Inner Circle

Spectacular Sydney

Follow Dilvin Yasa’s perfect itinerary to see the best of the emerald city in exactly three days.

Spectacular Sydney
If you can look past the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, you will see the city’s beaches, harbour islands and pretty gardens in the foreshore.

Upon entering Horizon Club, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney’s private lounge located on the 30th floor, it is not hard to see what is drawing the crowds – businessmen and women, young couples and families – to each floor-to-ceiling pane of glass to furiously snap away. 

It’s not often you get to see a city’s “greatest hits” compilation from one spot, but that’s precisely what this centrally located property unveils. All the landmarks are there of course, but if you can look past the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, you will see the city’s beaches, harbour islands and pretty gardens in the foreshore, and the famous Blue Mountains in the distance. While you might have technically “seen Sydney” to feel the pulse that vibrates around her neighbourhoods, you’ll need to hit the streets – and pronto!


A quick Sydney history lesson is essential and there are worse ways to get educated than by taking a morning walk through the cobbled laneways, cosy cafes and historic pubs of The Rocks, the city’s oldest suburb and all-important location of Australia’s first settlement. Take a guided tour or go DIY (check out the app at, but be sure to fit in a leisurely stroll through The Rocks Markets which is held on weekends, or Friday’s The Rocks Foodie Market. 

Many opt to see the Harbour Bridge by suiting up for Bridge Climb, or by jogging, walking or staggering across its pedestrian path (no judgement if you get a cab back), but you can still enjoy the killer views by catching a ferry from Circular Quay over to Taronga Zoo, where the super-keen can elect to be a zookeeper for a day.

Get the ferry over the Milsons Point and stop in for a lunch at Ripples, a scenic venue that will not only give million-dollar views, but a chance to cool off poolside if the mercury is climbing. A quick sunset trip to Luna Park as the lights go on is always a treat, but still no match for Shangri-La’s Altitude, a fine-dining institute located on the 36th floor of the hotel. Would it be rude to overlook a post-meal cocktail at the hotel’s adjacent bar, Blu Bar on 36? Yes. Yes it would. We say try the Negroni.


Sydneysiders love to do brunch – particularly any dish involving smashed avocado and quinoa – and there’s no place better to enjoy the experience like a local than by getting a taxi over to the inner eastern-Sydney suburb of Potts Point, and insisting on an outside table at a café such as Room Ten (10 Llankelly Place), home to the city’s best toasted sandwiches and salads.

Take some time to browse the suburb’s boutiques and galleries (those with young children will also enjoy the playgrounds and game tables at its organic farmer’s market, held on Saturdays), then head on over to Nielson Park, a sheltered harbour beach in the well-to-do Vaucluse for a swim and classic people-watching session - you won’t be disappointed. 

This area also serves as the starting point for one of Sydney’s most scenic walks, the Hermitage Foreshore Track, which meanders through several almost-deserted harbour-side beaches and past the grounds of historic homes such as Strickland House, where the movie Australia was filmed. After the walk, lunch in the area then take a local Aboriginal tour which includes a traditional ochre ceremony and samples of bush tucker. Finish the day with a quick swim at the local ocean baths, followed by dinner at Potts Point. 


If you are a Horizon Club guest, breakfast (with an incredible view) at Horizon Club Lounge is included, however it is still worth starting your day downstairs at Cafe Mix, an institution that is considered to serve one of the city’s best breakfast buffets. Post-breakfast, enjoy a heavenly massage at CHI, The Spa, and then catch a ferry from Circular Quay over to Cockatoo Island, a small harbour island which has a history as a prison and boat-building hub.

If you can time it, celebrate the city’s multicultural mix by indulging in 25 courses of everything at Chinatown, followed by a brisk walking session at Chinese Garden of Friendship. Nearby at Darling Quarter, kids can enjoy one of the biggest playgrounds in Sydney, while everyone else can indulge in the precinct’s countless bars, cafes and eateries. As the sun sets, snuggle in and watch a family movie on the large outdoor screen with a drink in hand – there’s nothing more Sydney than that.


 Book a three-night stay at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney from just 5,000 GC Award Points per night Back to Inspiration 

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