It’s little wonder that Sydney causes a brain drain on the rest of Australia. Brimming with history, nature, culture, art, fashion, cuisine, design, it is set next to miles of ocean coastline and sandy surf beaches. The city is also home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on the planet. Add hip bars, grungy pubs, breezy cafes and glass-walled restaurants to the equation, and you’ve got a town with the perfect balance of outdoor and indoor, natural and contrived.
Need to work on that tan? Sure, you have to see Bondi Beach but you could also throw your towel down at nearby Bronte or Tamarama, or on some of the less well-known city beaches like Shelly Beach near Manly and Camp Cove near Watson’s Bay.
Sophisticated shoppers will want to head for the boutiques, cafes and bookshops of Paddington for original Australian design like Dinosaur Designs, Collette Dinnigan and Akira Isogawa in nearby Woollahra. In Glebe there’s the much loved Gleebooks, and check out Newtown’s Better Read Than Dead, Holy Moley, Egg Records.
Sydney's large natural harbour was the reason that the original penal settlement was established in the area, near what is now known as Circular Quay. You can take a cruise on Sydney Harbour, but a cheaper alternative would be to take the ferry to Manly and check out trendy Manly Beach. Swing by the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Art Gallery of New South Wales on the edge of the gardens. While you're in the area, visit Mrs Macquarie's Chair for a picture postcard view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in one picture.