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Home » Oceania » Australia » Sydney

INSIDER SYDNEY ITINERARY for (2024)

Australia’s largest city, famous for its grand harbour front, Sydney Opera House, and being Nemo’s ever-elusive destination. It’s the perfect place to spend your holidays! With so much to offer, a massive harbour with plenty of waterside activities, historical buildings, and a multitude of fascinating tours to choose from, your Sydney itinerary is sure to be bursting with creative adventures!

Indigenous Australians are thought to have inhabited the Sydney area for at least 30,000 years, this means that there’s an overwhelming amount to learn about your destination of choice.

Whether you’re spending 2 days in Sydney, 3 days, or even a week in Sydney, we’ve got your activities covered for the trip. Here’s what we like to think is the best Sydney itinerary!

travel blogs sydney

With a Sydney City Pass , you can experience the best of Sydney at the CHEAPEST prices. Discounts, attractions, tickets, and even public transport are all standards in any good city pass – be sure invest now and save them $$$ when you arrive!

3 Day Sydney Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1: Bronte Baths | Sydney Opera House | Walking Tour | Wendy’s Secret Garden | Golden Age Cinema
  • Day 2: Bondi Icebergs Pool | Bondi Beach | Bondi to Coogee Coastal Path | Lansdowne Hotel
  • Day 3: Sydney Harbour Bridge | Royal Botanic Gardens | Luna Park Sydney

Where To Stay In Sydney

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You’ve booked your flights, now you’ve got the task of deciding where to stay in Sydney so you can begin planning your Sydney itinerary. There are so many things to do in Sydney you want to place yourself in a location where you can take advantage of the time you have.

Here are two of our favourite places to stay in Sydney!

Bondi Beach is probably one you’ve heard of before as it’s become famous all around the world. This neighbourhood stretches out along the coastline and has a kilometre of beach just waiting to be explored. Bondi Beach is full of health clubs, lifestyle events, and some very elegant dining options.

where to stay in Sydney

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The locals in this area tend to be very active, go-getter types, so if you enjoy living life to the fullest, Bondi Beach just might be the perfect place for you. You’ll also find a lot of homestays and most of the best hostels in this neighbourhood, which makes it ideal for backpackers in Sydney .

Balmain is a neighbourhood in Sydney just 6 kilometres from the city centre. It’s home to the largest Italian population in the city, and you can see the Italian influence on every street corner. Italian architecture is sprinkled generously around the neighbourhood and little terraces jut out from almost every building.

As you can imagine, pizza and pasta joints are the main dishes served up in the area, and you’ll find cafes on almost every street.

Now that you know how to get around, here’s what you should be up to during your time in Sydney .

There’s a lot to do in this incredible city, from hitting the beaches to exploring then harbour and discovering the vast histories of this city and country. Sydney is easy to get around and a pleasant and sunny city to discover.

travel blogs sydney

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Best Hostel in Sydney – Mad Monkey Backpackers on Broadway

Sydney itinerary

The Mad Monkey Hostel on Broadway offers really affordable accommodation in the most convenient place: just a few minutes walk from Central Station! You can expect a clean interior with modern decor. Hot breakfast is served every morning, so you’re in for a treat if you’re on a budget!

Best Airbnb in Sydney: The Barn on Prince Alfred Park – Central Station

The Barn on Prince Alfred Park Central Station, Sydney

There is no cooler place to stay in Sydney than this 19th century converted barn in Surry Hills. In fact, it’s one of the best Airbnbs in Sydney . Enjoy high ceilings, spacious rooms, and modern amenities all in Sydney’s coolest neighbourhood.

Just a short walk to Surry Hills’ trendy bars, restaurants, and clubs, you won’t find a more ideally located flat in the city.

Best Budget Hotel in Sydney – Wyndham Sydney Suites

Sydney itinerary

Close to all the best tourist attractions in Sydney, you honestly couldn’t ask for a better location than the Wyndham. Each room is modern with a clean finish, and they’re equipped with their own small kitchen and cosy balcony. If you’re someone who enjoys privacy and value for money, this is a great spot for you!

Best Luxury Hotel in Sydney – Astral Tower and Residences at The Star

Sydney itinerary

This modern hotel is the picture of elegance at its finest! Located in Darling Harbour, you simply could not imagine a better view! Luxury is hidden around every corner of this hotel and the facilities are nothing less than world-class.

Your first day in Sydney will see you enjoying the beautiful natural surrounds that Sydney has to offer and immersing yourself in unique cultural experiences.

8:00 AM – Take a Swim at Bronte Baths

Bronte Baths sydney

Join the early-risers in Sydney for a few salty laps of the Bronte Baths tidal pool. This full-size tidal pool is the perfect place to get your exercise in before the day has even started.

Waking up to an ocean swim is a truly Australian way to start your day! However, tourists often find that the water at Bronte Beach is a little too violent and volatile for swimming, so this is the perfect way to enjoy a beautiful saltwater swim without worrying about the tides. Blow off the cobwebs from your journey over to Sydney, especially if you’ve got jetlag, and dive right into the azure Aussie waters!

Enjoy the sounds and views of waves crashing over the edge of the tidal pool, knowing you’re safe inside its sheltered walls. Be sure to take your camera along for the trip, as the sunrise from Bronte Baths is nothing less than an Instagrammable sight.

Insider Tip: Try getting to the baths before 7 am, as watching the sunrise on the horizon is absolutely gorgeous from this perfect viewing spot. Check out this detailed guide to Bronte Baths for more information.

Cost – Free! Getting there – Catch the train/bus to Bondi Junction and switch to the 379 local bus. How long should you stay – 1.5 hr

11:00 AM – Take a Walking Tour

travel blogs sydney

Taking a walking tour of the city helps you to come to a deeper understanding of the sights you see around you. Learning the history of these sights allows you to take a lot more value away from the experience.

There are 3 tours that take place every day, which makes the rest of your day a lot more flexible and allows you to revisit some of your favourite sights for a more in-depth tour.

Taking a walking tour is a great way to get your bearings and on a limited trip, it’s the best way to take in all the main sights in a short amount of time. Heading off with a local guide you’ll also get to see some of the more off the beaten track areas you might not have otherwise known about. You’ll also get an insider’s perspective on the history and culture of this city.

Cost – $50 Getting there – Take the 379 bus to Bondi Junction, then take the train to Martin Place Station. How long should you stay – 2 hrs

1:30 PM – Take a Tour of the Sydney Opera House

Take a Tour of the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House was put on the map by its ability to host performing arts on a continuous basis. The building hosts over 1600 events every year, making it one of the busiest performing arts centres in the whole world!

Your guide will lead you under the famed sails of the Sydney Opera House as they tell you the tales and secrets that the building has become famous for over the years.

Don’t just see this iconic building from the outside, head inside and learn more about one of the world’s most famous buildings!

Cost – $30 Getting there – Take the train to Martin Place Station or walk. How long should you stay – 1 hr

3:00 PM – Visit Wendy’s Secret Garden

Wendys Secret Garden Sydney

The wife of famed artist, Brett Whiteley, poured her creative energy into designing a gorgeous secret garden when her husband passed away. Her name was Wendy, and that’s how the garden got its name. The garden is half public and half private property, but the owners don’t mind visitors popping by to explore the garden and enjoy a picnic.

The garden overlooks Sydney Harbour and is the perfect place to snap a pic of the beautiful bay. The garden has been taken care of by Wendy and two gardeners over the past 25 years. They’ve planted many gorgeous plants and created intricate pathways that run through the grounds. This makes it the perfect garden to explore before settling down for a picnic.

The garden is filled with birdbaths and benches, which makes it a great spot to relax and do some bird watching if you’re feeling up for it.

Being an artist’s wife, Wendy needed to add an artistic touch to the garden. For this reason, she has placed bronze sculptures throughout the garden. It can be loads of fun trying to find them all. Most of these statues were donated by local artists in the Sydney area.

Cost – Free! Getting there – Take the train to Milsons Point or North Sydney stations. You can also take a ferry to Milsons Point. How long should you stay – 1 hr

5:00 PM – Catch a Screening at the Golden Age Cinema

The building was constructed in 1940, intended to be used as offices for Paramount Pictures. It was used for just that for many years, but in 2013 the building reopened as the Golden Age cinema. The cinema contains an old basement theatre that is now being used to showcase old films as well as new Indie films.

