Touring Sydney Australia

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Touring Sydney Australia offers a capitating blend of iconic landmarks, stunning views, vibrant cultural experiences, and beautiful beaches – a must-see for destination travelers!

sydney opera house

My Time Touring Sydney Australia

I recently toured Sydney Australia- the trip of a lifetime- with my parents and my cousin to celebrate my brother and sister in law’s wedding in Brisbane. After the festivities and fun touring Brisbane was over my mom, my cousin and I went to Sydney for 2 days to check out the city.

The Rocks is a historic area on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour- rich in history from Sydney’s early days, and home to fabulous artists, restaurants, shops and great sights. Circular Quay (pronounced “keey”) is the main harbour area in Sydney- home to restaurants, shops, tourist attractions like harbour cruises, and the Opera House.

When we got into Sydney, we headed to the Harbour Marriott, just a few blocks from the Opera House. We were so excited to have a hotel super close to the action- and I had been talking to the fabulous PR team at the Marriott to give us ideas of what to do in Sydney.

We then walked over to the Opera House. Since we were there in winter, there was some significant construction- but that didnt stop us from climbing the steps and checking out the iconic space close up!

We learned a fun fact- the white shapes are actually composed of a ton of white tiles in alternating intricate patterns.

Hope you enjoyed this little view into our trip and sights from the Rocks and Circular Quay- stay tuned because I am going to share some GORGEOUS photos from our walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens!

circular quay from the opera house, sydney

Where to Stay in Sydney

Park Hyatt Sydney

  • Why: This luxury hotel offers unrivaled views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, exceptional service, and elegant accommodations with modern amenities.

Shangri-La Hotel

  • Why: Located in The Rocks district, the Shangri-La Hotel provides panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, luxury rooms and suites, a renowned spa, and the iconic Altitude Restaurant and Blu Bar on 36.

The Langham, Sydney

  • Why: Known for its timeless elegance, The Langham offers luxurious rooms, a tranquil day spa, an indoor pool, and impeccable service in a serene setting near Barangaroo and Darling Harbour.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

  • Why: Situated near Circular Quay, this five-star hotel features stunning views, luxurious accommodations, a renowned spa, and excellent dining options, including the award-winning Mode Kitchen & Bar.
Hyatt Regency in sydney

QT Sydney

  • Why: This boutique hotel combines historic charm with quirky, modern design. Located in the heart of the city, QT Sydney offers unique rooms, a stylish bar, and an on-site spa.

The Westin Sydney

  • Why: Housed in the historic General Post Office building, The Westin offers a blend of heritage architecture and modern comfort, with spacious rooms and a prime location near major attractions.

Ovolo Woolloomooloo

  • Why: Set on a restored finger wharf, this trendy hotel features stylish accommodations, a vibrant atmosphere, and unique amenities like free mini-bar items, happy hour, and a 24-hour gym.

The Old Clare Hotel

  • Why: This boutique hotel in Chippendale offers a blend of heritage and contemporary design, with individually styled rooms, a rooftop pool, and proximity to the vibrant Kensington Street precinct.

InterContinental Sydney

  • Why: Located near Circular Quay, the InterContinental offers luxurious accommodations, exceptional service, and stunning harbour views, with the historic Treasury Building integrated into the design.
phone booth

Spicers Potts Point

  • Why: This boutique hotel in a Victorian terrace house offers a charming and intimate stay, with stylish rooms, personalized service, and a central location near Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo.

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

  • Why: Overlooking Darling Harbour, this luxury hotel features modern rooms with spectacular views, a rooftop infinity pool, a chic bar, and proximity to entertainment and dining options.

The Sebel Quay West Suites Sydney

  • Why: Offering spacious apartment-style accommodations, this hotel provides the comforts of home with stunning views of the harbour, an indoor pool, and a convenient location near The Rocks.

Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection

  • Why: Set on the waterfront in Walsh Bay, this hotel offers stylish rooms with unique designs, direct harbour views, and a location close to the Sydney Theatre Company and Barangaroo Reserve.

