With an edge on the good life, Sydney – Australia’s oldest city – offers chic hotels, award-winning restaurants and an exuberant after hours nightlife, just minutes from golden sand beaches, rolling surf and stunning coastal views – just perfect for a romantic getaway or honeymoon.
Couples are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a Sydney beach: the city boasts more than 30 beaches within metropolitan Sydney.
Elsewhere, Greater Sydney offers more than 150 beaches, including those on the Manly peninsula to the north of the city.
To the south of Sydney, a coastal track from Bondi to Coogee offers the opportunity to escape the bustle of Bondi and mix with local residents on smaller beaches.
Local beach favourites, include…
Nestled in a cove between two headlands, beautiful Bondi is a wide, kilometre-long crescent of golden sand that is renowned for reliable year-round surf of both left- and right-hand beach breaks.
With its bustling carnival atmosphere, Bondi is a see-and-be-seen beach, a favourite with locals as well as overseas visitors who relish the stunning setting for sunbathing, swimming and surfing.
More about Bondi Beach…
This small and fashionable beach is set in a pretty landscape between rocky headlands and is nicknamed ‘Glamourama’ by the locals.
One of the best beaches for a quiet sunbathe and swim. However, you do need to be aware of the sometimes dangerous rips.
Just a 10-minute walk from Bondi, Tamarama is a favourite for surfers in spite of the rips and the fact that the beach is only 50m across.
Next along the trail is Bronte, a gorgeous crescent of golden sand overlooking Nelson Bay and surrounded by a park of Norfolk pines and palm trees.
A local favourite, the beach can get crowded on the weekends as it is sheltered from big seas and preferred over nearby Bondi for swimming.
Known as ‘Cloey’, this beach sits at the end of a long inlet. It’s a popular spot for locals, featuring a large rock pool that creates calm waters for swimming and snorkelling.
A reef protects this pleasant crescent of golden sand, creating calm sea conditions for swimming.
Coogee is popular for swimming, snorkelling, body boarding and surfing and is close to cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. There is also a children’s playground overlooking the beach.
The northern end of the beach, known as Dolphin Point, features a memorial to local residents who lost their lives in the 2002 Bali bombing.
Further south of Coogee lies a 1km-long beach offering some of the region’s best surf conditions, while also offering a less hectic atmosphere than either Bondi or Coogee.
Rivalling Bondi to the south, Manly Beach is a 2km-long crescent of golden sand popular with locals and tourists alike. Go swimming, surfing and roller blading or play a game of beach volleyball.
The nearby Corso Plaza offers a range of entertainment, while the Outdoor Arts and Crafts Market offers a wide range of local handicrafts every weekend.
This pretty crescent of beach offers sheltered swimming, snorkelling, diving and is also known for providing one of Sydney’s cleanest surfing waves, which breaks on the western point of the beach.
Facilities include showers, toilets, free barbecues and a restaurant. A bush track around the headland provides spectacular vistas over a string of northern beaches.
Known to the locals as ‘Palmy’, Palm Beach features a long stretch of beautiful white sand shelving into a pretty bay on one side of a peninsula that separates Pittwater from the Pacific Ocean.
Often used as a set for the soap opera Home and Away, the beach offers good surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving and swimming. Hike to the lighthouse at the northern end of the beach for great views.
Escape the crowds on this vast 3km-long beach that hosts four surf lifesaving clubs and is great for surfing and swimming between the flags.
In 2007, workmen found the remains of a 4000-year-old indigenous Australian here who had apparently died from a spear wound; he was later named the ‘Narrabeen Man’.
Within Sydney Harbour lie several good beaches, including…
Regarded as the best of the inner-harbour beaches, this 700m-long beach is a great spot to swim or windsurf.
Adjacent to the beach lies The Esplanade, featuring several upmarket restaurants, takeaway fish and chip shops and cafes.
Set beneath the lush woodland of Sydney National Park in Mosman and facing Sydney Harbour, this tiny shelf of beach is popular with nudists and topless sunbathers.
Probably the most accessible and secluded nude beach around Sydney, this small beach offers safe swimming with no surf and is located inside South Head.
Sydney offers visitors a plethora of iconic sights and attractions, from the Australian National Maritime Museum and Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbour to the Sydney Opera House and trendy Manly on the north shore.
Enjoy an evening performance at the Opera House followed by cocktails and your choice of the diverse menu at the Opera Bar; it’s hard to beat this waterfront location at any time of day or night, with spectacular, uninterrupted views of the Sydney skyline.
Take a sunset harbour cruise or stretch your legs with a city beach walk: the Bondi to Coogee track winds, dips and turns through gorgeous coves and beaches.
For a weekend break, head out to the famous Blue Mountains or tour wineries in the nearby Hunter Valley.
