Beautiful, diverse, sunny and oh-so picturesque, there’s so much to discover in this harbour-side city from its touristy spots to its hidden gems.
Can this city really live up to all the hype? In a word: Absolutely! There are undoubtedly many reasons to fall in love with Sydney, but here are 9 that will leave you wanting more 😉 Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
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1. The Harbour is like no other
Imagine a day with perfect blue skies, the architectural marvel of the Sydney Opera House on your right, the Harbour Bridge to your left, boats cruising in the water, people lounging around on the grass and the hustle and bustle of the city behind you.
Credit: Jason Tong on Flickr
This is exactly what the harbour is like!
There are so many ways to take on the view of the harbour – whether you’re on a ferry trip (which is a must-do when you’re in Sydney!), climbing up the Sydney Harbour Bridge for incredible vistas if you’re up for an adventure, or taking walks around the harbours edge and surrounds. You can spend an entire day just chilling out at the harbour!
Credit: Jason Tong on Flickr
One of the best ways to explore the area is to take a walk from the historic Rocks area, through Circular Quay, over to see the Opera House up close, round to the Botanic Gardens and end at Mrs Macquarie’s chair for spectacular views of the city.
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Make sure you pack your best pair of walking shoes 😉
2. The weather’s pretty gorgeous all year round
Although Sydney has four defined seasons, it doesn’t get too extreme! There’s always something to do every season. In fact, the skies in Sydney are almost always a textbook definition of what blue skies should look like!
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It can get quite warm in summer months, but it’s also the best time to hit the beaches and enjoy one of the best fireworks displays in the world on New Year’s eve!
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In winter, it’s cold enough to dress up in stylish coats and boots but still enjoyable enough to have fun outdoors 😎
3. Yummy halal food and fresh seafood galore
One of the best things about Sydney is that it’s not too difficult to find halal food in the city and surrounds, thanks to its multiculturalism and universities around the city. Whether you’re craving for halal Thai, Indonesian, exotic Chinese Muslim food from Uighur, Turkish kebabs, or even good old roti canai, there are plenty of options to satisfy your tummy’s rumblings!
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If you’re a seafood lover, make your way to the Sydney Fish Market for some of the best fresh seafood selections! You can enjoy a variety of fish, oysters, lobsters, prawns, scallops, and so much more prepared in any way you like 😋
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Sit down by the water and enjoy some fish and chips or bring a mat and have a picnic at the nearby park!
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#HHWT Tip: Check with the eateries at the fish market whether beer batter is used to coat any fried food items. When in doubt, get it sashimi style, grilled or boiled! You can also find some halal brands of poultry in any supermarket and there are halal butcheries too if you feel like cooking 😄
4. Coffee and desserts so good you’ll be hankering for more
Sydney has a booming cafe culture, serving great coffee (or tea and chocolate, if coffee’s not your thing!).
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From quaint bookstore cafes to hipster haunts in trendy suburbs and plenty of alfresco options for you to watch the world go by, you’re bound to find just the right place for you to sit back and relax with a cuppa.
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Home to the world’s most-instagrammed cake and Masterchef worthy desserts, a trip to Black Star Pastry for their famed strawberry and watermelon cake (no non-halal ingredients are used) or to one of Adriano Zumbo’s patisseries for one of his wild and wacky creations is well worth a visit, even if to just ogle at the pretty displays!
#HHWT Tip: Do check with the cafe or eatery beforehand if non-halal ingredients like alcohol are used. There are also plenty of vegetarian / vegan options to choose from! 😊
5. Spectacular beaches just minutes from the city
One of the most iconic experiences that you can have is soaking up the sun at one of Sydney’s many many (did we say many?) beaches!
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White sand, golden sand, busy, secluded, calm waters or waves big enough to surf on, and most definitely photo-worthy, it’s hard to choose which beach is the best!
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Not only can you take a swim in the crystal clear waters and plant your feet into the sand, you can also throw a barbeque using one of the electric barbeque pits available at beaches like Bondi or Coogee for a fun day out!
#HHWT Tip: Just get yourself some halal meat from the butchers or throw on some ‘shrimp on the barbie’ and you’re all set for a truly Aussie experience ⛱
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There are also coastal walks you can take to soak in the gorgeous view, and pools built into rocks if you’d like to swim in calmer waters. Women rejoice! There are also women-only beach side pools you can swim in! 😍
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Trust us when we say that no visit to Sydney is complete without a day at the beach!