Enjoying this old theatre experience is a must during your stay in Sydney. Its old-timey feel sends you straight back to the mid-1900s!

The cinema contains an adjoining bar, where you can purchase movie snacks before the screening. Here you won’t find just your regular popcorn and coke, but there are a few fancy extras thrown in.

If you’re in the mood for a full-on meal, chefs can prepare your meal and serve it to you during the movie. It really is a great experience. If you’re in the mood for a light snack, opt for a sundae. They’re known to be the best sundaes in town.

Cost – Around $15 Getting there – Take the train to Museum or Central and walk for 2 mins. How long should you stay – With there being a bar onsite and food available, you can stay for quite some time!

travel blogs sydney

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Your day 2 Sydney itinerary will see you spending plenty of time by the ocean and enjoying some wholesome musical entertainment!

9:00 AM – Swim in Bondi Icebergs Pool

Bondi Icebergs Pool Syndey

Bondi Icebergs Pool has become an all-year-round landmark for Bondi Beach. A dip into the seawater is the most refreshing way to start the morning, no matter what time of year you’re visiting Sydney. It may take a brave soul to venture into the water during winter, although the locals enjoy it just fine! Perhaps they’re a little more accustomed to the beach lifestyle?

The Bondi Icebergs Pool is an ocean pool that is by far the most photographed pool in all of Australia! It was built to look like a normal swimming pool but is filled to the brim with seawater, much like any other tidal pool.

Be sure to bring your camera along to this lovely pool as the turquoise blue water is something you’ll want to capture!

It’s a great way to start another day packed full of adventures by diving into this iconic beachside pool for a refreshing dip!

Cost – $7 Getting there – Take the train to Bondi Junction and either walk or get on the 380, 381, 382 or 333 bus for a 15-minute ride to the beach. How long should you stay – 1.5 hrs

11:00 AM – Take a Surfing Lesson at Bondi Beach

Take a Surfing Lesson at Bondi Beach

There’s nothing more truly Aussie than hanging ten on a wave at Bondi Beach. Learning to surf at one of the most popular surf destinations in the world is an absolute privilege that should not be missed while you’re staying in Sydney.

Each surfing lesson for beginners starts on the sand, so you don’t need to worry about being thrown in the deep end. Although each surfer requires taking a leap of faith to stand up on the board for the first time.

You’ll get the opportunity to feel the rush of riding your first wave, with the help of your very well-trained surf coach. Hopefully, you’ll be catching waves by yourself in no time.

During your lessons you’ll learn to ride a long-board, these are surfboards used to catch even the smaller waves, so riding a wave shouldn’t be a problem! Your lesson will include a wetsuit that you’ll be very appreciative of in the winter months. During summer, the water is warm and you may not require a wetsuit but the option is still there.

Cost – $85 Getting there – Walk to the beach from Icebergs How long should you stay – 2 hrs.

2:00 PM – Walk Along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Path

Coogee Coastal Path Sydney

After spending the morning in the water, now it’s time to dry off and take a walk along the stunning coast of Sydney. The Bondi to Coogee walk is one of the most famous of the many walks you can take along the coast here and it’s one of the best!

The path will lead you past Waverley Cemetery, where it can get a little windy. This part of the walk takes place on a suspended walkway, so be careful during this section of the journey. You’ll then pass Clovelly Bowls Club and head towards Gordons Bay. Gordons Bay is a secluded bay that is the perfect stop off for a picnic or just a breather.

This is a beautiful way to take yourself on a self-guided tour of the coastline. Not many tourists experience Sydney this way, so it’s a ‘must’ to add to your Sydney itinerary.

This coastal walkway will lead you along 6-kilometres of the gorgeous coastline while taking in some spectacular views! You’ll then reach Coogee where you should stop off for a refreshment or a bite to eat before heading back to Bondi Beach or the city.

You can spend as much time as you want on this trail, it usually takes around 2 hours if you don’t have many breaks. However, there are heaps of beaches and inlets along the way where you might want to take a dip or just enjoy the view.

Cost – Free! Getting there – Starts behind Icebergs. Take the bus back from Coogee back to Central. How long should you stay – 2 hrs plus

9:00 PM – Listen to Live Music at the Lansdowne Hotel

Support the local live music scene at the Lansdowne Hotel! The hotel pub has become a local favourite for those who appreciate some quality live music.

You’ll be happy to know that an over-the-counter meal will only cost you $10, so you’ll have plenty of extra cash for the night.

Gain access to live music in the upstairs section for only a few dollars. This amount changes depending on who’s playing but is never anything too extravagant.

Sit back and relax in a candle-lit room while listening to the best the live local music scene has to offer. Rugs line the couches giving the place a cosy feel that encourages guests to sit back and relax. However, if you like to get up and boogie, there’s always plenty of space to do that.

The venue can hold around 250 people, so don’t worry about not being able to get in. There’s generally enough space to arrive late and still find a space.

Cost – A few dollars. The amount is dependent on who’s playing. Getting there – Take the train to Central and walk. How long should you stay – As long as you like… but don’t overdo it, we’ve got another great day planned for tomorrow!

Sydney itinerary

Mad Monkey Backpackers on Broadway

The Mad Monkey Hostel on Broadway offers really affordable accommodation in the most convenient place: just a few minute walk from Central Station! If you prefer to stay in hostels, this is one of the best hostels in Australia.

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Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

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If you’re spending more than 2 days in Sydney, you’re going to need a few extra activities to add to your Sydney trip! Here are a few of the best places in Sydney we think you should be adding to your itinerary:

9:00 AM – Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge

Climb Sydney Harbor Bridge

Over 4 million visitors have climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge! Experienced guides will talk you through the activity before your climb and lead you every step of the way up the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The bridge towers 134m over the water, which makes the view from the top nothing less than magnificent! Tours are held throughout the day, from dawn until dusk, and the views change continuously throughout the day. We recommend going early in the morning to catch the sunrise or late at dusk to catch the sunset.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge has become one of the most photographed parts of the city, and there’s no secret as to why. This gorgeous bridge stands tall over one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world and now shapes the city skyline.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take part in an experience completely unique to Sydney. This is one activity you have to add to your Sydney itinerary if you plan on staying for more than 2 days in Sydney.

Before the climb, you will be equipped with everything you need to make the climb. All that you’ll need to bring with you are a pair of sunglasses and comfortable shoes.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour bridge was voted the number one traveller’s choice experience in all of Australia!

If you have extra time and want to spice things up a bit, you can even charter your own yacht to take you around the harbour. It might be the top end of your budget, but split between six to eight people, you can find an affordable option that still gives a memorable experience.

Cost – Between $140 and $280 depending on which package you decide to take. Getting there – Catch a ferry, bus or train to Circular Quay. How long should you stay – 2.5 – 3.5 hrs

1:30 AM – Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens

sydney Royal Botanic Gardens

After the excitement of the morning, take some time to wander these beautiful gardens to get your breath before the next thrilling adventure!

The Royal Botanic Gardens are an impressive 74 acres and is home to a variety of events throughout the year. The Gardens are a scientific institution and one of the most important botanic scientific institutions in the world!

These gardens were established in 1816, which makes them the oldest botanic gardens in Australia!

The gardens are open every day of the week and access is completely free! This makes it the perfect place to stroll around in search of some of Australia’s most beautiful plants. Plant and birdlife are abundant in the gardens, so be sure to take your camera along for the trip!

From the gardens, it’s a short walk to Sydney Opera House if you feel like exploring a little further. These famed gardens are a must-visit during your time in Sydney, so be sure to add them to your Sydney itinerary!

Cost – Free Getting there – Take the train to either Martin Place, St James or Circular Quay or walk from Central. How long should you stay – 1 hr

3:00 PM – Let your Inner Child Free at Luna Park Sydney

travel blogs sydney

Sydney’s Luna Park is now listed on the NSW heritage registry! Apart from just being an amusement park, the park holds history tours that show you the ins and outs of running an old amusement park. Although it has undergone major restorations in the past, constant maintenance is required to keep it functioning at its best.

The park underwent serious restoration during the 90s allowing it to run safely and efficiently into the 21st century. Luna Park Sydney has a rich history. Starting in 1935, this rare surviving amusement park features fantasy architecture and the art deco style of the 30s.

The famous ‘face’ entranceway to Luna Park has been photographed many times, and is what the park has become most famous for all over the world!

