How to explore Sydney like a local:

Sydney is a city with a diversity of tourism experiences.  From the urban attractions of the CBD to the glittering waters of the Harbour and surrounding beaches, it’s definitely a city with something for everyone.  With hundreds of different attractions spread across the CBD and surrounding districts, you can step onto the street as the sun’s rising, and still be enthralled as dusk settles across the city’s magnificent skyline.

To help take the stress of planning your days, off your hands, we have put together three iconic itineraries for a trip that explores the streets, sea and mountains like a local (and keeps you away from the noise of the new development).

 

Urban Sydney:
Exploring the CBD

If you’ve come to Sydney to experience the urban delights of Australia’s largest city, then this is the itinerary for you.  Sydney is home to some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but it’s also a burgeoning destination for stylish travellers who like hip, upmarket locales.

 

 

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Sand, Salt and Seafood:
A Sydney Beach Experience

Away from the steel-edged skyline of the CBD, the city gives way to relaxed cafes and eateries clustered around the stunning alabaster sprawl of Bondi, one of Australia’s most famous beaches.  Further away from the city’s centre, other lovely offerings include Avalon, Manly and Bilgola Beaches, each accompanied by their own posse of restaurants and activities.

 

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Blue-Hazed Eucalypts:
Visiting the Blue Mountains

Do you want a break from the hustle and bustle of city exploration?  Do you want to experience the breathtaking solitude of nature, and visit one of Australia’s most iconic mountain ranges? This itinerary offers a comprehensive guide to exploring the Blue Mountains in style, as well as giving you advice on the best places to eat.

 

 

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The best thing about the location of your resort is that most of the locations featured in this itinerary are within the CBD, you don’t need to hire a car – just bring a good pair of street-walking shoes, and a bit of spare change for the occasional taxi.  

 

 

With such a vast array of coffee shops and eateries scattered around Sydney’s CBD, it’s a great idea to leave the hotel as soon as possible and immerse yourself in the bustling energy of the breakfast scene.
Cross Eatery, offering a chalk-board menu stocked with a dynamic range of options, is a twenty-minute walk from Sydney Suites via Elizabeth Street; an early-morning stroll along the borders of Hyde Park is perfect for piquing the appetite.
Klink is a little bit closer, at just fifteen minutes away; it’s a hole-in-the-wall coffee house housed in a converted police station, with a selection of delicious brews.
Another great choice is Pablo and Rusty’s, a café outlet for their eponymous coffee roasting brand.  Ten minutes’ walk from your hotel, it’s a stylish location with creative dishes that incorporate local ingredients, as well as hosting selections of home brews and specialty teas.
Finally, Bowery Lane is a spacious rustic eatery inspired by New York cuisine.  At twenty minutes, walk away, it’s a bit of a hike, but it’s well worth it – its menu features traditional breakfast dishes made from local ingredients, as well as a number of refreshing juices. 

 

 


 

 

 

Sydney is home to a plethora of iconic attractions that draw tourists from around the world.  Once you’ve had a filling breakfast and a caffeinated boost of energy, it’s time to go exploring.  If this will be your first time in the city, you can’t go past the Sydney Opera House; whether you’re going for one of the incredible shows that are featured each week, or just for the spectacular view of the alabaster shells, it’s a must-see.  There’s a number of small shops and restaurants outside, but if you’re wanting to see a particular show, you’ll need to book well in advance.
Feel the operatic vibe with Bacco Osteria.  Reasonably priced Italian menu and delicious coffee.     
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is another Australian landmark; we recommend access via a short taxi ride to Cumberland Street, from which you can access the Bridge’s pedestrian walkway.  The panoramic views from the Bridge encompass the glittering waters of Sydney Harbour, as well as alternate views of sites like the Opera House and Circular Quay.
After walking in the sun, retreat indoors to La Rosa The Strand. Pizza and lasagne restaurant with traditional Italian vibe.    
The Royal Botanic Gardens are an oasis of colour among the sea of glass-panelled skyscrapers; they host a range of events in addition to their incredible flora, making it a great destination for families.
Visit the District Brasserie for fine dining, bakery and brasserie. 
A great choice for those with kids is the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium, located near the Pyrmont Bridge.  Featuring over 700 species, your day at the aquarium start from $44 per ticket.
Dine at the renowned Grounds of the City for a family-friendly café, bakery and restaurant.   

If you’re by yourself or with a partner, the Sydney Street Art Tour is perfect for seeing the city’s rich underbelly; the two-hour guided tour lets you understand the stories behind Sydney’s famous street art, and includes tasting locally-brewed craft beer. 

If you’ve had your fill of sightseeing, Sydney has a number of fascinating markets; both The Rocks Markets and Paddy’s Markets offer an eclectic range of fresh produce, food, gifts, clothing and accessories. 

