City Guide

Four hours in Sydney

1 Mar 2018 by Tamsin Cocks
Sydney Opera House

1 - Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW, Australia

With its billowing white sails and unmistakeable shape, Sydney’s most iconic landmark is often photographed but not always explored. There are multiple theatres inside including the stunning Concert Hall (featuring one of the world’s largest organs with more than 10,000 pipes) hosting more than 40 shows a week. If you’re tight on time, a guided tour of the venue is equally rewarding, revealing secret design details and the history of its creation: the highs and lows encountered by Danish architect Jørn Utzon have all the makings of a Hollywood biopic. Grab a spot of lunch afterwards in one of the on-site cafés and soak up the harbour views (just beware of the bold food-loving seagulls)

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

2 - Harbour cruise

Circular Quay, Sydney NSW, Australia

Stroll down to bustling Circular Quay, dotted with street performers, tourists and locals, to board a yacht for a spectacular harbour cruise. Sydney Princess Cruises offers private charter experiences that show off the vibrant water-centric city in all its glory. In addition to seeing the city’s key landmarks from a new viewpoint, you’ll be able to sail past sights such as the envy-inducing residential district of Point Piper; the Australian navy’s Sydney base at Garden Island; and from the harbour entrance gaze on the open ocean of the Tasman Sea (if your schedule allows). Pre-booking is required

3 - Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney NSW, Australia

If there’s one bucket-list item in Sydney that’s a must, it’s the bridge climb. After getting dropped back off at Circular Quay, wander through the laneways of The Rocks district to reach the entrance of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (3 Cumberland Street). The Express Bridge Climb (2.5 hours) is the fastest, and arguably the best, tour – giving you the whole range of vertigo-inducing angles from inside the steel rafters before ascending to the summit for some incredible photo opportunities, all the while narrated by knowledgeable tour guides. If your travels take you to Sydney between May 25 and June 16, you’re in for an extra-special treat as the Vivid Sydney light festival transforms the stunning cityscape into an even more fantastical vision. A$298/US$241 per person

Lotus restaurant in Sydney

4 - Barangaroo

Barangaroo NSW, Australia

After getting back on terra firma, walk off the adrenaline with a 20-minute stroll to the northwest edge of Sydney CBD, or hop in a cab. Once a disused container terminal, Barangaroo (named after a female aboriginal leader) is now the site of a massive urban renewal project. Considered one of the most culturally significant pockets of Sydney, it’s now a hotspot for celebrating Australia’s native arts and culture. Wander towards the south of Barangaroo to find funky modern restaurants, shops and bars. Indulge in a taste of home with Asian offerings such as contemporary Chinese cuisine at Lotus ( or enjoy European elegance at new French restaurant Ete (

5 - Zephyr Sky Bar

Hyatt Regency Sydney, Sussex Street, Sydney NSW, Australia

From Barangaroo, continue down towards the CBD. After a busy day, it’s time to reward yourself with a sundowner while enjoying views over Darling Harbour from one of the city’s most exciting new rooftop bars: Zephyr. Perched on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Regency Sydney (see p62 for a Tried & Tested review), this gorgeous nautical-themed bar is filled with a stylish set of Sydneysiders who come for the view and stay for the inventive cocktails and moreish nibbles. Get your Instagram fix with a smoking Salted Nitro Espresso and don’t miss the kingfish sashimi and pork belly sliders

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