You’ll be given a park map when you enter that will help you decide which rides and attractions you’d like to visit most! On the map, you’ll also find interesting facts about the park. You can enthral yourself with roller coasters or scare yourself at the haunted Mystery Manor.

This historic amusement park is a great way to spice up your Sydney itinerary and end your time in the city with a bang!

Cost – $37 for the day. Getting there – Take the train to Milsons Point station or the ferry to Milsons Point Wharf. How long should you stay – As long as you like!

The best time to visit Sydney is widely up for debate. While there’s no wrong time to visit this gorgeous city, you should make an informed decision when deciding what time of year you’d like to go.

January is the hottest month of the year in Sydney, as it’s just after the summer solstice. In February and March, Sydney tends to get its highest rainfall.

Sydney Opera House

During April and May, the city starts cooling down considerably as Sydney heads into winter.

During the months of June, July, and August, temperatures drop quite low in Sydney which marks mid-winter. In September, October, and November the temperatures start to rise again-  during this time Sydney is at its busiest. Since it’s at the start of the season, however, we still think it’s a great September destination , especially for those in the Northern Hemisphere escaping fall.

December is the driest month of the year in Sydney and marks the end of the tourist season. This is a great time to book yourself into one of the cool Sydney hostels as prices begin to drop significantly.

Knowing how you’re going to navigate the city is one of the most important parts of your Sydney itinerary. In many cities, public transport can cause challenges to travellers, but luckily for you, Sydney is not one of those cities. In fact, their transport system is one of the best in the world!

Most of the locals in Sydney rely heavily on public transport. This means that it’s efficient and well organised!

It’s important to note that in order to make use of public transport in Sydney, you will need an Opal Card. This can be bought at a post office or a supermarket, so they’re really not hard to come by.

The train routes run a loop around the city, which is a great way to get from one side of the city to the other. If you’re looking for transport within the city, you can make use of the light rail, buses, or taxis.

Being on the coast, ferries are also a great way to get across the harbour and to other areas like Manley, when you take the ferry from Circular Quay you also get great views of the city and the Opera House too!

travel blogs sydney

Sydney as a city is considered a very safe place , especially for tourists. The little crime that Sydney does have generally affects the locals and not visitors to the city. This being said, it’s important to be careful, no matter where you’re travelling. Like your mother probably told you, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Here are a few things we suggest you watch out for during your vacation in Sydney.

It’s advised that you stay away from higher crime neighbourhoods in Sydney, mainly during the night. These include Kings Cross, Fairfield, Redfern, Cabramatta, Campbelltown, Blacktown, Liverpool, and Penrith. This is not to say that these areas are extremely dangerous, but they’re at higher risk than other neighbourhoods.

When visiting the beaches in Sydney, be aware of strong undertows that can easily take you out to sea. They have caused many drownings in the Sydney area.

Sydney has many dangerous animals that could bite or sting you. If you get bitten or stung by something poisonous, it’s important to call the emergency number immediately, 000. These animals include dangerous insects, spiders, snakes, and marine life.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

travel blogs sydney

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Find out what people want to know when planning their Sydney itinerary.

Are 7 days in Sydney too long?

A seven day Sydney itinerary is probably the ideal time to see the city in full detail, without any stress or rushing. That gives you enough freedom to have an afternoon to yourself to rewind and give your feet a break.

How many days minimum should I spend in Sydney?

Sydney is MASSIVE. So 3-4 full days is the absolute minimum to get a good grasp of the city. Having even more time would be recommended.

What should I definitely add to my Sydney itinerary?

Sport fans should definitely add the Bondi Iceberg Pool to their itinerary. Swim some laps, enjoy the cool water and then head straight to the famous Bondi Beach to chill on for the rest of the day.

What can I do with three days in Sydney?

Three days in Sydney allow you to see quite a few things in the city. Make sure you include Bondi Beach, a river cruise that’ll give you great views of the Opera House and a climb up the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Sydney is an absolutely beautiful city! With so much to do, this city makes the perfect holiday destination all year round! Be sure to pack your camera for this trip, because you’re sure to be surrounded by exquisite views all trip long!

Sydney has a rich cultural history that is sure to knock your socks off, so be sure to learn as much as you can during your trip! It’s important to stay mindful of the incredible city you’re visiting.

If you haven’t already, be sure to add some of our great activities to your Sydney itinerary and pack your bags for Australia . It’s sure to be one for the books!

travel blogs sydney

Alexandria Zboyovski

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7 DAYS IN SYDNEY 2024: THE ULTIMATE ITINERARY & BEST THINGS TO DO FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS!

travel blogs sydney

LOOKING TO PLAN THE ULTIMATE 7 DAYS IN SYDNEY?

Based on our personal experience spending a week in the dazzling metropolis of Sydney, check out our blog post below for our epic 7 days in Sydney itinerary (2024)! It includes the full 7 days in Sydney guide, the best things to do in Sydney, more of the best tours in Sydney to chose from, where to stay in Sydney and much more!

7 DAYS IN SYDNEY: THE ULTIMATE ITINERARY!

For our 7 days in Sydney itinerary, we begin exploring all the gems of the city, including Circular Quay and The Rocks districts and icons such as the Sydney Opera House.

We then head out on some key experiences such as Taronga Zoo, the Sydney BridgeClimb and catching a ferry to Manly before heading to the Bondi coast.

DAY 1: BOTANICAL GARDENS, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, INNER CITY & SYDNEY TOWER EYE

MORNING: ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS Lose yourself in Sydney’s idyllic Royal Botanical Gardens, 30 hectares of blooming flower beds, inland pathways, green spaces, glistening lakes and wildlife for a spot of escapism set in the centre of Sydney’s bustling city.

Wander to the most picturesque spot,  Lawn 39 , and sit on the benches along the waters edge for a wonderful view of the Sydney Opera House and glittering ocean.

Top tip: Take a look at the official map of the Royal Botanical Gardens to make sure you don’t miss out on anything!

During your 7 days in Sydney itinerary, you must visit the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens on Sydney, a glorious nature escape in the middle of Sydney's bustling city! It is also one of the best free things to do in Sydney!

MORNING: SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE No Sydney itinerary would be complete without of course visiting the most iconic building in the world – The Sydney Opera House! Try to visit relatively early to appreciate the calm before this bustling hub comes to life with people.

Before you arrive in Sydney, check the  Events Page  of the Opera House website to see what’s on during your stay to experience the infamous Concert Hall.

Or! If you want to see every nook and cranny of this epic World heritage listed building in all its glory, book an official guided walking tour of the Sydney Opera House !

Fun Fact : The predicted cost to build the Opera House was $7 million. In the end, it totalled to $102 million!

Fun Fact : The Opera House is cooled using seawater taken directly from the harbour! It powers both the heating and air conditioning throughout.

One of the most iconic things to see during your 7 days in Sydney itinerary is of course the most famous landmark in the world - the Sydney Opera House!

AFTERNOON: CIRCULAR QUAY & THE ROCKS DISTRICTS Uncover hidden gems as you stroll past Circular Quay, Sydney’s bustling harbour and hub of activity! Take note, as this is where the majority of ferries leave from to explore further afield around Sydney!

Carry on for 9 minutes round past pop-up street performances down to Campbell Cove, an idyllic port with distinctive nautical buildings and docked ships.

While you’re in the area, venture slightly inland to ‘The Rocks’, a quirky district distinctive by its cobbled pathways and vibrantly unique shops and cafes. A great stretch to see is Playfair Street .

On your 7 days in Sydney itinerary, be sure to make time to meander the quirky cobbled streets if The Rocks district in Sydney!

AFTERNOON: BARANGAROO RESERVE Walk underneath the colossal Sydney Harbour Bridge and continue on, passing the vibrant piers of Walsh Bay before finally reaching Barangaroo Reserve .

Once a decommissioned container port, Barangaroo Reserve is now Sydney’s newest and waterfront park.

Landscaped to perfection, the Reserve offers extensive scenic Harbour views, walking and cycling paths, idyllic coves and beautiful parks perfect for a picnic!

Fun Fact : The Barangaroo Reserve Landscape is set on gently sloped levels, the highest level being aptly named the ‘Stargazer Lawn’. It also hosts frequent outdoor pop-up performances and community festivals.

Top Tip : There are free public toilets just before you enter the reserve.

