SOUTH OF THE HARBOUR
Circular Quay This transport hub
for ferries, buses, and CityRail trains is tucked between the Harbour Bridge and the
Sydney Opera House. The Quay, as its known to the locals, is a good spot for a
stroll, and its outdoor restaurants and buskers (street musicians/performers) are very
popular. The Rocks, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the start
of the main shopping area (centered on Pitt and George streets) are all just a short walk
away. To reach the area via public transportation, take a CityRail train, ferry, or
city-bound bus to Circular Quay.
The Rocks This small historic
area, just a short stroll west of Cir-cular Quay, is closely packed with colonial stone buildings, in-triguing
back streets, boutiques, popular pubs, tourist stores, and top-notch restaurants and
hotels. Its the most exclusive place to stay in the city because of its beauty and
its proximity to the Opera House and the harbour. Shops here are geared mostly toward
Sydneys yuppies and wealthy Asian touristsdont expect many bargains. On
weekends, a portion of George Street is blocked off for The Rocks Market, with its many
street stalls selling tourist-oriented souvenirs and crafts. To reach the area via public
transportation, take any bus bound for Circular Quay or The Rocks (via George Street) or a
CityRail train or ferry to Circular Quay
Town Hall Right in the heart
of the city, this area is home to all the main department stores and to two Sydney
landmarks, the Town Hall and the Queen Victoria Building (QVB). In this area are also the
AMP Centerpoint Tower and the boutique-style chain stores of Pitt Street Mall. Farther up
George Street (on the same side of the street as the Town Hall) are major cinema
complexes, the entrance to Sydneys Spanish district (around Liverpool Street),
and the citys small Chinatown. To reach the area via public transportation, take any
bus from Circular Quay via George Street, or take a CityRail train to the Town Hall stop.
Darling Harbour Designed from scratch as
a tourist precinct, Darling Harbour now features Sydneys main convention,
exhibition, and entertainment centers; a huge waterfront promenade; the Sydney Aquarium;
the giant screen Panasonic IMAX Theatre; the Sega World theme park; the Australian
Maritime Museum; the Powerhouse Museum; a major food court; and plenty of shops. Star
City, Sydneys casino and theater complex, opened in Darling Harbour in late 1997.
Until Cockle Bay Wharf opened in early 1999 (near the Sydney Aquarium on the city side of
Darling Harbour) and brought with it a few good bars and restaurants, few Sydneysiders
ever visited the place. To reach the area via public transportation, take a ferry from
Circular Quay (wharf 5), the monorail from Town Hall, or the light rail (tram) from
Central Station. Or, you can simply walk down the side road to the right of the Queen
Victoria Building as you are facing it, and across the pedestrian bridge which spans the
Kings Cross the Suburbs Beyond "The Cross," as its known, is famous as the citys
red-light districtthough its also home to some of the citys best-known
nightclubs and restaurants. It also houses plenty of backpacker hostels, as well as some
upscale hotels. The main drag, Darlinghurst Road, is crammed with strip joints,
prostitutes, drug addicts, drunks, and street kids. Fortunately, theres a heavy
police presence. Beyond the strip clubs and glitter, the attractive suburbs of Elizabeth
Bay, Double Bay, and Rose Bay hug the waterfront. To reach the area via public
transportation, take bus 324, 325, or 327 from Circular Quay; bus 311 from Railway Square,
Central Station; or a CityRail train to Kings Cross station.
Paddington/Oxford Street This
inner-city suburb, centered on trendy Oxford Street, is known for its expensive terrace
houses, off-the-wall boutiques and bookshops, and popular restaurants, pubs, and
nightclubs. Its also the heart of Sydneys very large gay community (the
worlds largest after San Francisco) and has a liberal scattering of gay bars and
dance spots. To reach the area via public transportation, take bus 380 or 382 from
Circular Quay (via Elizabeth Street); 378 from Railway Square, Central Station; or 380 and
382 from Bondi Junction.
Darlinghurst Wedged between
grungy Kings Cross and upscale Oxford Street, this extroverted and grimy terraced suburb
is home to some of Sydneys finest cafes. Its probably wise not to walk around
here at night. Take the CityRail train to Kings Cross and head right from the exit.
Central The congested and
badly polluted crossroads around Central Station, the citys main train station, has
little to recommend it. The Sydney Central YHA is located here.
