Sydney is Australia's largest city and a major regional hub. The financial centre of the Australian economy, its surrounding state has a large and diverse manufacturing base while the city itself has a rapidly growing professional services sector in health, design, engineering and science. Tech companies abound, doing all things digital, and the city also ranks highly with start-ups. The research sector also thrives with five universities based in Sydney.
Generally, the nearer you stay to the harbour the more expensive the hotel, but nothing beats a view of the Opera House or the Harbour Bridge. Swissotel and Hilton put you in the heart of the CBD, for views pick The Shangri-La, Park Hyatt and Four Seasons. Darling Harbour is the place to be from December when the new AU$1.1bn Sydney International Convention Centre opens as part of an upgrade to the area. Accor will operate a Sofitel there or, for a quirky alternative, check out Ovolo 1888.
Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities on earth and this ensures it is a foodie's heaven. World-renowned and rising-star chefs compete to make their mark and new openings include Long Chim, a Thai street food eatery, and Eleven Bridge, which has taken over the property that formerly housed Neil Perry's iconic Rockpool fine-dining haunt. Head to Circular Quay for al fresco Sydney rock oysters and seafood platters with views of the Harbour Bridge, or jump on a ferry to Watson's Bay for fish and chips at Doyles.
The options for flying to Sydney are plentiful and include services with Qantas, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways with stopovers in the Middle East, British Airways via Singapore and Asian carriers Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Korean Air, Asiana, Philippine Airlines and Thai Airways via their respective hubs. A newer option is ANA All Nippon Airways' service via Tokyo Haneda.
Sydney Airport is only 13 minutes by train from the city and there are stations at both the international and domestic terminals. Trains run every 10 minutes. There are also regular buses to the city while taxis take about 20 minutes (outside rush hour) for around AU$30.
First stop has to be Circular Quay – Sydney Harbour – for its iconic Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. If the Bridge Climb Experience seems a little strenuous, stroll across the bridge at road level to view the city from the other side. Alongside Circular Quay and the Opera House are the city's lush Botanical Gardens, popular with joggers and for picnics. Or head to the other side of the quay for The Rocks historic area, good for souvenirs and gifts. To experience the famous Aussie beach life take a ferry to Bondi or Manly beach to watch the surfers do their thing.
Return flights from London to Sydney cover upwards of 37,000km and produce over 3.25 tonnes of CO2. Offset these flights with CarbonNeutral from £50.90.