One of the best things to do on your 7 days in Sydney is to visit the idyllic Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney's newest and waterfront park. Landscaped to perfection, the Reserve offers extensive scenic Harbour views, walking and cycling paths, idyllic coves and beautiful parks perfect for a picnic!

EVENING: SYDNEY TOWER EYE Book your ticket onto the Sydney Tower Eye viewing platform to witness 360 views of Sydney’s incredible cityscape from above. Ideally arrive 1 hour before sunset to 3 views for the price of 1 – daytime, dusk and night!

The Sydney Tower Eye also offers a thrilling SkyWalk experience , known as Sydney’s ‘highest outdoor adventure’!

Head up the iconic Sydney Tower Eye for the best panoramic views of Sydney's cityscape, a must do on your 7 days in Sydney itinerary!

SPOTTED WILDLIFE!

A tree-dwelling marsupial, the common Brush tail Possum can be found  green city spaces and even back gardens in Sydney Australia! It forages in leaves, using its powerful tail for support, to eat eucalyptus leaves, fruit and flowers. We spotted to just  2-minutes walk  away from the Opera House at dusk. 

travel blogs sydney

DAY 2: TARONGA ZOO, SYDNEY BRIDGE CLIMB & LUNA PARK

MORNING: TARONGA ZOO One of the most unique things to do during your 7 days in Sydney is to visit Taronga Zoo – an idyllic zoo set on the Sydney Harbour with the most epic views of Sydney’s cityscape!

Taronga Zoo, open between 9.30am – 5pm daily, is not only home to 5000 animals. There is also so much to do during your visit including amazing animal encounters, reptile shows, keeper talks and even a ride on a ‘sky safari’ cable car!

You can either make your own way there and enter with a standard general admission ticket, or book this ticket with return ferry transfers included across from Circular Quay !

During your 7 days in Sydney itinerary, spend an afternoon at the Taronga Zoo, a zoo just outside of Sydney with epic city views!

AFTERNOON: SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE CLIMB Think you have seen Sydney in all its glory? If you haven’t done the  BridgeClimb , you haven’t seen anything yet! Embark on an exhilarating ascent to the Harbour Bridge summit, surveying breathtaking 360 views of Sydneys harbour and city as far as the eye can see.

Head to the main office, where the friendly team will get you briefed, harnessed and guide you to the climb of your life!

Chose either a Dawn Day, Twilight or Night climb depending on what you want to see. We chose the ‘Twilight climb’ in Winter (July) as it was cheapest, and experienced daylight, dusk and nighttime all in one sitting! The experience is a bit pricey, but truly worth it.

One of the best things to do during your 7 days in Sydney!

Top Tip : No heavy drinking the night before! You are breathalysed before you climb and must have a reading of below 0.1%, or you may be refused to climb!

Fun Fact : An incredible amount of celebrities have done the BridgeClimb – Hugh Jackman, Kylie Minogue, Oprah, Will Ferrell, Steve Irwin, Daniel Radcliffe, Katy Perry, Will Smith and Richard Branson to name a few!

During your 7 days in Sydney itinerary, you must visit the Taronga Zoo for epic cityscape views whilst wandering around the delightful zoo!

EVENING: LUNA PARK Head like a moth to a flame towards the dazzling beacon of lights across the Harbour Bridge – Luna Park! An iconic heritage listed amusement park packed full of super fun fair rides, open until 10pm only on Friday and Saturday nights!

Luna Park is free to enter and walk around, however if you did want to partake in the fair rides or attractions you will need a pre-booked day pass ticket. As soon as you know what day you’re visiting, book your ticket as early as possible for discount.

Luna Park tickets purchased on the day are $75 for an adult, $65 for a child. The ticket includes unlimited access to rides and attractions all day.

On your 7 days in Sydney itinerary, be sure to take advantage of the late night fair rides at Luna Park Sydney on Friday and Saturday nights!

DAY 3: CATCH THE FERRY TO MANLY

FULL DAY: CATCH THE FERRY TO MANLY Catch the fast ferry to Manly from Circular Quay for a beach-filled day out from the city! The fast ferry leaves every 20 minutes (to and from Manly).

It is a scenic 8 minute ferry ride across Sydney Harbour to Manly, and there is no need to pre-book.

On arrival, go directly straight and cut through the high street to reach the beautiful stretch of Manly Beach’s golden sands.

Take your shoes off and relax, or trail the idyllic 15 minutes coastal trail round to Shelley Beach, a beautiful little cove beach worth walking that extra mile! Sit back, relax, book a guided snorkel tour , rent a bike or even hire a kayak .

On Day 3 of your 7 days in Sydney itinerary, catch a ferry from Circular Quay for the beautiful beaches of Manly!

DAY 4: A DAY OF OPTIONS!

FULL DAY: INNER CITY EXPLORING OR GUIDED TOUR! The world is your oyster today on how to spend your 4th day on your Sydney itinerary! Either take the opportunity to slow the pace today with a plan free, leisurely day in the city with no plan at all.

Potentially hit the shops at Pitt Street or Westfield, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art or even buy unique treasures at The Rocks markets (weekends only).

Or! Grab the day by the horns and head out on an epic full day tour. As wildlife lovers, we would suggest this epic and highly rated wild wombat and kangaroo tour from Sydney !

DAY 5: BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

FULL DAY: BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK TOUR Embark on this jam-packed 11 hour day tour of the beautiful Blue Mountains region. Soar above the jaw-dropping Blue Mountains on Katoomba Scenic World skyway and drive to all scenic lookouts including the ‘Three Sisters’.

Get up close to Australia’s native wildlife at Featherdale Wildlife Park – from Dingoes, birdlife, Echnidas, Kangaroos, and our favourite – Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats.

Finish the tour with a scenic boat cruise down Parramata River, sailing below the Harbour Bridge and back to Circular Quay.

Top Tip : If you have the option, make your own way and experience the Blue Mountains slower potentially over a few days, i.e. explore the walks and trails. Nonetheless, the group tour however is a great, pre-organised experience to see it all in one day.

Top Tip : The group size will be larger in peak Summer (January) to meet high demand. For a more intimate experience, book in Winter.

Fun Fact : You will experience the world’s steepest cable way at Katoomba Scenic World – set at a sharp 52 degrees. Hold on tight and don’t try and hold your phone (like me) – turns out you need two hands!

Click to book this Blue Mountains National Park tour! 🏔️🏔️🚡

DAY 6: TRANSFER TO BONDI BEACH & BONDI TO COOGEE COASTAL TRAIL

MORNING: TRANSFER TO BONDI BEACH Trade the bustling inner city for the chilled vibes of Bondi Beach. Settle into your new accommodation this morning.

AFTERNOON: BONDI TO COOGEE COASTAL TRAIL An absolute must in the afternoon is a leisurely 2 hour trail along the  Bondi to Coogee coastal trail . Marvel at the infamous Bondi beach, its quirky street art and pass the iconic Bondi Icebergs swimming pool to begin your journey to Coogee beach.

Stroll the coastline, stopping off at Tamarama beach, Bronte beach, Clovelly beach, Gordons Bay and finally Coogee beach.

Once you reach Coogee, treat yourself to the best beachside fish & chips from ‘ JP McCafferry ‘ before catching the bus back.

Top Tip : Tamarama and Bronte beach are worth spending time at, they are beautiful. Tamarama has a small food & drink kiosk, public toilets and a cute little park. Bronte Beach has a very large park and shore-side salt water swimming pool, ‘Bronte Baths’.

Top Tip : If required, there is free public Wifi to use at Coogee, ‘Randwick Council Wifi’.

Top Tip : Use the  NSW Transport Trip Planner  to plan your 20 minute bus journey back to Bondi Beach. 

One of the most scenic coastal walks to do during your 7 days in Sydney itinerary is the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk!

The Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo Spotted between Bronte and Clovelly during the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk! A large cockatoo species (55-65cm in height), recognisable by its jet black feathers and distinguishable yellow cheek patch. Easily camouflaged, yet given away by their loud squawks! Their main diet is seeds of native trees and plants, however do sometimes eat insects also.  

travel blogs sydney

Australian White Ibis Native to Australia, spot these protected bird species by their distinct long black beaks, white feathered bodies and pink legs. They are essential for natural pest management of small insects and grubs, but have earned the nick-name “Bin Chicken” due to their lust for food scraps from public urban areas or waste bins.

travel blogs sydney

DAY 7: SURFING LESSONS, RELAX AT BONDI BEACH & SWIM AT BONDI ICEBERGS POOLS

MORNING: SURFING LESSON & CHILLING ON THE BEACH Up bright and early to start your morning right! Ride the waves during an epic surfing lesson , before chilling on the golden sands of the infamous Bondi Beach today.

