Neighbourhood Guide: Sydney

Sydney is arguably Australia’s most iconic city. The harbour, the architecture of our famous landmarks and celebrated names in the dining arena all come together to provide a rich, picture perfect experience.  

There’s a reason Circular Quay is front and centre of almost any Sydney brochure or postcard. If you turn to one side, you have a full view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge; turn to the other and you have the unmistakable form of the Opera House. There are hundreds of Instagrammable angles to find around here, some of the best coming from the decks of the Sydney Ferries as they cross paths in and around the bridge. Take one, to nowhere in particular, just for the joy of the ride.

My fave. 🌴❤️🇦🇺 #sydney #australia

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Just around the bend from Circular Quay are the spectacular Royal Botanic Gardens. As well as offering more great vistas – including the right viewpoint to get both the Opera House and Bridge in the same photo – the gardens are a beautiful oasis from the bustling CBD. You can take everything in at your own pace or join one of the guided walks which leave at 10:30am each day. There are plenty of great spots for picnics so if the sun’s out rally up the troops and make the most of it.


If you’re more of an indoor person, you’ll be pleased to discover Pitt Street Mall is also at your doorstep. This is the historical centre of Sydney shopping and you can find all of your favourite retailers as well as some delightful boutiques. The buildings are worth noticing too, from the beautiful Queen Victoria Building with its central dome, stained glass and elaborate arches, to the Strand Arcade, which takes visitors back in time to the late 1800s. If you’re in town for an event, the malls’ many beauty counters are also handy, with most offering professional make-up applications redeemable for product purchase.


A tradition favoured by locals and visitors alike is a sunset drink at the Opera Bar. Facing west, the venue sets you up perfectly to watch the sun descend behind the Harbour Bridge, cocktail in hand. You’re also perfectly placed to walk next door to the Opera House afterwards to experience one of the 40 something shows on offer each week, including classic musicals, orchestra performances, comedy, all genres of dance, magic shows, kids’ entertainment and thought provoking presentations from some of the world’s greatest minds. It’s not just opera.


Many of Sydney’s most famous restaurants sit in its centre, including Café Sydney with its unbeatable outlook, moody interior and exceptional food, Peter Gilmore’s Quay with its art-like dishes and infamous Snow Egg dessert, the carnivore’s paradise that is Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar and Grill and Tetsuya’s, Sydney’s favourite upmarket Japanese. Spoilt for choice? Absolutely.


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