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Sydney is Australia's largest and oldest city. It is the site of the first European colony in Australia, which was established in 1788 in what is now known as New South Wales. Two centuries later, 21st century Sydney is a multicultural city known for iconic structures such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. While Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city, it has Australia's highest quality of living , and Conde Nast Traveler readers have voted Sydney the best city to visit for 8 straight years.
A good way to find out the free things to do in the city is to like the Sydney for Free Facebook group for daily updates on how to save money in the city.
From around 1850, Manly has been considered Australia’s favourite seaside resort. It is definitely a destination for all seasons and all ages. It is most famous for its beautiful natural beauty, scenic walkways alongside both the harbour and ocean beaches and it’s many cultural events. Manly is about 14 kilometres from the city centre and best reached by ferry from Circular Quay so you can fully appreciate Sydney's magnificent harbour. Named for the manly behaviour of the local Aboriginal tribe, Manly has beautiful beaches (both surf and family) and good shopping and restaurants on the Corso.
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Not to be confused with Bondi Junction, Bondi Beach is approximately 9 kilometres from the city centre. Originally known as "Boondi" by the local aboriginals, it is probably the most famous beach in Australia, though not the best. The beach itself is just a large strip of sand - the main attraction is the matching strip of pubs, restaurants and shops, and its lively nightlife. Best reached by bus from Bondi Junction train station. For families, quieter beaches with parklands such as Coogee, Bronte, Neilsen Park or Manly are likely to be more appealing. A nice way to take in the views of the beautiful beaches is by doing the 7-kilometre Coogee to Bondi Beach walk along the coastline.
Sydney offers a wide array of events and festivals. An official list can be found on the City of Sydney website. Below are some of the major annual events.
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Sydney enjoys a temperate climate, with mild winters and warm summers. The hottest month is January when on average the city has 14.6 days over 30 °C. The hottest day on record was 45.7 °C at the 18th of January, 2013. Winters are much cooler, although temperatures rarely drop below 5 °C. July is the coldest month of the year. Average daytime temperatures between 17 °C (July) and 27 °C (January), and between 9 °C (July) and 19 °C (February) at night.
The average annual rainfall is 1,215 mm, falling at least 1 mm on average 100 days a year.  Rainfall is fairly consistent throughout the year, with slightly more rain during the first half of the year.
|Avg Max||26.5 °C||26.5 °C||25.4 °C||23.3 °C||20.6 °C||18 °C||17.4 °C||18.9 °C||21.2 °C||22.8 °C||23.8 °C||25.5 °C|
|Avg Min||19.6 °C||19.7 °C||18.1 °C||15.3 °C||12.5 °C||9.7 °C||8.7 °C||9.7 °C||12 °C||14.4 °C||16.3 °C||18.3 °C|
|Rainfall||96 mm||128.6 mm||111.4 mm||140.5 mm||119.8 mm||116.8 mm||79.8 mm||94 mm||70.1 mm||82.7 mm||104 mm||79.2 mm|
Sydney Airport (SYD) with almost 33 million passengers in 2009, is Australia's premier airport, servicing flights from Europe, Asia, North America, South America, South Africa, and other parts of Oceania. The international terminal is currently undergoing renovations which are due to be completed mid 2010. The airport has curfews during the night and is busiest in the morning with the arrival of more than 20 international flights in the space of 2 hours, leading to long queues to go through both immigration and quarantine.
NOTE: Australia has very strict quarantine laws designed to protect the unique flora and fauna. Check HERE to see which items you can, and cannot bring into the country.
There are a few options for transferring between the international and domestic terminals:
Getting to the city from the airport is quick and easy:
If you are travelling around Australia, CountryLink offers long-distance services connecting Sydney to Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane, as well as regions of New South Wales not covered by the Cityrail network. The Indian Pacific connects Sydney to Adelaide and Perth, but tickets are not cheap. Expect to pay at least $680 for a one way trip to or from Perth, unless you're lucky enough to qualify for a cheaper rate (available to children, seniors, backpackers and students).
If you plan on driving to Sydney, it could be a long trip depending on where you are:
All distances are estimates.