AFTERNOON: SWIM AT BONDI ICEBERGS POOL In the late afternoon, take a swim in the infamous Bondi Icebergs pools for an unforgettable sunset experience over Bondi Beach as the wild waves crash up the cliffs.

Top Tip : The general pool admission for Bondi Icebergs pool is just $9! This includes use of other facilities such as the sauna. Locker hire is $3, towel hire is $4.

Top Tip : The Bondi Iceberg pools are open daily 6.30am – 6pm, apart from Thursdays. On Thursdays, the Bondi Iceberg pools are closed for a weekly deep clean.

On your last of your 7 days in Sydney, spend the day relaxing and doing a fun surfing lesson on Bondi beach!

SYDNEY TOURS & ACTIVITIES

• 5* Wildlife Waterfalls and Wine Day Tour from Sydney 🍷🐨

• Sydney Whale-Watching by Speed Boat (May to November only) 🐋

• Hunter Valley Wine and Cheese Tasting tour 🍷

• Tandem skydive at Wollongong! 🪂

• Thrilling jet boat ride at Sydney Harbour 🚤💨

• Dinner cruise from Sydney Harbour 🛥️🥂🍝

WHERE TO STAY IN SYDNEY

Between Day 1 to Day 5 on our 7 days in Sydney itinerary, we would suggest staying in the centre of Sydney to ensure you are within easy walking distance from most of the sights, attractions and experiences.

Check out our top accommodation picks below:

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS:

💰 IBIS budget Sydney East (Affordable budget hotel, some rooms with Harbour views! 7 minute walk from Kings Cross station)

MID-RANGE ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS:

🤝🏻 Hotel Challis Potts Point (Well-priced and located boutique hotel)

HIGH-END ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

💎 Ovolo Woolloomooloo (Waterfront premium hotel, unique & quirky interior design)

💎 Pullman Quay Grand (Large, luxury apartments with harbour view option. 5 minute walk to the Sydney Opera House!)

WHERE TO STAY IN BONDI

On the last 2 days of our Sydney travel guide, we would suggest re-locating to the area around Bondi beach to be closer to the activities, plus for a refreshing change of scenery from city to chilled beach vibes!

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

💰 Wake Up! Bondi Beach (Affordable beachfront hostel, shared rooms)

MID-RANGE ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

🤝🏻 Bondi Beach House (Wonderful boho-designed suites. 4 minute walk from Bondi beach!)

💎 Hotel Ravesis (Large, premium boho-designed apartments. 4 minute walk from Bondi beach!)

💎 QT Bondi (Premium, quirky and fun rooms. 5 minute walk from Bondi beach!)

GETTING TO SYDNEY

Getting to sydney by air: 🛫.

If you are looking to get to Sydney directly from another major Australian city, or from an International country, the most convenient method for you is to fly. Most major cities in Australia fly directly into Sydney International (SYD) in just a few hours, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Cairns. There is a great choice of operating airlines (Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Alliance for example) to choose from. Check Skyscanner for the best deals on your dates .

GETTING TO SYDNEY CITY FROM SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

From Sydney International airport (SYD), you can reach the city either by taxi, train or bus. The most convenient option is taking a taxi (approx. $45-$50), from directly outside the airport.

Or, for a cheaper travel alternative you can catch a bus or catch the City Circle train link,  plan your route here . You can ‘tap in’ and pay via a contactless debit or credit card.

GETTING TO SYDNEY BY TRAIN: 🚉

It is possible to also catch an intercity train service from Melbourne to Sydney, with a duration of approximately 10 hours. They also provide a ‘sleep-friendly’ night service, where you can sleep overnight throughout the majority of the journey. Check out Australia Trains for their prices and timetable here .

GETTING TO SYDNEY BY BUS: 🚌

From another city in australia:.

The Greyhound Australia bus is the best way to get to Sydney for anyone travelling or backpacking Australia. Greyhound Australia offers a flexible and affordable hop-on, hop off ticket covering all major stops across the country.

GETTING TO SYDNEY BY CAR: 🚙

For those who want to stop and see the scenery up the around Sydney in their own time, a popular option is rent a car for multiple days. Click here to check for the best rental car deals available for your dates!

HOW TO GET AROUND SYDNEY

How to get around sydney city: on foot 🚶🏻‍♀️.

Sydney city in its entirety is a deceivingly large, however the majority of its key attractions (Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, etc) are all located in a similar area.

Therefore, as long as you stay in Sydney near the centre, everything you’ll want to see in the immediate centre of Sydney is accessible on foot.

HOW TO GET AROUND SYDNEY: PUBLIC TRANSPORT 🚃🚍⛴️

One of the best ways to get around Sydney is by using the excellent public transport system, which includes the metro, train, buses and ferry. The best and most convenient way to pay for Sydney’s public transport is via contactless payment.

Many people also use an Opal card , which is a travel card requiring credit top up.

While Opal cards are a potentially a good option for long-term visitors in Sydney, we believe for anyone visiting Sydney for one week or less, it’s not worth the hassle arranging for an Opal card.

HOW TO GET AROUND SYDNEY: BY CAR 🚗

Another option is to rent a car for one or multiple days to fully explore the rest of Sydney and surrounding area freely with no restraints on your Sydney itinerary. This is a great option if you have even more than 7 days in Sydney.

VISIT SYDNEY: “KNOW BEFORE YOU GO” FAQ’S

Why is sydney australia so popular why should you visit.

Sydney (one of Australia’s largest cities and the capital of New South Wales) is so popular to visit for so many reasons. The obvious is of course for its famous landmark of the Sydney Opera House, however there is never-ending things to do in this bustling, electric metropolis! After exploring the inner city, hit the coast for epic beaches, jump on a ferry to explore further afield or even venture out to the rural National Parks of New South Wales!

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT SYDNEY?

To increase your chances of having pleasant weather during your stay, we would suggest the two shoulder seasons of late Spring (September – November) or early Autumn (March-April) are the best months to visit Sydney. In the Winter months (June – August), Sydney’s South-Eastern location in Australia means it can get pretty cold here, though it is worth noting that because of this, Winter is the cheapest time to visit Sydney.

HOW MANY DAYS IS ENOUGH FOR SYDNEY?

If you were simply staying in the inner city, we would suggest 7 days would be enough to visit Sydney. However, we believe to get the best out of your Sydney itinerary, you need at least a few more days to venture out and explore the incredible areas surrounding Sydney city, including Blue Mountains National Park. Therefore for the best Sydney itinerary, we would say 7 days in Sydney is the perfect amount of time to visit!

CONCLUSION: 7 DAYS IN SYDNEY

To conclude, 7 days in Sydney is perfect amount to time to explore this epic and iconic Australian city!

This eclectic city has something for everyone, from a bustling harbour and CDB, quirky shopping destinations, famous icons such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge plus nearby idyllic National Parks.

We hope you have the best time following our Sydney travel guide, and make memories that will last a lifetime!

A photo of Jordie, the author of this specific blog post and owner of the wesbite.

This blog post was written by… Jordie Flain! Founder of TheFlainsTravel.com, Travel Itinerary Creator & Wildlife Enthusiast

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Jordie Flain is the owner and author of The Flains Travel, a travel blog with emphasis on ethical wildlife experiences, "seen to be believed" natural beauty and "real magic" phenomena, such as the northern lights. Jordie crafts every itinerary and post to perfection for travellers to follow and get the very most out of their time in a destination.

Jones Around The World

The Best Sydney Itinerary | How To Spend 4-7 Days Exploring Sydney

Looking for the best Sydney itinerary? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I lived in Sydney for a full year while on the incredible working holiday Visa program, and it instantly became one of my favorite cities worldwide.

While I, unfortunately, don’t live there anymore, Sydney will always be a second home to me. Sydney really does have it all. Amazing beaches, delicious food, fantastic atmosphere, iconic landmarks, and super friendly locals.

I really believe there is no better place to start your Australian vacation than in this remarkable city. And I hope this Sydney itinerary will help you figure out how to spend your time in the city.

Sydney Itinerary

The Ultimate Sydney Itinerary for Trip Planning!

