A visit to Sydney comes highly recommended as part of any luxury vacation in Australia; not only is it the country’s oldest and largest city, it is also one of its most striking - built around one of the most instantly recognisable harbours in the world, framed by the iconic Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
With beautiful beaches, fun-packed activities and a buzzing foodie scene, Sydney offers endless opportunities: tour the city in a classic Holden, enjoy a seaplane flight, take a private tour of the art galleries and wine and dine at some of the world’s best restaurants. Better still, Sydney blends slick urban living with the great outdoors: think whale watching or surfing on its famous beaches, walking the coastline from Manly to Spit or climbing the world-famous bridge at twilight for views you’ll never forget.
A stay in Sydney also gives you easy access to the many highlights on its doorstep. Head to the nearby Southern Highlands to see native wildlife such as wombats, koalas, kangaroos and platypuses in their natural habitat, or head to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, with their sandstone cliffs, dramatic waterfalls and hidden canyons.
If you’re a wine buff, don’t miss the renowned vineyards of Hunter Valley, which is the birthplace of Australia’s multi-billion-dollar wine industry, as well as a thriving foodie destination. For something extra-special, take to the air in a hot air balloon, for panoramic views over the valley.
Byron Bay, further north, is a tropical paradise of beaches and rainforests, which is blessed with a year-round warm climate. From the colourful, bohemian vibe of the town to the beautiful beaches, lovely treks and dolphin and whale watching, Byron Bay is one of our favourite spots on the east coast.
Lord Howe Island
Reached by a flight of less than two hours from Sydney (or Brisbane), Lord Howe Island is the place to revitalise and de-stress. Only 400 visitors are allowed at any one time to this haven of unspoilt beauty, where life is relaxed and unhurried. UNESCO World Heritage-listed for its remarkable geology and rare native birds, plants and marine life, the island is surrounded by pretty beaches and the world’s southernmost coral reef: the crystal clear waters teem with colourful fish and rare coral, protected as part of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park. Hiking, cycling, swimming and snorkelling here is a dream.