gritty inner-city street. It’s easily recognisable by the guests clamouring for a seat, as this establishment honours a no reservations policy. However, this is one... Find out more

Burlington Bar and Dining 5 km

Burlington Bar and Dining is revolutionising fine dining on Sydney’s North Shore. Diners from across the harbour in east Sydney have done the unthinkable and actually crossed the water to dine in the north, lest... Find out more

Glebe Point Diner

Nestled at the far end of Glebe Point Road, near the harbour, this colourful, contemporary restaurant bursts with charm, vivacious style and delectable dining. It’s perfect for leisurely lunches and dinners, the... Find out more

Guillaume at Bennelong 1 km

Lavished with awards and nestled in a sail of the Opera House, Guillaume at Bennelong eclipses the mantle of tourist destination, beguiling guests with classic French style blended with modern Australian cuisine. Harbour... Find out more


Jonah’s is a luxurious, contemporary dining room overlooking one of Sydney’s prettiest slices of coastline and enjoying panoramic views of Whale Beach below. The Southern European menu is appropriately... Find out more

North Bondi Italian Food

Chic little sister of ultra-glamorous Icebergs, North Bondi Italian Food reclines above an iconic strip of Sydney’s coastline, boasting stunning Bondi views. Those vistas include a bevy of hip locals vying for the... Find out more

Quay 1 km

Quay is simply the jewel in the crown of Sydney dining, winner of multiple awards and accolades. Rather than rely on its coveted location at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, looking straight onto Sydney Opera House, this... Find out more

Restaurant Arras

Restaurant Arras is a delight. Located close to Sydney Theatre Company in Walsh Bay, it’s a convenient option for a night out at the theatre or a terrific dining destination in its own right. Excellent food and... Find out more

Rockpool on George 1 km

Committed to innovation and excellence, Rockpool continues as it began more than 20 years ago, capturing an incredible cross-section of flavours. Chef Neil Perry is a visionary, creating a union of Asian and European... Find out more

Sailors Thai Canteen

Sailors Thai Canteen is a fantastic alternative to its fancier namesake restaurant located downstairs, Sailors Thai. This upstairs canteen offers relaxed dining at a fraction of the price, with guests enjoying pared-down... Find out more

Spice I Am 1 km

Welcome to one of the worst-kept dining secrets in Sydney’s history. When the proprietors of this unassuming little Thai restaurant opened their doors a few years ago, apparently their sole wish was to provide... Find out more


Tabou is a hands-down favourite for Sydney locals, keen to enjoy more of its rustic French fare. The cosy inner-city dining room is an elegant retreat from the noise and clatter outside, and offers an authentic French... Find out more

Tetsuya’s 1 km

Internationally adored culinary wizard Tetsuya Wakuda bewitches diners with inspired dishes such as his signature confit of Petuna Tasmanian ocean trout. Tesuya’s is a temple to food, and dining is degustation... Find out more

Universal Restaurant

Christine Manfield has done it again. Emerging after a seven-year hiatus, Universal is a testament to the famous Sydney chef’s world travels and her passion for creating exciting, eclectic dishes covering every... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to eat

Billy Kwong

This up-market restaurant in Surry Hills claims to have been the first restaurant in New South Wales that chose to become carbon neutral. Owned and run by passionate advocate of sustainability and ethical eating Kylie... Find out more

Green Gourmet

These totally vegan restaurants have fascinating dishes including mock fish, made from taro, mushroom steaks and desserts such as green tea moon cake.... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Redoak Brewery

Redoak burst onto the craft-beer scene by winning a swag of medals at the 2004 Australian International Beer Awards before they had sold even a single drop. And they have continued to collect an impressive array of... Find out more

Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel 1 km

Sydney’s longest-running brew-pub is many things rolled into one fine watering hole – an institution for ale lovers, a tourist magnet and a haven for homesick Poms. The historic sandstone pub is as comfy as a... Find out more

Schwartz Brewery 1 km

Tucked away in the basement of the heritage-listed Macquarie Hotel in Surry Hills, this 8-hectolitre microbrewery is the hub of a burgeoning craft-beer empire run by owner Dr Jerry Schwartz. Apart from supplying the pub,... Find out more

Malt Shovel Brewery 4 km

US-born Dr Charles ‘Chuck’ Hahn has enjoyed two separate craft-beer careers over two decades, operating out of the same Camperdown brewery. In the late ’80s he opened it as the independent Hahn Brewery,... Find out more

St Peters Brewery 5 km

Matt Donelan is someone who marches to a different drum from most other craftbrewers. He doesn’t have a website or own a mobile phone and doesn’t believe in cardboard packaging. He matches his keg prices... Find out more