Whether you’ve only got two, three, four, five, or a full 7 days in Sydney – this itinerary and travel guide will go over the best things to do in Sydney, places to visit, and helpful travel tips .

So without further adieu, let’s dive into my thoroughly detailed itinerary for your Sydney trip planning needs!

Sydney Itinerary

Sydney Itinerary Day 1: Explore Bondi Beach & Coastal Walk

There’s simply no better place to start your vacation in Sydney than the world-famous and iconic suburb of Bondi Beach. Filled with trendy cafes, shopping malls, and gorgeous people – you will surely fall in love with Bondi.

In fact, you could easily spend a full week here alone, trying all the amazing breakfast hotspots, relaxing on the beach, and catching some waves.

Tip: Bondi Beach is a top-notch location for people trying to learn how to surf.

THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN BONDI BEACH:

  • Watch the sunrise
  • Go swimming
  • Relax on the beach
  • Learn how to surf
  • Visit Bondi Icebergs Club
  • Explore Bondi Pavilion
  • Stroll through Bondi Markets
  • Eat breakfast at Chapter One | Café & Wine Room
  • Stop for lunch at Bondi Tony’s Burger Joint
  • Head to Bondi Junction for some shopping

Bondi Beach Sunrise Sydney

If you’re looking for surf lessons, I recommend checking out “ Let’s Go Surfing ”. While I haven’t personally used them before, they really are the best in the business.

“The golden sands and crystal waters of Bondi Beach continue to capture hearts all around the world. As Bondi’s only officially licensed surf school on Australia’s most famous beach , our team of passionate and experienced Surf Instructors has been changing lives one wave at a time since 1995. Home to Australia’s oldest surf lifesaving club, funky beach bars, restaurants, urban-style shops, and hip markets Let’s Go Surfing and Bondi is an experience not to be missed. Australia’s greatest surf experience on Australia’s Greatest Beaches.”

Sydney Itinerary

THE FAMOUS BONDI BEACH TO COOGEE COASTAL WALK

No visit to Sydney would be complete without strolling along the unbelievably scenic path between Bondi and Coogee Beach. It’s one of the best tourist attractions in the city, and I’ll honestly never forget my first time doing this trek.

I don’t care if you have only 2 days in Sydney or a full week – this is a must-do when visiting Sydney. The path is super easy to follow and will lead you around to all of the best beaches in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, from Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Waverly, Clovelly, Gordons Bay, and ending in Coogee Beach.

Bondi to Coogee itinerary

Bondi → Bronte Beach  = 2.5 km (1.55 miles)

Bronte → Coogee Beach  = 3.5 km (2.18 miles)

In total, the distance is about 6 km (3.7 miles), and you really should spend around 4 – 5 hours completing the Bondi to Coogee walk. There are many photo opportunities along the way, things to do, and spots to relax.

I love the great atmosphere along the path, and you’ll learn how much of an outdoors-focused and active city Sydney is. Locals use this path as their daily exercise route, and I can’t imagine a better place to burn some calories each day.

Sydney Itinerary

Coogee Beach Pavilion

At this point of the day, you’re probably going to be ready for a big meal and cocktail, and there’s no better place to do that than the rooftop bar at Coogee Pavillion . When I lived in Sydney, I would come to this spot every Sunday, and it’s one of my favorite restaurants/bars in the city.

“A beautifully styled oasis overlooking Coogee Beach, featuring four bars and a sweeping balcony. Our rooftop is all about breezy good vibes. Depending on the size of your event, you can commandeer the whole floor or one of four eclectic indoor bars. Sample Mediterranean-inspired food, amongst eccentrically styled surrounds. The beachside location and outlook over Wedding Cake Island are spectacular. And who doesn’t love a rooftop party?”

Sydney Itinerary Day 2: Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, and Opera House

What would you say are the most iconic buildings in the world? The Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, and of course, the Sydney Opera House. Visiting one of the most famous Sydney sights and getting up close and personal is a must-do. And there’s so much to do around this part of the city.

Here are a few ideas of how to best spend your time exploring the Sydney Harbour:

Sydney Itinerary

On my first day in Sydney, my mate Troy brought me to this bar. We chatted about how excited I was to move to Sydney as we drank beers and started out at the massive Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was one of the most surreal settings and a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours.

“Situated right by the water’s edge, Opera Bar is often described as the best beer garden in the world. Be swept away by the panoramic views of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, CBD, and the beautiful harbor. Whether it’s breakfast, a lazy lunch, a pre-show dinner date, or simply a cocktail; Opera Bar is truly perfect for any occasion .”

What I love about the Opera Bar is that it’s an awesome experience at any time of the day.  Whether you want to stop here for a midday drink or meal, watch the sunset, or keep the party going until night – there aren’t many bars in Sydney with this stunning view.

Opera Bar Sydney

Self-Guided Walking Tour through “The Rocks”

“This walk explores The Rocks , the oldest part of Sydney situated on the western shores of Sydney Cove, an area steeped in history. The Rocks were the first European settlement in Australia, established by Captain Arthur Phillip of England in 1788 as a penal colony. The original buildings were built using blocks of local sandstone – hence the name The Rocks.”

To make the most of your walk, you should have at least half a day. Although the walk can be done in a much quicker time.

But if you want to continue on to the steps that lead up to the pedestrian walkway on the Harbour Bridge to leisurely walk across the bridge and return by ferry, allow a full day.

The Harbour Bridge part of the walk involves steep areas and steps, so if you have a mobility problem, you might prefer to end your walk in The Rocks.

Sydney Itinerary 3 Days

Walk Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge | Pylon Lookout

Walking across this magnificent beast is easily one of the best free things to do in Sydney, and I’d say is a must for everyone coming to Australia. The views you get on both sides of the bridge are completely stunning, and you’ll also get some really epic photos of the Sydney Harbour. It doesn’t take long at all and is just overall a really simple yet fantastic experience. 

Trust me – just do it!

This is also where you’ll find one of the best views and popular Instagram spots in the city – the Pylon Lookout . While you do have to pay to enter (see entrance rates below), it really is worth it.

It’s also an amazing exhibition where you’ll learn all about the history of the bridge, which I personally think is fascinating.

“Come and see the fantastic views of the city, the harbor, and the world-famous icon – the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are 200 stairs to the Pylon Lookout, 87 meters above mean sea level, but on the way up there are 3 levels of exhibits where you will discover the history and construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the men who built it, and the vision of JJC Bradfield, chief engineer.”

Sydney Itinerary

Milson’s Point & Luna Park

If you do walk across the Harbour Bridge (from The Rocks), you’ll end up in the charming suburb of Milson’s Point. This is one of my favorite areas in Sydney (mainly for photography purposes), and I’ve spent countless hours here wandering around, looking for different vantage points.

Take a photographic stroll through Bradfield Park, ride one of the rides at the famous Luna Park, and enjoy some scenic views of Sydney Harbour from the parks above Lavender Bay.  It’s simply a fantastic area to visit during the day and at night, and I know it’ll make you fall in love with Sydney as much as I have.

You can also take the ferry from Milsons Point back to Circular Quay after you finish.

Sydney Itinerary

The Sydney Opera House Tour

https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/visit-us/tours-and-experiences.html

Why come all the way to Sydney without learning a thing or two about its most iconic landmark? This quick tour is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and is really a great way to learn all about the Opera House.

Duration : 1 Hour

Price : $20.78+ U.S.D ( Read Reviews )

Sydney Itinerary

“Delight in an in-depth tour to the Sydney Opera House , and learn the history and stories behind this UNESCO World Heritage-listed landmark.

Join your informative tour guide as you wander through elegant foyers and performance halls. Take an audience seat on custom-made birch chairs, and imagine the thousands of concerts, operas, and ballet performances held on the grand stage.

Listen to the inspiring yet challenging 15-year journey of architect Jorn Utzon as you visit areas normally closed off to the general public. Admire the Opera House’s ceramic exterior, evoking yacht sails along the Sydney Harbour.

Upgrade your tour and enjoy a delicious meal set from the Portside Sydney Opera House. Feast on roasted salmon and chicken sliders, and mini cream puffs as you gaze at the skyline along Sydney Harbour.”

Your First Visit to the Sydney Opera House | Hyperlapse

Royal Botanic Gardens | Sunset at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair

“The Royal Botanic Garden is a verdant oasis in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.”

To wrap up your time exploring Sydney Harbour, you’ll want to spend at least an hour or so walking through the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s a relaxing place to take a stroll, have a picnic, and enjoy stunning views of the entire harbor.

