Discover Sydney, Australia’s famous harbour city and the capital of New South Wales.
Plan your Sydney holiday using our three-day itinerary, which takes in the attractions around Sydney Harbour, beaches and inner-city precincts. Read up on the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains and the Six Foot Track bushwalk.
Learn about other places to visit in New South Wales and scenic journeys you can take from Sydney. Drive the Pacific Coast Touring Route north to Brisbane past the Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and bohemian Byron Bay. Or head south to Melbourne via the pure white beaches of Jervis Bay.
Check out Australia’s other cities and get ideas for the rest of your Australian holiday. Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and Australia’s Red Centre are all possible in a three-week holiday from Sydney.
For more Sydney holiday ideas, read our articles on the Hunter Valley, Sydney’s sparkling beaches, the Bondi to Bronte walk and the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbour, seductive outdoor lifestyle and great natural beauty. Kayak under the Sydney Harbour Bridge or wave at the Opera House as you ride a ferry across the harbour to Manly. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach or swim in the calm waters of Coogee. Lose yourself in the cobblestone cul-de-sacs of The Rocks or in the markets, boutiques, cafes and pubs of Paddington. As well as a world-famous harbour and more than 70 sparkling beaches, Sydney offers fabulous food, festivals and 24-7 fun.
Explore the harbour, beaches and inner-city precincts of this exuberant city. See dawn break from the top of the Harbour Bridge or the sun set on the Opera House. Fine dine along the Woolloomooloo finger wharf or experience theatre and dance along the redeveloped wharves of Walsh Bay. Take the ferry to Manly, walk from Bondi to Bronte along the spectacular sea cliffs or relax in a beer garden with harbour views in Watsons Bay. Discover the unique character of Surry Hills, Kings Cross, Glebe, Newtown or Balmain. Spend your final day indulging at wineries, restaurants or day spas of the Hunter Valley.
Sydney’s early convict days live on in the Rocks, a jumble of cobblestone streets and cul-de-sacs just five minutes from Circular Quay. You only have to step off the harbour foreshore to find the sandstone terraces and cottages and some of Sydney’s oldest pubs. This historic precinct also draws both visitors and locals with its museums and galleries, lively weekend markets and hotels with harbour views. The past and present collide in the best way in the Rocks, home to both ghostly tours and some of Sydney’s liveliest celebrations.
Beyond its landmark buildings, Sydney Harbour National Park shelters secluded beaches, picturesque islands and rare pockets of native bushland. Swim, picnic and bushwalk along the spectacular foreshore or visit harbour islands on a ferry. Go sailing or kayaking, get up close to wildlife and discover ancient rock art and convict-built buildings. The harbour’s bays, parks and headlands are also natural grandstands for some of Australia’s biggest events, from New Year’s Eve fireworks to the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Find ideas and ideals in Sydney’s bookwormish inner-city village.
Glebe is the bookwormish and often overlooked sister amongst Sydney’s glamorous inner-city suburbs. But who needs a high profile or designer fashion when you have ideals and intellectual mettle?
Bondi Beach is one of Australia's most famous beaches and well-known worldwide. It has probably featured on more postcards and more television shows and films than any other in Australia.
Each year tens of thousands of people, from backpackers to billionaires, take to the golden sands of this wide, one-kilometre long city beach expanse to walk, jog, or just soak up the sun. Being only 10 kilometres from the city centre, Bondi Beach is one of Sydney’s busiest beaches. There’s a host of events held here all year round from community art shows to city to surf running marathons.
Manly Beach is another of Australia’s most popular suburban beaches along Sydney’s long stretch of northern coastline. Manly Beach was named in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales, because he was impressed by “the confidence and manly behaviour” of the area’s original Aboriginal population. Take the majestic Manly ferry from Circular Quay and in half an hour you’ll be at Manly Wharf. ‘Only seven miles from Sydney and a million miles from care’ is a phrase often quoted by the people of Manly. When you visit this seaside town you will quickly realise why.
With a shimmering beach, magnificent coastal walk and protected marine reserve with excellent surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving, Coogee sums up the classic Australian beach lifestyle. Coogee Beach has a sweeping stretch of golden sand, historic ocean baths and plenty of green parks for barbecues and picnics, all only 20 minutes from the busy centre of Sydney. It’s an ideal beach for families, with safe swimming and lifesavers on patrol all year round. Coogee is also one of Sydney’s oldest suburbs, with many historic buildings. The surrounding cliff tops offer spectacular bush walks and some of Sydney’s most panoramic views.
A little over an hour’s drive from the city, Palm Beach is at the exclusive end of Sydney's long stretch of northern beaches. It sits at the end of a long peninsula, with surf on one side and Pittwater on the other. Many of the country’s wealthy have built their holiday houses here. Fans will also recognise Palm Beach as the mythical village of ‘Summer Bay’ where the hit TV series Home and Away is filmed. The two-kilometre long, golden beach curves from Barrenjoey Head at the southern head of Broken Bay, to the sandstone rocks of Little Head in the south.
Sydney in summertime is all about its coastline, and few stretches are as iconic as the sea-sculpted section from Bondi to Bronte. Learn to surf at Bondi, join the beautiful people in Tamarama and swim in Bronte’s family-friendly rock pool. See all three beaches on the Bondi to Bronte walk - a short, spectacular coastal trail along epic sandstone cliffs.
Sydney’s beaches will be beckoning before you even land in Botany. You might see them flying in – a long, golden chain split across both sides of the harbour and fringed by green bush and sea. Or the welcome video on the plane might start famous images of Bondi Beach repeating in your head. If you’re an avid surfer, sun-worshipper or just love the sea, you’ll be itching to get onto the waves, smelling the salt air or nestled nicely on the sand.
You don’t need to be a sailing buff to enjoy watching the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Beginning on Boxing Day, December 26, the race is an iconic part of our Australian summertime. See the yachts sail out of the harbour heads with a picnic, barbeque or boat cruise on Sydney Harbour. Cheer as they cross the finish line in time for new year’s eve celebrations in Hobart. In between, marvel at the sailors’ fortitude, and fret with the rest of Australia as they battle the turbulent passage of Bass Strait.
Sunny, subversive, cosmopolitan and camp – welcome to Sydney during its annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Whether you’re straight, gay, old or young, you’ll love the gleeful, glamorous energy rippling through the city from late February. Celebrate the festival opening at Fair Day – a huge community party in Sydney’s inner-west. Watch a convoy of sequins, satirical slogans and spray tans wind along Oxford St in the world’s biggest gay pride parade. Dance the midsummer night away in the lush Royal Botanic Gardens or at the powerhouse finale party. Enjoy queer and quirky performances at the Sydney Opera House and other venues across the city.
Start your Australian adventure in Sydney, where you can climb the Harbour Bridge and visit the Opera House. Close to Sydney’s fringes, explore the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains or the vine-lined Hunter Valley. Swim with dolphins in Port Stephens or in sparkling Jervis Bay.