Little Albion, a Crystalbrook Collection Boutique Hotel

  • Why: This boutique hotel in Surry Hills combines eclectic design with luxury amenities, offering a unique and personalized experience in a vibrant neighborhood known for its dining and nightlife.
large bridge

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney

  • Why: Housed in a heritage building, this hotel offers elegant accommodations, modern amenities, and a central location near major attractions, shopping, and dining.

Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Darling Harbour

  • Why: Ideal for longer stays, this hotel provides spacious apartment-style rooms with kitchen facilities, an outdoor pool, and a prime location near Darling Harbour’s attractions.

Sydney Harbour YHA

  • Why: For budget-conscious travelers, this hostel offers clean and comfortable accommodations, a rooftop terrace with stunning views, and a location in the historic The Rocks district.
walkway along a harbor

Meriton Suites Kent Street, Sydney

  • Why: Offering spacious suites with full kitchens, this hotel is perfect for families or extended stays, with modern amenities and a central location near Darling Harbour and Town Hall.

The Darling

  • Why: Located in The Star casino complex, The Darling offers luxurious rooms, a world-class spa, and proximity to top dining and entertainment options, making it ideal for a lively stay.

Veriu Central

  • Why: This boutique hotel offers a blend of modern comfort and historic charm, with stylish rooms and a central location near Central Station, Chinatown, and the bustling Surry Hills area.

What to Do in Sydney

restaurants on the harbour

Iconic Landmarks and Attractions

  1. Sydney Opera House – Take a guided tour or watch a performance.
  2. Sydney Harbour Bridge – Climb the bridge for spectacular views or walk across it.
  3. Sydney Tower Eye – Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the observation deck.
  4. The Rocks – Explore this historic area with cobblestone streets, markets, and museums.

Beaches

  1. Bondi Beach – Relax, swim, or take a surfing lesson.
  2. Manly Beach – Take a ferry ride to this popular beach for swimming, surfing, and coastal walks.
  3. Coogee Beach – Enjoy the beach or walk the scenic coastal trail to Bondi.

Nature and Parks

  1. Royal Botanic Garden – Wander through beautiful gardens with views of the harbour.
  2. Taronga Zoo – See Australian wildlife and exotic animals with a stunning harbour backdrop.
  3. Blue Mountains – Take a day trip to hike, see the Three Sisters, and enjoy the natural beauty.

Cultural Experiences

  1. Art Gallery of New South Wales – View Australian and international art collections.
  2. Australian Museum – Learn about natural history, indigenous culture, and Australian wildlife.
  3. Museum of Contemporary Art – Explore contemporary art exhibitions by Australian and international artists.

Activities and Tours

  1. Harbour Cruise – Take a cruise to see the city skyline, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge from the water.
  2. Kayaking or Paddleboarding – Explore the harbour and beaches from a different perspective.
  3. Whale Watching – Join a tour during the migration season (May to November) to see humpback whales.
restaurants along a city street

Shopping and Dining

  1. Queen Victoria Building – Shop in this historic and architecturally stunning building.
  2. Darling Harbour – Dine, shop, visit the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, or enjoy the nightlife.
  3. Chinatown – Explore vibrant markets, delicious eateries, and cultural experiences.

Events and Festivals

  1. Vivid Sydney – Experience this annual festival of light, music, and ideas (usually in May-June).
  2. Sydney Festival – Enjoy a diverse array of performances, installations, and events in January.
  3. New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Watch the world-famous fireworks display over Sydney Harbour.

Scenic Walks and Views

  1. Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk – Enjoy stunning coastal views on this popular walk.
  2. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair – Take in panoramic views of the harbour, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge.
  3. Barangaroo Reserve – Stroll through this waterfront park with indigenous significance and modern design.
sydney harbour and circular quay

Where to Eat in Sydney

Quay

  • Why: Known for its breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Quay offers an exquisite fine dining experience with innovative dishes by renowned chef Peter Gilmore.

