Sydney Travel Guide
Why? Sunny Sydney is one of the world's top holiday destinations, offering stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, superb shopping and delectable restaurants.
When? The most popular time to travel to Sydney is during the summer months, between November and March, when it is constantly hot and sunny. Winter in Sydney (June to August) is mild but damp, and nights can be chilly.
Who for? Sydney caters for all ages. Sun-lovers head for the beaches; families can explore the attractions of Darling Harbour; gourmets delight in the restaurants at The Rocks; adventurers can climb the iconic Harbour Bridge; while the less active can stroll the magnificent Botanic Gardens. Sydney is also a popular gay holiday destination, especially during late February when the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras takes place.
More Info: Our Sydney travel guide includes everything from essential information on currency and entry requirements to full reviews of restaurants, attractions and upcoming events.
Sunny, seductive Sydney is a high contender for the title of the world's most ideal city. It is slick and smart, the streets are clean, the neighbourhoods and busy pedestrian precincts pristine, the parks sublime, the water in the huge harbour blue, and the landmark buildings breath-taking. Sydney's population is approaching five million, but it is easy to leave the frenetic urban pace behind with just a simple ferry ride to the North Shore for a bush walk, enjoy a stroll along the harbour beaches or take any one of a number of daytrips to explore the 'real' Australia on the city's doorstep.
Just like its characteristic white-sailed Opera House, Sydney seems to cruise effortlessly through nights and days filled with myriad entertainment opportunities, sophisticated shopping, memorable museums, and strings of beautiful beaches. Visitors find it exhausting to take it all in, even though the tourist precinct where most of the interesting attractions are to be found is concentrated in quite a small area around the down-town waterfront and harbour area.
The fact that Sydney is a thriving seaport and industrial city has been cleverly concealed behind attractive pleasure and leisure grounds and residential suburbs, making full use of the scenic, watery geographical location. The harbour area is dominated by the span of one of the world's largest arched bridges, backed by towering skyscrapers. It is all a far cry from the remote penal colony established by the British back in 1788.
Another plus for visitors is that compared to most big cities Sydney offers excellent, reasonably priced food, accommodation and public transport. The city has an excellent suburban rail network, with its hub at Circular Quay in the city centre, and full use is made of the waterways with ferries and passenger jet boats plying to and from various points.
Time: Australia is divided into three time zones. Eastern is GMT +10, Central is GMT +9.5, and Western is GMT +8. Other than the Northern Territory and Western Australia, all states observe daylight saving time in summer.
Electricity: Electrical current is 240/250 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are used but are different to those in most other countries, so an adapter is normally required.
Money: The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of A$5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.
Currency Exchange Rates
A$ 1.00 = C$ 0.91NZ$ 1.12 0.41US$ 0.82R 5.72Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
Language: English is the official language.
Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals must have a valid passport for intended period of stay. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is required.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals must have a passport valid for intended period of stay, or an identity document showing a photograph. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is required for British passport holders endorsed British Citizen or British National (Overseas) if residing in Hong Kong. Other British passport holders are not eligible for an ETA and require a visa.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian nationals require a passport valid for intended period of stay, or an identity document showing a photograph. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is required.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South African nationals must have a passport valid for the duration of the stay. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals must have a passport valid for the intended period of stay, or an identity document showing a photograph. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealanders require a valid passport to enter Australia. Although a visa is not a requirement, New Zealanders have to apply for a Special Category Visa on arrival by completing a passenger card.
Passport/Visa Note: Visitors must hold sufficient funds and all documents required for further travel. An ETA is an electronically issued and verified visa, not visible in a passport. ETAs are issued to passengers travelling for tourist or business purposes. Tourist ETAs are valid for 12 months or the validity of the passport (whichever is shorter) for multiple stays of up to three months each, and business ETAs are also available for multiple entries of up to three months each. ETAs are obtainable online at: www.eta.immi.gov.au or through most travel agents.
Embassy or Consulate in US: Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 797 3000.
