Traveling the globe for work has to be among the top jobs in the world for sure. It has many perks which are quite obvious; you get a chance to be immersed into different cultures, you get to try all types of amazing cuisine and best of all you get to visit iconic cities like Sydney, Australia.
As we travel the globe the question we consistently get asked is “If you could live anywhere in the world besides Southern California where would that be?” The answer is Australia. After staying in Sydney for a few days a number of things jumped out at us providing a great first impression upon arrival. The incredibly nice people, a diverse population and melting pot of culture, paired with a wide range of adventure and activities, plus eclectic wildlife and nature begs the question, “What more could you ask for?”
Situated right in the heart of downtown the InterContinental Sydney is at the forefront of luxury hotel stays within the city. Within walking distance to the scenic waterfront, the hotel offers a prime location for the ultimate Sydney getaway. Sweeping views of the harbor provide guests a bird’s eye view of the world-famous Sydney Opera House, Sydney Bridge, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Deemed by many as Sydney’s most iconic hotel, the InterContinental brings together a perfect blend of heritage and modern luxury. Situated within the restored Treasury Building of 1851 the hotel elegantly holds onto its deep-rooted history. With over 500 rooms and premium suites, guests have a wide range of accommodation options to choose from including the properties suite collection which includes the Governor, the State Suite, and the Australia Suite.
Make sure book your room with Club InterContinental Lounge access to ensure your stay is at the highest level of luxury possible. This award-winning club lounge access unveils new meaning to the word VIP with personalized chauffeur transfers, express check-in and access to the stunning Club Lounge on the 31st floor. As Sydney’s only hotel rooftop terrace and balcony wrapping 270 degrees guests have an exclusive view of the most stunning skyline in the city. Grab a glass of bubbly and hit the outer deck to take in awe-inspiring views of the Sydney Harbor with the iconic Opera House merely a stone’s throw away. Enjoy light refreshments throughout the day, a deluxe breakfast buffet with a la carte selections in the morning and end with daily cocktail and canapés.
There are a plethora of dining options available at the InterContinental, from The Meat &Wine Company for those looking for a delicious Australian cut of beef to Supper Club, 32 floors up for guests seeking iconic views and an incredible champagne selection there truly is something for everyone. If you are in the mood for a gastronomic journey make sure to see your concierge about making reservations at their award-winning establishment 117. Treat yourself to a night of culinary perfection as the chefs take your taste buds on a journey of Asian Fusion with an Australian twist.
This ever-evolving area is known for its stylish cultural and dining scene, trendy bars and coffee joints. For a spot that has been accepted by locals’ alike look no further than Bills. Some say it will test your fitness level to walk the streets to get there but we think the trek is worth every calorie burned. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at Bills and whichever meal you choose you will understand what the hype is all about. Restaurateur (and Food Writer) Bill Granger has compiled a diverse and eclectic menu that features the perfect combination of health-conscious food items with tasty international flare. We would have to say the word “interesting” came up more than a few times during our meal from perusing the menu and discussing items like the Korean Fried Chicken to the Spiced Ricotta, Halloumi, Pumpkin Pie. If you are looking for a unique experience the next time you are visiting the city take the brisk walk to Bills for a meal that will keep you talking long after you are gone.
Arguably one of the most popular excursions in the city (if not the entire country) is the iconic BridgeClimb Sydney. This thrilling local experience became a reality in 1998 after nine years. Created by a group of climbers as a part of the Young Presidents Organization World Congress, visitors can now conquer their fear of heights all whilst taking photos of the experience at one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the city! The adventure begins as climbers are taken on a grand tour of the landmark Harbor Bridge through confined walkways and stairs to get the best views of the Sydney Opera House, the Blue Mountains, Taronga Zoo and more. Visitors have the choice of the full 3.5-hour experience, or they can opt for the 2.25-hour Express Climb or a 1.5-hour Sampler Climb. The 440 foot 3.5 hour is suitable for anyone with a moderate fitness level and if you have a fear of heights no need to worry as you are strapped in safely and enclosed to a railing at all times.
The BridgeClimb is also a great place to spot a celebrity while visiting the city so make sure you keep your eyes open! This exciting tour has had an incredible number of A-list followers who have stopped by for their very own photo opp from Robert De Niro, Will Ferrell, Kevin Spacey, Bill Gates and many more. Even our all time favorite band The Script has conquered the action-packed feat.
It is pretty well known that Australia is home to an enormous amount of unique species and Featherdale Wildlife Park is the ideal spot to obtain a bird’s eye view of this first hand. Home to over 1700 Australian native animals from more than 250 different species, Featherdale is much more than just a wildlife park. Their duty of care extends far deeper than most people realize from rescuing animals, helping build education and careers, and rehabilitating community through animal care and outreach programs. Unlike most zoos where the animals are kept solely in cages, Featherdale offers many unique one on one experiences allowing guests to hold and cuddle many of the astounding animals such as koalas, wombats, kangaroos and more in a safe and educational environment. An animal lover’s dream come true guests can spend all day walking the grounds in absolute awe of the diversity the park has to offer. From baby dingos to Tasmanian Devils to the most incredible exotic birds you have ever laid eyes on you will never want to leave this wild animal paradise!