It’s also home to some of the best music festivals in Australia , and there’s pretty much always something fun going on in this massive park.

One of the best spots in the park is the iconic Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, which is easily one of my favorite places in the entire city. Every night during sunset, you’ll see tons of locals and tourists admiring the view of the sun slowly dipping beneath the city in the distance.

The way the sky lights up in different shades of pink and orange really makes the Opera House and Sydney Harbour really pop. This is one of the best photography places in the city, and you’ll definitely spot at least one or two different photographers with tripods taking photos every night.

Sydney Itinerary

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

“Absorb a 360-degree panorama of Sydney as you journey to the summit on our original Climb experience. Like an exposed spine, the outer rim delivers you to the peak, as the sky remains just beyond your outstretched fingertips.”

If you’re afraid of heights, then this activity probably isn’t for you, but for all the adrenaline junkies planning a trip to Sydney – this should definitely be at the top of your list. In fact, this was actually voted as the #1 Traveller’s Choice in Australia and #4 Globally, so you know it’s pretty much loved by everyone who’s conquered it.

I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve already promised myself that I wouldn’t go back to Sydney without doing it.

Price:  $268 ( Read Reviews )

  • 3 ½ hours long, max. 14 people per group.
  • 1,332 steps (that’s around 500 calories or 2,100 kilojoules for those tracking)
  • Ideal if you want to soak up the moment and take the upper arch.
  • Perfect if you’re a bit nervous and would like more support from our Climb Leaders.
  • You can do this climb at dawn (limited departures), twilight, or night.

Sydney Itinerary

Sydney Itinerary Day 3: Watson’s Bay, Beaches & South Head Heritage Trail

Sydney has a wide variety of different neighborhoods and suburbs to explore, but I think Watson’s Bay is one of the best. I’ve been here two different times now, and on each visit, I’ve found something new to appreciate about it.

Getting to Watsons Bay is super easy. It requires you to take a ferry from Circular Quay to Watson’s Bay – this is super scenic and only takes 27 minutes. Hopping on this ferry is reason enough to make your way out there, but you’ve got lots to explore once you arrive.

Sydney Itinerary

The Gap Park Lookout

This place is absolutely stunning, and there’s a cool walking trail that will lead you up to different vantage points of the sandstone cliffs. While this is actually a stop along the South Head Heritage Trail, I actually always just went straight here after getting off the ferry.

The view out to sea from the various lookouts is magnificent, but I can’t help thinking briefly about the negative aspects of The Gap – which is a known suicide spot.

Luckily, an emergency phone to Lifeline (13 11 14) is prominently placed near the steps to prevent this from happening.

Soon, the beauty of my surroundings, the sun sparkling on the water, and the hope of spotting a whale distract me.

“When international director and closet ghoul Alfred Hitchcock visited Sydney in the sixties, this was his infamous point of reference. Locals know, and tourists do not, that this is the last stop for the desperate few, it’s also a beautiful location for a spectacular scenic cliff top walk that begins at The Gap Park .”

Sydney Itinerary 7 Days

South Head Heritage Trail

You could actually spend all day just enjoying all the different stops along this walk. While it isn’t very time-consuming, it is loaded with historical importance, pristine beaches, nude beaches (Lady Bay), epic views, lighthouses, and so much more.

“The short South Head Heritage Trail offers something for everyone: incredible beach and harbor views, a glimpse into the history and excellent whale-watching opportunities.

Best Sydney Itinerary One Week

Starting at Camp Cove Beach in Watsons Bay, this short walk takes you on a stroll along a 1870s cobblestone road past Lady Bay Beach. Before reaching the historic Hornby Lighthouse with its distinctive red and white stripes.

Take some time to explore the gun emplacements and keep your eyes open if you’re there during whale watching season.

The spectacular views of Sydney are sure to astound you. With the Sydney Harbour to the west, Middle and North Head to the north, and the expansive Pacific Ocean to the east, the scenery will leave you wanting to explore more of Sydney Harbour National Park.

I feel like most tourists skip this place when visiting Sydney, and I think that’s a complete shame.

Sydney Itinerary

Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel

You simply can’t come to Watsons Bay without getting at least a drink or a meal at this hotel.

Side Note : Did you know that Australians use the word “hotel” for a bar? I had no idea until I got to Australia, and I thought it was so weird. Why, you may be wondering?

Well, “a pub, short for Public House, is an establishment whose main function is to serve alcohol, mostly beer. It’s also known as an Alehouse or Tavern. The reason for this is that until recently, in Australia (the late 1980s), pubs were forced, by the liquor laws, to provide accommodation and so were accurately called hotels.” 

Thanks to Midland Hotel for that quick little history lesson!

“Grounded on the sandy shoreline of one of Sydney’s most iconic harbor beaches, Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel is the perfect destination for those pursuing sun, fresh seafood platters, seasonal fare, and icy cold refreshments while overlooking Sydney’s spectacular harbor.”

Sounds pretty great, hey?

After a long day of exploring and photographing the gorgeous coastlines and walking trails in Watsons Bay, make sure you pop in here for a beer or a sunset and even book a night’s accommodation at the hotel if you want.

It’s one of Sydney sider’s favorite hotels and has won awards like “Hotel of the Year”, “Best Social Media”, and “2020 Traveller’s Choice Award” from TripAdvisor in the past. 

Trust me – you want to visit this place. You also can’t really miss it, because it’s the first place you’ll see when you get off the ferry.

Sydney Itinerary

Photo via Watsons Bay

Sydney Itinerary Day 4: Sydney CBD & Suburbs

After spending 4 days in Sydney, you’ll realize that it is a pretty massive city, and I feel like people always forget that. While the main downtown area or Central Business District (CBD for short) is small compared to cities like New York or London – Sydney is just a massive county with many different areas to explore.

A few of my favorites include: 

Newtown : If you’re looking for the cultural hub or artistic district in Sydney, then this is where you need to go. It can be difficult to explain, but it’s easily the most unique suburb in the city.  It’s filled with live-music venues, gay bars, graffiti walls, street singers, a huge dog-friendly park, and an amazing variety of food options.

If you only come to Newtown for one meal, then you’ve got to visit the ever-so-popular Mary’s Bar . 

I think this video below perfectly encapsulates Mary’s and the vibe you’ll find in Newtown

YouTube Music: Sounds of Newtown

Surry Hills : This is another extremely trendy and hip suburb in Sydney, and you could easily forget you’re actually in Sydney while walking up and down its hilly roads. It’s got amazing food, top-notch art, an excellent nightlife, and is centrally located, making it easy to get to.

“On the southern fringe of Sydney’s CBD, you’ll stumble across the suburb of Surry Hills – a gritty, creative, and foodie-filled enclave. It’s arguably the creative heart of Sydney and a mandatory pop-in for anyone visiting the harbor city.

The Polly Pocket-sized suburb is home to fashion designers, creative agencies, and tech start-ups, along with professionals, young hipsters, the drug-addicted and homeless.”

Check out this amazing article about “ 10 of the best things to do in Surry Hills ”, which will definitely keep you busy if you decide to take a visit. All the food recommendations are 100% worth it, especially trying out Sydney’s favorite Gelato Messina.

Surry Hills

Photo via Eat Play Love Travel

Crows Nest – “Crowie” for short (because Australians shorten every word they can) is a small suburb in the North Shore and one of my favorite areas to go pub/hotel hopping. There always seem to be great deals, amazing meals, and delicious craft beers. It’s also been named “the most livable Suburb in Sydney” and goes by the motto – The Nest is the Best.   

“Getting its name thanks to its elevated position – it’s one of the highest points of all of the northern suburbs. Crows Nest is home to a strip of family-owned, mid-range restaurants, with a bunch of Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese joints dotted along the Pacific Highway and tucked up behind the major arterial road.”  – Time Out Crows Nest Guide

If you’re free at night, then I’d definitely recommend making your way to Crows Nest for a night out. Not sure where to start? Just make your way to The Hayberry Bar & Diner for burgers, booze, Blues, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Sydney Itinerary Day 5: Sydney Day Trip

If you’ve got one week in Sydney, then I think you should spend at least one day outside the city exploring one of the best day trips. There are some really amazing options to choose from, but here are my top 3 recommendations:

Blue Mountains Full-Day Trip with Cruise

Price : $124.10

Duration : Full-Day

https://www.getyourguide.com/sydney-l200/blue-mountains-3-rides-no-lunch-day-tour-t68335/

The scenic Blue Mountains National Park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for a good reason. This explosion of biodiversity boasts incredible views of the Jamison Valley and the Three Sisters – a colossal sandstone formation and sacred Aboriginal site.

