When it comes to flying to Sydney Australia on business, there is only one way to go and that’s direct as possible and in business class or first class only. There are a number of options to get down to Australia…via London with British Airways or Qantas or the more direct route out of Dublin with Etihad or Emirates via Abu Dhabi or Dubai. (Be sure to check out my other business & pleasure trips to China and USA.) I decided to fly on this occasion to Sydney with the impressive Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi. As my business trip was only for 7 days which included the days flying, I chose to fly the quickest route possible and in business class with Etihad. My trip started with use of the Etihad lounge in Dublin Airport in T2 and unlike other lounges, Etihad will cook you a fresh breakfast of your choice getting you ready for your trip to Abu Dhabi and beyond. Once on board the aircraft you get to experience the award winning service from Etihad’s Cabin Crew which is one of the reasons why they have won Skytrax Airlines of the year for the past 7 years. Joo, my cabin attendant, could not have been more attentive during my 8 hour flight to Abu Dhabi, while I enjoyed the latest movies on their E Box entertainment system.
Etihad Airways Business ClassOn arrival in Abu Dhabi I had a two hour stopover, so I gladly made use of the Etihad Premium lounge which I can honestly say is superb. The choice and range of hot and cold food as well as drinks will never leave you hungry or thirsty. Within the lounge is the six sense spa where you can avail of massages and treatments.
Tip – Grab a complementary nice hot shower in the spa in the lounge and freshen up for the next flight. Makes you feel relaxed if you want a good nights sleep on your next flight. You can also avail of a 15 min free Massage too, just book it as soon as you arrive in the lounge.
My next flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney was on the impressive Airbus A380 (double decker) with the top floor first class and business class seats only. Unfortunately the cabin service wasn’t as good as the initial outbound flight from Dublin with a shortage of cabin crew. I did however jump into my Etihad sleepers and managed to get 10 hours sleep on my 15 hour flight and arrived in Sydney feeling fresh with no jet lag, despite arriving the next night due to the 11hr time difference.
I have stayed in various hotels in Sydney before including the Sofitel and The Westin, however on this occasion decided to Stay in the 5 Star Radisson Blu, ironically on 27 O’Connell street. I have to say I was suitable impressed with the hotel and the standards of their room and service. The hotel is located in the heart of the CBD (central business district) in Sydney and also 5 minutes walking to the shops and the vibrant and fast moving Circular Quay Harbour with the cruise liners and ferries, not to mention the Sydney Opera House. The hotel has a gym and indoor swimming pool and the staff are super friendly. The rooms have been modernised and are very spacious and contemporary.
Tip – I would suggest you consider going with a room only option, despite the breakfast in the hotel being superb. There are so many fab cafes to try for breakfast in Sydney such as “Bills”, The white rabbit across and you can still purchase breakfast in the hotel if you wish.
When you travel on business to Australia you will be stuck in several meetings each day as it’s such a distance to travel, so it’s nice to head back to your hotel to relax before heading out. I suggest the first thing to do should be to visit the “Rocks” down at Sydney Opera house and check out the Opera bar where all the crowds gather after work to chill in the sun, have some cocktails & beers to watch the world go by on boats and ferries. The views are amazing looking over Sydney Harbour and Sydney Harbour Bridge not to mention the famous iconic Opera House.
Tip – try the jug of lychee and apple mojito and a the rocket pizza with Parma ham
Double Tip – don’t leave your food alone for long, the crazy Sydney seagulls will have it gone in seconds
Ok so there loads of bars to visit but there is one bar that everyone talks about and that is The Baxter Inn (Whiskey Bar). This underground bar is so cool that even you don’t drink whiskey you will still have a great time. You can get every type of drink there which are all displayed over the bar and not just whiskey, however if you love whiskey you will be in heaven. Every type of whiskey from Jameson to a whisky called Dalmore Constellation for $740 for a shot (Delia Aston no problem to you) … Yes that’s right $740 for a shot.
While you are in that area check out the Barbershop bar which is right next to The Baxter Bar and specialises in cocktails. We tried the x cocktails which were fab. Another bar which I would highly recommend is the rooftop bar on 36th floor at the Shangrila Hotel which overlooks Sydney harbour and bay.
Tip – Ideally get there 30 mins before sunset and grab a seat at the windows. Check out the cherry cherry bang bang cocktail and the solero cocktail. Smart casual wear.
Other cool bars to check out is the rooftop bar in the Hilton hotel, Hollywood hotel in Surrey hills, the O bar hotel and the Geremore hotel which overlooks the harbour and also has an outdoor area. If you want some fun on a Thursday night check out the drag show in the Stonewall Hotel on Oxford street. The famous cricketeer Freddie Flintoff recently hit the stage in drag for his new TV show at the Stonewall bar but there is definitely no fear of him going professional after his wicked performance.😏
If food is your heaven then there are some really cool restaurants to hit in Sydney. If you like Asian and want to try something different then go to Billy Kwong restaurant in Potts point. The food is organic and some of the ingredients are grown by students in the local schools. Highly recommend beef brisket to start or the deep fried prawn wanton. For mains try the chilli and basil snapper and roast chicken in black bean sauce (plenty for 2). Wines are unusual and are selected by wine growers to suits the meal choice. Book a table in advance!
If you like fine dining check out the Rockpool restaurant, also check out Aria in Circular Quay, The Ivy (including its rooftop pool bar), Mr Wongs and Bistro Moncur.
If a nice breakfast is your thing, then “Bills” by Aussie chef Bill Grainger is a must visit. There are 3 different ones but we visited the Surrey Hills Cafe. The staff are very professional and friendly. The food is amazing so prepared to be stuffed. Bills signature dish is their scrambled eggs which is included in many breakfast dishes. I went for then Aussie breakfast and was not disappointed, the food was so fresh , non greasy and the taste was fab.
Tip: Book in advance. If booked out just show up and tell them you have a booking for that time. Most can normally accommodate you, be brave, don’t flinch!
If you like having fun on your time off then I would highly recommend you have a have go in the Oz Jet boat based on circular quay. This high speed boat ride is great craic with 360 spins, slam ons and swirving around Sydney harbour and bay. It’s good fun because you also get to visit various parts of the bay and get an excellent view of the Sydney Harbour bridge. The drivers are as crazy as the ride, but you will have a blast. Definitely take a poncho as you will get soaked and leave your phone in the locker before you go out.
If the weather is good and you have a day off why not head over to manly beach on the fast ferry from wharf 6 it only takes 15 mins. The high speed ferry passes a number of different areas is really enjoyable and only AUD$16 return. The beach in Manly which is a two minute walk away from the ferry terminal is a long golden sandy beach filled will sunbathers and surfers. Alongside the beach on the promenade is a restaurant called The Pantry with views overlooking the beach, try the breakfast or lunch option. The fresh fruit platter is delicious on a hot sunny day. On your way back to the ferry terminal check out the local markets opposite the beach for some cool and different gifts to take home.
Tip – Other attractions to check out are Tarazongo zoo, All Islands Cruises, the Sea life aquarium and the Sydney Harbour bridge walk for the healthy people.
Sydney is a great place to do business but also a great place to dine, drink and have fun too. Next time you are travelling Downunder don’t forget to mix pleasure with business.