Unique Honeymoon city: Sydney, Australia

Unique Honeymoon city: Sydney, Australia

Honeymoon destination down under? Here’s our city guide to Sydney, Australia

It takes a long time to reach Australia's grandest city - but it's worth the effort: laze on the beaches, sail the harbour, climb the bridge, then explore the surrounding wonders of East Coast Oz

Where? Southern east coast Oz
Why? To enjoy sunny days in the country's most cosmopolitan and rewarding city
When? Oct-Feb - summer. Summers in Sydney (Dec-Feb) are busy and hot - temperatures often nudge mid-30°Cs. Most rain falls Feb-Mar; Apr cools nicely (average: 20°C). Winter (Jun-Aug) is sunny but chilly so pack a warm jacket.
Visas: UK nationals can stay up to three months but must apply for a free visa before travel (www.immi.gov.au).
Money: Australian dollar (AUD), around AUD1.49 to the UK£.
Highest viewpoint: The Sydney Tower (250m); visit the observation deck for views.

Before you arrive

Blessed in many ways, Sydney - capital of New South Wales - is arguably Australia's most vibrant and beautiful city (though Melburnians may disagree...). On the surface Sydney can seem superficial: all style and no substance, like some of the surfers at Bondi; a little too shiny, like the ceramic tiles on the Opera House. But dig deeper and you'll find a multi-layered metropolis bursting with culture and excelling in life's finer things. There's certainly no shortage
of world-class galleries, museums and restaurants - but Sydney is a city that does its living outdoors. The city is fringed with golden beaches, sleepy coves and secluded cliffs, so it's easy - and positively encouraged - to escape the bustling boulevards and tourist hotspots for a bit of fresher air. Venture just beyond the city limits and even more memorable experiences are on offer - from mountain walks to whale watching.

At the airport

Arriving in Sydney from the UK involves a long, gruelling flight - at least 21hours. The jetlag can be severe. Minimise the affects by making a stopover en route (often at no extra cost). A night or two in Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong means two honeymoons for the price of one. International flights touch down at Kingsford Smith airport - sit on the left side of the plane for views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge during the descent. Many flights arrive early morning - queues at Immigration can be lengthy. Dispose of all food products to avoid hold-ups. Note, to enter Australia, you need to have arranged an eVisitor visa before travel. The airport boasts all key facilities: exchange booths, SIM card stalls, tourist info, etc.

Getting into town

Several shuttle buses cover the 8km from airport to city, but need to be booked in advance. Airport Connect offers a one-way transfer to the Central Business District (CBD), Darling Harbour or King's Cross from A$14; A$25 return. Buses leave every 30 mins; journey time 1hr. For Bondi, catch local Bus 400, which leaves from outside Terminal 1. Tickets cost A$4.60; see www.sydneybuses.info. The Airport Link train is the fastest options: it takes 21 minutes to reach Circular Quay station. One-way fares cost A$16.70.

First day's tour

The first weekday ferry leaves Circular Quay for bohemian Manly (above) at 5.30am - fine for those with jetlag. Catch it, to watch the sun come up from the rugged clifftops of North Head before taking an early surf lesson. Catch the ferry back to Circular Quay, admiring the million-dollar harbourside houses and Sydney's famous landmarks now the sun's up.

Take a closer look at the Opera House and visit The Rocks Discovery Museum for info on Sydney's Aboriginal origins. Climb the Harbour Bridge - a high-adrenalin haul up the Old Coathanger - or, cheaper, ascend one of its pylons. Wander along busy George Street - don't miss the 19th-century Queen Victoria Building (for shops) - before seeking refuge in the leafy surrounds of Hyde Park. Come nightfall, enjoy a dinner of fresh seafood at Bungalow 8, the perfect spot to watch the boats come and go in Darling Harbour.

Extend your stay

Stay a few days, then explore further afield: while Australia does cities well, it does the great outdoors really well. Just 65km west of the city are the Blue Mountains, a soaring sandstone plateau clad in eucalyptus trees. Steeped in Aboriginal folklore, Katoomba's Three Sisters rock formation is the main draw. Lose the crowds by heading to the southern sections of the vast national park instead. Nip inland to sip and slurp at the Hunter Valley wineries, in the foothills of the Brokenback Range. Then head north for Queensland, exploring coastal New South Wales en route: Port Macquarie and Byron Bay are worthwhile stops. Or head south: Oz capital Canberra is 288km away.

 

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