Sydney

Things to do in Sydney

It's all about the water in Australia's most popular city. There's the harbor, of course, but also sunbathing on the beach. Other notable things to do in Sydney include checking out the burgeoning art scene, taking advantage of the great shopping, taking part in the lively gay subculture, or joining in on some of the city's cultural festivals. Every January for the last 40 years or so, for example, there is a massive cultural celebration known as the Sydney Festival, which lasts three weeks and features almost every artistic and musical genre you could imagine. Each mid-November, the cliffs along Bondi Beach are transformed into a sculpture garden with works by Australian artists; it's free and makes for a great walk along the shore. Another point of interest is St. Patrick's Church, which may be the first Catholic chapel in Australia. The church is still used as a site of worship, but you can also take a guided tour to learn more about its history. Tip: The courtyard chapel has been turned into a coffee shop.

The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) enables you to claim a tax refund on goods purchased in Australia.  

To claim a refund you must:

Part fresh produce retailer, part dry goods warehouse, and part café, this is the store Sydney foodies flock to for superbly fresh gourmet ingredients.

Men shouldn't miss this downtown boutique with its updated classics, including easygoing suits, shirts, and sweaters.

Tucked down along the waterfront of the Rocks district, this hip modern museum has a strong Aussie bent.

You’ll have to pass through the Volare bistro and beer garden and take an elevator to get to this bird’s-eye-viewing deck. It’s the perfect perch for catching a glimpse of the planes as they take off and land.

Tim Tranter’s 40 years of living in the Blue Mountains makes him a formidable guide to this World Heritage-listed wilderness area (which begins about a 90-minute drive or train ride west from Sydney).

The shopt carries Ross Longmuir's streamlined beds, tables, and sofas, all made from Australian hardwoods (don't worry, they'll help with shipping).

Ivy

One of Sydney’s premier shopping destinations, Ivy is a complex of bars, restaurants, and retailers in the central business district.

This patchwork of urban green spaces protects most of the city’s foreshore and islands. Hermitage Foreshore Walk, a mile-long trail, reveals vest-pocket beaches, hidden coves, and rock outcroppings along Rose Bay in Woollahra.

Open to first-class passengers on Qantas and British Airways flights (along with British Airways’ oneworld club members), the recently revamped Qantas lounge is the white-marble vision of designer Mark Newson.

At practically any hour of the day, you can look at the Sydney Harbour Bridge and see what looks like a procession of ants moving slowly along its vertiginous upper arch (known locally as “the Coathanger”).

The store carries Aboriginal craftwork, such as the one-off lampshades traditionally woven with bush string.

The busiest airport in the nation, Sydney Airport has three passenger terminals and provides flights to 48 international, 23 domestic, and 28 regional destinations. The airport is a major hub for Qantas and serves as a secondary hub for Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways.

Home to the Woollahra Sailing Club, this eastern harborfront is packed on weekends with sailing yachts, outrigger canoes, and kayaks. From October to May, paddle into the harbor in your rented kayak.