Finally, Hyde Park is just a few minutes’ from Sydney Suites, and shouldn’t be missed; the War Memorial, in particular, is a beautiful place to stop and pay respect to the ANZACs. 

 

 


 

 

 

Sydney’s fine dining scene is arguably one of the best in Australia, which mean there’s a huge array of restaurants to choose from.
Rockpool Bar and Grill is a seafood and steak dining experience located in an art décor skyscraper – it boasts an incredible menu, including premium steaks and caviar, if you’re looking for something special.  There are also plenty of more affordable dishes, as well as a perfectly-matched wine list.  If you’re dining, you’ll need to book a table in advance; the bar however, has a no-bookings policy, making it suitable for casual cocktails. 
To experience chic modernism, dine at Bentley Restaurant and Bar; it’s an upscale location, with a number of different dining options, including a-la-carte items, as well as five and eight course Saturday Night menus.  It also caters to vegetarians, as well as offering award-winning matched wines. 
Alternatively, Hubert is a French restaurant with a beautiful Parisian ambience.  It offers both a-la-carte and banquet menus, listing traditional French dishes in conjunction with imported French wines. If you’re looking to step outside the standard Australian diet, try their Escargot XO (roasted snails) or Boudin Noir (blood cakes, smoked pig’s head and potato puree).
Finally, Mr. Wong offers Cantonese dining set in an antique-style dining space with huge wooden support pillars and varnished timber floors.  The menu includes a line-up of duck and seafood dishes, as well as their famed xiǎo lóng bāo (Shanghai-style steamed buns).

 

 

 


 

 


 

While Sydney is famed for its iconic urban locations, it’s also recognised by tourists and locals alike for its beautiful beaches.  All you need to do is pick your beach, hang out for the day and we have the rest covered!

 

 

Balmoral beach is a great spot for young families to explore, situated on the harbour, it’s not too far from your hotel. To get there, it’s a great idea to use Sydney’s ferry service – walk or taxi to Circular Quay, catch an F6 ferry to Mosman Bay Wharf, and then taxi to your breakfast spot.
For those who can’t function without coffee, a great early-morning breakfast destination is Beach House Balmoral Restaurant and Café, a breezy open-air eatery that gazes out at Balmoral Beach.  Reward yourself with a choice from their Italian-style breakfast menu and a cup of their Fairtrade Arabica coffee.

After brekky, the temperate atmosphere’s perfect for going out onto the water.  While there’s a number of different activities, one of the best is the kayaking experience offered by Sydney Harbour Kayaks.  You can rent a kayak in hour-long intervals, allowing you to spend as little or as much time as you like paddling around the Middle Harbour; the company also rents out waterproof cameras, allowing you to get some happy snaps of the family expedition.

After you’ve worked up an appetite kayaking, make your way back to Balmoral Beach for lunch.

Bathers’ Pavilion, one of Balmoral’s most iconic locations; the restaurant/café combination is based in a white-washed 1920s establishment that exudes a Spanish Mission style grandeur.  They offer a range of affordable dishes with a fresh, zesty vibe, including a selection of wood-fired pizzas.

Once lunch settles, you can either taxi to Taronga Zoo, or access it via an extended hour-and-a-half hike around Middle Head.  As one of Australia’s most famous zoos, Taronga features over 340 animal species, many of which can be viewed with the Sydney Harbour as a beautiful backdrop.  Tickets start from around $43, and give you full access to the park, including animal exhibits like the Sumatran Tigers, Asian Elephants, giraffes and gorillas.

Once you’ve interacted with all the incredible animals at Taronga, get ready for a sand, salt and seafood dinner.

Bottom of the Harbour Seafoods is widely renowned as one of Balmoral Beach’s premier fish-and-chips shops, it’s got all the good stuff on menu – hot seafood, burgers, salads, muffins, coffee, milkshakes and juices.  Grab a battered fish and chips with a few sides of crumbed calamari and head down to the sand as the sun sets behind you.      

 

 


 

 

 

If you’re going to Sydney for the sand and the surf, it’s almost obligatory to visit Bondi.  The one-kilometre stretch of beach is arguably Australia’s most famous, and has a culture and identity of its own. 

When you and your family are looking for breakfast, you’re spoilt for choice; Campbell Avenue is packed with restaurants and cafes, and has a vast array of options.  One of the best? 

Trio Bondi Beach offers a range of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, it’s a friendly little café with both indoor and al fresco dining, offering a fantastic view of the surf.

After breakfast, it’s time to get in the water.  There’s a good range of activities on offer, including water-skiing, kayaking and paddle-boarding, but, if you’re a surfer, Salt Dog Bondi Rentals offer daily hire of boards from a fixed rate of $15, and stock medium to large sizes.  If you prefer swimming, make sure to sunscreen up before heading out into the waves, and be sure to avoid the beach’s notorious rips.  There are two permanent locations – one near the north end of the beach, the other near the south. 

