Sydney – it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. Where there is always something to do, people are friendly and the sun is almost always shinning. You can be on pristine beaches just minutes away from the city by ferry, train, bus or car. You can sip coffee in super hipster Darlinghurst or blow all your cash shopping in Paddington. Be a beach bum in Bondi, go pub crawling in the city or take an afternoon nap on the grass in Rushcutters Park. No matter what you feel like – it’s all here.
Here’s what you shouldn’t miss…
- Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb — Unforgettable! Sydney Harbour is absolutely stunning. Sign up for the bridge climb for a completely unique experience and a breathtakingly beautiful view.
- Circular Quay/Opera House — The docking area for Sydney’s ferries, Circular key is an up-market waterfront strip populated by stylish seafood restaurants and trendy bars. It boasts views of Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge and, of course, Sydney Opera House.
- Botanical Gardens — Lose yourself as you wander through the lush manicured Botanical Gardens — a genuine natural sanctuary in the heart of the city, with an abundance of native flora and fauna.
- Darling Harbour – Take a stroll on the board walk in Darling Harbour and check out all the restaurants, bars and attractions in this quaint part of the city.
- Taronga Zoo — Taronga is a truly world class zoo. Presiding over Sydney Harbour, with photo-worthy views from almost everywhere, it’s features all of Australia’s iconic animals (including koalas, kangaroos, possums and snakes) as well as just about every other creature that walked off the Ark. Family-friendly and entertaining, it has a schedule of daily shows and is only a short ferry-ride from Circular Quay.
- Bondi Beach — There’s a reason Bondi Beach is Australia’s most popular. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s most definitely beautiful. Blue water, surf waves, calm rock-pools, soft sand, an esplanade of shops, cafes and restaurants, and, of course, some tanned eye-candy. Make sure to hit up Bondi Icebergs and do the cliff walk (views are incredible!).
- Museum of Contemporary Art — The Museum of Contemporary Art, located in the heart of scenic Circular Quay, showcases art from across Australia and around the world. Its program of exhibitions is continually changing, so there’s always something new to be inspired by – plus its free!
- Sydney Aquarium — Australia is famous for its marine life, and the Sydney Aquarium (located in Darling Harbour) is your chance to get right up close to it, without getting too personal. Of course, if you do actually want to get personal, the option to swim with the sharks is only a ticket away…
- Luna Park — is a superbly restored 1930s amusement park full of fun rides and games. And if that’s not enough, it’s located right on the shores of Sydney Harbour, so you can enjoy the fun and the views, all at the same time.
Markets… (the above picture is of Paddington) There are weekend markets in every suburb. I like the Paddington Market and the Rocks Market the best. They are open almost every Saturday and Sunday from 8am to about 3pm. Browse through all the local artwork, handmade clothing, vintage sunglasses, leather goods and jewellery. Make sure to pick up some flowers and freshly made bread!
If you are spending a reasonable amount of time in Sydney, I would suggest getting up early and taking the train to the Blue Mountains. These beautiful mountains are just 2 hours away and offer lots of hiking, outdoor activities and charming villages to roam.
If you are looking for accommodation, here are some tips:
- If you’re a backpacker you’ll find plenty of hostel options around Central Railway Station. And obviously the further the distance from the CBD, the cheaper it tends to get.
- If, on the other hand, you’re looking to spoil yourself, consider staying somewhere in Circular Quay. You’ll be perfectly positioned to watch the sun go down on Sydney Harbour, and only a short stroll from some of Australia’s finest restaurants.
- If you plan to spend most of your time at the beach, you’d best be looking at hotels nearby. Bondi and Manly are two of Australia’s most popular beach destinations, and they both have an abundance of hotels (and pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and shops) to choose from. From there, you’re only a quick stroll to the surf.
I hope this helps – happy travels!