Tips for Travellers Podcast 144: Sydney Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Gary Bembridge of Tips for Travellers shares observations, tips and advice for visitors to Sydney in Australia.

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This show covers among other topics:

General Observations

  • Harbour area around circular quay is magical and the iconic view of Australia and Sydney. Beyond the harbour bay is less compelling and different to any city. Architecture not that exciting.
  • Not a big a city in world league just 4 million but is  young ( ve age is 36)
  • 19% Asian
  • Casual outdoor lifestyle and informal
  • Mix of colonial roots from UK and American feel
  • Festivals important to the city to attract visitors and create excitement and energy – film / food/ mardi gras
  • Expensive city – accom, food, coffees, going out etc


  • Settlement was named after UK Home Secretary (Lord Sydney) when Penal colony was established.
  • Year after most of indigenous population wiped out by lack of resistance to European diseases.
  • Not the capital – Canberra is. Rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney meant it would be neither.

Getting there

  • Lots of flying options.
  • Cruise Ships now fast growing way to get there too.
  • Need Visa, which can get online.
  • Smart Gate Fast track entry for electronic passports including UK, NZ, Swiss, Singapore, US Global entry
  • Customs very strict – border control tv show – disease obsessed

Best time
Southern Hemisphere so Summer peak is Dec / Jan and coldest in July.

Getting around

  • Traffic quite congested – large use of public transport by locals
  • Taxi –  expensive , Train system – good, Bus system good and inexpensive –  buy ticket or cards at newsagents / convenience stores

Where to stay
Harbour area

Top things to do

Harbour Area
Do harbour tour HOHO or tours from Circular Quay (explain options)
The Rocks
Museum of Contemporary Art – stunning building – renovated and expanded 2012

Explore the icons
Sydney Harbour Bridge – bridge walk – 4 hours long short 1,5 hour
Opera House – behind scene tours and backstage tours –

Visit the beaches
Bondi – use 333 bendy bus – train to Bondi a Junction then bus
Manley – harbour trip there scenic – surfing – snorkel – penguins

Darling Harbour
Buzzy and busy with many tourist attractions:
Sealife Aquarium
Australian National Maritime Museum
Madame tussards
Powerhouse Museum

Sydney Tower and Skywalk

Westfield Sydney
Queen Victoria building
Pitt street – the 5th Ave of Sydney
Oxford street

Olympic Park Tour
Gardens – Hyde park, Botanical gardens, Chinese gardens
Luna Park

Check out this episode!


Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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