Bennelong

  • Why: Located inside the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong provides a unique dining atmosphere with modern Australian cuisine crafted by chef Peter Gilmore, focusing on local and seasonal ingredients.

Tetsuya’s

  • Why: A legendary restaurant in the Sydney dining scene, Tetsuya’s combines Japanese techniques with French culinary traditions, offering an exceptional degustation menu in an elegant setting.

Sepia

  • Why: Known for its sophisticated and creative menu, Sepia blends Japanese flavors with contemporary techniques, delivering a memorable dining experience with impeccable service.
four seasons sydney towering above the rocks

Rockpool Bar & Grill

  • Why: Offering premium steaks and seafood, Rockpool Bar & Grill is renowned for its luxurious Art Deco ambiance, extensive wine list, and high-quality ingredients.

Mr. Wong

  • Why: This stylish Cantonese restaurant in the heart of Sydney is famous for its dim sum, Peking duck, and other traditional dishes served in a chic, buzzing atmosphere.

Aria

  • Why: With stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Aria serves contemporary Australian cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce, created by chef Matt Moran.

Ester

  • Why: Ester is celebrated for its inventive wood-fired dishes and minimalist approach, focusing on quality ingredients and bold flavors in a cozy, industrial-chic setting.

Saint Peter

  • Why: A seafood lover’s paradise, Saint Peter offers sustainably sourced fish and seafood prepared with innovative techniques by chef Josh Niland, highlighting the best of Australian waters.

Automata

  • Why: Known for its ever-changing tasting menu, Automata offers a unique and creative dining experience, blending modern Australian cuisine with international influences in a sleek, industrial space.

Chin Chin

  • Why: This vibrant and trendy spot brings the flavors of Southeast Asia to Sydney, with a focus on Thai cuisine, lively atmosphere, and a stylish interior.

Hubert

  • Why: Transporting diners to a vintage Parisian bistro, Hubert offers classic French dishes, an extensive wine list, and a charming, intimate setting perfect for a romantic dinner.

The Grounds of Alexandria

  • Why: A popular destination for brunch, The Grounds of Alexandria features a rustic café with a farm-to-table approach, beautiful gardens, markets, and a petting zoo, creating a unique dining experience.
sydney opera house

Koi Dessert Bar

  • Why: For those with a sweet tooth, Koi Dessert Bar by MasterChef Australia alumnus Reynold Poernomo offers stunning and inventive desserts, along with a savory menu in a chic, modern space.

The Apollo

  • Why: This contemporary Greek restaurant in Potts Point is known for its delicious Mediterranean dishes, communal dining experience, and vibrant atmosphere.

Billy Kwong

  • Why: Combining Chinese and Australian ingredients, chef Kylie Kwong creates a unique dining experience with an emphasis on sustainability, organic produce, and bold flavors.

ACME

  • Why: ACME offers a playful and inventive take on Italian cuisine, with a focus on pasta dishes and a casual, laid-back atmosphere.

Chaco Bar

  • Why: Specializing in yakitori and ramen, Chaco Bar delivers an authentic Japanese dining experience with a cozy, intimate setting and expertly grilled skewers.

Nomad

  • Why: Known for its Middle Eastern-inspired dishes and emphasis on local produce, Nomad offers a vibrant and lively dining experience with an open kitchen and shared plates.

sydney opera house up close

Taste of Australia

Australian cuisine is a diverse fusion of flavors, drawing from its rich multicultural heritage to create unique dishes that range from traditional Aboriginal bush tucker to modern culinary innovations. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are a hallmark, with a strong emphasis on seafood, meats like kangaroo and lamb, and vibrant produce.

Try these delicious recipes:

sydney opera house and the harbour

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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2 Comments

  1. nest of posies says:

    Oooo! Courtney! Your pics are amazing. What a great adventure & to experience another part of the world, lucky you. Everything looks incredible.

    One day…

  2. Sarah @ Bombshell Bling says:

    Australia? Come to mama!! Four Seasons? COME TO MAMA! Pretty much a dream trip right here!!