Sydney first stops
First Stops is a collection of top picks you can rely on for a great time.
There's no better way to see Sydney like a local than to check out a neighbourhood bar. From historic pubs that have stood the test of time to intimate speakeasies that are taking cocktail mixology to new heights, you're never far from a delicious drink served with fresh flavoursome food and friendly local conversation. If you're into craft beer or masterful blends from micro-distilleries, you'll love what Sydney has to offer. Jump-start your local knowledge with a guided tour of Sydney's oldest inner city pubs or world-class suburban breweries.
When you're in a harbour city like Sydney, it makes sense to dine by the water. There's a huge selection of places to choose from, with many clustered around Darling Harbour, the piers by the Harbour Bridge and the historic Rocks area. Sydney's diverse cultural heritage has led to a wide range of deliciously authentic cuisines and innovative fusion menus. Sydney people love their food, so if you plan to try one of the top restaurants consider booking well before you fly.
A trip to Australia isn't complete without experiencing Indigenous culture. Visit Sydney's Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to see ancient artworks set against a seriously gorgeous natural backdrop. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk here stretches 4.4 kilometres and takes roughly three hours to complete. Along the way, you'll see Aboriginal rock art and engravings, as well as an historic occupation shelter where local families lived for generations.
Lavender Bay's Secret Garden is one of the most serene and beloved spots in the city. The garden was once a disused railway dump, but over the past 20 years it has flourished into a tropical oasis overlooking the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Wendy Whitely, a self-taught gardener and professionally trained artist, has applied her intuitive style of gardening to create a burst of colour, texture and gorgeous greenery that's perfectly at odds with its urban home.
Want to see this city's coolest spots through the eyes of a real Sydneysider? Try a walking tour with friendly knowledgeable locals. It's a great way to get insider stories on the most fascinating parts of the city. There are plenty of tours to choose from, so you can pick a focus that suits your interests. Take a street art tour of Newtown, a gallery and lunch trip around Redfern, inner city history and architecture tours or a night ghost tour of the historic Rocks area.
Sometimes the best way to chill out is by getting active. If you're in the mood for some low-key sightseeing that includes a bit of exercise, a bike tour is the ideal option. From gentle beachside tours and the harbour bridge bike trail to serious mountain bike adventures, it's easy to find a ride that suits your interests and capability. Whatever you choose, you're in for a totally unique view of Sydney.