The Sydney Coach Terminal is located under Central railway station on Eddy Avenue. There are a number of coach services to Sydney from around Australia.
Sydney has one of the most spectacular harbours in the world and nothing compares to arriving here by sea. The harbour has two dedicated passenger terminals servicing both local and international cruise ships. One is located in Circular Quay opposite the Opera House, the second is Wharf 8 located near darling harbour. Summer is the peak season for ships to visit Sydney. Check the Sydney Ports website for cruiseliners and dates.
Sydney is not a car friendly city (traffic can be very bad at peak times and finding a parking space isn't easy, or cheap) so if you plan on staying in or around the city area, forget about a car. If you have a car, the city has over 50 parking stations. Expect to pay between $25 to $50 per day. Most car parking station offer cheap rates at night and can start from $10. Car hire is often not available to drivers under 25, or if it is, it's more expensive for younger drivers.
Car hire is available at Sydney Airport and throughout the city. Available from:
Bus hire is available from:
The city centre is easy accessed on the free CBD shuttle Free CBD Shuttle which will take you in a loop from Central station to Circular Quay via George and Elizabeth sts. Travelling further afield, Sydney has a an extensive network of trains, buses, and ferries to get you to just about anywhere you will want to go. Finally, there are also many options for travelling by ferry. For information on travel passes, timetables, and fares check Transport Info Line.
Sydney's CBD is quite small, so it's pretty easy to get around by foot. If you're staying somewhere in the centre of town, harbourside attractions like the Darling Harbour and Circular Quay (where the Opera House is located) are within walking distance. One of the best ways to discover a city is on foot. There are guided tours available, some of them which are free and leave daily outside of the Town Hall. You can pick up a brochure from the Town Hall and follow a number of walking routes that will show you contemporary and historic Sydney.
Increasingly, there are more and more cycleways being built giving safe access for cyclists to get around the city and suburbs. You can legally ride a bike on the road but you must follow the same road rules as other traffic and you must also wear a helmet. For more information check Road safety.
One of the great things about Sydney is its multiculturalism, and the benefits that brings can be seen in restaurants across the city.
Finding a place to lay your head once you are in Sydney shouldn't be a problem, if you booked ahead. When there are special events on it can be very hard to find a room at a price you're willing to pay, so book ahead. If that isn't an option, there is an information/reservations desk at the airport.
With 122 hostels around Sydney you're sure to find what you're looking for. The most popular areas are near Central Station, Kings Cross, Bondi Beach, and Manly.
|790 on George||790 George Street, Sydney||Hostel||74|
|Aarons Hotel Sydney||37 Ultimo Rd Haymarket||Hotel||76|
|Alfred Park Budget Accommodation||207 Cleveland Street, Redfern 2016||Hostel||76|
|Australian Backpacker||132 Bourke St Woolloomooloo||HOSTEL||-|
|Australian Sunrise Lodge||485 King Street Newtown||Hotel||-|
|Balmain Backpackers||677 Darling Street (corner Victoria Road) Balmain 2039||Hostel||-|
|Base Sydney||477 Kent Street NSW 2000 Australia||Hostel||78|
|Big Hostel||212 Elizabeth St Surry Hills||Hostel||79|
