Sydney, the splendour of New South Wales

Renew Yourself in Sydney

This exhilarating urban destination is a timeless pit stop, home to unspoiled beaches, fresh seafood and iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This city is the quintessential destination for beach-lovers, nature and wildlife enthusiasts, Instagram-savvy café hoppers and adventure-seekers.

Vivid Sydney is an annual celebration of creativity, innovation and technology that transforms the Sydney CBD in winter from 27 May - 18 June 2022 into a kaleidoscope of Light, Music and Ideas.

Our Picks: Top 9 Instagram-Worthy Cafes and Foodie Must-Visits in Sydney

More and more travellers are flocking to popular cafes and dining destinations around the world to get the ultimate pic for the ‘gram. We've gathered our top 9 picks of the most photogenic cafes in Sydney.

#1 The Grounds of Alexandria

No list would be complete without The Grounds, in a former 1920s industrial precinct in the inner city suburb of Alexandria. It houses a cafe, sustainable garden, coffee roastery, animal farm, and so much more! The enchanting garden should be your first photo stop – the arbour laced with bougainvillaea and interwoven lighting is the ultimate setting to spice up your feed.

#2 Hyde Hacienda Bar + Lounge

Located on the third floor of Pullman Quay Grand, Hyde Hacienda is every Instagrammer’s dream: spectacular harbour views, lush baby pink velvet chairs, tropical plants and wisteria hanging from the ceiling. You won’t be able to get enough of their cocktails, including the Campfire Espresso Martini topped with toasted marshmallows and the vibrantly coloured Harbourside Hibiscus.

#4 Speedos

Speedos - the world's most instagrammable cafe, is located along the mesmerising coastline of Bondi Beach and serves whimsical and vibrant dishes (with vegan, dairy and gluten-free options) reminiscent of the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Photogenic must-orders include the decadent Big Breaky, #GramWorthy pancake stacks with caramelised bananas and chia, and a colourful Green Goddess bowl.

#3 Archie Rose Distillery

Founded in 2014, Archie Rose is Australia's most highly awarded distillery producing a range of whiskies, gins, vodkas and rums. It’s also Sydney’s first inner-city distillery in 100 years, setting off a massive trend across Australia. Join a distillery tour followed by a guided tasting of the core range, complemented by surroundings of copper tubing, brick walls and exposed concrete floors.

#6 Black Star Pastry

It's been copied multiple times the world over, but that beautiful strawberry and watermelon cake originated at Black Star Pastry. Chef Christopher Thé originally created it for a wedding. Little did he know that his creation of layered almond dacquoise, rose-scented cream and watermelon would be declared “the world’s most Instagrammed cake” by The New York Times.

#5 No Fail

No Fail is an exciting indie tea shop with stores on Goulburn Street in the city and in Burwood. It’s Sydney’s homegrown bubble tea brand and tea aficionados can choose from fresh fruit teas, cheese fruit tea frappes and brûlée milk teas. The store is well known for its thick, savoury cheese foam that is the perfect complement to its refreshing fruit teas.

#7 Two Sis & Co.

If you’re stopping by and want to get a (literal) taste of Sydney’s vibrant café and brunch culture, it’s hard to leave Two Sis & Co. off the list. Delightfully vibrant creations fill the menu, which include everything from mermaid pancakes and syrup-filled shots to fairy floss-topped ice lattes. When it comes to Instagrammable cafes in Sydney, this is definitely one of the top ones.

#8 Social Hideout

With 17,000 flowers suspended from the ceiling and stuck into feature walls, it's no wonder Social Hideout makes the list. The menu plays with Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine to create delicious and, of course, visually aesthetic eats. Popular menu dishes include a milkshake served in a pretty gold bathtub topped with fairy floss, perfectly paired with an eggs benedict with a red velvet croissant.

