Your Australian exploration is never complete without a trip to Sydney, which is the city that showcases the rest of what Australia has to offer. From inspiring architecture to stunning beaches and diverse food culture, the city is definitely both a thriving modern city and a relaxing beach town. If you’re looking for a place that beautifully combines nature and urban jungle, it would have to be Sydney.
Being the largest city in all of Australia, it is home to many world-famous landmarks that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who comes here. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, and the Sydney Opera House all invite you for exploration.
There are many options as to where you can stay in Sydney, and each of these areas affords access to the city’s different attractions.
There are many accommodation options available in The Rocks, located right by the Circular Quay Harbour, close to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Since it is the old town of the city, you will be fascinated to find historic buildings with an old-town charm. And with the frequent open-air markets with street food and handmade goods, coupled with amazing views of the harbour, hotel accommodations here are pricier.
If you’re here in the city for business and pleasure, then, you might want to consider staying right in the middle of the city in the Central Business District. Located alongside government offices and corporate buildings are parks and shopping centres. In every direction, you can find exciting neighbourhoods like Kings Cross, the Rocks, Circular Quay, and Chinatown.
Coming here to Sydney with a family warrants accommodations that are close to attractions for kids, and Darling Harbour has got you covered. The hotels here offer amazing views and are located close to the aquarium, numerous museums, waterfront restaurants, and entertainment options. However, with not having a lot of train stations in the area, you might have to walk a bit to get to the closest one.
Just like visiting other major cities, the ideal number of days to stay in Sydney is between 5 and 7 days. However, we can help you compress that into three days if you are pressed for time. Each day covers the top destinations and can’t-miss attractions in Sydney to ensure you have a great time here. Check out our exciting 3-day itinerary in the city.
Upon arriving in Sydney on your first day or on your first day of exploration after business ends, it is just right to imbibe your being a tourist. Head to old town Sydney, The Rocks, located just beside the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s a fabulous place with an old town charm that brims with boutique shops and gorgeous cafes where you can enjoy breakfast at or grab a latte from. You can visit The Rocks Market, which happens every Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM and on Fridays from 9 AM to 3 PM.
Then, you can move to Surry Hills where you can pass time wandering through flower and pastel-filled streets. It can be compared to London’s Notting Hill, which is a village that explodes with galleries, stylish restaurants, and small bars. It is a hub of fine dining where you can also taste some of the best ice cream in Sydney conveniently located on the southern outskirts of the CBD.
Next up is, of course, one of Australia’s most iconic sites, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This engineering marvel connects the suburbs to the city on the northern side of the harbour and is one of the longest steel arch bridges in the world. Aside from its main purpose, it also serves as a tourist destination with the bridge-climb activity done here at sunrise, during the day, and at nighttime. This is one of the experiences you shouldn’t miss in Sydney.
And while you’re at the bridge’s observation deck, you can see the iconic Sydney Opera House, which is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney located at the Sydney Harbour. There are numerous tours that allow you to explore this attraction.
Then, it’s time to cool down a bit by visiting Hyde Park where world-class concerts and events happen, featuring quiet places as well for relaxing and unwinding. You can dip your toes in the Diana, Princess of Wales Fountain, admire the views of the lake from a fancy waterside café, or swim in the Serpentine.
Then, after lunch, make sure to head to Sydney’s biggest markets, Paddy’s Markets. Find everything you can ever think of, including gadgets, food, gifts, and fashion in a market atmosphere. There are over 1,000 stalls in two locations that offer you souvenirs, sporting goods, clothes, footwear, cosmetics, and even fruits and vegetables!
Then, after a tiring exploration and shopping, you can relax at Mrs. Macquarie’s Point. Simply walk past the Opera House and continue along the waterfront to reach the place. This is the best place in Sydney to catch the lovely view of the setting sun over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
End your first day of exploration with a great dining experience at the Altitude Restaurant, situated 36 floors up on the Shangri-la Hotel. Experience fine dining and splendid views over the city at night.
Spend your second day of exploration outside the city. Leave the charming cityscape and skyscrapers and trade them for Sydney’s rugged coastline as you stroll on one of the top Sydney beaches and devour the city’s best craft beer.
With Sydney’s shore being considered as one of the best coastlines in the world, it would only be perfect to stretch your legs and do an epic coastal walk. Choose between the Bondi to Coogee walk and the Manly to Split walk. Whichever of the two you want to do, just be sure to do it in reverse so that you end the trek either at Manly or Bondi beach, which are among the best beaches in the city.
After your trek, it’s a must to explore Sydney’s beaches. There’s no better way to relax after a hot trek on the beach and just let the afternoon idle away just like how the locals do. Whether you do it in Manly or Bondi, you are guaranteed top activities that you will really love such as swimming, strolling, and sunbathing. Then, you can also sit at one of the many cosy cafes and eateries to refuel for the rest of the day’s activities.
Bondi Beach is an iconic stretch of fine sand with waves that attract tourists all year through. It is flanked by sandstone headlands that are known for whale watching, golfing, and walking. Manly Beach, on the other hand, is the venue of the Australian Open of Surfing every February. It has restaurants and shops where you can get the best fish and chips that you can enjoy while watching the action.
As soon as the sun sets, a different kind of activity waits for you. Head to the Inner West suburb of Marrickville where Sydney’s burgeoning craft beer scene is happening. Find 10 craft breweries that have tasting rooms where you can come to taste Sydney’s best craft beer straight from the source. Aside from craft beer, Marrickville is also home to some of the best restaurants, including Vietnamese restaurants, cafes, and bars.
The Blue Mountains National Park should not be missed whenever in Sydney because it makes for the perfect destination on the third day of your excursion. Hop on a train and travel for two hours to arrive at the park with a network of hiking trails, tumbling waterfalls, and stunning viewpoints. While here, make sure to see the Three Sisters rock formation and the Scenic World that features aerial cable car and inclined railway. And if you’re wondering why it’s called the Blue Mountains, this is because of the eucalyptus trees that set an endless blue hue over the horizon. The tiny oil droplets from the trees mix with water vapour and sunlight and, thus, create a distinctive colour.
The Blue Mountains National Park consists of 140 kilometres of walking tracks, some native bushland, impressive rock formations, and underground caves. The Aboriginals will be more than happy to share with you Dreaming stories before admiring the work of resident artists.
Then, for the rest of the day, head back to the city and experience the Darling Harbour. It is a waterside location in the heart of Sydney with an aquarium and great dining options and brims with wine bars, nightclubs, and bistros. If you’re tagging kids along, they will surely love the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo where you can be up close kangaroos, koalas, sharks, and dugongs.
Walking around, you can also find King Street Wharf, where cruises and ferries arrive and depart. Make sure to sit in one of the outdoor dining areas of its trendy bars and restaurants or watch the latest movies at the world’s largest cinema screen at IMAX. Other activities include tenpin bowling, shopping, Madame Tussauds, harbour cruises, and exhibitions.
There is definitely a plethora of sights and activities in Sydney. You won’t run out of activities to do. You might even want to consider moving here as it is a fine city with fine offerings.