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Sydney: Surf, Sun, Seafood, Exciting Scene

Sydney: Surf, Sun, Seafood, Exciting Scene

Experience that best of Australia from the rugged outdoors to the most sophisticated dining, hotels and nightlife in Oz's largest city.


Sophisticated, laid-back and fun, Sydney also boasts a spectacular harbor location and balmy climate almost all year round. It has the best restaurants, most varied museums, finest array of beaches, greatest energy and hottest nightlife of any city in Australia. Understandably, it?s been named the world?s greatest city by the world?s most respected travel magazines.

The most iconic image of Sydney is the famous Sydney Opera House with its distinctive shell-shaped halls rising gracefully along the harbor. But it?s just one of many unique features of Australia?s largest and most sophisticated and picturesque city.

Sydney is also the gay and lesbian capital of the Southern Hemisphere and one of the world's leading gay destinations, especially during Mardi Gras (February or March), a huge gay party that showcases the city at its very gayest. Oxford Street is "the strip," linedwith gay and gay-friendly businesses as it runs through Darlinghurst and Paddington. If you?ve never been here or haven?t visited in a while, you?ll find a city transforming before your very eyes, with many more cultural attractions, shopping and revamped nightlife than ever before.

Sydney has a complete range of hotels for every taste and budget. Gay tourists will probably want to be within walking distance of Oxford Street. During Mardi Gras, location is even more important: Oxford Street properties are the most convenient for stumbling home after a long day of revelry.

An excellent choice for visitors seeking quality lodging at a good price point very close to gay nightlife, the Cambridge Hotel is contemporary, spacious and chock full of conveniences.

The Kirketon offers hip style at very reasonable prices. It?s been voted one of the world?s coolest hotels by leading travel publications.

Staying for more than just a few nights? Try the all-suite Medina on Crown, fully and attractively furnished and conveniently located near gay nightlife.

Formerly the W Hotel, BLUE Sydney is a boutique hotel in the heart of a luxury marina complex. Perched on a wharf surrounded by stunning water views, it?s within walking distance to gay-popular Darlinghurst. You may spy a glimpse of Australian actor Russell Crowe who lives next door.


Sydney has some of the most varied and reasonably priced food anywhere on earth, with a striking emphasis on fresh, quality seafood, and local produce. Asian and Mediterranean cuisine is particularly influential.

If you were to eat just one meal in Sydney, make it at Tetsuya?s, owned and run by chef Tetsuyas?, celebrated as Australia?s very best. Just be sure to reserve way in advance. This long-time hot spot is known for turning away Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise who didn?t have reservations.

Plan a meal at Glass Brasserie at the newly reopened Hilton Hotel, run by famous and flamboyant Australian chef Luke Mangan. The interior design is truly special and well worth a visit.

There aren?t any gay restaurants per se but you?ll find loads of gay and lesbian popular cafes all along Oxford Street, including the well known brunch spot Bill?s in Darlinghurst.

Kindred restaurant, Bills 2 at the Medina on Crown, is a true must-go for the weekend brunch set.

To really experience Sydney surf and swim culture, eat at the Bistro at Iceberg Swim Club on Bondi Beach. It offers one of the best dining experiences in the city but be sure to go in the afternoon or early evening so you can check out the hunky surfers and the romantic sunset.

There?s so much to do in Sydney that you?re only problem will be deciding among all the exciting options. One definite must do: The Sydney Bridge Climb, is a bit pricey but it takes you up the very top of the arch of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, with splendid views of the Opera House and city. It?s truly one of the most memorable experiences you?ll ever have.

To soak up the beach culture, take the Bondi to Bronte Beach shoreline walk, a stunning 2 mile stroll along cliffs, and past gay-popular beaches, sexy surfers, parks and more.

To get the best views of the harbor, take the public ferry from Circular Quay to Manly, a cosmopolitan beachside community with a superlative beach and good surfing.

Get a feel for the incredibly rich diversity of animal life in Australia at the world-renowned Taranga Zoo. Located across the the harbor, it also happens to have some of the best views of the city.

Gay and lesbian visitors love the two-wheeled adventures offered by Bonza Bike Tours. Friendly, knowledgeable and attractive guides lead you on any number of tours from 30 minutes to three hours. It?s a great way to see experience this bike friendly city.

Lets go surfing offered by Bondi Surf School Australia is another activity gay and lesbian visitors have been flocking to. The instructors will teach you how to read the beach and, if you are ready, get you in a wet suit, on a board and on the waves.

An exciting new option for visitors is gourmet high tea at the Sydney Opera House with its stunning views. The bonus is you?ll enjoy live opera performances included in the price of tea. Another option to explore this incredible landmark and music center is by taking a Back Stage Tour allowing an intimate discovery of behind the scenes at one of the world?s most important performance venues.


Australians have something of a reputation when it comes to drinking, and visitors to Sydney certainly won't find it difficult to locate a pub. Just remember bars and pubs are referred to here as ?hotels.? The hotels in Darlinghurst, Paddington and Surry Hills cater to the gay and arty scenes.

If you saw Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, it should be no surprise to you that drag is popular in gay bars. Another activity popular with the local gay and lesbian community is the "recovery" party, which is thrown the day after major events. Yep, it?s just another excuse to drink and play!

Recently renovated, the Beresford Hotel is hot again. It?s a real scene on Sundays.

Stonewall Hotel is a long-time popular gay hotel on several floors with dancing upstairs. It?s a great venue to meet locals.

ARQ is still the most popular club, though you may wish to save it for a Friday or Saturday night in order to experience the bronzed, buffed and beautiful at their best.

Check local listings for the monthly party called Fag Tag. They?ve done gay parties at spectacular venues like the Sydney Opera House.

Flex your plastic all along Oxford Street in Paddington which offers the city?s best shopping. Pitt Street Mall in the Queen Victoria building is another venue for superlative shopping.

Paddington Markets takes place every Saturday from 10 am and is packed with authentic local art and crafts.

The Rocks Market offers more upscale shopping in a historic district dating from the 1800s.

After all this shopping, jump into some cool gay culture -- literally -- by checking out a gay-popular public swimming pool right on the beach. One really good one for gay guys is the aptly named Boy Charlton Pool.

As you can see, Sydney is one of the most exciting, friendly and culturally rich destinations in the world. For gay and lesbian visitors, you?ll find that no one seems to notice or care about anyone else?s sexuality. Open and free, Sydney invites you to be the same.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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