Looking for an afternoon filled with reflection and relaxation? Look no further than the idyllic combination of afternoon tea and spa time at The Langham Sydney. Located in the heart of the Rocks district the property offers an atmosphere that is paralleled by no other. Start off your afternoon of rejuvenation by partaking in their exclusive afternoon tea service inside their opulent Palm Court.
Enjoy champagne, world-class service and decadent bites all in an elegant setting fit for royalty. After tea service head downstairs to the serenity of the Day Spa by Chuan, a lavish underground sanctuary. Spend the rest of your afternoon rejuvenating your body with one of their signature blissful massages, facials, body treatments or even just unwinding in the pool, Jacuzzi or steam room. Whichever route you choose your body, mind, and soul will thank you for the opportunity to restore.
There is no better way to see the incredible city of Sydney than by air. Book a scenic flight with Sydney Seaplanes, the largest seaplane operator in Australia, for obstructed views of iconic attractions, beautiful beaches and more. From 15-minute tours of the Sydney Harbor, Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House to flying over Palm Beach followed by a three-course lunch there is a flight for every occasion. Planning to pop the big question? Opt for the proposal package and let Sydney Seaplanes set up a memorable experience that is unique and unforgettable. After a tour of the Sydney surroundings make sure you leave a little time to kick your feet up at the Empire Lounge. Australia’s first purpose-built seaplane terminal hosts a luxury lounge for small bites and cocktails as well as a flying boat museum for a little piece of aviation history.
Take a Day Trip to Hunter Valley
If you are a wine aficionado there is a high probability that you have tasted some great wines from the South of Australia. With over 500,000 acres of wine country producing 1.46 billion bottles of wine every year, it is no wonder that destinations like Hunter Valley are quickly becoming known at the tourism forefront. Australia has always been known for its Shiraz and Chardonnay but new crops are being introduced here from Cabernet Sauvignon to Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc bringing the overall interest in Australian wines to an all-time high. The Hunter Valley which is located north of Sydney in New South Wales is home to some incredible wineries with history dating back to the early 1800s.
This small boutique winery is the absolutely perfect depiction of Australia in a nutshell. This family-owned winery is doing business the way it always should be done, with passion and a heart of gold. With their undying love for their two favorite things, wine and horses, they have created a wine-tasting experience that absolutely cannot be missed. This husband and wife dynamic duo are leading the way to put Hunter Valley on the map by introducing the areas first equestrian inspired cellar door. Their attention to detail and incredible generosity is what make them stand apart from most other wineries in the area, plus their tasting room is impeccably decorated. Grab a glass of their signature Chardonnay or Semillon and stroll through the inviting grounds. Their two beautiful horses Doni and Doll will come over to pay you a visit and as if that animal encounter wasn’t enough it is more than likely you will see a mob of kangaroos in the background noshing on some of their wonderful wine-producing grapes. Who knew that kangaroos are the main pest at an Australian winery?
Known as one of Australia’s young wine entrepreneurs along with his wife Ebony the duo behind Usher Tinkler is keeping generations of their family farming thriving. Along with his grandfather and father before him, this family has been cultivating land for decades and today the tradition continues as they produce some of the best wines in Hunter Valley. To stand out in the area they knew they had to be different than every other winery before them and a lot of thought needed to go into Usher Tinkler to create a name for themselves. It all started with a prime location and the purchase of the original Pokolbin Church which was originally built in 1905. The acquisition was just what they needed to create their overall character. Showcasing a variety of authentic wines for locals and tourists alike paired with great tunes, including an eclectic music playlist of you guessed it, Usher which is oh so fitting and a cheese and salumi board that is over the top it’s no wonder they are labeled as authentically different. All of the grapes for their wine production are grown on the family estate in Pokolbin as they believe in 100% Hunter Valley production paying tribute to their rich family history within the area.
If rich steeped history in the Australian wine industry is of interest to you then Tyrrell’s Wines is a must stop during your trip to the Hunter Valley. Discover over 160 years of winemaking while touring the property, drinking award-winning wines and taking in an educational experience. The staff at Tyrrell’s Wines is highly knowledgeable about the property’s varietals along with the history of the long line of winemakers that have created some of Australia’s finest wines over the past century. During your tour, you will pass by the original iron bark hut that Edward Tyrrell lived in and the Short Flat Vineyard which is home to Australia’s most awarded white wine Vat 1 Semillon where its vines were first planted in 1923.
After spending the day tasting your way through the Hunter Valley make sure to book a table at Bistro Molines for an authentic wine country meal. Since driving is not a smart choice while wine tasting opt to arrive in style in your very own helicopter. There is no better way to travel; start right at the winery and get whisked away to enjoy the meal of a lifetime by Vintage Helicopter. Skyline Aviation Group charters helicopters for small groups to see Hunter Valley from a different perspective. A quick 15-minute tour in the air and your pilot drops you off right at the entrance to the grounds of the iconic local restaurant.