Major sights in Sydney, include…
Book a seat for a performance of opera, chamber music, symphonies and ballet in this architecturally significant performing arts complex and national icon.
Or take a guided tour – conducted daily from 9am to 5pm, except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Afterwards, enjoy a drink or dinner overlooking the harbour.
Climb to the top of the ‘Coathanger' for an exhilarating experience.
Or take a 30-minute stroll across the 503m-span bridge from the south to the north side for panoramic views over Sydney Harbour and beyond.
Stroll the winding streets of Sydney's historical birthplace, past historic buildings and some of Sydney's oldest pubs, including the Hero of Waterloo Inn.
From the top of Sydney’s tallest building, don a special suit and step outside onto a glass-floored platform 260m above the city for breathtaking views.
And don’t worry – you are connected to a safety rail with a sliding harness.
Stroll underwater tunnels to see Australia's diverse aquatic life, including giant rays and grey nurse sharks in one tank and seals in another tank.
See thousands of colourful reef fish at the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, hand feed black-tip reef sharks and check out fierce looking saltwater crocodiles and cute fairy penguins.
Clamber over several vessels, including an Australian navy destroyer, an Oberon Class submarine, an Aboriginal boat and a replica of the Endeavour, the ship that carried Captain James Cook to Australia.
Active pursuits in and around Sydney, include…
Surfing – The best surf beaches on the south side of Sydney Harbour are found at Bondi, Tamarama and Maroubra beaches.
On the north side you’ll find the best surf at Bilgola, Collaroy, Manly, Narrabeen and Palm Beach. Lessons suit beginners as well as advance surfers, with wet suits and surfboards easily rented on most surf beaches.
Scuba diving/snorkeling – While Sydney can’t compare with the Great Barrier Reef, the waters around Coogee and Shelley beaches provide reefs and colourful fish.
Swimming – All the beaches around Sydney offer good swimming – some are just more sheltered from the sea and wind than others.
In-line skating – Centennial Park and the beachside promenades at Bondi and Manly provide the best places for rollerblading.
Sailing – Various skippered, bare boat and sail training options are available to explore Sydney’s amazing harbour.
Sights a short drive from Sydney, include…
Escape to the world-famous, one million hectare Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, just a leisurely 90-minute drive west of Sydney.
In this pristine wilderness discover rustic towns and villages, bushwalks and wildlife, all found within a series of linked drives and discovery trails that encircle the mountainous region.
More about the Blue Mountains…
Explore some of the more than 120 wineries in the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s premium wine making regions. Sample award-winning wines such as a Hunter semillon and Hunter shiraz.
Drive through scenic valleys, vineyards and mountains, stopping off at stylish restaurants serving gourmet cuisine and resting overnight at charming boutique accommodation.
More about the Hunter Valley…
Relax and unwind among the rolling green hills of the Southern Highlands, renowned for its heritage villages and old-world charm.
Drive through forests and bucolic valleys to find charming country inns and restaurants, farmers markets and produce shops stuffed with local fare.
More about the Southern Highlands…
Sydney offers a huge range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including the following 5-star hotels…
Park Hyatt Sydney
Location: 7 Hickson Road, CBD, Sydney,
Ave nightly price: AUD1,050 per room
Description: At Park Hyatt Sydney guests can spend the day tanning by the heated pool and then treat themselves to a pampering session at the spa and wellness centre. For those more energetic guests, there is a fitness centre available. As you walk into your room you will notice the luxury furnishing, fittings, plush carpets and designer lighting that are standard in all Sydney Park Hyatt rooms. Free WiFi is included. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open onto private balconies. Modern bathrooms offer complete flexibility, with the choice of remaining private from the main bedroom, or transforming into an open-plan design. The hotel’s dedicated team of butlers provides 24-hour personalised service for all guests. Park Hyatt Hotel Sydney brings modern luxury accommodation to the edge of Sydney Harbour. This contemporary hotel is situated between the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Park Hyatt Sydney is less than 6 minutes' walk to The Rocks and 10 minutes’ walk from Circular Quay. Sydney International Airport is 25 minutes’ drive away.
The Langham Sydney
Location: 89-119 Kent Street, CBD, Sydney
Ave nightly price: AUD467 per room
Description: Just 5 minutes’ walk from Darling Harbour, The Langham Sydney offers luxurious accommodation with panoramic city or bay views. It features a day spa, a tennis court and a hot tub. The stylishly decorated rooms feature mahogany furniture and a lavish marble bathroom. Each room boasts flat-screen satellite TV. Guests can take a dip in the swimming pool, or exercise in the well-equipped fitness centre. The sauna is the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day. Kent Street Kitchen offers innovative modern cuisine, served in an atmosphere reminiscent of a grand Parisian salon. Palm Court Lounge serves afternoon tea. The Langham Sydney is only 10 minutes’ walk from Circular Quay and The Rocks historic district. The Museum of Sydney is a 15-minute walk away.
