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Travel guide – Sydney

Sydney is one of the world’s favourite tourist destinations and the largest city in Australia. Full of amazing sights, both natural and man­made, there is enough to see and do to keep any visitor happy. From cosmopolitan urban life to the quintessential sun­kissed beaches it possesses a character many cities would envy. Finnair’s travel guide to Sydney highlights the best on offer to help you make the most of your visit down under.

Starting with the most iconic sight in Sydney and arguably Australia, visit the Sydney Opera House with its distinctive sail­like construction jutting out into the bustling harbour. Gaze upwards at the towering Sydney Harbour Bridge, another icon of the city with its huge single arch connecting the north and south halves of town. Head over to The Rocks for a lunch among the seemingly endless pubs, bars and restaurants crammed into this historic district. Make your way to the Royal Botanic Garden, a huge swathe of green bursting with all manner of Australian and international flora enjoyed by picnicking locals. Feel the city’s connection with the sea and push out onto Sydney Harbour with a cruise, kayak or even ferry ride. Finally head east and arrive at one of the many world­class beaches that this city is blessed with – Bondi and Manly are most well known but explore a bit further afield to find those that the locals love.

Blue Mountains – Less than a two-hour drive to the west lies this rugged mountain range, covered in green and filled with panoramic vistas and secluded bush.

Hunter Valley wines – Easily done in a day trip, drive through lush green farmland and arrive at this famous wine region for a day of sampling delicious wines and local produce.

Port Stephens – Two and a half hours north of Sydney find this stunning expanse of water ringed by beaches just waiting to be enjoyed. Sail, swim or just relax.

Canberra – The nation’s capital can be visited in a day trip from Sydney. A planned city, visit the seat of power set in classic Australian bushland.

Sydney is a shopper’s paradise with anything and everything available to buy. Well­known brands, designer fashion, local produce and more are all available for the visitor keen to get buying.

Queen Victoria Building – Home to hundreds of boutiques, shops and eateries, this exquisite 19th­ century building is now one of the most popular places to shop in Sydney.

Pitt Street Mall – The city’s main shopping street where you’ll find everything from international chain stores to upmarket department stores.

Shopping centres – For everything in one place, head to one of the city’s numerous malls. Bondi Junction is a large example not far from the beach of the same name, housing international and local brands and everything in between.

Birkenhead Point – An outlet mall to the west of the centre, here you can find the latest fashion at discount prices.

Sydney is a city that loves food and accordingly you are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. If you have a favourite flavour you need to find, you’ll find it here.

Seafood – Intrinsically linked to the sea, Sydney boasts some of the best seafood around available in a variety of styles and tastes. Head to the Sydney Fish Market to see the freshest the sea has to offer and pick from the vendors ready to cook it up for you.

Modern Australian cuisine – a country of many cultures, it can be hard to define what is Australian cuisine. This is changing as a new breed of innovative chefs turn the country’s astounding range of produce into creative and delicious dishes. From gourmet beef and seafood to kangaroo and beyond, it’s worth seeking out something distinctly ‘Aussie’ at the dinner table.

Café culture – ‘Sydneysiders’ love coffee and can be seen sipping at the thousands of cafés across the city. Australian coffee culture has grown up in recent years and the range of opportunities available to enjoy a brew is astounding. Try your favourite cup while looking out over the water.

Beer and wine – Beers and wines from the Sydney region are well known both within Australia and internationally and are available widely. Note that depending on the state, alcohol may not be sold in supermarkets, but only in bottleshops.

For such a large city, Sydney’s transport system is efficient and far-reaching. The city’s new Opal card system allows riders to charge value onto their card and use it across the city’s transport network, making travel easy and pain­-free.

Rail – Radiating out from the centre of town into the suburbs, the rail network is used by tens of thousands of commuters each day. Efficient and easy ­to ­use, it is the best choice for visitors who want to explore outside of the city’s central area.

Bus – Buses fill in the gaps between the rail lines, which can be quite large. Sydney’s bus network is extensive and due to the distances travelled and traffic conditions, rides between stops can take some time.

Ferry – Usually the quickest way to get somewhere when water is in the way, these familiar green and yellow double­deckers ferry tourists and locals alike across various points in the harbour and linked waterways. Some amazing views can be had from here for just a few dollars.

Foot – The city centre and surrounds is easily walkable and pedestrian friendly, but for anything much further afield you should find some form of transport to shorten the journey.

Taxis – Taxis are widely available and reliable, but can be rather costly especially in traffic and at nighttime.

Currency – Australian Dollar (AUD)

Electricity – 240 volts, 50Hz, Australian type­ I plug.

Tips – Not expected but welcome.

Payment / card – Cards are widely accepted. Cash is sometimes required.

Time zone – Sydney (Australia) UTC/GMT +10 hours

Water - Safe to drink.

Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD)

The airport is located 10km southwest of Sydney.

Always remember to check your airline’s terminal and check-in times.

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