As you walk up to the entrance one can easily imagine they are in the South of France; the idyllic rolling vineyards of Mount View make for a breathtaking backdrop. With a heavy European influence, the grounds are inviting ensuring the pace of your meal will naturally slow right down and forces guests to enjoy every minute of their experience here. Wrought iron chairs, colorful flowers, vivacious vines as far as the eye can see and a welcoming staff elevate the experience and makes it that much more special. Owners Robert and Sally Molines have been heading the forefront of Hunter Valley dining for over 40 years. Having built a well-respected establishment with an impeccable reputation amongst locals and visitors that return year after year it is easy to see why this is the number one restaurant in the region. Upon perusing the menu you will quickly pay notice that a variety of the dishes are French inspired due naturally to the early roots of Robert’s culinary journey. Being from Provence, France Robert has had an incredible amount of experience with classic French cooking and now his guests are able to enjoy his talents through his Head Chef, Garreth Robbs. Only the freshest ingredients for their daily menu are sourced including locally raised meats and other sustainable foods from the area. One of Robert and Sally’s passions is their herb and vegetable garden located just outside of their kitchen door which is used in their signature dishes to bring guests the freshest dining endeavor in the area.
Spend the Weekend in Bondi
Only a short 15-minute drive from Sydney’s city center takes you to a whole new view of the Harbour City. Arguably one of the most popular city beaches in the world, Bondi Beach offers an eclectic and diverse mix of surfers, backpackers, tourists, hipsters and families providing an idealistic worldly feel around every turn. White powdery sand, big waves and a postcard like setting make Bondi a must visit beach for the masses. Although many settle here each day to take in its utter beauty there is still a sense of overwhelming peace amongst the chaos. With endless shops and restaurants dotted along the beachfront, it is quite easy to spend a few days taking in all that this beach community has to offer.
Located a stone’s throw from the main beachside area is the surf-inspired QT Bondi. Colorful and contemporary the QT gives a new meaning to the term “barefoot luxury”. Walking distance to a wide array of shops, restaurants and an unending list of activities you have everything you need for the utopian beach getaway. Bicycles are available to borrow if you feel like tackling the scenic beachside pathways that take you for miles in each direction. If you decide to stay indoors there is plenty of comfort and relaxation inside this beach themed designer hotel. Designed by renowned Australian designer Nic Graham the property is home to 69 extra spacious studios and hotel apartments.
Mere steps away from the main beach area sits one of the communities main attractions, the Icebergs Club. During the day tourists flock to take photos of the world famous Icebergs pool that allows crashing ocean waves climb over its walls with amazing strength. Swimmers bob like apples in the powerful currents as they gaze out into the beautiful blue ocean directly in front of them. The Icebergs Club is a great place to see and be seen day and night. In the evening be sure to book a reservation at the ever so elegant Dining Room at Icebergs to bask in breathtaking sunset views while dining on modern Italian cuisine with an Aussie flair! Head Chef Monty Koludrovic delivers day in and day out the season’s best flavors that reflect the depth of Italian cuisine comprised of sustainable offerings from local seafood, meats, produce and more. If you are in Bondi this dining experience is one that absolutely can’t be missed! The portions are plentiful, dishes are decadent and drinks remain flowing while servers tend to your every need.
LAX to SYD
When looking for the best way to get to Australia, fly with the experts at Qantas who offer direct flights from LAX to Sydney. The airline has a selection of upgraded seat options from Premium Economy to Business with award-winning Skybeds designed by Australian industrial designer, Marc Newson. You can lean back and settle in to enjoy your own personal in-flight entertainment, sit in a more upright position to take in a meal or have the crew conduct turndown service so you can lay fully flat on your mattress and snuggle up under your duvet to get some rest. Each seat also has unique massage options, laptop power outlets, and USB connectivity. The airline even provides upgraded amenity kits which include ASPAR Sweet Orange & Shea Hand Cream, Vanilla & Orange Lip Moisturizer and an Ultra Hydrating Face Moisturizer, to help customers relax and keep skin hydrated while in flight. International Business menus offer a contemporary selection of Rockpool inspired small and main plates on all international flights to and from Australia, accompanied by an award-winning wine selection. Feel free to consult with one of their Sommeliers in the Sky, wine experts and mixologists from the Rockpool Restaurant Group who can tell you all about their selection of wines and champagne to compliment your meal.
Enjoy a new standard of luxury and convenience at the newly opened Los Angeles Business Lounge at LAX. The guest experience includes a spacious and stylish lounge with interiors and dining inspired by contemporary Southern Californian culture. With welcoming features from a communal fireplace, a central glass atrium providing natural light and Neil Perry-designed menus this new airport addition makes the upgrade to Business Class worth every penny. To book your trip to Australia visit Qantas.com.
To see a glimpse inside our trip to Australia visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xNm_N6yd7M