|Billabong Gardens||5-11 Egan Street Newtown||Hostel||75|
|Blue Parrot Backpackers||87 Macleay Street Potts Point||HOSTEL||85|
|Boardrider Backpacker and Budget Motel||Rear 63, The Corso||Hostel||71|
|Woodduck Boomerang Backpackers||141 William street Sydney NSW 2010||Hostel||77|
|Cambridge Lodge Budget Hostel||109 Cambridge Street Stanmore, NSW 2048||Hostel||74|
|Central Private Hotel||358 Elizabeth Street||Hotel||72|
|Chili Blue Backpackers||144 Victoria Street, Kings Cross Kings Cross||HOSTEL||74|
|City Resort Hostel||103-105 Palmer St Woolloomooloo||Hostel||64|
|Coogee Beach House||171 Arden st Coogee||Hostel||74|
|Coogee Beachside Budget Accommodation||178 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee||Hostel||-|
|Eva's Backpackers||6-8 Orwell Street Kings Cross||Hostel||84|
|Glebe Village Backpackers||254-258 Glebe Point Road Glebe 2037||Hostel||73|
|Glenferrie Lodge||12 Carabella St Kirribilli||Hostel||76|
|Goodlet Lodge||502 Elizabeth Street Surry Hills, Sydney NSW||Hotel||-|
|Backpackers HQ||174 Victoria St Kings Cross||HOSTEL||75|
|Elephant Backpacker Sydney||(formerly Harbour City Backpackers) 50 Sir John Young Crescent, Woolloomooloo||HOSTEL||72|
|Home Backpackers||238 Elizabeth St||Hostel||68|
|Hotel Formule 1Kings Cross||191-201 William Street Kings Cross||Hotel||72|
|Jolly Swagman Backpackers||27 Orwell Street Kings Cross||Hostel||76|
|Kangaroo Bakpak||665 South Dowling St Surry Hills||Hostel||-|
|Lamrock Lodge on Bondi Beach||19 Lamrock Av Bondi Beach||Hostel||69|
|Lord Wolseley||265 Bulwara Road Ultimo||Hostel||76|
|Manly Backpackers||24-28 Raglan Street Manly||Hostel||70|
|Manly Guest House||6 Steinton Street Manly||Guesthouse||-|
|Mariners Court Hotel||4-50 McElhone Street Woolloomooloo 2011||Hotel||75|
|Mountbatten Hotel||701 George Street Sydney||Hostel||70|
|Noah's @ Bondi Beach||2 Campbell Parade Bondi beach||HOSTEL||73|
|Periwinkle Manly Cove Guesthouse||18-19 East Esplanade Manly||Guesthouse||-|
|Rooftop Travellers Lodge||146-148 Glebe Point Road Glebe||Hostel||75|
|Sinclairs City Hostel||510 Cleveland Street Surry Hills||Hostel||-|
|Burwood Bed And Breakfast||90 Shaftesbury Rd Burwood||Hotel||-|
|Sinclairs Serviced Apartments||145 to 149 Foveaux St Surry Hills||Apartment||-|
|Strattons Hostel||249-253 Castlereagh Street Sydney||Hostel||71|
|Surfside Bondi Beach Backpackers||35a Hall St Bondi Beach||Hostel||68|
|Surfside Coogee Beach Backpackers||186 Arden Street Coogee||Hostel||68|
|Sydney Backpackers||Victoria House, 7 Wilmot Street NSW 2000||Hostel||71|
|Central Perk Backpackers||611 George Street||HOSTEL||72|
|Sydney Central Backpackers||16 Orwell St. Kings Cross||Hostel||75|
|Sydney Central Hostel||428 Pitt St||Hostel||73|
|Central Station Hotel||75 Wentworth Avenue||Hotel||72|
|Sydney Central YHA||11 Rawson Place Sydney||Hostel||79|
|Sydney G'Day Backpackers||153 Forbes Street, Woolloomooloo 2011||Hostel||76|
|The Bunkhouse Manly||35 Pine Street Manly||Hostel||73|
|The Funk House||23 Darlinghurst Rd, Kingscross||Hostel||72|
|The Haven Inn||196 Glebe Point Rd Glebe||Hotel||-|
|The Maze Backpackers||417 Pitt Street||Hostel||73|
|The Original Backpackers Hostel||162 Victoria Street Kings Cross||Hostel||74|
|The Palms Backpackers||23 Hughes St Kings Cross||Hostel||75|
|The Strand Hotel||99 William St Darlinghurst||Hostel||66|
|The Wood Duck Inn||49 William Street East Sydney 2010||Hostel||-|
|The Woolbrokers At Darling Harbour||22 Allen Street Pyrmont||Hostel||74|
|Tokyo Village||243-247 Cleveland Street Surry Hills||Hostel||72|
|Zing||156 Victoria Street Kings Cross||Hostel||76|
|Vulcan Hotel||500 Wattle Street Ultimo||Hotel||-|
