While these suburbs are all within 30 minutes’ drive from the airport, you’ll feel a world away from the hassles of flying and see some of Sydney’s most appealing areas. Whether you’re interested in some last-minute shopping, a final meal before take-off, or simply to stretch your legs before spending 12 hours on a plane, these five destinations have plenty of charm.
The suburb of La Perouse is a beautiful peninsula on the northern headland of Botany Bay, just over 20 minutes’ drive southeast of the airport. Its evocative name comes from the French navigator Jean-François de Galaup, Comte de Lapérouse, who landed in Botany Bay in 1788.
These days La Perouse is a much-loved heritage site with plenty of remnants of its rich past to explore. There is a military outpost to see at Bare Island but if you’re more interested in catching some last minute rays, visit the Botany Bay National Park. Congwong Bay Beach, Little Congwong Beach and the beach at Frenchmans Bay are wonderful places to swim and sunbathe.
For something livelier, Surry Hills, a 20-minute drive northeast of the airport, is a colourful, tree-lined inner city destination with a village atmosphere. It’s also well-known for its nightlife, art, culture and boutique shopping.
The weekend vintage markets are the places to go for some unique retail therapy or to pick up that one-off souvenir. If you’re in the mood for a great meal before your flight, Surry Hills offers a smorgasbord of global cuisines to try at its dozens of restaurants, cafes and heritage pubs, until late, every day.
There’s good reason Bondi is known to visitors around the world and it would be a crime to miss its fabulous beach and fun people-watching opportunities when you’re in Sydney.
About 30 minutes’ drive from the airport, Bondi is popular with backpackers, ‘flashpackers’ and local Sydneysiders in equal measure. Here at the stunning coast is the place to experience the city’s beach culture, all year round. If you have time, you could take a surfing lesson or cool off at its famous ocean pool.
The streets surrounding Bondi Beach are destinations in themselves, thanks to their amazing cafes and bars. Grab an outside table and enjoy watching the beautiful people who call Bondi home.
Away from the glamour of Bondi, a restful time can be had at picturesque Centennial Park, a little over 20 minutes’ drive from Sydney Airport in the centre of the Eastern suburbs. The park, which opened in 1888, is the city’s green lungs.
Spread over its 189 hectares you’ll find everything from formal gardens and historic buildings to running tracks and even horse-riding. Historic Centennial Park is much-loved by Sydneysiders and was the site of the inauguration of the Federation of Australia.
If time is pressing before your flight, the suburb of Glebe in the inner-west is just a 15-minute drive from the airport. With two universities located here, this inner city peninsula is home to an interesting mix of locals made up of students, new-age practitioners and academics.
The area features impressive Victorian terraces and Federation houses. The locals enjoy great bookshops, cheap and cheerful restaurants, cafes and pubs. Glebe’s lively Saturday markets let you soak up the village atmosphere and browse or shop to your heart’s content. Tour the main streets on foot to enjoy the buzz or stroll through the leafy grounds of Sydney University to burn off some energy before your flight.
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