When you’re starting to get hungry, towel off and head towards the northernmost tip of the beach.

North Bondi Fish boasts a relaxed atmosphere and a panoramic view of the ocean, it’s a modern seafood restaurant that embodies cruisy Bondi chic with a reasonably-priced menu.  Dishes range from oysters with seaweed and mountain pepper mignonette to VB-battered flathead and Moreton Bag bug linguini, as well as salad options for vegetarians.

Post-lunch, it’s decision time.  There’s still plenty to do on the beach – go swimming, recline on the sand, try your hand at a new activity like wakeboarding or snorkelling.  If you’ve had your fill of sun, however, we recommend an extended browse of Bondi’s fantastic boutique shopping stores.  On Sunday, the Bondi Farmers’ Market is open until four in the afternoon, but if you’re there during the week, locations like Gould Street and Westfield Bondi Junction play host to an eclectic range of storefronts that stock everything from designer labels to locally-designed homewares.

After a hard day of shopping, swimming and relaxing, you’ll probably need to refill your tanks with a food and drink stop!

Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is positioned with an incredible view of Bondi, it offers indoor dining or summer seating on the Icebergs Terrace, which overlooks the sweep of the South Pacific and picks up balmy ocean breezes.  Their a-la-carte menu pays homage to seasonal Italian flavours, and uses fresh, local ingredients to provide a delicious range of dishes.

 

 


 

 

 

Cronulla Beach is about an hour from the Wyndham Sydney Suites, but the drive is definitely worth it.  While the beach itself is known for its family-friendly amenities and great surf breaks, the areas surrounding it are just as exciting.  Cronulla State Park flanks the northernmost section of the beach, while to the south, across Port Hacking, is the picturesque Royal National Park, a secluded haven riddled with walking trails that provide access to remote beaches, stunning costal cliffs, and inland rivers.  You’ll need to hire a car to get there – both Europcar have rental locations not far from your hotel. 

Eating breakfast before you leave is a definite must, but there’s plenty of cafes within a few minutes’ walk of Sydney Suites, so you won’t head off on an empty stomach.

Once you arrive, there’s free parking at the South Cronulla Beach public car park on Gerrale Street, which is right beside the beach itself.  There’s a range of things to do – recline on the sand or on the turf in Cronulla Park, take a long walk along the North Cronulla Beach, go swimming in the ocean, or bathe in either of the two rock pools available.  The netted areas provide safe and comfortable paddling zones, perfect for when the surf’s a bit rough or if you’ve got younger children. 

Barefoot on the Beach, a relaxed beachside café with premium positioning that gazes out across the ocean.  They offer a traditional brunch menu with a health-focused twist, as well as delicious coffees and inventive juices.

Refuelled?  Time to burn the calories with a trip to the Royal National Park.  A good parking spot is Royal National Park Parking, along Sir Betram Stevens Drive near the Hacking River.  The Winifred Track/Winifred Fire Trail is a beautiful bushwalking track that culminates in the Winifred Falls; the waterfall is surrounded by eucalypts and wattles, and the white water pouring off shelves of rust-coloured stone makes for a gorgeous photo opportunity.  Best of all, the trail is only about a kilometre long, one-way, and is rated as easy/moderate, as well as being family-friendly.  If you still haven’t had your fill of sand and sun, Wattamolla Beach is a sheltered gem on the south side of the park; featuring a strip of white sand, a lagoon, calm ocean waters and a waterfall, it’s a nice way to cool off after hiking.  Parking is available just off Wattamolla Road.

When you start to feel the cool evening breezes blowing in from the ocean, pack up the towels and sunscreen and drive back to Cronulla for dinner. 

Summer Salt Restaurant is a lovely casual dining experience, and the perfect capstone for a day of hiking and swimming.  Sliding glass doors and white furniture accentuate the restaurant’s upscale ambience, tying in nicely with an Australian menu lightly paired with Asian influences.  Try the chef’s signature oven-roast duck with a Riesling or Pinot Noir from their hand-picked wine list.

 


 

 

 

 


 

This itinerary offers a comprehensive guide to exploring the Blue Mountains in style, as well as giving you advice on the best places to eat.  When visiting the Mountains, make sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes and a water-bottle – hiking is no fun when you’re dehydrated.  If you’re following this guide, we do recommend hiring a car, as it allows you to explore the region at your own pace and not be tied to a public transport timetable.

