Every time I think of Sydney, I’ll think of the view from my hotel window.

Sydney has, without doubt, one of the most iconic harbours in the world.

It was with this image in mind – the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the myriad of boats and ships that pass through Circular Quay – that we chose the Shangri-La hotel for our four-night stay in Australia’s most famous and visited city.

But while I used to think of the BBC’s footage of the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks, I’ll now think of the view from my hotel window.

This five-star hotel promised a stunning view and it did not disappoint!

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Every morning when we were getting ready and every evening after we’d returned from that day’s adventure, the panoramic view was a sight to behold.

The Shangri-La, which has recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment, is in a perfect location and within walking distance of all public transport (trains, buses and ferries all depart from the Circular Quay Interchange), shops and a wide variety of restaurants and bars.

Day one was an open-top sight-seeing bus tour – the ideal way to quickly get yourself orientated, get a feel for a place and to decide what you should go back to for a closer look.

There are two routes – the city loop (which starts and finishes at Circular Quay) and the Bondi loop (there are various points).

Both offer stunning views of Sydney and the hop-on, hop-off concept enabled us to spend time at Bondi Beach – one of the most famous in the world.

With Circular Quay being the public transport hub, it was a short walk from our hotel to the ferry terminal to catch the boat over to Manly.

Manly is a cool hangout for surfer types, tourists and teenagers and after a leisurely stroll along the sea front, we picked one of the sea-front restaurants to sample a surf’n’turf of kangaroo steak and crocodile. Interesting to say the least!

The ferries run until around midnight so there’s plenty of time to have a good relaxing night.

Day two was spent exploring the city centre. Sydney is one of those places that quite simply has the X factor.

There’s a unique vibe about Sydney and obviously the opera house and bridge take pride of place.

A tour of the opera house was a highlight of our trip – especially as you can see an array of rehearsals taking place during the day.

For the more daring, you can climb to the top of the harbour bridge – perhaps not advisable if you’re scared of heights!

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Our third day was a fabulous trip to the zoo, which you get to by taking a ferry to Taronga.

Getting close up and personal with koalas being the highlight.

Food wise you are spoilt for choice – but seafood comes to the fore. We enjoyed a great night out in Darling Harbour which has an array of cuisines to choose from and most restaurants offer a fabulous view looking back towards the city skyline.

There’s so much to do in Sydney itself but a trip to the Blue Mountains is highly recommended.

These eucalyptus-clad mountains are a real treat and there’s a cable car, sky lift, the world’s steepest funicular railway and some great walking opportunities.

But one of the best nights we had was at the 36th floor Blu Bar at the Shangri-La – drinks and bar food with views to write home about will certainly stay with us for a lifetime.

If you go to Sydney, make sure you get a room with a view!

Runcorn and Widnes World: