Sydney Decoded

10 January 2012

Flight Centre has Australia and New Zealand on sale this January and to help you with the ins and outs (and we’re not talking cricket here) I’ve got some information on the city probably most well known by South Africans: Sydney.

Entrance requirements:

As a South African passport holder you need a visa to visit Australia. Your Flight Centre consultant can steer you in the right direction.

Climate:

The summer season (November to March) is the most popular time to visit Sydney with temperatures regularly hitting the 35C. November and March are favoured by visitors wanting sunshine without the searing heat. Winter days can also be warm, regularly in the 21-27C, but can also be damp and chilly. Winter nights are likely to be cold.

Getting around:

Buses and ferries offer the cheapest and most rewarding sightseeing in Sydney. A ferry trip to Manly passes the stunning harbour sites and Sydney’s famous North Shore beaches. There are loads of buses but they can be slow. A bus trip to Vaucluse offers some of the best views of the harbour and surrounds. The Monorail is an elevated train that shuttles between the city and Darling Harbour;

Sydney also as an underground city centre train loop and this is the fastest way of getting around. Taxis plentiful and easily flagged down and of course you can drive yourself around. But a word of caution here– confusing one-way streets and difficult parking can make driving a nightmare in central Sydney.

Opera House in Sydney

The magnificent Sydney Opera House with the Harbour Bridge in the background

Food & Drink:

Sydney has a wide variety of food with influences from around the world, but particularly from Asia. Along with modern Australian, or 'Mod Oz', cuisine, which combines fresh ingredients with a creative blend of European and Asian styles, restaurants serve almost any type of fare imaginable, from Tibetan to African, from Russian to American.

Best buys:

Aboriginal art, clothes and gems. The inner-city areas of Paddington, Glebe and Newtown offer a variety of eclectic boutiques, home-grown designers and bargain-priced markets. Sydney's biggest market is Paddy's, open from Thursday to Sunday, which offers discounted mainstream items, while the Glebe (Saturday) and Bondi (Sunday) markets are traditional alternative markets with a good selection of clothing, arts and crafts, and second-hand goods.

Orientation:

The harbour divides Sydney into north and south, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Harbour Tunnel joining the two shores.

Famous for:

Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, The Rocks, Kings Cross, the Chinese Garden of Friendship and Bondi Beach.

Don’t miss:

Lively and trendy Manly on the northern shore with its great harbour, ocean views and 9km-long Manly Scenic Walk.