Blue mountains can be seen westward from any high location in the City. Stretching across from Penrith towards inner NSW covering an area of 11,400 sq. km, this is one of the most popular location to visit if you are visiting Sydney for a couple of days. Katoomba the main city in the Blue Mountains is some 80 km from Sydney. Take M4 and you can get there in less than an hour. Once past Hawkesbury River in Penrith you will start climbing up the mountains with beautiful towns of Springfield, Hazelbrook, Leura, Wentworth Falls Katoomba and Black Health.
Alpine region located some 300 km north of Melbourne offers world-class ski resorts and great family holiday both in winters and summers. If you have a couple of days to yourself the best option would be exploring some nice towns and cities on the way. The region has some of the earliest European settlers which is visible in architecture, lifestyle and name of the towns as well.
Sydney offers a wide range of cuisine from around the world. Most tourist and visitors to the town tend to explore places near Darling Harbour and Circular Quay which is the most visited areas of the city. However, there are a number of neighbourhoods with quality restaurants in all price ranges. I have tried to short-list some interesting and popular restaurants by neighbourhood and proximity to the CBD. If you staying in Darling Harbour or CBD area, most of these establishments are easily accessible.
Sydney CBD and around has a number of great quality restaurants in all price ranges. Here is a list of some of the most popular restaurants organized by location:
Sydney CBD is home to some great restaurants. Here are some of my recommendations
$ - under $20
$$ - $50+
$$$ - $100+
General Areas for restaurants are:
Neighbourhoods close to CBD
Circular Quay, Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst, Surrey Hills, King Street Wharf, Chinatown, Darling Harbour, Fish Market
Neighbourhoods at a distance of 3km+ from CBD
Kings Cross, Glebe Point Road, Newtown, Leichhardt, Milsons Point, Eastern Suburbs (Rosebay, Watsons Bay, Bondi), Marrickville
1. Rockpool Bar and Grill $$$ - 66 Hunter Street Sydney - CBD location
Call +612 8099 7077
Sydney landmark with impressive decor and great food claims to be one of the finest restaurants in Sydney. Ideally located in Martin place is easily accessible by train or foot if you are residing in Darling Harbour or CBD.
The menu is quite lavish and offers dishes ranging from steaks, seafood, pasta and salads. Private dining options are also available.
2. Cafe Sydney - Circular Quay $$
Popular cafe with great views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The menu offers a good mix of seafood, meat dishes and vegetarian options.
3. Neptune Palace - Circular Quay $$ -Halal (Kosher)
Offering a wide range of Malay-Chinese dishes. Great location and reasonable prices. Banquet Options available.
4. Mr Wong - Cantonese $$$
Good mix of Cantonese Food with over 80 dishes. Impressive food and nice location and decor.
5. Kingsley - Woolloomooloo - Steak & Seafood - $$$
Great location in Woolloomooloo offering some of the best steaks in town. Great dining option. Banquet for $75 (minimum 4ppl).
6. Otto - Woolloomooloo - Italian $$
Popular restaurants on Finger Wharf serving some great Italian food with great lively waterfront atmosphere.
7. Chat Thai $ - Various location in City
Serving great Thai food across various location in Sydney. One of my favourite Thai Restaurants in the City. One branch in Pitt Street Westfield. Other easily accessible location in Campbell Street in Haymarket
8. Mamak - Malay - Goulburn Street Chinatown $
I have been to this restaurant over 100 times and it never disappoints with the quality of the Malaysia food it serves. Try Mee Goreng, Nasi Goreng, Curries and Roti with various curries. Reasonably priced, and ideally located in Chinatown.
9. Ho Jiak - Malay - Harbour Street Haymarket
A new addition to the Sydney scene offering great Malaysia food with authentic flavours. Location opposite from Market City.
10. Sydney Fish Market.
Sydney Fish Market near Pyrmont is a great location to try the best of Sydney's seafood. Have your pick of seafood cooked in your style. I recommend this location for lunch or brunch.
11. Porteno $$ - Cleaveland Street Surrey Hills
South-American Flavours with a great atmosphere.
12. Chin Chin - Flinders Lane Surrey Hills $$ Thai Eatery
Modern Thai food served with style at Chin Chin. Located next to Longrain and Butter, two popular hangouts in the hood.
Darling Harbour is the heart of the city with a large number of very popular restaurants. Easily accessible by train from Town Hall Station as well as Central Station, Darling Harbour becomes the centre of attraction on the weekends.
My recommended restaurants in Darling Harbour Area include:
1. Cyren - Seafood Restaurant. $$. Located in Harbour Side Plaza in Darling Harbour - Darling Drive.
2. Kazbah Darling Harbour - $$ the Mediterranean***
3. Rashays - Halal restaurants offering Steak, Pizzas and Pasta.great
4. Lal Qila - Indian Food - $$ Lime Street Darling Harbour
5. Pump House Restaurant and Bar - Little Pier St. offering more than 100 international beers - located adjacent to Novotel Rockford.
6. Malaya - Asian / Seafood -$$$ Lime Street King Street Wharf
Visit Sydney Fish Market for great seafood at Peters and Doyles's for a wide range of seafood dished cooked to your taste and style.