Newtown This popular student
area is centered around car-clogged King Street, which is lined with many alternative
shops, bookstores, and cheap ethnic restaurants. People-watching is an interesting sport
heresee how many belly button rings, violently colored hair-dos, and Celtic arm
tattoos you can spot. To reach the area via public transportation, take bus 422, 423, 426,
or 428 from Circular Quay (via Castlereagh Street and City Road), or take the CityRail
train to Newtown Station.
Glebe A mecca for young
professionals and students, this inner-city suburb is known for its cafes, restaurants,
pubs, and shops spread out along the main thoroughfare, Glebe Point Road. All this, plus
its location just 15 minutes from the city and 30 minutes from Circular Quay, makes it a
good place to stay for budget-conscious travelers. To reach Glebe via public
transportation, take bus 431, 433, or 434 from Millers Point, The Rocks (via George St.),
or bus 459 from behind Town Hall.
Bondi the Southern Beaches
Some of Sydneys most glamorous surf beachesBondi, Bronte, and Coogeecan
be found basking along the South Pacific Ocean coastline southeast of the city center.
Bondi is a disappointment to many tourists who are expecting more than this former
working-class suburb has to offer. It does have a wide sweep of beach (which is crowded in
summer), some interesting eateries and drinking holes, and plenty of attitude. On
weekends, its a favorite with macho suburbanites, who stand next to their souped-up
cars and attempt to look cool. To reach the beaches via public transportation, take bus
380 or 382 to Bondi Beach from Circular Quay or a CityRail train to Bondi Junction to
connect with same buses; bus 378 to Bronte from Railway Square, Central Station (via
Oxford Street); or bus 373 or 374 to Coogee from Circular Quay.
Watsons Bay Watsons Bay is
known for The Gapa section of dramatic sea cliffsas well as several good
restaurants, such as Doyles on the Beach, and the popular Watsons Bay Hotel beer garden.
Its a terrific spot to spend a sunny afternoon. To reach the area via public
transportation, take bus 324 or 325 from Circular Quay, or a ferry from Circular Quay
(wharf 2) on Saturdays and Sundays.
NORTH OF THE HARBOUR
North Sydney Just across the
Harbour Bridge, the high rises of North Sydney attest to its prominence as a major business area. That said,
theres little on offer for tourists here, except the possibility of being knocked
down on some extremely busy thoroughfare. Take a CityRail train to the North Sydney stop.
Chatswood (take a CityRail train from Central or Wynyard stations) has some pretty good
suburban-type shopping, and Milsons Point, just across the bridge, has a fairly decent pub
called the Kirribilli Hotel and a couple of restaurants and cafes worth checking out if
youve walked across the Harbour Bridge.
The North Shore Ferries and
buses provide good access to these wealthy neighborhoods across the Harbour Bridge. The
gorgeous Balmoral Beach, the Taronga Zoo, and upscale boutiques are the main attractions
in Mosman. Take bus 250 from North Sydney to Taronga Zoo, or a ferry from Circular Quay
(wharf 2) to Taronga Zoo and a bus from there to Balmoral Beach.
Manly The Northern Beaches
Half an hour away by ferry, or just 15 minutes by the faster JetCat, Manly is famous for
its beautiful ocean beach and scores of cheap food outlets. Farther north are more
magnificent beaches popular with surfers. Unfortunately there is no CityRail train line to
the northern beaches. The farthest beach from the city, Palm Beach, has magnificent surf
and lagoon beaches, nice walking paths, and a scenic golf course. To reach the area via
public transportation, take the ferry or JetCat from Circular Quay (wharves 2 and 3) to
Manly. Change at Manly interchange for various buses to the northern beaches, numbers 148
and 154 through 159. You can also take bus L90 from Wynyard Station.
WEST OF THE CITY CENTER
Balmain Located west of the city
center, a short ferry ride from Circular Quay, Balmain was once Sydneys main
ship-building area. In the last few decades the area has become trendy and expensive. The
suburb has a village feel about it and is filled with restaurants and pubs and hosts a
popular Saturday market in the grounds of the local church. Take bus 441, 442, or 432 from
Town Hall or George Street, or a ferry from Circular Quay (wharf 5), and then a short bus
ride up the hill to the main shopping area.
Homebush Bay This is the main
site of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Here youll find the Olympic Stadium, the
Aquatic Center, and the Homebush Bay Information Center, as well as parklands and a
water-bird reserve. To reach the area via public transportation, take a CityRail train
from Circular Quay to the new Olympic Park station.