Australia – A Big Beautiful City

Even for the most seasoned of travellers, Sydney offers an almost overwhelming array of attractions.  Whether you are in search of action or relaxation, Australia’s biggest city has it all. This selection has the unenviable task of selecting just 5 of Sydney’s finest, and an effort has been made to choose both the obvious and the obscure.

view of sydney opera house

Sydney Opera House

A predictable starting point, perhaps, but with good reason.  Designed by architect Jorn Utzon and opened in 1973, Sydney Opera House remains as distinctive as ever.  Given the magnificence of the architecture, it is often easy to forget that this is a working performing arts centre; in fact, it is one of the busiest in the world, with over 1,500 performances annually.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Situated just beside the Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens offer a real oasis of tranquility within this bustling metropolis.  After a morning spent in the thriving Sydney streets, there is no better way to rest weary legs than by taking a pew in the gardens and watching the wildlife go by.  Until recently, the fleets of flying foxes that habituated the gardens were a main attraction; however, a concerted effort has been made to drive them away due to the damage they were causing to the flora.  There is still plenty to discover in the lakes and walkways of this beautiful relaxation point.

St Mary’s Cathedral

South of the Royal Botanic Gardens, you will find the impressive St. Mary’s Cathedral.  As Australia’s biggest church, its dominant stature looms over the surrounding area, even with the recent vertical movement of Sydney’s architecture!  To soak up the most picturesque entrance to the Cathedral, it is best to approach via Hyde Park.

Blues Point Reserve

Blues Point Reserve may not be as widely heralded as the attractions above, but this only adds to its charm.  Located just outside the city centre, Blues Point Reserve offers spectacular views over Sydney Harbour, and is the ideal spot for a picnic.  There are also some newly refurbished playgrounds for children, making this one of Sydney’s premier places to while away a family afternoon.

The Rocks

If you are in search of an authentic taste of Australia’s history, a trip to The Rocks is indispensable.  This is the area where the British established their first settlement kin Australia in 1788, and much has been done to retain the original maze of cobbled alleyways.  Try The Rocks Discovery Museum for an account of the country as it was found, or just watch the world pass by in the plethora of cafes, bars and restaurants.  The location of The Rocks, tucked between Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, adds to the attraction – you can spend a good couple of days in the same few square miles, and still not see it all.

Honourable mentions must also go to the likes of Darling Harbour and Bondi Beach, but the list could go on and on.  It serves as testament to the quality of Sydney’s attractions that landmarks such as these fail to make the cut, but this short list is no more than a starting point for any exploration of the city. If you require affordable accommodation in the city centre, it is worth trying out the Pullman at Sydney Olympic Park hotel.  In addition, American Express credit card holders can use Membership Rewards points to purchase a Pullman Hotels Gift Card worth up to $1000.  Gift vouchers purchased with American Express credit cards must be used within 12 months. Been wondering what to surprise your loved one with – well, a trip to Australia could be just the answer!