climb the Harbour Bridge, take...
climb the Harbour Bridge, take a seaplane ride, take the Manly Ferry, go to Harry' Cafe de Wheels. I love the laid-back Aussie attitude to life, and the way the city combines big-city life with a life lived outdoors on the water
Essentially, the city is shaped like a standing rectangle. In the north, there is Circular Quay and the Rocks, one of the tourist attractions. To the Southwest, lies Darling Harbour. Connecting these two places, is George Street. George Street has a lot of stores and restaurants of the common variety and is worth a look for more mundane interests like bookstores, shoe stores, discount shops etc. Use the buses that run up and down George street to get between the sides of the city. In the dead center of town lies Hyde Park, like a green oasis. South of there is the Spanish Quarter, an interesting and very multicultural area good for shopping and eating. In the lower west corner of the city lies Chinatown and in the lower east corner lies King's Cross, consisting mostly of cheap eats, sex shops and strip joints. In the northeast corner of the rectangle, are the botanic gardens and beyond them, the suburb of Wooloomooloo, where the Australian navy moors their ships. I found it easiest to orient myself from Hyde Park, which is more or less in the center of the city. From there it is a short walk to any destination you choose to start with. Pretty in its own right, its not to be missed. The city isn't really large, so you can walk quite a few places. In the afternoon, try the public transit.
I'd like to tell you about the...
I'd like to tell you about the different areas of Sydney. I know a map can show you the streets but you can't always tell what the culture is like.
North Sydney - Mainly office buildings but there are some great parks to view the harbour from, especially at night. Luna Park is a theme park right on the water's edge. Travel here by train or bus.
Northern Beaches - Great surfing spots, beach walks and a place to take the family. Travel to Palm Beach where they film the TV show 'Home And Away'. This is one of the most relaxed parts of Sydney.
Wynyard - High rise buildings and stores.
Queen Victoria Building + Pitt Street Mall - Shopping in the centre of the Sydney.
George Street - The main street with shops and cinemas.
Circular Quay - Buskers and the main place to catch ferries.
Darling Harbour - Star Casino and shopping.
Inner West (Newtown, Surry Hills and Glebe)- You will find heaps of second hand clothes, art shops and cafes here.
Eastern Suburbs (Bondi, Coogee, Bonte) - Lots of people and the beach. Bondi beach is known world wide and has some interesting shops and cafes. If you like coastal views and walking I recommend the walk south from Bondi. You will pass steep cliffs, cafes and small coves to swim in.
Unless you have somewhere particular to go I wouldn't head into the suburbs of Sydney, and keep out of the outer western suburbs. It can be dangerous, especially at night and it's not very attractive there.
Tipping is growing in...
Tipping is growing in popularity but I don't do it as a local. It encourages employers not to pay legally binding award rates and also encourages exploitation.
If someone buys you a drink in a bar or pub you are expected to reciprocate. Never ask an Australian of they are 'from Britain'.
Unless one has very special requirements, film developing is cheap in Sydney. Many chemist advertise A$6.95 for 27 exposures developed the next day. No need to bring the film home for developing. Don't even try to bring food to Australia. They x-ray every bag with the exposure settings optimised for food. I brought a biscuit from the airplane and they caught me. I had to explain that I completed the customs declaration when I checked in for the flight and the biscuit was given to me on the airplane afterwards. I did not think that joking was wise so I didn't say something like 'I thought a criminal past is a requirement for entry into Australia hence the smuggled food.'