Since you’ll be travelling by car, leave early.  Sydney’s morning traffic is hectic, and you can expect to experience extended jams unless you beat the rush.  To reach Glenbrook, which is generally considered the first ‘Blue Mountains’ town, just follow the M4 (Western Highway); it’s about a fifty-minute drive, so maybe grab a coffee before you leave Sydney Suites to tide you over until brekky. 

 

 

As the first stop for Blue Mountains visitors, Glenbrook has a well-developed breakfast scene, with a good variety of cafes to choose from.
Café 2773, named after Glenbrook’s postcode, is a trendy eatery popular with locals and tourists alike.  Al-fresco dining and an on-site farm with animals lend the place to a delightfully rustic feel, while their eclectic selection of breakfast items is guaranteed to cater to all tastes.
Vincent Diner is another great option.  Family-owned with a traditional, cosy atmosphere, its menu has delicious Middle Eastern influences; try the shakshuka eggs with tomato sauce and labneh, or the flavour-packed Vincent Brekky Sambo.
The Mountain Blue Café is an Australian-style café/gift shop combination, offering family-friendly service that caters to dietary requirements.  They’re known for their authentic German baked goods, as well as a competitively-priced menu.    

 

 

 


 

 

As a premier tourist destination, the Blue Mountains have enough adventures available for weeks of exploring.  There’s a huge number of tours and hikes, various extreme sports, boutique shopping venues, and year-round festivals and events. 

One of the best is the Jenolan Caves, a network of underground caves that runs for over forty kilometres, generally considered to be the most ancient discovered caves in the world.  Boasting incredible limestone formations and beautiful subterranean water features, the caves can be explored through a number of different tours, and are definitely a must-see.  They’re about two hours’ drive from Glenbrook, however, so it’s best to make them part of a Jenolan day trip.

Take a break from cave-crawling at Oberon’s The Long Arm Farm.  Gourmet café using organic local produce.      

Katoomba, about forty minutes from Glenbrook, is the hub of the Blue Mountains, boasting iconic attractions like the Three Sisters, Giant Staircase and Scenic World.  Most of the hiking trails and lookout points are located on the south side of the town, near Cliff Drive and Echo Point Road.  Scenic World is a private, family-owned tourist park with four different experiences on offer – ‘Skyway’, ‘Cableway’, ‘Walkway’ and ‘Railway’.  Both the Skyway and Cableway are aerial cable-cars, with the Skyway suspended 270 metres above foaming waterfalls and rocky ravines.  The Walkway offers a relaxed meander along an elevated boardwalk shaded by towering Jurassic-era trees; native birds and animals are always present in the pristine bushland, so make sure to keep your eyes open.
Relax at Palette Dining a modern Australian cuisine inspired by the slow food movement.  

The Three Sisters are located just off the edge of the Katoomba township, visible from Echo Point.  Standing roughly 3000 metres above sea-level, the weathered pillars of sandstone are the subject of Indigenous legends; depending on the time of day, they seem to change, sun and cloud painting the rock with different shades of light.  Paid parking is available at Echo Point, but keep in mind that it’s sure to be busy.  The surrounding bushland is threaded with walking trails and ancient rock formations, including the Three Sisters Walking Track, Federal Pass Walking Track and the Dardanelles Pass Walking Track. 

The Federal Pass Walking Track starts near Cliff Drive, and runs for thirteen kilometres one way; it’s rated as hard, but the stunning views and various picnic spots more than make up for it.  Conversely, the Three Sisters Track is easy, with a return distance of 0.8 kilometres.  It passes close to its namesake, while also featuring the Giant Staircase and Honeymoon Bridge, two of Katoomba’s most popular attractions.  The Dardanelles Pass Track falls in between the two; although rated as hard, it’s a 5.3 kilometre loop, and also descends the Giant Staircase into a magnificent canopy of native flora.

Quick and delicious food with 8Things.  Global street food in casual, modern eatery.

 

 


 

 

 

Given the distance of the drive, it’s a good idea to stop at Glenbrook for dinner – driving for two or three hours straight with a back seat full of hungry kids isn’t a fun way to spend your evening.  Luckily, the town’s jam-packed with enough restaurants to satisfy anyone’s tastes, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding somewhere great to dine.

Monte’s is one of the best Italian pizza joints in Sydney. Available with indoor and outdoor seating (as well as takeaway, if you want to eat in the car or back at Sydney Suites), they offer gourmet and traditional pizzas, as well as pasta, salads and dessert.
Anthony Bros. and Co is where you need to go if you feel like some entertainment to spice things up. A tapas restaurant with a good range of cocktails, as well as live music.  The spacious dining room and lamp-lit bar provide a Mediterranean-esque ambience.
For more traditional Australian fare, head to Restaurant Como.  Located along the Great Western Highway, they’re a brightly-lit restaurant with an upscale dining experience, commended by locals and foodies alike.