May 31, 2012 16:50 - holly | 1,378 views
Stunning Sydney is a premier destination for the cruise savvy, with the Australian cruise sector growing by over 35% in the last two years (compare this with the Europe cruises industry, which has grown by 9% in the same period). Sydney Harbour is also the only port in Australia with two world-class cruise passenger terminals. The main terminal, Overseas Passenger (the OPT) Terminal, is located at Circular Quay docks with front-row views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
If you’re ending your cruise in Sydney, or passing through on to the magnificent islands that surround the continent, it’s certainly worth disembarking to explore all that Sydney has to offer –gorgeous sandy beaches, friendly locals, lavish department stores , trendy bars and world-class restaurants – just to name a few of the attractions.
What to do:
Your Sydney sightseeing should, naturally, include Circular Quay. A couple of hours here allows you to take in the iconic sights of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge (you can even climb it if you have time!) and wander around the botanic gardens at dusk. A five-minute walk away is The Rocks, the historical area where Sydney began. Take a ghost tour of the cobbled streets, have a beer in one of the many colloquially-Australian pubs in the area or head to the weekend markets and pick up one-off jewellery items, clothing and unique artworks from local artists.
If it’s shopping you crave, then Sydney’s Pitt Street, which is walking distance from Circular Quay, is your next destination. You will need a day just to dedicate to the new enormous Westfield centre in Pitt Street. Designed by the internationally-renowned Tokyo-based interior design company Wonderwall, this impressive centre houses over 250 stores and eateries, including the biggest Australian and International brands. Before completion, the Westfield Group Managing Director Steven Lowy said “we believe the centre will become one of the iconic downtown retail destinations in the world, with a completed value – including the office precinct – of more than $3 billion.”
Of course, no trip to Sydney would be complete without visiting one of Sydney’s gorgeous beaches. The iconic Bondi beach is immensely popular with tourists and Sydney-siders alike but you may find it difficult to find an unoccupied piece of sand in the summertime. Nearby beaches Coogee and Bronte are less crowded and just as stunning.
Where to drink:
Over the last few years, Sydney has been giving the stylish Melbourne a run for its money on the bar-scene front with bespoke watering holes popping up all over the city. Grandmas bar (grandmasbarsydney.com.au), which prides itself on being the “Retro-sexual haven of cosmopolitan kitsch and faded granny glamour” has taken up residence in Clarence street and its selection of cocktails, including their own home-made punch, is proving highly popular with the locals. Baxter Inn (thebaxterinn.com/home), run by Sydney-famous bartenders Anton Forte and Jason Scott –home, is your next stop on Clarence Street. This candle-lit basement bar blasts jazz and blues tunes and offers the thirsty traveller an impressive selection of wines and beers and a staggering 360 different types of whisky. Make sure you turn up early to get a seat as this tiny drinking establishment fills up quick.
Where to stay:
Circular Quay is the perfect location to set up camp while in town. It’s located at Sydney Harbour and has the convenience of a train station, many restaurants and tourist shops and is walking distance to the charming historic area of The Rocks and Sydney’s shopping district of Pitt Street.
For those looking for a touch of glamour, the five-star Shangri-La Hotel (shangri-la.com/sydney/shangrila), located in The Rocks, offers guests luxurious accommodation and picturesque views overlooking Darling Harbour, Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge Sydney Olympic Park or the beautiful Blue Mountains. The renowned Blu Bar on level 36 is an attraction in itself, offering 360 degree view of the city and top-notch cocktails.
Click Here for more accommodation options in Sydney, Australia.
When to visit:
Sydney doesn’t experience seasons as you may know them, with warm temperatures seen for most of the year. November through to April is the best time to visit however to make the most of long, perfect days and the multitude of summer events that Sydney does so well. But remember, temperatures in Sydney exceed 90 F, so remember to pack a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
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