During my 4 month trip to Australia I decided to take a Sydney city break, to explore what this fantastic city has to offer. I have visited Sydney briefly twice before, but I haven’t had the chance to spend a decent amount of time there. The first time was an overnight stopover and the second time was to kill a few hours during a long flight connection. On both previous visits I saw only the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, so I wanted to take this opportunity to see much more of Sydney.
Sydney City Break
Destination: Sydney, Australia
Flight Time From London: Sydney is approximately 23 hours flying time from London, however I flew into Sydney from Adelaide, the base for my Australian trip. The flying time from Adelaide to Sydney is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Airline & Airport of Operation: British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Qatar operate daily services from London to Sydney, or if you are already in Australia like me you can fly to Sydney with Qantas, Virgin Australia or Jetstar.
Transfer Time to City: There is a train service from the airport that runs every 15 minutes to various stops in the CBD, single fares are $17.50 and take approximately 30 minutes. A taxi takes roughly the same time, but costs around $40.
Hotel for my Sydney City Break
There are so many places to stay in Sydney, anywhere from a cheap backpacker hostel to a super luxurious 5* hotel. For my trip I decided to stay in one of Sydney’s two ‘Design Hotels’, the QT hotel.
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
I booked this with hotels.com and paid £167 per night for a standard room with a king size bed. I started my love affair with Design Hotels almost a year ago on my trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia, and this is the third Design Hotel that I have visited and loved.
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
The QT is located in the theatre district of Sydney, and is also in the same building as the State Theatre. The public areas and the rooms of the hotel are all decorated in theatre style and are all jam-packed with an abundance of theatre memorabilia. I booked only a standard room, but to my surprise it was extremely spacious, and decorated to a very high standard and included luxury amenities, from the bath robes to the docking station and Nespresso machine.
The room was definitely worth the price which I paid, but the only downside to the room was the high price of the mini bar items. I also found items such as shaving kits, emergency bow ties, playing cards and hand creams in the rooms which were available for purchase, but again the prices for these items were on the high side. The hotel had a bar, restaurant and spa, all of which I unfortunately didn’t use on this occasion, so I can’t comment on these facilities.
Top Attractions on a Sydney City Break
Sydney Tower Eye: For breathtaking panoramic views over Sydney, and as far as 80Km in every direction, why not pay a visit to the Sydney Tower Eye? Admission is $26.50pp and includes a 4D cinema experience prior to the trip to the top of the tower.
The tower is over 1000 feet tall and as well as the viewing platform there is a restaurant and also a skywalk (available for an additional $50). While you are at the viewing platform you can write, and send a postcard from the highest postbox in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sydney Harbour: Take a stroll, or boat trip around the world famous Sydney Harbour while enjoying views over the iconic Harbour Bridge and majestic Sydney Opera House. Two absolute must-see locations while on a Sydney city break. Why not also visit Darling Harbour, to the west of the CBD for attractions like Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussaud’s and a large variety of bars and restaurants?
Bondi Beach: Located just 10 miles east from the CBD is Bondi Beach. The easiest way to reach Bondi Beach is by taxi, and will cost you around $30. You can take the train to Bondi Junction, but you will have to take a bus or taxi the rest of the way. Whether you want to dip your toes in the water on the white sandy beach, or just take in the stunning vistas over a cup of delicious coffee, a trip to Bondi Beach should be at the top of the to-do list on a Sydney city break.
Restaurant recommendation: After being unsuccessful in reserving a table for dinner at any restaurant at Darling Harbour on the Saturday evening, I ventured back in towards the city centre and I hadn’t even walked one block when I came across Old Town Hong Kong on Barangaroo Avenue. Old Town Hong Kong was an authentic Chinese restaurant, and when I saw the BBQ pork belly and BBQ ducks hanging up inside, it reminded me of the restaurant that I had eaten in years ago during my day trip to Hong Kong. I decided to go in and get a table and it turned out to be an excellent choice. I started with chicken dumplings and prawn toast, then sampled BBQ duck, BBQ chicken, Korean style seafood rice, beef with noodles, along with a serving of broccoli in oyster sauce. All of the food was very authentic, and absolutely delicious. The food worked out at around $50pp, which included a couple of Chinese beers.
For lunch the following day I decided to try one of the places that I had seen the previous evening called Hunter and Barrel. Hunter and Barrel is located on Cockle Bay Wharf, along the edge of Darling Harbour and serves an abundance of dishes from steaks, skewers and half chickens from the grill, to salads, pies, fish as well as a range of lighter options. I opted for the beef skewers with a side of pickled slaw and shared a bottle of the Deviation Road Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills. The food was delicious, and I can see why the restaurant was booked solid the previous evening. Lunch including the wine was around $55pp.
For drinks and light snacks I also recommend popping into the Opera Bar, which is located on the terrace next to Sydney Opera House. You can enjoy lunch for around $20pp plus drinks, and the food there is fantastic, and so are the views.
Local Delicacy: Unlike many European city break destinations which have a local delicacy or typical cuisine, Sydney is a melting pot of different cultures, where you will struggle not to find great food. However, seafood and steaks are amazingly good in Sydney.
Top Tip: If you want a table for dinner at one of the restaurants along Darling Harbour I would strongly recommend you call and book in advance, especially over the weekend.
Currency: The Australian Dollar is the currency for all of Australia, and the current rate at the time of writing was 1.65 AUD to GBP.
Weather: As Australia is on the Southern Hemisphere the seasons are the opposite to the UK, meaning the UK winter is the Australian summer. Expect temperatures of 10-15 degrees during the winter and 30+ in the summer, with plenty of sun during the summer months.
Best Time To Go: For the best weather head to Sydney between November and April.
Recommended Duration: Between 2-4 days would be adequate for a Sydney city break, you may wish to stay longer and explore more further afield such as the Blue Mountains.
Conclusion: A Sydney city break should definitely be at the top of everyone’s to-do list while visiting Australia. If you are travelling to or from the UK you could incorporate a Sydney city break at the beginning, or at the end of your trip, with the added bonus of there being a daily flight between London and Sydney with British Airways, with a short refuelling stop at Singapore en-route.