#9 KitKat Chocolatory

The first of its kind in Australia, the newly-opened KitKat Chocolatory in Sydney is an immersive, photogenic experience, as well as offering a range of exclusive flavours. The Chocolatory also has a ‘Create Your Break’ section which allows chocoholics to create up to 30,000 different combinations of chocolate. It’ll be impossible to stop yourself getting overexcited when you're in a place like this!

Our picks: Top 6 Buzzing Markets to explore in Sydney

From local organic produce and vintage finds to gourmet pastries and fresh catches of the day, Sydney’s weekend markets are a delight for both locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re shopping for a picnic, gathering creative wares to bring back home or just browsing, take a pick from the array of vibrant markets that come alive on Saturdays and Sundays.

#1 The Rocks Markets

Weekends come alive at The Rocks Markets, where carefully curated artisanal wares, gourmet street food and harbourside views come together on Sydney's oldest cobblestone streets. Meet local Sydney artists and photographers, sample handmade beauty products, or allow one of the many food vendors to fuel your explorations. The markets are nestled within walking distance to the CBD and just footsteps from the public transport of Circular Quay and Wynyard. After you’ve had your fill of shopping, head to some of Sydney’s oldest pubs or a meal at a restaurant overlooking the harbour.

#2 Sydney Fish Market

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Sydney Fish Market, the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It sells a range of seafood and fresh produce- about 14,500 tonnes of seafood each year. Also on-site are cafés, restaurants, a wholesale auction, and a sushi bar on-site, where you can pick up fresh oysters, fish and chips, prawns and more to take away. This market even hosts a Sydney Seafood School, where you can master the art of cooking with seafood across a hands-on-lesson, which includes a delicious meal and a glass of wine.

#3 Carriageworks Farmers Market

Carriageworks Farmers Market is an award-winning authentic Farmers Market held every Saturday in the heart of Redfern in Sydney, situated in a beautiful railway workshop dating back to the 1880s. The Carriageworks Farmers Market features seasonal produce from over 70 farmers and artisan food producers across New South Wales. Talk to farmers firsthand and learn the stories behind their food. Find organic and biodynamic produce, artisan bread, boutique wines, single-origin coffee, herbal teas, meat, eggs, fresh honey and freshly cut flowers.

#4 Chinatown Night Market

Chinatown’s famous Friday Night Markets is one of Sydney’s most popular late-night shopping hotspots. The Markets reflect the culture, creativity and energy of Sydney’s thriving Chinatown precinct, offering visitors the opportunity to taste their way through Asia without leaving Australia. You’re not just limited to Chinese food in Chinatown. This is the Asian food hub of Sydney where you can find everything from Chinese and Cantonese cuisine to Malaysian, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese. Head there for your dose of delicious street food and Asian culture.

#5 Glebe Markets

Glebe Markets is one of Sydney’s most well known Saturday markets, nestled in the central district of Glebe which exudes a laid-back vibe and is peppered with heritage buildings. Offering colourful vintage clothes, new clothing designed by locals and hand-crafted jewellery and accessories, the market has over 200 stalls for you to browse. Be sure to relax on the nearby lawns after you’ve shopped up a storm with some delicious food; the market also includes food stalls selling gozleme, kebabs, dumplings, fancy doughnuts and tandoori chicken wraps.

#6 Paddington Markets

Paddington Markets is a community based market that began trading in 1973, supporting local people passionate about their craft and the community. It is held every Saturday morning as a way to connect local fashion designers, craftspeople, jewellery makers and artists with customers. Renowned for its location nestled in the grounds of the heritage-listed Paddington Uniting Church on Oxford Street, the market now has over 150 unique stalls selling fashion, accessories, scented soaps and candles and pictures that inspire. Head to the Paddington Reservoir afterwards for a dose of greenery.

Our Picks: Top 3 Family Attractions

From generation to generation, the capital of New South Wales has been a family favourite for good reason. Here are our favourites to explore on your holiday to Sydney.