|Wake Up! Sydney Central||509 Pitt Street Opposite Central Railway||Hostel||87|
|Nomads Westend||412 Pitt Street||Hostel||66|
|World Square Hostel||640 George Street, Sydney||Hostel||77|
|Y Hotel City South||179 Cleveland (Cnr Regent) Street Chippendale||Hotel||73|
|Y Hotel Hyde Park||5-11 Wentworth Ave||Hostel||76|
|Manly Bungalow||64 Pittwater Road||apartment||-|
|Manly Seaview Motel & Apartments||Corner Pacific Street & Malvern Avenue||Apartment||-|
|Brado's Backpackers||34 - 36 Darlinghurst Rd Kings Cross||Hostel||71|
|Sydney Beachouse YHA||4 Collaroy Street Collaroy Beach||Hostel||82|
|Bounce Sydney||Next to Central Station, 28 Chalmers St||HOSTEL||88|
|Jackaroo Hostel Kings Cross||107-109 Darlinghurst Road Kings Cross||HOSTEL||76|
|Bondi Beachouse YHA||Corner Fletcher and Dellview Street Bondi Beach||Hostel||76|
|Cronulla Beach YHA||Level 1, 40-42 Kingsway, Cronulla NSW 2230 Level 1, 40-42 Kingsway, Cronulla NSW 2230||HOSTEL||74|
|Glebe Point YHA||262-264 Glebe Point Rd Glebe||Hostel||77|
|Sydney - Pittwater YHA||PO Box 197 Church Point NSW||Hostel||75|
|Chifley Hotel Penrith||Cnr Mulgoa & Jamison Roads||Hotel||-|
|Bella Bedz||1 Beresford Rd||Hostel||82|
|High Cross Park Lodge||7-9 Cuthill Street. Randwick||Guesthouse||-|
|Kanga House||141 Victoria Street||Hostel||72|
|Aussie Lodge||64 Darlinghurst Rd Kings Cross||Guesthouse||-|
|Macleay Lodge||71 Macleay Street||Guesthouse||-|
|Challis Lodge||21-23 Challis Avenue||Hotel||-|
|Sydney Harbour YHA||110 Cumberland St, The Rocks||Hostel||83|
|Springfield Lodge||9 Springfield Avenue Potts Point Kings Cross||Hotel||-|
|Avoca Lodge||235 Avoca Street||Guesthouse||-|
|Ultimate Apartments Bondi Beach||59 O'Brien St Bondi Beach||Apartment||80|
|City Central Budget Accommodation||707a George Street||Hostel||75|
|St Marks Lodge||37 Rae Street Randwick||Guesthouse||-|
|Manly Beachside Apartments||29 - 33 Pittwater Rd||Apartment||-|
|Bondi Shores||Level 1. 283 Bondi Road Bondi||HOSTEL||70|
|UWS Village||Cnr of Pemberton St + Victoria Rd Parramatta||APARTMENT||-|
|Railway Square YHA||8-10 Lee Street Sydney NSW 2000||HOSTEL||80|
|Kings Cross Backpackers||79 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross||Hostel||72|
|Manly Astra||68 Pittwater Rd Manly||Guesthouse||74|
|Balmain Budget Accommodation||677 Darling St Rozelle||Hostel||-|
|Macquarie University Village||122 Culloden Road Marsfield||Apartment||76|
|The Pink House||6-8 Barncleuth Square||Hostel||-|
|Quality Hotel Sands||1260 Pittwater Road||Hotel||-|
|Posh Hotel||8-14 Broadway Chippendale||Hotel||-|
|Manly Beach House||179 Pittwater Road||Guesthouse||80|
|Leisure Inn Sydney Central||28 - 30 Regent Street Chippendale||Hotel||-|
|Central Railway Hotel & Apartments||240 Chalmers Street||Hotel||-|
|d*lux Hostel||30 Darlinghurst Rd Kings Cross||Hostel||-|
|Pensione Hotel Sydney||631-635 George Street||Hotel||-|
|Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar||4 Wentworth Ave||Hotel||-|
|Bindi's||611 George St Haymarket||Hostel||-|
|Asylum Sydney||201-203 Brougham Street Woolloomooloo||Hostel||77|
|Cooper Lodge||20 City Road||Hostel||-|
|Casa Central Backpackers Hostel||11 Regent Street Chippendale||HOSTEL||77|
|Dury House Backpackers||48A Darlinghurst Rd Kings Cross NSW||HOSTEL||-|
|BB's Furnished Apartments||110-112 Quarray Street Ultimo||APARTMENT||-|
|The Addisons Travellers Lodge||12 Addisons Road Marrickville||HOSTEL||-|
|Guesthouse 83||83 The Kingsway Cronulla||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Sydney Globe Backpackers||40 Darlinghurst Road Potts Point||HOSTEL||-|
|Captain Cook Hotel Paddington||162 Flinders Street Paddington||HOSTEL||-|