Chinatown is easily accessible from Central Station and Town Hall Stations. Haymarket and Chinatown are adjacent to each other with over 100+ restaurants ranging from Chinese, Korean, Malay, Thai and international cuisine.
1. Mamak - $ - Goulburn St/Sussex St - Best Malaysian Restaurant in Town. Reasonably priced and great authentic Malaysia flavours. ***
2. Golden Peacock -$$ Chinese/Seafood open until late on most nights. Great selection of seafood in various cooking styles.
3. East Ocean - $$ Asian/ Seafood Casual Dining
4. Chat Thai - $$ - Great selection of Thai dishes and desserts. Delicate flavours and great presentation. Definitely recommended. ***
5. Din Tai Fung -$ Dumpling - Noodles - World Square - George/Liverpool St.
6. Charlie Chans -$ Great Asian food at a reasonable price on 635 George St. China Town
Surry Hills is 5 minutes drive from the CBD costing around $12 in the taxi from most hotels in the city. Crown Street in Surry Hills is the hub of best pubs, bars and restaurants. Most frequently visited restaurants include
1. Porteno - $$ Argentinian Food. 50 Holt Street. Exuding vintage vibe, the premises are furnished with a cosy feeling ideal for groups as well as private dining.
2. Long Grain - $$ Great food and ideal location in Surry Hills catering to crowds seeking great taste and ambience. Asian/Fusion
3. The Dolphin Hotel. $ Ideal location on Crown Street attracts large crowds throughout the week. Popular pub serving burgers and steaks at affordable prices.
4. Winery - $$ very popular venue serving modern Australian food.
5. Chin Chin $$ Very Trendy modern Australian / Asian restaurants attracting large crowds over the weekends
6. NOMAD $$ 16-Forster Streek Surrey Hills, offering great Australian Cuisine and Wines. **
Other popular venues include Clock Hotel, Bills (modern Australian), Yullis (vegan restaurant).
Newton is a funky neighbourhood with a great mix of modern restaurants and cheap eat-outs which are very popular with Sydney University Students as well as laid-back population mix that live around Newtown, Marrickville and Stanmore Area. King is lined with over 60+ restaurants in all price ranges. Here is a short-list of most popular ones.
1. Thai Patong $$ A great Thai restaurants serving authentic Thai food for over 20 years.
2. Bloodwood $$ Offering a great mix of Modern Australian Cuisine, Bloodwood is very popular with the local crowd.
3. Pastizzi Cafe: $$ Very famous Italian restaurant with the local crowd
Things to do in Sydney
Best Family Outings and Adventures in Sydney
Central Coast offers a beautiful option for a day trip from Sydney. If you drive up to Entrance and back on Pacific Highway to Sydney, you can explore beautiful beaches, lakes and small town on the way. If you have more time to yourself organize for accommodation in lakefront hotels along lake Tuggerah and Lake Mummorah. Driving out of Sydney on Pacific Highway towards New Castle exit at A49 towards Gosford and Woy Woy.
Jervis Bay is 200 km south of Sydney. The drive takes you on a scenic coastal Old Princess Highway through beautiful cities of Helensburgh, Stanwell Park, Thirroul and eventually descending near Bulli Pass to the beaches of Fairy Meadows and Wollongong. New Princess Highway offers a direct route to Wollongong if you plan to go further. Old princess highway meanders through beautiful and isolated National Park where can stopover at the seaside city of Bundeena for a nice cup of coffee or Fish and Chips. Helensburgh is famous for hang-gliding (https://www.hanggliding.com.au/). The beautiful cliffs over the oceans offer beautiful views of NSW coastlines stretching all the way to Steel Works at Port Kembla.
Stanwell Park & Austinmer beaches are packed with people on a hot sunny day. These beaches are popular with surfers and artists who enjoy the seclusion from the hustle and bustle of Sydney City.
Lake Burrill is approximately 300km south of Sydney. August is a great time of the year to explore southern highlands as the weather is quite cold at night and days are warm and sunny at this time of the year. The roads are not very crowded and it is quite easy to find accommodation along the coast. Lake Burrill and surrounding regions are popular for fishing all year round.
Snowy mountains are located at a distance of 150km for capital City Canberra and approximately 450km from Sydney ( 5 hours of driving time). Thredbo and Perisher Blue are the two most visited destinations by skiers as well as people interested in snow sports. Snowy mountains region is home to winters (June to October) sports and activities at some of the best resorts in Australia. During summers these regions offer outdoor sports, bushwalking, fishing and other adventure sports.
Total Diving Distance: 300km Loop
Areas covered: Sydney to Mittagong, Kangaroo Valley, Berry, Kiama, Wollongong and Sydney
A one or two day trip is ideal for exploring southern highlands in NSW. From Sydney drive on M5 towards Canberra. M5 merges into Hume Highway. Exit for Mittagong from Hume Highway. Mittagong is a beautiful town with a couple of nice cafes and restaurants in the main shopping areas. This place gets quite crowded on the weekends as it attracts visitors from nearby areas. Mittagong has some nice wineries including Artemis Wines, Bou-Saada Wines and Howards Lane Vineyard. A man-made Lake Alexandra feeds into nearby Nattai river. You can explore a couple of lookouts to have a bird's eye view of Southern Highlands. Some of the popular spots are Mount Gibraltar Lookout and Bowral Lookout.
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