An extended international vacation can be an eye-opening experience that will expose you to new cultures, get you out of that rut you’re in, and create amazing memories that will last a lifetime.
But with so many travel choices, it can be difficult to decide on your destination. Here are seven reasons to choose Sydney, Australia, for an unforgettable international adventure:
1. It’s affordable and easy to reach
I took a 14-hour non-stop flight from L.A. to Sydney last October, and it was around $1,500 round trip. Booking was fast and easy, and the electronic online visa and quick-scan e-passport with microchip made immigration simple to go through upon arrival. As international travel to far-flung places goes, Sydney is very convenient and affordable.
2. The Annual Festivals
Sydney seems to be a city of festivals. October was, lucky for me, “Good Food Month,” a citywide food festival that rapidly exposes you to the full scope of the Sydney food scene. Another great festival is the Sydney Festival each January, where hundreds of performances by 1,000 or more artists are put on.
3. The Beautiful Accommodations
I opted to rent an ocean-side cottage for my two weeks in Australia. I prepared in every possible way (even researching the pest control services available in Australia just to be safe), but I found you can get affordable vacation rentals in exquisitely scenic locations with all the amenities. Of course, there are many 5-star hotels that can make your stay in Sydney comfortable as well, but I personally prefer the rental cottage route.
4. The Ease of Getting Around the City
Sydney is very flat and well laid out, which makes the city eminently walkable. So don’t be afraid to explore the blocks around your hotel with a brisk morning walkabout. But also pick up an Opal Card at any newsstand for access to public transport at a discounted rate. And there are always taxis, if you can get used to the fact that customers often ride with taxi drivers in the front seat in Australia.
5. Unforgettable “Down Under” Cuisine
Some say there’s no such thing as “Australian food,” but that’s like saying there’s no such thing as American food just because much of it has prior roots in other lands. Try shrimp on the Barbie, a thick slab of Australian beef, Australian-style lamb chops, an espresso from a local, family-owned coffee shop, or the now eminently popular “Australian Thai food” and you’ll soon appreciate that Australians how their own unique culinary style.
6. The Sydney Opera House
You’ll probably catch a glimpse of its distinctive architecture on a peninsula jutting out into central Sydney Harbor on the flight in, and The Sydney Opera House is one of the prime tourist draws of the city. You can take an hour or a backstage two-hour tour to learn all about the 17-year process of building this living sculpture of modern art.
7. Sydney’s Natural Connections
For a big city, Sydney lets you get in touch with nature in significant ways. The powdery sands and turquoise waters of Bondi Beach, the 3.7-mile cliff-top hiking trail from Bondi to Coogee, seeing the sun set over the harbor off of Sydney Harbor Bridge, and a tour of the Royal Botanic Garden and/or the Taronga Zoo only account for a portion of the many scenic and natural wonders in and around Sydney.