Those in the know book a window seat as they fly in to Sydney, where from the first glimpse, the city promises that all that glitters is truly gold and all who sun themselves on the sparkling shores are truly bronze.

Sydney might have an age-old rivalry with Melbourne as they vie for world’s most livable city – but while some see its glinting surfaces as being as hollow as Hollywood, Sydney can hold its own against gritty Melb-hattan. Why? Because you can’t go past the fact that this coastal city is spectacular from every angle, whether one is spying the dazzling harbour or ogling buff beach bodies at the outdoor lap pool hewn out of the sea at Icebergs.

The subtropical paradise is all about that bay – which cleaves the city in two, with glitz, glam and beach-bum life on offer in between. Laid-back days are best spent at the beach – the renowned Bondi Beach is where pasty British backpackers rub shoulders with surf-savvy locals. After sloughing off the sand, surfers can stroll up to a café (like Porch and Parlor or Lox Stock and Barrel) for the poached avocado and eggs Aussies have perfected for breakfast. If all the Baywatch bodies around induce guilt, there’s always a vigorous, windswept walk along the rugged cliff-faces to Bronte Beach.

Nights are balmy and booming with shows at the iconic Sydney Opera House, fireworks over the harbour or eclectic music at one of the city’s many pubs and venues (like The Metro Theatre). Not to be topped by Melbourne’s foodie scene, Sydney-siders are just as fervent about their exquisite fare – from Longrain in Surry Hills to Pilu at Freshwater.

Australia’s colonial past started in Botany Bay, and riveting stories of Indigenous culture and convict history can be discovered when wandering from the ferry hub at Circular Quay to the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks.

For a different perspective, thrill seekers scale the Sydney Harbour Bridge – where anyone over 8-years-old can undertake a guided climb for breathtaking 360 views. Life is better at the top and it’s easy to admit that Sydney is right up there.

getting around

Sydney's urban sprawl can be difficult to navigate. Bus, train and ferry travel will require you to buy an Opal card (a card that you can top up). The main hub for public transport is Circular Quay, from which you can jump on a ferry, bus or train. Taxis are yellow, silver or white and you can book them in advance or hail them on the street. Uber, the rideshare app, is also a popular and convenient way to get around town.

#luxicobucketlist top 5

  • 1. Surf with the pros at Bondi Beach
  • 2. Take the ferry to Watson's Bay and enjoy fish and chips at Doyles
  • 3. Enjoy an incredible performance at the Sydney Opera House
  • 4. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • 5. Take a selfie with a koala at the Tooronga Zoo and take in the best view of Sydney

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