Sydney: Great beaches for surfing, sophisticated shops and a vibrant nightlife.

It’s summer now in Australia, as cricket fans who followed the final Ashes test match will know. So what better time to leave the winter chill behind, take a plane and head for the antipodes’ most sophisticated city. It’s just over 22 hours flying time away.

It's not difficult to see why Sydney has a reputation for being smart. There’s so much on offer: great nearby beaches for surfing, excellent cuisine, a vibrant nightlife and a number of up-market boutiques. And the jewel in the crown is its harbor view, dominated by one of the 20th century’s greatest architectural feats: the must-visit Sydney Opera House ( www.sydneyoperahouse.com). Despite its name, the building offers all kinds of performances, from comedy to jazz.

Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened in 1932, is located on the other side of Circular Quay, Sydney's main ferry terminus, and can be explored on foot, by bicycle or by joining one of BridgeClimb's (www.bridgeclimb.com) well-organised expeditions, reports the Daily Telegraph. Take a ferry ride to Manly from Circular Quay for a great view of the harbour.

Qantas, British Airways, Emirates, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Etihad all operate flights from London Heathrow to Sydney's Kingsford Smith airport. Return economy tickets start at £849.

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