Sydney is a simply phenomenal place, and Australia’s busiest and most populated city. A visit to this vibrant and cosmopolitan state capital is a must. The Harbour City is regarded as one of the most exciting in the world, and you’ll feel the electricity in the air when you arrive.
Sydney is home to a bevy of famous and iconic spectacles: the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach, for starters. But there are plenty more thrills in store. From downtown districts to a ring of national parks, hip shopping strips, fashion and food markets, and laidback beachside locales. It’s an expansive list, and this bustling metropolis covers quite a bit of an expanse in itself. You can count on your hire car to help you get around to the best spots with ease. We also recommend jumping on a ferry at Circular Quay. It’s an inexpensive way to experience the harbour and take you to some great destinations, like Manly Beach, Watsons Bay and Taronga Zoo.
Sydneysiders are upbeat and outgoing, and always looking for the next adventure to share. Join in and see the latest exhibition at the National Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay, or the White Rabbit Gallery in inner-city Chippendale. Discover a chic boutique on Oxford Street, Paddington or a vintage shop in Potts Point. Attend opening nights at Bangarra or Sydney Theatre Company at Walsh Bay. Try a great vegan café in Newtown. Grab a quick bite in Chinatown or K-Town. Down a cocktail at an uber-cool bar in Darlinghurst. Check out the nightlife at Kings Cross. Visit Brett Whiteley’s studio in Surry Hills or Ken Done’s at The Rocks. The list goes on, it’s hard to be bored in the heart of Sydney.
Embrace the joys of Sydney easily in your hire car
The weather is usually warm in Sydney, and the sub-tropical ambience makes the vibe even steamier in summer. Thankfully, there are some great places to cool off. Head to the gardens and parks in the heart of the city itself. Hyde Park, on the eastern end of the CBD, is the oldest public parkland in Australia – with a beautiful canopy to shelter during the day, while after dusk the fairy lights make for a magical nightscape. The lush Botanical Gardens overlook the harbour and are a must for every nature lover. A 15-minute drive, and you’ll be in the Centennial Parklands – a vast green space with ponds and picnic areas, and extensive walking and horse-riding tracks.
Sydney has a number of notoriously beautiful beaches that are popular all year round, but especially so as the temperature climbs. Bondi tops every tourist list and is only 25 minutes from the CBD. There’s a great food and fashion scene in the area, and the Bondi Pavilion also holds theatre performances and film events, like Flickerfest. Try the famed ocean pool, Bondi Icebergs; or the equally famous Icebergs Dining Room and Bar for sophisticated Italian cuisine with a view. We recommend taking the coastal walkway to neighbouring Bronte Beach for swoon-worthy views and a chance to relax, and further south to Coogee Beach, known as a prime whale-watching spot.
Retail therapy is rewarding in Sydney, no matter what your budget. From Pitt Street Mall to the Strand Arcade, the Queen Victoria Building or Double Bay, Westfield Sydney or Market City. Take a shopping tour or keep a look-out for these inner-urban shopping strips: Crown Street, Darling Street, Oxford Street, King Street and Military Road. There are also more weekend markets than you could possibly visit. Some of our favourites include The Rocks (in the oldest part of Sydney), Paddy’s Markets, the Glebe Markets, Kirribilli Market (next to the Harbour Bridge), Paddington Markets, Bondi Markets, Balmain Markets and the Rozelle Collectors Market.
Sydney’s showcase of riches is yours to discover in your hire car
Sydney does love an event. And what’s even better, the following are free, with the added bonus of the harbour as a backdrop. Watch the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race grand send-off on Boxing Day. Welcome in the New Year at Darling Harbour with a brilliant fireworks display. Turn up for outdoor opera or Australia’s biggest Oktoberfest at the Domain.
Sydney’s full calendar of festivals and celebrations offers even more reasons to revisit throughout the year. Start on an exciting note in January when the Sydney Festival hits the city, followed by the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in February, and the Sydney Easter Parade. The Comedy and Writers’ Festivals are held in April and May. While winter nights are brighter with Vivid – the Light, Music and Ideas Festival – with its entrancing projections of artistry and illumination. The litany of remarkable events, unforgettable places and spectacular sights is never ending in Sydney.