Picture an easygoing seaside town: There are surfers riding the waves and beach bums lazing on the sands. Add to this landscape a horizon jagged with skyscrapers and iconic landmarks like an out-of-this-world opera house and a famously stunning bridge. Then, you must paint in the cosmopolitans—they’re sun-kissed and fashion-forward, making their way to photo shoots, architecture firms and cafés. And of course you must hear their conversation: Even their English is laidback, unlike the posh clip of the Brits or the sometimes-brash American intonation. This is Sydney.
The most populous city in Oz, Sydney is a natural choice for a first-time Aussie visit. With its lovely beaches, world-class restaurants, and cache of interesting things to do, Sydney’s personality is a mix of carefree Australia and sophisticated metropolis. So, whether you want a laid-back vacation surfing the giant waves of the Tasman Sea or a high-octane trip of dining, shopping, and partying, Sydney’s got you covered.
How To Save Money in Sydney
- Plan out an itineraryRather than zigzagging across the city (and wasting money on transportation), visit all the attractions in one area before venturing to the next neighborhood.
- Pack picnicsSince Sydney boasts beautiful weather year-round, you can buy picnic supplies at a supermarket and enjoy a casual outdoor lunch.
- Stick to local brewsBar-hopping in Sydney can be quite expensive, so conserve your bucks by ordering Australian beers like Victoria Bitter or Tooheys. By the way, the drinking age is 18.
Sydney Culture & Customs
Sydney is a thriving metropolis teeming with culture. The city sees a high level of immigration, welcoming people from all over the world, including many Asian and European countries. Because of the diversity of its population, Sydney acts as a melting pot for the arts, religion, music, and cuisine.
Despite its size, Sydney has earned a reputation as being a very laid-back and friendly city. English is the primary language here, so you won’t have to worry about a language barrier. However, there are a few differences to note. For example, Aussies drive on the right-hand side of the road (bear that in mind when crossing the street), and you don’t have to worry about tipping cab drivers and waiters.
“Sydneysiders” are a very proud group of people: To them, this is the best city on earth. You won’t have to work too hard to blend in—dress is casual, and you’ll find plenty of locals mingling alongside you at Bondi Beach and Darling Harbour. But just because you’ll feel comfortable here doesn’t mean you should let your guard down; this is a big city, and petty crime (such as pickpocketing) does occur in popular tourist areas.
The official currency here is the Australian dollar (AUD), which is roughly equivalent to the U.S. dollar (USD).