The Darling at The Star
Location: 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, Sydney
Ave nightly price: AUD358 per room
Description: Featuring a casino, a day spa and 20 bars and restaurants, The Darling at The Star is just 650 metres from Cockle Bay. It offers modern rooms, some with views over the city skyline, while others look towards Pyrmont and surrounding suburbs. The rooms feature a flat-screen satellite TV, an iPod docking station, minibar, tea-and-coffee maker and safety deposit box. Each air-conditioned room features luxurious bathrobes and Egyptian cotton sheets. Guests can relax in the Turkish bath, or enjoy swimming in the scented outdoor pool with its own bar. The hotel also offers 24-hour reception and valet parking. The hotel has a wide range of restaurants, including the award-winning Momofuku Seiobo and celebrity chef Luke Nguyen’s Fat Noodle. Rock Lily Bar offers live music and an extensive selection of tequilas. The Darling Sydney is 8 minutes’ drive from Sydney Opera House and The Rocks historic district. Sydney International Airport is a 20-minute drive away.
Location: Woolloomooloo, Sydney
Ave nightly price: AUD336 per room
Description: All accommodation offers an iPad and unique historic fittings. Guests enjoy an indoor pool and a fitness centre. Accommodation options include private rooms and loft suites. All rooms and suites include a free minibar, free WiFi, access to a fitness centre and pool and free self-service laundry throughout the stay. Each boasts ultra-modern furnishings, a 27-inch LCD TV, an iPod docking station and luxurious bedding. The Lo Lounge is a sleek multipurpose social area designed for hotel guests to work, network or simply kick back and relax. Available 24-hours a day, guests can grab coffee in the morning and enjoy all-day nibbles and refreshments. Guest facilities include a personalised concierge service, in-room massages and a valet laundry and dry cleaning service. Daily newspapers are also provided. The hotel is located in Woolloomooloo, next to the Royal Botanical Gardens. It is a 15-minute walk from Sydney Opera House.
Location: Cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets, CBD, Sydney
Ave nightly price: AUD316 per room
Description: Located in a historic 19th-century building in the Sydney CBD (Central Business District), the 5-star InterContinental Hotel overlooks the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The heated indoor pool offers panoramic views of the city. All air-conditioned rooms at the InterContinental Rooms have views of the city or the harbour. Each room includes satellite TV and a minibar. Guests can make use of the 24-hour fitness centre, or enjoy a range of beauty treatments at Sebastian Salon. Café Opera features a buffet with global cuisine, and a seafood buffet on weekends. InterContinental Sydney hotel is located in the heart of Sydney city centre. The Rocks and the Royal Botanic Gardens are each an 8-minute walk away. Circular Quay is just a 4-minute walk away.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
Location: 199 George Street, CBD, Sydney
Ave nightly price: AUD301 per room
Description: Overlooking Sydney's historic Rocks area, Four Seasons Hotel offers free WiFi, a bar, restaurant, fitness centre and swimming pool. Situated in Sydney CBD (Central Business District), it features luxurious rooms with panoramic views over the iconic Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay. All rooms at Sydney’s Four Seasons have been carefully designed and subtly furnished with the highest quality amenities. Each room offers an LCD TV, an iPod docking station and free Appelles toiletries. Slippers and Chinese tea can be provided in the rooms upon request. Guests can enjoy a modern menu at Pei-Modern restaurant, which offers quality cuisine cooked over an Australian wood-fired oven and grill. Grain Bar offers a selection of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits. The Four Seasons' state-of-the-art 350 square metre fitness centre is fully equipped and includes a relaxing sauna. Guests can also unwind in the hotel’s therapeutic spa and wellness centre, which offers skin treatments and relaxing massages. Airport transfers are available upon request.
The best time to visit Sydney is anytime. But for the best weather visit between November and March.
Sydney enjoys a temperate maritime climate with hot summers and mild winters. Coastal regions of Sydney are typically cooler and wetter than the inland suburbs, which are dryer on average and see more extremes in temperature.
Summer, from December to February, averages a high of 26°C (79°F) with a low of 19°C (66°F). However, summers are hot and balmy with temperatures occasionally soaring beyond 35°C (95°F). You can also expect brief torrential rain showers.
› For climate info: Sydney Weather Guide…
Sydney surrounds Port Jackson with the Tasman Sea to the east, and extends about 70km (43.5mi) towards the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north and the Woronora Plateau to the south.
The most convenient route to Sydney is by air to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD), known locally as Mascot Airport, Kingsford Smith Airport or Sydney Airport, located about 8km (5mi) south of Sydney city centre.
› For more info: how to get to Sydney…
Latest update: about Sydney, Australia: 9 September, 2022