#1 Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is a buzzing waterside precinct that's just moments from the centre of Sydney. This family-friendly destination has enough to keep children entertained all day, from fascinating museums to thrilling wildlife and delicious waterfront dining along Cockle Bay and King Street Wharf. Meet the dugongs at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, get up close to koalas at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo or burn off some energy at Darling Quarter Kids Playground. Hop aboard a sightseeing cruise or discover one of the tall ships at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

#2 Taronga Zoo

Take your zoo escapades to the next level with an unforgettable trip to Taronga Zoo. Here, you’ll be privy to fascinating zoo keeper talks, get to feed and have close encounters with the zoo’s amazing wildlife, and even go on an exclusive night safari led by passionate guides. Stay at the elegant Taronga Zoo Wildlife Retreat overlooking the sensational Sydney Harbour with your young ones, and be surrounded by Australian flora and fauna. You can even book one of the Animal View rooms, and wake up to koalas and wildlife roaming right outside your window.

#3 BridgeClimb Sydney

BridgeClimb Sydney is an iconic Australian experience that takes you on a journey to the top of the nation’s most famous and celebrated structure – the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As you ascend to the summit of the world’s largest steel arch, you’ll experience breath-taking moments, spectacular 360-degree views, and insights into the engineering and cultural history of this world-famous icon. A range of climb routes are available including, BridgeClimb Summit, BridgeClimb Summit Express, BridgeClimb Ultimate and the Burrawa Climb - an indigenous storytelling experience.

Our Picks: Top 5 Coastal Walks & Beaches in Sydney

Don't miss out on the sunny beaches to explore by day and incredible sunsets in the evening. Discover the freshest seafood in one of the many seaside restaurants.

Manly Lagoon to North Head

Catch the iconic Manly ferry with prime views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House to the beautiful Manly Beach and enjoy a walk up to the clifftops of North Head. You can even explore on a bicycle!

DON'T MISS! The scenic Fairfax Walk connects 3 fantastic lookouts and is an easy circuit, ideal for children. It’s perfect for whale watching from June to October.

Watson’s Bay

Breathtaking coastal cliffs and plenty of opportunity along the way to get the finest seafood. Discover the best of both worlds with Sydney Harbour on one side and the vast Pacific Ocean waves crashing onto dramatic cliffs on the other side.

DON'T MISS! Enjoy prime Australian seafood at the famous Doyles Restaurant on the Beach. If you visit at sunset, you can watch the Sydney city skyline light up!

Bondi to Bronte

Dramatic coastlines and the coolest ocean pools. Stroll along the dramatic cliffs between two of Sydney’s iconic beaches, Bondi and Bronte. Stop at various lookouts along the way for photo opportunities. For some action, take a dip at the iconic Bondi Icebergs Pool – or give surfing a try!

DON'T MISS! Sculpture by the Sea (20 Oct – 6 Nov 2022), the world’s largest annual free outdoor sculpture exhibition.

Barangaroo Reserve

Sydney’s newest waterfront park. A spectacular, brand new waterfront park that sits right in the heart of Sydney city. Check out its extraordinary shoreline laid with skilfully cut sandstone slabs. Wander along the winding paths around its hills and beautifully designed terrace gardens.

DON'T MISS! Venture into The Avenue, Sydney’s newest High Street at Barangaroo and discover a trove of hand-crafted goodness, including Bourke Street Bakery - Sydney’s unofficial temple of pastry.

Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island is the largest of 13 islands dotted throughout Sydney Harbour and a must-see, especially if you’re a history buff. Travellers can take a short ferry ride from the CBD to visit the site of a convict prison and ship dockyard, now on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Curious visitors can embark on walking tours to understand the island’s history.

DON'T MISS! Camp overnight at what Lonely Planet described as “one of the world’s most spectacularly located campsites”

Experience Bronte Baths with us

Need to cool off after your walk from Bondi to Bonte? Take a dip in this iconic Sydney shore pool with FREE ACCESS 24/7! Built in 1887, it’s one of the NSW coast’s first rock pools and the oldest in Sydney! Thanks to The Smart Local» for creating this video for us.

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