Embassy or Consulate in UK: Australian High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7379 4334.
Embassy or Consulate in Canada: Australian High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 0841.
Embassy or Consulate in South Africa: Australian High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 423 6000.
US Embassy or Consulate: Embassy of the United States, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6214 5600.
UK Embassy or Consulate: British High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6270 6666.
Canadian Embassy or Consulate: Canadian High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6270 4000.
South African Embassy or Consulate: South African High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6273 2424-7.
Health: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by travellers over one year of age arriving within six days of having stayed overnight or longer in an infected country. No other special immunizations or medications are required for most trips to Australia, however insect repellents are strongly advised for the Northern Territory, north Queensland and north Western Australia, as well as certain parts of New South Wales and Victoria, because of the risk of Murray Valley encephalitis, Ross River virus infections, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Beach-goers are warned to beware of jellyfish in the coastal waters; stings have proved fatal on occasion. Another health risk is sunburn, and visitors are advised to take precautions. Medical services are excellent, but can be expensive so travellers should ensure that they have adequate insurance. Australia has a reciprocal health agreement with the United Kingdom providing for free hospital emergency medical treatment; proof of UK residence is required.
Tipping: A gratuity of between 5 to 15% is usually expected in cafes and restaurants in the larger cities, though tipping is a relatively new phenomenon in Australia. Taxi drivers are happy to be left with the change.
Safety: The crime rate in Australia is low, however travellers should be aware that tourists could be targeted by petty criminals. Be vigilant about personal possessions and travel documents, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as along the Gold Coast. There has been an increase in incidents of spiked drinks and women in particular should be cautious in nightspots; many victims were also sexually assaulted. Tropical cyclones normally occur between November and April in some parts of Australia, usually in Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory. There is a serious risk of bush fires in summer, especially in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and ACT; fires in December 2006 and January 2007 were worse than ever due to the long-standing drought and caused major disruption to traffic and the evacuation of homes.
Customs: Generally an informal attitude, in dress and behaviour, prevails in most social and business situations. Sport, particularly rugby and cricket, is almost a religion.
Business: Australian business culture is generally relaxed and informal, although punctuality for meetings is imperative, and business dress is conservative: a dark suit and tie for men and a skirt suit for women. Women expect to be treated the same as their male counterparts, and firm handshakes between both men and women are standard at the beginning and end of every meeting. Business cards can be exchanged, but there are no formalities regarding this practice. In business dealings, brevity is appreciated and 'plain talking' is respected; however do not try to rush decision-making, as input from all sectors is customarily considered before reaching a conclusion. Business hours are generally 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Communications: The international access code for Australia is +61. The outgoing code is 0011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001144 for the United Kingdom). The area code for both Canberra and Sydney is (0)2. Local calls from public payphones are unlimited and cost a standard rate, while international and long distance calls are charged according to the time spent on the phone. Mobile phone operators use GSM and CDMA networks (area code (0)4); mobile phones are available for rent. Internet cafes are widely available.
Duty free: Travellers to Australia over 18 years do not have to pay customs duty on 2.25 litres of alcohol; 250 cigarettes or 250g cigars or other tobacco products. Gifts are included in the A$900 duty-free allowance. Fresh produce and animal/plant products are prohibited.
Message Edited by LL_Editor on 06-07-2007 03:58 PM
Re: Sydney, Australia
with the australian dollar at 76 cents u.s australia still represents a great travel value. Sidney is a world class city with great food and fun. Easy travel in an english speaking country.
Re: Sydney, Australia
Sydney is a fantastic walkable city to explore and enjoy. When in Sydney, make sure you take one of the many boat tours of Sydney Harbour, see an opera at the opera house and shop in the "rocks" neighbourhood. For those more adventurous you can hike up the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Re: Sydney, Australia
Heres a tip....get up early and head to the Sydney Opera House for some wonderful views of the city and just a relaxing atmosphere with no oone around. Makes for a great photos!