Sydney is Australia's largest city and one of the most dynamic in the world.
While there is plenty of entertainment, sport and nightlife, it is Sydney's climate that makes it possible to have a great time just doing nothing at all!
It's a city that has action aplenty not only in its heart but also in satellite areas at all points of the compass.
While Sydney has more than its fair share of great shops, restaurants and bars, it is its world famous harbour that can provide the setting for a great day just taking in the sites without spending a fortune. A nice walk followed by some fish and chips can be as good a day as any you will have anywhere in the world.
Although a lot of what Sydney has to offer can be reached by public transport, hiring a car can quickly get you to some of the most spectacular scenery in less than a couple of hours.
Sydney hotels are scattered all over the city and cater to every budget – no matter if you are looking for cheap hotels in Sydney or if you prefer a business type of accommodation, you will not be disappointed.
Read on to find out more about all Sydney has to offer.
Sydney suffers an inferiority complex when compared with its southern rival of Melbourne when it comes to shopping. This should not be the case.
All the major department stores and boutique brands can be found not only in the city centre but also in other centres like Bondi Junction, Brookvale and Chatswood. Not only is the shopping first class but you are also close enough to other activities to complete your day of fun.
For a pure indulging shopping experience it is hard to go past the Queen Victoria Building (QVB). With all the major brands and shops available on three floors and an atmosphere of refined luxury, a day at the QVB will not only lighten your wallet but also your spirit.
If you want an alternative shopping experience head down to the Rocks and the Argyle Cut. From stores selling candles and old fashioned lollies, to those offering beautiful gemstones and souvenirs, Sydney's 'birthplace' has something for everyone.
While there is plenty of Nightlife in the city proper, a lot of the live music action occurs in the major clubs in the suburbs such as the Rugby League Clubs and the large RSL's.
But if you want a night out close to town then Darling Harbour, Newtown, Oxford Street and Circular Quay all have numerous establishments ready to entertain and excite you.
For something a little different, head over to Balmain and one of the numerous old fashioned bars. They may be old fashioned but they all have modern menus so you won't be disappointed with an evening in one of Sydney's oldest suburbs.
If you are a little more adventurous there is always Kings Cross. This (in)famous strip comes to life at night but keep an open mind it is very 'colourful'!
Sydney has pockets of specific types of cuisine as well as streets with restaurants with all types of food available.
Chinatown is obviously the place to go for Chinese cuisine. East Ocean and Golden Century are the pick of the crop, but also the ones that will take the biggest toll on your budget. Nine Dragons is worth a visit for the slightly more budget conscious visitor.
Norton St in Leichhardt is the home of all things Italian with great restaurants and food shopping. Nearby Haberfield also features great Italian food with two of the best pizza restaurants in Sydney (Napoli in Bocca and La Disfida). And don't miss the wonderful Italian desserts at Pasticceria Papa and Sulfaro Pasticceria.
In terms of eating precincts it is hard to go past the Finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo but you will need your wallet. Other great dining areas are Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour, King Street in Newtown, The Spot in Randwick, and Willoughby Road in Crows Nest.
For a simply splendid dining experience with views to match it is hard to go past the Summit restaurant at the top of Australia Square. This revolving restaurant has been a favourite to Sydneysiders and overseas visitors alike for over 30 years and although the scenery has changed over the years the quality of the food is always top class.
Parks, gardens, galleries and museums
So what else is there to see and do?
Sydney is blessed with wonderful parks to just stroll around or bigger ones that you can bike or horse ride around or simply just take in the perfect weather.
Right in the heart of the city on the harbour is the Royal Botanic Gardens. With stunning views of the harbour, the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the gardens are a huge favourite for overseas visitors.
In the east is Centennial Park, a massive parkland containing sporting fields and duck ponds alike. The park is a favourite for cyclists and horse riders of all abilities.
Over in the inner west the Bicentennial Parklands on the site of the 2000 Olympic Games have all the facilities for a great family day out. Playgrounds, open spaces and bike tracks abound and there is no better place to enjoy a day outdoors.
In terms of Museums and Galleries there are two main areas. In the city, the Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Sydney are all in close proximity. Then over at Darling Harbour - the Maritime Museum, the Sydney Aquarium and the PowerHouse Museum will all provide a great outing especially if you have kids. And downtown nestled on the foreshore at Circular Quay is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).
Above all else, take the ferry to Taronga Zoo for a day with the animals. One of the great experiences is to not only see all the wildlife but also take in the spectacular views of the harbour from Sydney's number one real estate location.
Sydney Hotels and Accommodation
Accommodation in Sydney is plentiful and suits every budget. Backpackers and travellers on a budget will find a variety of clean and cheap hotels or hostels, while business travellers and those looking for luxury can choose from a large number of four- and five-star hotels in Sydney, offering a beautiful view of Darling Harbour, Circular Quay or Sydney’s breathtaking skyline.
Over recent times short and long stays at Sydney serviced apartments have become a popular alternative to hotels for businessman , travellers and families wanting self catering facilities and more space in a home away from home atmosphere. Often these serviced apartments offer free parking inclusive of the price of the room nights, but do check the terms and conditions first, as Sydney parking can be expensive. If preparing your own meals is not on your menu, you can always visit one of the hundreds of eating alternatives throughout the city of Sydney