Travel Guide of Sydney for: Shangri-La Hotel Sydney Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Sydney Summary


  • Beautiful beaches
  • Great surfing spots, such as popular Bondi Beach
  • Architectural wonders like the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge
  • Great shopping
  • Varied nightlife
  • Warm escape during winter months for those who live in the northern hemisphere
  • Very gay-friendly
  • Popular rugby team


  • Expensive (like any big city)
  • Poor public transportation system
  • Lots of traffic
  • Significant air pollution

What It's Like

Sydney, formerly a British colony for exiled convicts, is now a bustling center of culture -- and its beautiful beaches are a main draw, with amazing snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing. Though Bondi Beach is one of its most popular, the city has over 60 beaches for visitors to explore.

The cultural scene in Sydney should not be overlooked. One of Sydney's most recognizable landmarks is the Sydney Opera House (although the operas aren't the best in the world), and both the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales feature impressive collections. Many festivals take place in Sydney, one of the most popular being a series of free performances during the Sydney Festival every January. The Koala Park and Taronga Zoo are also popular among tourists, where they can spot kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas.

Sydney is also home to a world-renowned rugby team, the Roosters. The games are usually exciting (and rowdy) and the popular bars and clubs in the city are even more packed with patrons after a rugby match.

Sydney has a lot of traffic, in part because the public transportation system is not the finest. The city suffers from significant air pollution as a result, which continues to be a major enviromental and political issue. The city is also very expensive.

Where to Stay

Sydney is divided into many areas, almost all of which offer a variety of hotels.

  • Business travelers may prefer to stay in the Central Business District. Though it features numerous office buildings and convention centers, CBD is part of the City Centre, and there are nearby numerous attractions that tourists will also enjoy.
  • Also part of the City Centre, Circular Quay is the hub of Sydney Harbor, and is home to Taronga Zoo, as well as other popular sights.
  • Haymarket features tons of shops, produce stands, and restaurants, as well as the gay-friendly Oxford area, where there's a lively nightlife scene.
  • The Rocks is Sydney's historic district, where there are numerous historic buildings and restaurants, as well as great shops and boutique hotels. The Harbor Bridge can be found in The Rocks.
  • Darling Harbor features museums, restaurants, and shops, and is easy to explore on foot.
  • Kings Cross is the most densely populated area in Australia. Once an area of crime, Kings Cross is undergoing gentrification, and is home to sights such as El Alamein Fountain.
  • Like Chinatown in New York City and San Francisco, Chinatown offers authentic Chinese food and less expensive hotel options.
  • The Bondi Beach area puts you right by the water.

Map of Hotels -- The Rocks, Sydney

Map of The Rocks, Sydney Expand Map ›


Languages: English
Airport: Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport
Peak: Jan. - April
Off-peak: May - Aug.
Visa: Yes
Vaccines: No
Currency: Australian dollar
Electricity: 240 volts AC; 50 cycles
Tipping: 10% in restaurants

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