A trip to Sydney is fulfilling far beyond its dazzling good looks. There's every kind of adventure to be had here, whether you're looking to delight your palate, get back to nature, quicken your pulse, fill the suitcase or expand the mind. Here are some picks that exemplify the harbour city at its finest.
Best foot forward
There are so many breathtaking hikes in and around Sydney and one of the most beautiful is the unforgettable Bondi to Manly walk. You can tackle this 80km public trail, linking the famous surf beaches of Bondi and Manly, over the course of a few days, with accommodation stops along the way. Iconic sights such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge will be your reward, plus many more historic, cultural and natural wonders, and great cafés and restaurants to fuel up at.
For something shorter, but no less sweet, The Hermitage Foreshore Track is a scenic coastal walk taking in gorgeous harbour views in just under an hour.
A meander around the 30ha Royal Botanic Garden, on the eastern fringe of the Sydney central business district, will introduce nature lovers to the incredible array of flora of NSW, with new exhibitions and experiences popping up all the time.
If you want to give the legs a rest, take a guided Royal Kayak Eco Tour from Bundeena Kayaks and make your arms do the work for a bit as you explore the Port Hacking waterways, along the stunning beaches and sand-spit of Bundeena, and into the Royal National Park.
If observing Sydney's famed sights from a distance isn't enough, then how about climbing one? BridgeClimb's Ultimate experience will see adventure lovers conquering the entire breadth of the legendary Sydney Harbour Bridge, aka the "Coathanger", and back again.
Or get out on the water with Sydney Harbour Boat Tours to get up close to iconic landmarks, with pit stops at some of the most beautiful and lesser known bays and national parks. Wait till the evening and you can soak up the million-dollar views while tucking into exquisite cuisine, serenaded by live music, on one of Captain Cook Cruises' premium dinner options.
If two wheels is more your speed, Joe's Mountain Bike Tours are an action-packed way to acquaint yourself with Sydney's great outdoors.
If you can't get enough of the watery outlook, then you'll want to choose your accommodation accordingly. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel fits the bill beautifully – a quaint seaside enclave where you can wander the Watsons Bay headland and breathe in the fresh sea air, yet be among the city lights in just a 15-minute ferry ride.
QT Bondi and Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific offer unparalleled access to two of Australia's most famed beaches. Or stay in the thick of it at historic Pier One Sydney where the harbour, with all its art and theatre glories, is right on the doorstep.
Sydney's vibrant food scene is worthy of a dedicated trip unto itself. If its seafood you're hankering for, there's no better experience than at Saint Peter, located in super-desirable Paddington. Only the best of the ocean's bounty is sourced and handled whole at a dedicated fish butchery, resulting in dishes that sing of the sea, with sustainability in mind.
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours are also done to perfection in Sydney; two such foodie hotspots that have the crowds raving are the cosy sophistication of Ezra in Potts Point, and the fun and trendy Henrietta in Surry Hills.
For a totally exclusive treat, reserve your spot at the widely celebrated Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Nobu, opened recently in Crown Sydney Barangaroo.
A world-class city, of course, has world-class cultural attractions. Right now, you can catch the record-breaking musical Hamilton, which tells the story of America's unlikely founding father Alexander Hamilton, showing at Sydney Lyric Theatre.
Come August (6-28) and the city shines even brighter with the lauded Vivid Sydney festival, a dazzling programme of light, music and ideas focused on creativity, innovation and technology.
In the spring (October 21 to November 7), Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi transforms a 2km stretch of coastal walkway with 100 sculptures by Australian and global artists – the world's largest free sculpture exhibition.
With such a unique blend of laid-back vibes and cosmopolitan sophistication, no matter what time of year you visit Sydney, one thing's for sure – you can expect an unforgettable stay.