The cradle of Australia where the pioneers from Old Europe first landed, Sydney has always flung open the doors of its iconic Sydney Harbour to the ocean winds and subjugated eyes. From The Rocks, the old neighbourhood that’s now brimming with boho-chic, the stunning profile of the Sydney Opera House juts out into the clear blue water spanned by the Sydney Harbour Bridge whose shimmering metal structure crosses the bay. This iconic landmark, caressed by exquisite sunshine over the years, sums up the essence of this ultra-modern city perfectly. With its daring architecture, bathed in cosmopolitan history and studded with the Victorian homes of Paddington, marked with a slight British stiff upper lip, the city has been transformed over the centuries by the proximity of nature and developed a nonchalance that has established itself as a way of life. At Circular Quay, near the Sydney Opera House, or on the other side of the harbour, Sydneysiders enjoy the pleasures of a vast array of bars and restaurants on the waterfront. These trendy destinations sum up the riches of the gastronomic delights available, washed down with wines from famous vineyards, spiced up with a taste of Asia or France, to become internationally renowned.
In Sydney, bordered by stunning National Parks, the great outdoors is never far away. The Australian Museum offers a fascinating overview of the rich, wild and mysterious wildlife of the island continent, which can be enjoyed at the Taronga Zoo, home to all sorts of reptiles, platypuses, sea lions, koalas, kangaroos, emus and indigenous wombats. Further afield, waves pound the sands of Bondi Beach and Manly to the delight of surfers. The contemporary exhibits of Sculpture By The Sea also have to face up to the elements, in a peacefulness inspired by the same composure and patience as that demanded for a cricket match, passionately supported from the stands of the SCG, the Sydney Cricket Ground.
In the summer, so in January in the Southern Hemisphere, Hyde Park, a large expanse of greenery that in no way resembles its namesake in London, comes to life for the Sydney Festival, a celebration of all the arts. Then there is the comprehensive recreational precinct, Darling Harbour and the Powerhouse Museum, a delightfully eclectic celebration of science…
Sydneysiders are particularly fond of outdoor living, including barbecues, social events like Vivid Sydney, the local lighting festival held at the end of May, or one of the many sporting events available: kayaking around the port or climbing the Harbour Bridge, among others, are perfect examples of the balanced, active lifestyle you can enjoy there. Also home to cultural landmarks such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art, this urban, bustling and creative city knows all about the pleasures of life - including the joys of shopping with The Strand Arcade, Westfield Sydney, and the department store David Jones with its big name brands. A powerful city without a hint of dandyism.
Sydney is great city to visit all year around, since it offers a temperate climate without extremes of temperatures. Since it is located in the south hemisphere, the coldest months are June and July with an average temperature of 12°C and the hottest months are January and February with 25°C (but temperatures can climb up to 30 - 40°C).
The best time to visit Sydney is from November to April, when the temperatures are warm with an average minimum temperature of 20° Celsius.
The average annual rainfall is not that high in Sydney compared with other cities around the world. Rainfall is generally at its highest from January to April.
Sydney FestivaL, all January
New South Wales Food and Wine Festival, all February
Alliance Française French Film Festival, all March
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, mid-April
Vivid Sydney Festival, end of May until early June
Sydney Film Festival, early - mid June
HarbourSculpture, expositions de sculptures, end of July - early August
City2Surf run and walk, Hyde Park to Bondi Beach, early August
Sydney Marathon and Running Festival, mid-September
Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month, all October
Sydney International Art Series, expositions d’arts, end of November until March
New Year's Celebration, 31st December
Transportation is easy to organise in Sydney and includes a wide range of methods of transportation, including: local cabs, private car services, rental car, trains, buses, bikes and ferry services which travel around Sydney Harbour.
Sydney Trains is a very convenient way to travel throughout a big city such as Sydney and its suburbs. The network is made up of several colour-coded lines with all of them leading directly to the City Circle. Most trains operate from 4am to midnight, transporting approximately 1 million train passengers each weekday.
Buses are very convenient to take you to the beaches and mostly operate 24 hours a day (with a limited service in the late evenings).
Ferry services leaving from the terminal at Circular Quay are a great way to discover the spectacular coastline of Sydney and to reach Watson’s Bay and Manly.
MyMultiDay Pass is a great option to explore Sydney as it is an all-in-one AUD$24 ticket (adult) that gives you unlimited access to Sydney Trains, Sydney Buses, Harbour City Ferries and light rail services. Otherwise a one way trip costs around AUD$4.
Keep in mind that when driving in Sydney, you must drive on the left side of the road.
According to the NSW Taxi Council, there are 6.000 taxis in Sydney. Taxi can be hailed on the street, found at taxi ranks or booked in advance through one of the numerous Sydney taxi company.
The initial charge is AUD$ 3,45 and add AUD$ 2,14 for each kilometer. Some additional charges may apply. Credit card and debit cards are usually accepted, with an additional charge fee.
Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport is located only 8 kilometers from the center of Sydney.
T1 is the international terminal, T2 is the domestic terminal and T3 is dedicated to Qantas Airlines as their domestic terminal.
Metered taxis are available and private transfers can be arranged at the airports.
By cab between Sydney Airport and the center of Sydney, expect a 15 minutes journey and a fare of AUD$ 45 (depending upon traffic and the time of day).
For AUD$ 17, Airport link is also a convenient alternative, with trains every 10 minutes and a journey of 15 minutes to Central Station.