|Cronulla Motor Inn||85 Kingsway||Hotel||-|
|Hyde Park Backpackers||90 Wentworth Ave||Hostel||-|
|Nova Apartments Sydney||194-198 Goulburn Street Surry Hills||APARTMENT||-|
|Sydney Student Living||38 Burton Street Concord||HOSTEL||-|
|Oasis Backpacker||141 Commonwealth Street (Opposite of 57 Reservoir St)||Hostel||68|
|Siesta Inn Sydney||301 Kent St||HOSTEL||-|
|Manly Oceanside Accommodation||19 Pacific Street Manly Sydney||Hotel||-|
|Arden House Coogee||302 Arden Street Coogee||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Boardrider Backpacker||Rear 63 The Corso Manly||HOSTEL||-|
There are a few key shopping areas in Sydney, depending on what kind of shops you would like to explore. If you are looking for big department stores, head to the Pitt Street Mall, where David Jones and Myer dominate the landscape. A short walk away is the Strand Arcade (412-414 George Street), which boasts an impressive collection of small (and usually expensive) shops. From here you can head underground to a long, undergound mall filled with stores which runs right through to Town Hall Station and directly under the QVB (Queen Victoria Building).
Looking for something a little different? Head down Oxford Street in Paddington. Close to the city, it offers plenty of second-hand and alternative styles.
If you're looking for a bargain, you cannot go past Paddy's Market in the Haymarket area, close to the Entertainment Centre and Central Station. Here they have souvenirs and your regular market gear and upstairs you have factory outlets stores.
Outside of the city, shopping centres in the Suburbs of Bondi Junction, Chatswood, Parramatta, and Miranda are huge and could easily fill a day.
With a strong economy and large central business district, finding work in Sydney is relatively easy. An extensive range of employment options exist for working holidaymakers, and Sydney employers often view backpackers as a great options for filling short-term employment gaps. An essential starting point for any job is to ensure your CV is up-to-date, correctly formatted for Aussie employers and tailored to suit the job / industry you wish to work in. A sample working-holiday CV can be viewed here. The next step is to construct a Cover Letter to accompany your CV. This must be directly relevant to the position advertised and must highlight to the recruiter that you are willing and able to begin work now, willing to travel to the job location if you're not already there, and willing to commit to the job for the duration required, usually 1-3 months for most backpacker jobs. Cover letters are essential for online and face-to-face applications. A guide to writing great cover letter can be found here.
Finding jobs can be tricky of you're not sure where to look. Useful resources include hostel noticeboards which are often packed with job advertisements, specialist backpacker job site such as www.taw.com.au and www.jobsearch.gov.au/harvesttrail, generic job sites such as www.gumtree.com.au and www.seek.com.au.
For many positions such as hospitality and retail, the best way to find job vacancies is to hit the streets. Armed with a handful of CVs and pre-written cover letters you should be able to uncover a range of job opportunities as you visit shops, bars and cafes across town. For best results, avoid the usual backpacker jobspots such as George Street, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and Bondi. Instead, jump on a bus or train and head into Sydney's inner-city suburbs where jobs are plentiful and job-hunting backpackers are in much smaller numbers.
