My two favourite things to do in Sydney My two favourite things to do in Sydney Australia Blog Travel Guides SHARE Ricky , July 11, 2014 / 1 Of all the cities that I have been to around the world, one of my absolute favourites would have to be Sydney. With just under five million residents, Sydney is Australia’s biggest city and is the capital of the state of New South Wales. Having begun life as an English penal colony, the city has now grown to be a truly international city – known for the beauty of its stunning harbour, it’s iconic bridge and opera house, and a cosmopolitan lifestyle that is the envy of people around the world. There is an incredible amount of things to see, to do, and to experience when you visit Sydney, but in this article I wanted to share with you two of the things that I love most about this fantastic city. 1. Spending the day on Bondi Beach When you think about Australian beaches, one of the first things that comes to mind is the iconic Bondi Beach. In many ways it is this beach that defines the Sydney pace of life – a relaxed, summery vibe that is impossible to resist. It is hard to believe that Sydney’s local authorities were happily pumping roar sewage into the ocean at the north end of the beach right up until the mid-1990s. Happily they have addressed this now (they’re dumping it further out to sea apparently) and the water quality and pollution levels at the beach have improved dramatically. For me this is the perfect place to spend the day. Whatever time of day it is there is always plenty going on – people jogging in the morning, beach-side cafes buzzing with people grabbing a coffee or stopping for lunch, or playing spot the tourist as the visiting backpackers quickly burn their skin as they try and tan in the harsh Australian sun. There is a great coastal walk that you can do that takes you from Bondi to Coogee (another great beach), so that is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the spectacular views as you go. If you are into your ice-cream then join the queue at Gelato Messina – it is a big call but I will go out on a limb and say that this is the best ice-cream in Australia, some fantastic and inspired flavour combinations that sound weird but are always delicious. This is what a day at the beach should be. 2. The Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival 2014 was the thirty sixth year of Sydney’s gay and lesbian annual celebrations. This is an event that began as a small protest march in 1978 – at that first march 53 people were arrested, homosexuality was a criminal offence at that time. Since that time the event has grown from a small grassroots protest into a fully fledged festival that celebrates all aspects of the gay and lesbian community in Sydney. Held in February and March of each year, the event is estimated to inject around AUD$100million into the Sydney economy and has become an important focus for the city’s cultural calendar. The festival runs for about four weeks and includes a huge range of cultural events – plays, concerts, and performances. Also featured are some of the best parties that you will ever go to – from the Harbour Party, to the Laneway party, to the more family-friendly Fair Day. For the entire month it feels like the city has been taken over by a festival that knows how to show the people of Sydney and visitors from around the world a really good time. The parade is the undoubted highlight of the festival – with approximately 9,000 people in the parade and 300,000 spectators watching it is a spectacular event, kicked off every year in style by hundreds of “Dykes on Bikes”who roar up and down the parade route getting the crowd excited. At the end of the parade, everyone heads on into the official Mardi Gras Party which generally attracts a crowd of around 20,000 people and big name international stars and crowd favourites perform. Mardi Gras is a fantastic time of year to be in Sydney – even if you don’t make it to the parties you will still feel caught up in the energy that something big is happening in the city. Picking just two favourite things to do while in Sydney is almost impossible, it is a city that can keep you occupied every day of the year – even if all you want to do is sit in the sun and people-watch. Start planning your expedition to Sydney now!