Winter Sun Holidays: An insiders guide to spending a day in Sydney
With the temperature dropping in the northern hemisphere, its time to look south if you fancy some sunshine and Sydney on the east Australian coast is one of the great cities of the world. It immediately conjures up images in the mind of its impressive opera house overlooking the harbour, beautiful beaches and surfers spreading their laid back vibe through the streets.
However, what is it really like? And when your tour guide or cruise boat drops you off here to spend a day at your leisure, how can you make the most of your time to see the best sights and have a truly authentic experience? Today weve got an insiders guide, with tips from a local.
Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Opera House is so iconic that is seems a shame not to begin your day here. You can walk around the concourses inside and there are tours. The best view of the city is from just outside. If youre feeling energetic, you can then walk across, or even climb the Harbour Bridge. You dont need to be an experienced climber. Instructors will take you through the basics and provide you with the necessary gear.
Sydneys Brunch culture
Once youve worked up an appetite, itll be time for brunch. Breakfast simply isnt a buzzword here. Everybody does brunch around midday and itll probably include avocado in some form. Avocados and poached eggs are popular, as is shakshuka, a traditional baked egg dish with tomatoes, beans and a casserole-type consistency.
The Surrey Hills area of the city is a good place to find a brunch cafe. It has a cool hipster vibe and everythings washed down with plenty of coffee. Theres a real passion for coffee here and Sydney folk are very proud of the local brands. Theyll waste no time in telling you gleefully how Starbucks is yet to get a hold on the market here.
Main attractions of Sydney
If youre not quite ready to hit the beach, you could wander around the famous Sydney Fish Market, check out the fantastic view from Mrs Macquaies Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens or take a stroll around Circular Quay in the harbour area. This is the old town and a great place to take a ferry ride or buy gifts. Opals make for popular presents and youll find plenty of jewellery shops selling them. Obviously in the city itself, youll find all manner of boutiques and chain stores too. The Pitt Street Mall shops are a great place to start.
Theres lots for kids to do here too, if youre travelling with the little ones. The Natural History Museum has some great skeletal exhibits and it hosts parties in the evenings, while the Powerhouse Science Museum has lots of interactive displays that children will love. Luna Park is an amusement park and theres also a zoo and an aquarium.
Given that Australia is home to animals that cant be found anywhere else in the world, when you visit the zoo youll have the opportunity to view exotic native creatures that you simply wouldnt see otherwise and to make that experience even more special, you could take one of their late or early roar and snore tours, to see the animals when theyre at their liveliest.
The infamous blue waters of Bondi Beach, filled with swimmers and surfers, are really a tremendous sight. You can walk along the boardwalk, or sit on the sand, to soak up the rays. Be mindful of how easy it is to get burnt. Locals all wear plenty of sun cream and a hat to look after their skin.
If you fancy trying surfing for the first time, you can sign up to one of the many surf schools and enjoy riding your first waves. Theres a welcoming, inclusive vibe, so dont be put off by never having tried it.
To explore the coastline further theres a well trodden and popular trail called the Bondi to Cooge walk. It takes about an hour and consists of relatively easy terrain, so a high level of fitness is not required. Temporary art installations, which are well worth seeing, frequently fringe the path too.
Just outside the city
If youre looking to travel just outside the city, two of the biggest attractions are the Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains. Hunter Valley is the wine region and youll be able to sample local tipples, as well as see the grapes growing on the vines.
The Three Sisters rock formation in the majestic Blue Mountains is one of the best loved sights of the area and can be reached by a scenic railway. Keep an eye out for birds and lizards from the windows. Or, if youd like to get even closer to the wildlife, you could consider a bush walk, which involves a guide taking you through the mountain wilderness on foot.
Eating out in Sydney
When it comes to your evening meal, youll be spoilt for choice. Seafood is everywhere and delicious, as is Asian food; from China, Thailand, Japan and Malaysia. The signature dish of the city, however, has to be a sort of mincemeat pie with peas. Harrys Cafe de Wheels serves a particular version of it that incorporates pea soup.
Booking your holiday
If youre looking to get away in the Winter months and hit the Antipodean sunshine, Aspen Travel can offer a number of escorted tour packages and cruises. Please give our dedicated team of advisors a call to find out more about itineraries, the well respected tour operators with whom we partner and how we can help you get the great deal. Well do our best to find you a holiday that suits your budget and the dates you want to travel. Please get in touch.