Typical recruitment agencies are generally not much use for working holiday travellers. Most employers employing through an agency will chose an Aussie resident over a backpacker, as backpackers have a tendency to work for a short period only and then move on to their next travel destination. Specialist backpacker recruitment agencies do exist and many offer jobs in Sydney and other areas across Australia. Travellers At Work located near Sydney's Central Station is the biggest of its kind.
Australia's health & safety laws are highly regulated and as a result, mandatory job safety training is essential for many industries. To work behind a bar you will need to obtain a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate, often referred to as an RSA. Working in the construction industry will require a White Card (formerly known as a Green Card). Kitchen / food service work may require you to obtain a Food Hygiene certificate. For more information click here.
To work in Australia you will need a Tax File Number (TFN) and Australian Bank Account. TFNs are issued by the Australian Government and must be supplied to your employer when beginning work. Your employer will then pay tax on your behalf each payday. TFNs are sent to you by mail, so many travellers wait until they've found an apartment with a fixed address before applying. Many hostel will allow you to use their address, but mail can go missing, so be careful. If you don't have a fixed address, you can set-up a mail forwarding service and receive all your letters by email as you travel.
An Australian Bank Account is essential to begin work, as employers won't pay your wages into your overseas/home bank account. Upon arrival in Australia an account can be opened at almost any high street branch. Australia's top 5 banks are the ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac and St George. Many bank offer low-fee options suitable for working holidaymakers from around $4-$5 per month. Applying for an account before you arrive in Australia is also an option, allowing you to collect your ATM card when you arrive in Sydney. ATM fees are expensive, so always try and use those linked to your bank, saving withdrawal fees of up to $2.50 per transaction.
Australia's financial year runs July-June, and July-September is generally tax-refund time. Working holidaymakers who have been working in Australia for over six-months are usually entitled to a tax refund, and can claim back a large proportion of the tax they have paid whilst in Employment. Many tax refund agents exist and can make this process quick and easy, generally charging around 10% of your refund in fees. Applying for a tax refund direct with the Australian Tax Office is also an option, with no fees to pay.
There is no shortage of internet cafe's in the city or in the most popular areas for visitors to stay in Sydney. If you don't have your laptop with you, try Global Gossip. If you're looking for free Wifi check here for locations right across the city.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Australia is on a GSM 900/1800 network, so if you have an unlocked phone that works on those frequencies, you will be able to buy a prepaid SIM-card and stick into your phone when you're in Australia. You will receive a new Australian phone number with the SIM-card.
To dial out of Australia use the prefix 0011, followed by the calling code of the country you are trying to reach, followed by the area code of the city/town (without the 0!) and finally the phone number.
Within Australia, it is necessary to add an area code to the phone numbers if you are calling from outside the area. Below are Australia's area codes:
000 is the emergency telephone number in Australia, but the international GSM mobile emergency telephone number 112 also works on mobile phones.
Australia Post is the government's postal service. Most suburbs will have at least one post office. Opening times are mostly from around 8:00 or 9:00am to 5:00pm though larger ones keep longer hours sometimes. A standard letter or postcard sent within Australia will cost $0.60. Internationally, it costs $1.70 to send postcards anywhere in the world. Letters cost $1.85 to send within the Asia Pacific region and $2.60 to anywhere else in the world.. It is also possible to send things as parcels or by express mail. You can also use use private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL as they are competitive and reliable.
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Ask Rhmyers a question about Sydney
Can help with the tour pass that include:
o Airport to downtown
o City on an off all day with 24 stops.. get on and off all day
o Outlying areas -- Bondi Beach etc. Same on and off all day.
o 3 Ferry rides.
Know the Bridge, the Opera House, Darling Harbour, The Zoo, the Aquarium.
Ask Muzza32 a question about Sydney
Ask cassiejo a question about Sydney
I lived in Australia for 8 months and spent about 6 of them in Sydney. I know practically everything you need to know, especially if you're on a budget!
Ask Sheyd a question about Sydney
I'm from Sydney, adore Sydney and know all the cool places to go
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