P.S. AirAsia X is having amazing deals for direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney (from RM499)! This promo is valid from now to 18 June, and the travel period is from now to 23 November 2017. Plus, AirAsia X flies twice daily to Sydney so you can head there at your preferred time, any day!
6. Where else can you spot whales right from the beach and see amazing wildlife?
Yup, you read right! You can catch a glimpse of the annual migration of humpback whales at the coastlines of New South Wales from now till November.
You can also take a whale watching cruise to get up close or try your luck at one of the many vantage points on land to watch the majestic whales. They’ve even been known to make an appearance right in Sydney Harbour!
Credit: Pelican on Flickr
If you love animals, visit Taronga Zoo, which is probably one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. With a backdrop of the harbour, the journey to the zoo is part of the fun! Take a scenic ferry ride from Circular Quay and take a gondola ride up to the zoo while enjoying the view. Their free flight bird show is not to be missed!
Credit: Matt Chan on Flickr
Visit Featherdale Wildlife Park located near the Blue Mountains to see uniquely Australian animals like koalas, kangaroos and wombats up close, or take a leisurely drive to Port Stephens, just 2.5 hours north of Sydney to see dolphins in the wild. There’s nowhere else like Sydney to see these remarkable animals in their natural habitat!
7. Plenty of markets for you to explore
One of the best shopping experiences that you can have in the city, besides visiting its shopping malls of course, is to explore the glorious markets!
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From creative stalls selling one of a kind art, clothing, jewellery, gifts and vintage finds, there are plenty of markets every weekend for you to take your pick from! The Rocks Markets, Paddington Market, Glebe Market and Bondi Market are well worth a visit, even if you’d just like to window shop.
The atmosphere is always lively and fun and there’s always something to see, although we think it’d be hard for you to return from a trip to the markets without a unique souvenir or two in your bag 😉
8. Perfect for nature lovers or adrenaline junkies alike!
One of the best things about visiting Sydney is that just a drive out or a train hop away, lies even more amazing getaways! Whether you’d like to take in the eucalyptus-scented air of the beautiful Blue Mountains and have an illuminating encounter in a glow worm tunnel…
…or take a meandering road trip down Grand Pacific Drive – there’s a whole lot more to discover from the gateway of New South Wales! Marvel at the ocean and stop at quaint seaside towns, or drive across the amazing Sea Cliff Bridge. It’ll be the best road trip ever!
If you need adventure in your veins, go jet boating right at Sydney Harbour or even better, take a thrilling climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge for some of the best views of your life!
Credit: @_alyssa_hannah on Instagram
If that’s not enough for you, jump off a plane at 14,000ft when you’re skydiving at Wollonggong, or take a quad bike and power your way through towering sand dunes at Port Stephens.
Whatever floats your boat, Sydney has it!
9. There are so many free things to do (and this includes free festivals!)
Last but not least, there are a tonne of ways you can experience Sydney without burning a hole in your pocket!
Credit: Nigel Howe on Flickr
Whether you’d like to relax at Darling Harbour, immerse yourself in history at a museum, get cultured at an art gallery, take long slow walks by the beach or check out one of the many free festivals and activities all year round, there’s definitely something for everyone!
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Sydney undoubtedly puts on some of the best free festivals and events anywhere in the world, and you should try to ensure your trip coincides with one of them! Major festivals that you should definitely check out are the Sydney Festival (usually held in January), Vivid Sydney held between May to June (it’s on from 26 May – 17 June this year, which means that you need to head there NOW!), Sculpture by the Sea in October to November and not forgetting the spectacular display of fireworks over the Harbour Bridge during New Year’s Eve!
Credit: Nigel Howe on Flickr
If the fact that it’s free doesn’t entice you enough, check out this awesome video of last year’s Vivid Sydney festival:
Honestly we could go on and on about why just one trip to Sydney will never be enough, so we’ll let you get to know her for yourself and discover your own reasons why 😍
Convinced that a trip to Sydney will be the highlight of your year? Don’t forget to check out AirAsia X’s amazing flight deals from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney! The promo is valid from now to 18 June, and the travel period is from now to 23 November 2017. Check out this link to find out more about their promotional fares to Sydney: http://bit.ly/HHWTAAXSydney
This article was brought to you by AirAsia X.