Sydney Travel Guide: Hotel, Touring, and Dining Highlights

Hi, all! I just returned from a whirlwind 4-night trip to Sydney, and now that I’m mostly recovered, I thought I’d share a bit about all that I experienced.

Let me start by stating that in my ten years of traveling to Sydney, I’ve found that September is still one of the best times to visit. We had amazing weather, and even though it was on the cool side, the sun was out every day, so don’t think that because it’s winter/spring, you won’t be able to be outdoors. Sydney is a year-round destination!

United generously flew us down on their Houston to Sydney route, featuring the Dreamliner. With 17 hours to kill on the plane, there is plenty of time to sleep. And it’s easy to do so in their United Polaris cabin, so if you can afford it, it’s worth the splurge! We hit the ground running as soon as we landed and didn’t waste a minute fighting jet lag. (Thanks, Dreamliner!)

Here are some of the highlights from a very busy four days!

Sydney Travel Guide - Hotels, Tours, Dining - Plan Your Trip to Australia
A cuddly quokka at Taronga Zoo

Best Sydney Hotels

Park Hyatt: Still the grande dame of Sydney. This stunning hotel with an unbeatable location is only outshone by its amazing staff. Excellent service and attention to detail.

Pro Tip: Book one of the Deluxe Opera View rooms for fantastic views of the iconic Sydney Opera House, or if you want to really splurge, stay in the Sydney Suite for a cool $20K a night!

Spicers Potts Point: Located in the “Paris” of Sydney, this little boutique gem (only 20 rooms) gives you the feeling of home in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. This is a great option for those who want to avoid tourists in Circular Quay or the CBD. If you can handle the 113 Victoria Street stairs, it’s only a 15-minute walk to the Royal Botanic Gardens, so you are still plenty close to the action.

Pro Tip: While the back rooms do have an elevator, this hotel is probably not ideal for people with mobility issues due to its location.

Sydney Travel Guide - Hotels, Tours, Dining - Plan Your Trip to Australia
Gorgeous aerial views from the seaplane!

Sydney City Tours

Spendour Tailored Tours: One of my favorite days was spent on Sydney’s hottest foodie tour. We ate and drank our way through the city, visiting hidden gems and meeting local entrepreneurs with amazing stories to tell. This is a great way to get to the heart of a vibrant city!

Sensational Sydney Cruises: This excursion is a DUE favorite, and the owner, Shawn, is an old friend. What a fantastic way to see this beautiful city from the water, which is a must-do for any visitor! There’s amazing food and wine onboard, too. Plus, they recently added a boat with daily departures.

Sydney Travel Guide - Hotels, Tours, Dining - Plan Your Trip to Australia
On the water with Sensational Sydney Cruises

Sydney Seaplanes: Why not complete the trifecta and see Sydney from the air? It’s hard to imagine how this city can get more beautiful, but one aerial look and you’ll have an entirely different perspective. We had a 15-minute scenic flight from Rose Bay to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, where we had lunch at the iconic Cottage Point. The food and scenery don’t get much better than this!

AEA Luxury Tours: After lunch, AEA picked us up for our private tour of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and northern beaches. The former is home to some ancient Aboriginal rock carvings and stunning viewpoints. The latter will give you a taste of Aussie beach culture and why Sydney is one of the most desirable cities to live in.

Taronga Zoo: Last but not least, we had a great behind-the-scenes look at the zoo’s new education center (and met a few furry friends). We also got a sneak peek of the new Wildlife Retreat, Taronga’s boutique luxury hotel, which is set to open next year. This will be THE place to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve!

Best Restaurants in Sydney

I don’t think I ever ate so much in 4 days! Besides the amazing food tour, we ate our way around local hot spots like Carriageworks Farmer’s Market and the Hatted Bistro Rex. Here are some of my other culinary highlights:

Bea Restaurant at Barangaroo House: Located in Sydney’s latest and greatest district in the architecturally stunning Barangaroo House, this is one of the newest restaurants from celebrity chef Matt Moran.

Quay Restaurant: This icon of Sydney, featuring incredible views of the Opera House, has recently reopened with a sleek redesign. The menu features 6- or 10-course meals paired with wines, cocktails, or even mocktails! Imaginative and delicious, it won’t disappoint. Despite being around since the early 2000s, it’s still a hard table to get, so book early (I can help you with that)!

Monopole in Potts Point: This European-style wine bar features a la carte and tasting menus. I would highly recommend the wine pairing, should you choose the latter. These guys know their stuff inside and out and can tell you everything about the wine you are about to consume!

Sydney Travel Guide - Hotels, Tours, Dining - Plan Your Trip to Australia
Sampling wines on our Splendour Tailored Tours foodie tour

Interested in traveling to Sydney? Let me know, and I’m happy to help! You can reach me at or (888) 229-0082. You can also use our online trip planner to browse Australia vacation packages.