Awesome Australia awaits in the stylish, sprawling form of Sydney: as Oz’s sexy show pony, this city offers so much more than white-sand beaches and sun-kissed surf. Follow our day-by-day itinerary for our pick of what to do and how to do it.
Boutique hotels don’t have to break the bank — as The Russell bed-and-breakfast (www.therussell.com.au) in The Rocks proves.
You may not get your own bathroom, but you will get a clean, comfortable room with designer flourishes and a location that’s poised for an action-packed itinerary.
After your journey you won’t feel like venturing far beyond your hotel, making Baroque Bistro (www.baroquebistro.com.au) just down the street an ideal option for dinner.
Enjoy fantastic French fare at this bustling restaurant alongside genuine Sydneysiders. Grab dessert at the nearby La Renaissance Patisserie (www.larenaissance.com.au), which is owned by the same family, and pick up one of its famed macaroons.
Rise and shine early to climb the Harbour Bridge (www.bridgeclimb.com). The crack-of-dawn express climb takes two-and-a-half hours from start to finish; slip on a one-piece jumpsuit and prepare to get sweaty as you scale its side.
Once you’ve recovered from what locals call “The Coathanger”, spend the rest of the morning trinket-hunting for souvenirs in The Rocks before hopping a ferry (www.sydneyferries.info) to Manly Beach.
A well-deserved carbohydrate-packed lunch can be taken at Hugo’s Bar Pizza (www.hugos.com.au), which offers inspiring Italian fare and premium pizzas (we recommend the fig, pancetta, gorgonzola and basil). Take a pew on one of the leather banquettes and admire the sparkling harbour and smart clientele from this restaurant’s gorgeous waterfront location.
Wrap up your day at the world-renowned Sydney Opera House (www.sydneyoperahouse.com). First, take a backstage tour of the architectural masterpiece; then relax with a drink at the outdoor, harbour-view Opera Bar; finally indulge with dinner at Guillaume at Bennelong (www.guillaumeatbennelong.com.au), where the food is exquisite and the bill is bound to reach heady heights. Culture, drinks and eats under one, extraordinary roof – we told you this city had it all.
Head to Sydney’s most famous beach, Bondi, for surf lessons (www.letsgosurfing.com.au) with suitably shaggy surfer dudes who know their stuff. The company promises to have you standing on a board in no more than three lessons, but those strapped for time are best to book a two-hour ‘taste test’ session. If you’ve got some spare time after your lesson, spend an hour or so lazing in the sun and sand.
Follow up another active morning with a languid lunch at Icebergs (www.icebergs.com.au), where the rich and famous munch on sensational seasonal cuisine and gaze out at the pool and beach through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The decadent squid ink risotto is a standout on a highly memorable menu.
If you’ve time before your flight, you could even take a post-lunch dip in its famous baths. Shower off the salt back at the hotel and check out.