Sydney is rapidly growing as a tourist destination. According to data from Destination NSW, the number of domestic overnight trips to New South Wales increased by 4.7 percent last year and there’s been an increase of 14.2 percent compared to four years ago.
Moreover, Australia is fast becoming a holiday destination from tourists all over the Asia Pacific region (thanks for increased flights within the area and also the growing number of low-cost carriers in the region).
It goes without saying that Sydney’s popularity with both interstate and overseas visitors is rising.
As a supply to the increasing demand, there are hundreds of guides available online. “Top 10 Things to do in Sydney”, “Top 5 Must-Do’s in Sydney”… These are just among the many online articles providing suggestions to Sydney visitors.
There’s just one problem with these kinds of articles though. They were not written for you.
Majority of those articles are written based on the writer’s personal taste. Most of them are also just a hodge-podge list of all tourist attractions in and around Sydney.
So unless this writer knows you, or has taken into consideration YOUR OWN personal taste in travel, only then can a “Top 10” kind of article be effective and helpful to you.
When I saw Parkroyal Darling Harbour’s Ultimate Sydney Day Out guide, I was absolutely impressed.
It’s a program that has carefully considered that readers will have different tastes and varying opinions on what a perfect day in Sydney is.
So before it feeds you a barrage of suggestions, the site asks key questions about your personal taste in travel and spending a perfect day, so that the program knows what to suggest to you.
Which Beach in Sydney?
For instance, I chose “Hidden Gem” in the beach preference above. And it gave me this suggestion:
Parsley Bay in Vaucluse. This really is indeed a hidden gem. After 5 years in Sydney, I still haven’t been to Parsley Bay (and to think I lived in Woollahra district for over a year!)
I decided to play around abit with the program and selected “Best Waves” as my choice of beach this time.
This time, it suggested Maroubra Beach, popular for surfing.
The guide also asks what your preference is on food, and whether the kinds of bars you like are quiet ones or with lively music.
One of the questions asked what my idea of entertainment was – is it historical, artsy,musical or band?
And rightly so, it suggested a show at the Capitol Theatre in Haymarket for me. And this is really my kind of night as I always eat out along Campbell Street (where Capitol Theatre is). Here’s a hot tip from me: if you love Thai food, Campbell Street in Haymarket is the mecca of Thai restaurants in Sydney.
And it’s always a good combination to have dinner in one of the restaurants nearby Capitol Theatre before or after a show.
The guide also asked what my style of drinking is (up and coming, quiet and intimate or loud and lively). I don’t drink at all so I chose quiet and intimate. And for food, I chose Vegan & Vegetarian (other choices are Authentic Asian, Best of Local and Comfort Food).
Actually my personal choice is a cross between Authentic Asian and Vegetarian. (Though I still eat seafood).
And the suggested suburb is…Newtown!
This guide absolutely read my mind because I just love the array of international restaurants that line Newtown. I’ve had wonderful Turkish and African dinners here whilst in Sydney.
I was also asked which kind of activity I tended to lean towards. I chose adventure (naturally!) and again got the perfect match:
Now I certainly know this is a perfect match because climbing the Harbour Bridge was one of the most memorable things I’d ever done in Sydney!
Map / Planning
And as a summary, the guide also presents a map of your day trip so you have an idea where the suggested activities / places are in Sydney and this will absolutely help you plan your day.
Whenever people from interstate or overseas ask me for hotel recommendations in Sydney, I always suggest that they look for a place around Darling Harbour.
I consider Darling Harbour as the ideal halfway point between Sydney CBD’s places of interest in the ‘North’ and ‘South’ . It’s right in the middle between The Rocks / Opera House and Chinatown / Pyrmont attractions.
And let’s not forget that Darling Harbour itself is such a pleasant and lovely place that’s filled with cafes and restaurants, tourist attractions like Madame Tussauds’. the Maritime Museum, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney.
While some of the restaurants and cafes may be overpriced and quite touristy, I still think Darling Harbour is a must-visit.
Hot Tip: there are loads of community-centered events in Darling Harbour, especially during Summer. Around the Chinese Lunar New Year for instance, there is a yearly dragon boat festival. I used to participate yearly and it’s always good fun!
Parkroyal Darling Harbour
The Parkroyal Darling Harbour is an ideal accommodation and I always personally suggest this to visiting friends and family.
There are a number of hotels around Darling Harbour but I find Parkroyal to be one of the more reasonably priced in the 4-star category. (Their winter warmer specials start at AUD 205.00 per night with breakfast).
I personally have not stayed at the Parkroyal but have attended 2 events there and briefly inspected the rooms and while I cannot comment (yet) on its service, I do suggest it to family and friends based on location and interiors alone.
Overall thoughts about the guide
I already mentioned that I’m crazy about the personalised aspect of this guide. It’s very thoughtful and based on the suggestions given to me above (and from my actual experience from living in Sydney for 5 years), I can say that it is pretty accurate.
My suggestion when utilising the guide would be to take the ‘guide test’ a few times and answer it differently each time so that you get more suggestions.
I’d also suggest for you to do further research too. The guide is excellent to use as an initial itinerary so you get an idea of what your ultimate day would look like and of course, you are free to tweak it further.
And did I mention that the guide has really cute and quirky animation / graphics?
I’m about to head to Sydney for the weekend and have been inspired by this guide. Do try it out yourself!
What’s your idea of a perfect day in Sydney?
This post has been written in partnership with Parkroyal Darling Harbour but all opinion and views are mine alone.
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
What a great idea! It’s so hard to recommend things to people without knowing them. Even when people ask me where to eat it depends on what food they like!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Yes absolutely, I always get stumped when friends/ people ask me what I can recommend to them in Sydney. I’ll just send them this link next time! 😉
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says
This is a great idea. My perfect day in Sydney always includes a visit to Circular Quay, a ferry ride (preferably to a beach) and a drink with a view. This app is genius, it really is a choose your own adventure, isn’t it?!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Agree with you on that Sammie, nothing lights me up like getting a glimpse of the Opera House. I can’t get over how beautiful it looks despite seeing it over a dozen times!
Monique@The Urban Mum says
Brilliant resource! I could have done with this last week in Saigon (although our hotel Concierge was superb..). PS Parsley Bay is so pretty, just make sure you go at high tide AND try and avoid kiddy hours, it gets busy and parking is tricky…x
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thanks Monique! Oh how did you like Saigon? will have to catch up on your travels. Thanks for the tips on Parsley Bay I really will have to pay a visit soon one day 🙂
Suze The Luxury Columnist says
I haven’t been to Australia yet but I love this idea of a personalised guide. I’m a sucker for hidden gems so I’d definitely check Parsley Beach out
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Oh Suze I hope you get to visit soon! Agree, the personalised guide is really helpful. Next best thing to knowing a local who knows your taste 🙂
I like this concept. I lived in Sydney for a year and have never heard of those first two beaches you mention. I bet I’d have discovered some interesting places if I’d had the app at the time 🙂
Anna @ shenANNAgans says
I love Sydney, but I haven’t done the touristy thing in forever. Will have to pencil in a trip soon, especially for those beaches. We always stay/visit Darling Harbour, its brilliant for people watching and so different than what we see here in the Berra.
Kirstie of Venga, Vale, Vamos says
I love this tool, and I just did my Ultimate Sydney Day Out this weekend! Mine included Parsley Bay, Bloodwood, the Australian Museum, the Susannah Place Museum, Shady Pines, and a stay PARKROYAL Darling Harbour. Writing up my recap now. I had such a blast!