[All content and prices updated August 2013]

Why you should add Sydney to your RTW travel list

Australia's largest and most famous city is a huge sprawl surrounding the gorgeous Sydney Harbour, but fortunately for the visitor nearly all the major attractions are concentrated in or near the Central Business District. Summers tend to be hot and humid, but the climate is generally very pleasant all year round.

  • The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most recognizable buildings and its location on the waterfront just next to the major transit hub of Circular Quay makes it very easy to reach.
    • You can tour the buildings during the day or attend one of the many concerts or cultural events at night if you are lucky enough to score a ticket.
    • The Sydney Harbour Bridge may not be as famous, but this iconic "clothes hanger" of a structure is a major symbol of the city and is available for group climbs to the top if you like an adrenaline rush.
  • The Sydney Tower is right in the center of the downtown area, and the observation deck predictably provides excellent views of the entire city and the stunning harbour itself.
  • There are several famous beaches in Sydney, but Bondi is certainly the best known and definitely worth a visit.
  • The beach itself is beautiful and usually crowded though it's smaller than you might expect.
  • The entire village just off Bondi has several good hotels and hostels and makes for an interesting alternative to staying in the city proper.

Indie travel tips for Sydney

People flock to Sydney for a variety of reasons – famous sites and beaches among them. But what if you are looking to do what the locals do? Where would you go? What would you do?
  • Take in a show at the Opera House
  • Shake your booty at the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras
  • Learn to surf at Bondi Beach
  • Scream yourself hoarse at the Rugby League Grand Final
  • Check out the interesting nightlife of King’s Cross
  • Catch the Manly Ferry for a cheap tour of Circular Quay
  • Stroll around the weekend markets at The Rocks
  • Spend hours wandering around the Darling Harbour leisure park
  • Go bushwalking in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
  • The beaches in Sydney are a major tourist destination, but instead of heading to uber-popular and crowded Bondi Beach, check out Coogee Beach, Palm Beach, or Whale Beach.
  • If you like chilling out, not spending much money, and hanging out with locals and tourists alike, have yourself a barbecue at Centennial Park.
  • If you want to get away from the crowds, check out one of the suburbs like La Perouse.
  • Check out one of these wild walks in and around Sydney. Sometimes simply getting out and just wandering provides travelers with great indie experiences.

Transportation

Unless you are already close by you'll want to book a flight to Sydney. The Sydney International Airport (code: SYD) is sometimes called Kingsford Smith International Airport, and it serves most of the air traffic to the region. The airport has a train station beneath it so you can get into the city quickly and transfer to the subway line if necessary.

Accommodation

Obviously there are many hotels in Sydney to choose from, and prices are relatively high so it's not a bad idea to shop around. Many of the more affordable hotels are located in the King's Cross neighborhood, which has a bit of a wild reputation, but is really quite safe. Most of the larger hostels in Sydney are also located in the King's Cross area, so this is something of a backpacker's ghetto but also filled with good services for travelers and lots of good nightlife.

Photo credits: Andrea Schaffer