Sydney's public transport network is reasonably good, though the system relies heavily on buses so traffic jams can be a problem. Hiring a car is an easy option but can be a hair-raising experience due to the fast and furious attitude of the locals. Under Australia law you must carry your drivers licence and passport when in charge of a vehicle. Driving is on the left. Please be aware that speed cameras are numerous and there are heavy penalties.
Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport (www.sydneyairport.com.au), 10 kilometres south of the city, is Australia's busiest. International and domestic terminals are a four-kilometre bus or train ride apart.
Central Station is Sydney's main rail terminus, with a network of inner-city, intercity and country destinations (www.cityrail.info).
The international code for Australia is 61; the state code for New South Wales is 02.
Richard Flanagan's The Unknown Terrorist, set in post-9/11 Sydney, tells the terrifying tale of a pole dancer's fall in seedy, strobe-lit Kings Cross. If you're a fan of the Sydney Opera House, curl up with A Tribute to Jørn Utzon by photographer Katarina Stube and the architect's son Jan Utzon.
Do go / Don't Go
Sydney thrives in summer, so any time from December through to March is especially lovely. With a dangerously thin ozone layer, though, the sun is Sydney's biggest natural hazard - be sure to cover up.
These are plentiful in Sydney and easily hailed in the street, but if you need to call one try Silver Service Cabs (13 31 00) or Premier Cabs (13 10 17). Drivers don't expect tips but often need directions - so it's best to have some idea of where you are going beforehand.
Tips aren't expected, but 10 per cent will do nicely.
Australian dollar (AU$).
Swimmers, flip-flops and anything flashy - Sydneysiders aren't shy of strutting their stuff.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au) commands a grand classical building in the Domain housing a permanent collection of Australian, European and Asian pieces. There are also hot shows at the Museum of ContemporaryArt (www.mca.com.au), on the waterside at West Circular Quay (the café is perfect for people watching).
In Surry Hills, the Brett Whiteley Studio (www.brettwhiteley.org) is a showcase for the late artist's work. To find out more about arts and culture events, consult Friday's Sydney Morning Herald.
Venture to Paddington where you'll find the best of the fashion boutiques, arthouse cinemas, hip eateries and cool bars. Glenmore Road hosts the biggest designer boutiques such as Ksubi, Alannah Hill, Kirrily Johnston and Scanlan & Theodore. Queen Street in Woollahra is like an old-fashioned English high street lined with delis and antique shops. Crown Street in Surry Hills is great for vintage finds, while Campbell Parade and Hall Street in Bondi are fun for second-hand, surf and bikini stores. The upscale 19th-century Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in the CBD showcases Australian fashion alongside international designers. Interiors fans should check out Dinosaur Designs on Oxford Street for rainbow-bright tableware and jewellery, and the new Donna Hay General Store in Woollahra for pretty food, books and homewares.
Take a walk through Sydney's Botanical Gardens overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge or get up close and personal at the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Pylon Look-out (www.pylonlookout.com.au). The 'Coathanger' was built in 1924 and was at the time the world's largest single-span bridge.
The Bondi to Bronte walk is an easy stroll around the headlands and a beautiful way to see Sydney's Eastern Beaches (if you're feeling energetic, keep going down to Coogee, four kilometres from Bondi). In November the trail comes alive with Sculpture by the Sea (www.sculpturebythesea.com), a free outdoor exhibition.
January The splashy Sydney Festival (www.sydneyfestival.org.au) brings three weeks of events to town. February Tropfest (www.tropfest.com), the world's largest short fi lm festival, screens in the Domain. The Sydney Gay & LesbianMardi Gras hits town with a parade, parties and club action galore (www.mardigras.org.au). April ANZAC Day seestwo-up gambling pop up in all the pubs. May Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (www.rafw.com.au) is a must in a cityobsessed with looking good. June Vivid Sydney, a music and light festival, illuminates iconic sites including the OperaHouse. December Boxing Day sees the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (www.rolexsydneyhobart.com).