© Nancy Liang / Culture Trip

The Insider Guide to Sydney

There’s more to Sydney than Bondi Beach, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge - no matter what the stock photos might have you believe. Here’s our guide to getting the most from Australia’s most populous city.

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Let’s go! The Main Attractions

Bondi Beach is iconic, but rather than taking the most direct route there, treat yourself to a trip down the Coogee to Bondi Walk - a 6km cliff top coastal walk in Sydney's eastern suburbs. You'll pass stunning beaches, cliffs, rock pools and see stunning views of North and South Bondi. Before you get there, stop for a swim at Gordon's Bay, go snorkelling at Clovelly Beach or relax at the glamorous Tamarama Beach or Bronte Beach, great alternatives near Bondi. The best place to view or photograph the Sydney Opera House is Milsons point, or from the Sydney Harbour Bridge itself. It's not only the famous bridge that you'll find in Sydney Harbour, though. A short ferry from the CBD will take you to Cockatoo Island - a Unesco World Heritage Site which served as a convict penal establishment between 1839-1869. You can now take tours on the island and learn about daring escape attempts, or better yet - spend the night camping on Cockatoo island and wake up with an iconic harbour view. A journey out to the beach-side suburb of Manly is also a must - if only to watch the surf line-up bobbing up and down in the water, fighting over the best waves. The Manly coastline is stunning, much of it looking out to the gap between North Head (well worth a visit itself for rugged, untouched ocean views) and South Head. Cabbage Tree Bay in Manly is also a great spot for some scuba diving if you want to tick colourful fish off your list. Back in the city, step off the Harbour Bridge and you’ll soon find yourself in The Rocks. There you'll find a slice of Australian history - cobbled lanes, cosy cafes and some of Australia's oldest pubs, which is now a thriving precinct. The acclaimed Art Gallery of NSW is a short walk away, and Sydney’s Chinatown, one of the most vibrant the world over, is also well worth a visit.

Neighborhoods in Sydney