4 Pines Brewing Company 10 km

What do Margaret River and Manly have in common? Well, they both have popular surfing spots and craft breweries or, at least, they do now. The Mitchell family had seen the burgeoning Margaret River microbrewing scene... Find out more

Paddy's Brewery 13 km

There may be more unlikely venues for a craft brewery but, offhand, I can’t think of one. The Markets Hotel is a 24-hour pub opposite Sydney’s Flemington fresh produce market, where you’re more likely... Find out more

Tooheys Brewery 15 km

Tooheys remains the last of Sydney’s long-running mainstream breweries still currently operating. Founders James and John Toohey were cattle farmers before they entered the beer game, buying the Darling Brewery (it... Find out more

Five Islands Brewing Company 67 km

Started by local Illawarra rugby league legend Michael Bolt in 2001, the Five Islands Brewing Company has travelled a markedly different course to most other craft-beer enterprises. FIBC began life as a beachside bar and... Find out more

Bluetongue Brewery 114 km

Set up in 2004 by a consortium of Hunter region identities, including wine man Bruce Tyrell and hotelier Ian Burford, Bluetongue Brewery soon established a significant regional market for its premium lager and alcoholic... Find out more

Hunter Beer Company 118 km

Potters Brewery, as this microbrewery is also known, might seem like a rather odd addition to this convention-based accommodation complex, which is named after the historic beehive-shaped pottery kilns scattered around... Find out more

Steel River Brewery 120 km

Every brewhouse has its own distinct personality – new ones are punched out in uniform fashion and pretty much look the same, but pre-loved ones tend to have a bit more character and, more often than not, a... Find out more

Murray's Craft Brewing Company 141 km

But there’s a-nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer. So sang the late country singing legend Slim Dusty and, more importantly, the words of the famous song were penned... Find out more

St Arnou

This beer-marketing company takes its name from the Belgian patron saint of brewing and was launched in 2001 with a range of draught beers, produced under contract at various breweries (latterly, Australian Independent... Find out more

Scharer's Little Brewery 65 km

Country publican Geoffrey Scharer was one of the first people in decades to apply for a new brewing licence in New South Wales in the early 1980s. By 1987, he was producing an unfiltered Bavarianstyle lager from a... Find out more

Fish Rock Brewery 97 km

Craft beer is a sideline for winemakers Anton and Mark Balog, who operate Mundrakoona Estate outside Mittagong. Despite the decidedly inland location, the fish-themed beers include Leatherjacket Lager and Red Emperor... Find out more

Mudgee Brewing 207 km

When the last brewery closed down in 1956 the local drop was referred to, unkindly, as Mudgee Mud; since then, the area has boomed as a wineproducing region and Mudgee Brewing came to the party in mid-2007. Started by... Find out more

Zierholz Premium Brewery 247 km

Alphabetically, the last word in Australian craft beer belongs to the Canberra-based Zierholz Premium Brewery. A champion home brewer and soil-andwater boffin, Christophe Zierholz took the plunge to setting up a... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Australia Street Cottage

Australia Street Cottage is a heritage-listed sandstone gem dating back to 1858. Today, it’s a one-bedroom, self-contained haven for guests to enjoy in funky Newtown, one of the best inner-west suburbs in Sydney.... Find out more

Barrenjoey House

Barrenjoey House has been attracting visitors since it first began operating as a guesthouse back in 1923. Brilliantly restored, its light-filled rooms combine coastal elegance and contemporary comfort. Seven boutique... Find out more

BLUE Sydney 1 km

Offering magnificent boutique accommodation in a coveted location – the legendary Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo – this place boasts 100 guest rooms, including 36 loft-style rooms. Exposed timber and... Find out more

Diamant Boutique Hotel

Diamant Boutique Hotel sparkles from its enviable location in the heart of Sydney, where Kings Cross, Potts Point and Darlinghurst connect. Guest rooms cater for every taste, with a variety of options available but all... Find out more

Dive Hotel

This small boutique hotel overlooks Coogee Beach in Sydney’s east. All the contemporary-style guest suites are self-contained and their cutting-edge, stainless-steel bathrooms are a favourite with design magazines. Three... Find out more

Establishment Hotel

The first stop on any luxury tour of New South Wales has to be the Establishment Hotel. There are 33 guest rooms and two penthouse suites, all with Bvlgari bath and shower toiletries. Combining colonial heritage with... Find out more

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Blessed with a spectacular location overlooking Sydney Harbour in the historic Rocks district, this contemporary international hotel is perfectly situated for relaxing or exploring the city streets beyond its doors.... Find out more

Harborne B&B

Located in Parramatta, Harborne B&B is a restored Georgian sandstone mansion (c. 1858) encircled by gardens. The eight guest rooms are appointed in two different themes – the Governor or the Settler. Breakfast is... Find out more

Hilton Sydney

Following a complete restructure and facelift, the Sydney Hilton is once again a contemporary city landmark. Luxury is on a grand scale here, enveloping guests in comfort and refined style. There are a variety of... Find out more

Hughenden Boutique Hotel

On the border of Paddington and Woollahra, two of Sydney’s most elegant eastern suburbs, this place offers B&B accommodation. Housed in an 1870s Victorian manor, there are 33 ensuite guest rooms, all individually... Find out more

Kathryn’s on Queen

Kathryn’s on Queen is a B&B tucked away inside a heritage-listed Victorian terrace in the sophisticated suburb of Woollahra. The three luxurious guest rooms – Le Grand, Le Attic and Le Petit – are furnished in a... Find out more

Medusa 2 km

Medusa mirrors the eclectic ensemble of life beckoning on the streets outside its front door. Located in eastern Sydney’s bohemian suburb of Darlinghurst, there are 18 guest suites providing luxurious comfort and... Find out more

Observatory Hotel 1 km

Located in the heart of Sydney’s historic Rocks district, the Observatory Hotel is a landmark of old-world opulence with every modern convenience at your fingertips. Steeped in colonial elegance, each room is... Find out more

Shangri-La Hotel 1 km

Shimmering on a rise overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, the Shangri-La is a statuesque beauty – 36 floors high – whose 563 luxurious rooms have incredible views. The Rocks location is... Find out more

Swiss-Grand Resort & Spa

Overlooking one of Australia’s most coveted patches of coastline at Bondi, the Swiss-Grand offers a smorgasbord of luxurious suites, including a family suite that boasts private balconies and incredible ocean views.... Find out more

The Chelsea Guesthouse

Located on a secluded Darlinghurst street, The Chelsea Guesthouse straddles two Victorian terraces, complete with overhanging verandahs and intricate iron lacework. The interiors surprise with their light-filled spaces... Find out more

The Kirketon

For style, luxury and a location right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Darlinghurst, book a room at The Kirketon. The entire building pays homage to the great Parisian boutique hotels, and its cutting-edge... Find out more

The Russell

Who would have dreamt you could find a charming B&B right in the heart of one of Sydney’s most sought-after locations? Housed in a building dating back to 1887, The Russell offers warm and friendly hospitality... Find out more

The Sebel Manly Beach

Luxurious coastal chic is just a ferry ride away at this Manly boutique establishment. Overlooking the ocean, the majority of the hotel’s 83 contemporary guest rooms have fantastic views of Manly’s iconic... Find out more

The Storrier

Located inside an Art Deco building, The Storrier art hotel is Sydney’s newest contemporary boutique hotel, its decor inspired by Tim Storrier’s painting Point to Point (Evening Blaze). The suites at The... Find out more

Eco-friendly places around town

Cockatoo Island

This amazing spot, in the middle of Sydney Harbour, only opened up for public camping in 2008. For around the cost of lunch in one of the nearby expensive hotels, you can enjoy a peaceful spot on the harbour and wake to... Find out more

Lane Cove River Tourist Park

Wake to kookaburras, cockatoos and a stroll along the misty Lane Cove River in this ecocertified camping and caravan park tucked into a national park. It is a quiet oasis only 10 kilometres from the CBD, and offers safe... Find out more

Popular events around town

Sydney Festival

The city's major international arts festival, featuring theatre, dance, music and more. January.... Find out more

Sydney Mardi Gras

A 2-week celebration of diversity of sexuality and gender, including a spectacular street parade. February–March.... Find out more

Sydney Royal Easter Show

The country comes to the city at Olympic Park, Homebush. Easter.... Find out more

Archibald Prize

This national portrait prize is one of Sydney’s most popular art shows. March–June.... Find out more

Sydney Comedy Festival

An array of local and international comedy acts at various venues. April–May.... Find out more

Sydney Writers' Festival

Australian and international stars of literature discuss their works at over 300 events. May.... Find out more

Vivid Sydney

 See Sydney's nocturnal face change in this winter festival of light, music and ideas. May–June. ... Find out more

Sydney Film Festival

A showcase for the newest offerings in cinema. June.... Find out more

The Sun-Herald City2Surf

A 14km fun run, from Hyde Park to Bondi. August.... Find out more

Rugby League Grand Final

The leaders of the football competition compete for the title in the final match of the season. Late September or early October.... Find out more

Crave Sydney International Food Festival

A month-long celebration of food, including presentations by top chefs, food markets, special one-off feasts, and tastings. October.... Find out more

Sculpture by the Sea

More than 100 artworks are on display along the breathtaking Bondi to Coogee Walk (see p. 15). October and November.... Find out more

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Classic blue-water sailing event. Departs Sydney Harbour on 26 December.... Find out more

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