“Discover the natural beauty of the Blue Mountains on a full-day tour that takes you to Featherdale Wildlife Park. See various native Australian animals, stop at Echo Point for panoramic views, and enjoy 3 different rides at Scenic World.”

Read Reviews & Check Availability

Sydney Itinerary

Photo via GetYourGuide

Jervis Bay Sydney Day Trip

Want to visit some of the whitest sand beaches in the world? Then you need to make your way down to Jervis Bay, which is one of Australia’s most popular seaside destinations. While this seaside oasis has a low swell and is not the best for surfing, it is known as a great beach for families.

And although ideally, I think you should spend more than one day down there (as it is quite far from the city), it is a truly stunning place that I think is worth visiting.

Read my article titled “ The Perfect Weekend Getaway Exploring the New South Wales Coast ” to get a better understanding of what to expect.

In fact, if you have the time, I’d definitely recommend renting a car and driving down the coast for a two or three-day road trip like I did.

Sydney Itinerary

Hunter Valley Wine Tasting

Who else loves wine? Well, you may not know this, but Australia is home to some of the best vineyards and wineries in the entire world. I actually did my first-ever wine tasting in the Yarra Valley, and it was one of my favorite experiences I’ve had in Australia.

Located just a couple hours’ drive from downtown Sydney, the Hunter Valley would be an amazing destination for a full day of wine tasting.

Price : $137.20

Duration : 11 Hours

From Sydney: Hunter Valley Wine/Spirit Tasting Tour & Lunch – “Get ready for a diverse tour exploring the Hunter Valley wine region, tasting some of Australia’s best wine, food, cheese, chocolate, beer, and distilled spirits.”

Sydney Itinerary

Sydney Itinerary Day 6: Manly Beach

With its gorgeous beaches, scenic coastal walks, and stunning snorkeling spots — Manly should be on everyone’s Sydney itinerary.

I spent two full days around Manly Beach, and now I’m a strong advocate that it’s easily one of the best suburbs in Sydney. If you get the chance, definitely make it out this way for more than just a day trip.   

With that being said, if you get to Manly Beach earlier on in the day, you can squeeze in quite a lot.

I’ve actually written a destination itinerary before, so take a read through this article: How to Spend Two Days Exploring Manly Beach, Sydney . 

This will go over some really amazing food options, activities, and much more to keep you busy during your day while exploring Manly.

Manly BEach Sydney Itinerary

Manly Beach to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk

If you’re not too tired out already from a busy 5 days in Sydney, then I think the Manly Beach to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk is a fantastic way to spend your day. But only if it’s sunny and warm outside. Just a fair warning though – this trek is around 10 km (6.2 miles) and really does require a chunk of the day.

The views you get of Sydney Harbour are truly magnificent, though. And I think it leads you around to some of the most famous beaches in the entire city. I haven’t done this hike in many years, but it definitely left a solid impression.

Whenever I return to Sydney, I know I will make it a priority to complete this Manly to Spit Bridge coastal trek again.

Sydney Itinerary One Week

Sydney Itinerary Day 7: Endless Options

The truth is completing everything I’ve mentioned in this 7-day Sydney itinerary will be quite challenging in such a short amount of time. That’s why I’m going to leave this final day a little bit more open and flexible.

There really is no shortage of amazing things to do in Sydney, and I’m sure you’ll want some free time to just go with the flow and see what happens.

With that being said, here are a few more things that I think could be an awesome addition to your time in Sydney and that you could easily fit into your last day.

Sydney Itinerary

Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo : Want to see gorgeous giraffes with the Sydney Opera House in the background? Well, you can totally do that. While I haven’t been here personally, I think this is a Sydney must-do for anyone traveling with kids.

“Enjoy a fun-filled day at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. Start your day off with a cruise along the Sydney Harbour. See impressive landmarks such as the iconic Sydney Opera House. Arrive at Taronga Zoo, home to over 350 different animal species with eight unique environments to explore. The zoo offers abundant activities, from animal encounters to daily educational talks.”  

Adults = $35.18 USD

Children = $19.98 USD

The Taronga Zoo is easily reachable by ferry, and tickets are cheaper when you purchase them online.

Come play Wild and Seek at Taronga

Darling Harbour : I can’t believe I made it to the last day of this Sydney 7-day itinerary without mentioning Darling Harbour. This place is 100% a must-visit in the city, and I think you must come here at night. This place really comes alive every evening. The promenade is loaded with amazing restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

It’s also the location of some of Sydney’s best tourist attractions, like the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, the Wildlife Zoo, the Chinese Garden, and much more.

“There’s really nowhere in the world quite like Darling Harbour . From first light to starry nights, there’s always something going on here. Coffee machines froth, water laps, children play, friends chat, steaks sear, glasses clink, and bass thumps. Infectious sounds travel on harbor breezes as text messages and online updates share snapshots of good times. If you’re a local, chances are you really do come here often. If you’re new in town, there’s no question you’ll have this sparkling harbor on your Sydney bucket list.”

Sydney Tower Eye Rotating Buffet / Bar

If you’re looking for the highest view in the city, then there’s no question you must go to the 305-meter-tall Sydney Tower Eye . I’ve been up here once for sunset, and the views truly are magnificent. When I went up there (on a date, actually), I only went for drinks, but I’ve heard the food is absolutely amazing as well.

Sydney Itinerary

Want to visit the observation deck instead ?

Price : $89.00 Adult – $64.00 Child ( Read Reviews )

“Skip the big queue and enjoy faster entry by going straight to the prepaid voucher queue. Then stand on the Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck, 820 feet (250 meters) above the street, and be rewarded with 360-degree panoramic views as far as 48 miles (80 kilometers) into the distance. The 60-minute experience includes a fully guided SKYWALK tour around the outside of the top of Sydney Tower. Access to the indoor Observation Deck before and after your SKYWALK tour.”

Nestled at the highest point of the city, the Observation Deck offers the ultimate view of Sydney’s beaches and neighborhoods, with vistas as far as the Blue Mountains.

Offering both day and night viewing slots, the state-of-the-art multilingual touchscreens provide an interactive introduction to some of the city’s famous landmarks. And the high-powered binoculars give you an even closer look.

Sydney Itinerary

Where To Stay in Sydney — Best Places

First things first, you’re going to need somewhere to sleep while taking on your Sydney, Australia itinerary. Now obviously, this depends on your budget and travel style, but I think below would be my top recommendations:

Sydney Harbour YHA –  My Favorite Hostel in Sydney

Looking for the best hostel in Sydney? Then I’d definitely recommend staying here at YHA The Rocks . I stayed here for nearly a full week at the end of my last trip to the city, and it ended up being one of my favorite hostels. The rooms are comfortable, the social backpacker vibe is great, and there is an absolutely stunning rooftop terrace overlooking Sydney Harbour.

Check Rates & Availability here

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney (Luxury Hotel)

In the past couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of staying at a few different Westin properties, and I’m officially obsessed with the brand.   is truly a luxurious gem and will definitely provide a super comfortable stay in the city.

It’s perfectly located in the downtown city center, has incredible amenities, and you’re guaranteed to get a good night’s sleep thanks to their signature “heavenly beds”.

Also, give a quick read through my experience at The Westin Maldives: Heavenly Luxurious in Every Way , which is now the best resort I’ve ever stayed at.

Sydney Itinerary

GETTING AROUND SYDNEY | OPAL CARD

While some may disagree, I personally think that the Sydney public transportation system works really well, and you’ll definitely want to get used to using it. The system will be able to take you all over the city, especially to the destinations mentioned in this Sydney 1-week itinerary.

Just make sure you get yourself an “ OPAL card ”. You can register online for free.

This is the public transportation payment system, and it will save you a lot of time and money utilizing it.

Fun Fact – I actually used to work at the OPAL card call center while I was living in Sydney, and think it’s a really fantastic product.

If you lose your OPAL card, you can call them and get it blocked so no one else can use it. Then you just need to get a new card and transfer the old balance to the new card.

Hopefully, you won’t lose your card, but it’s better to know you won’t lose the money that you’ve loaded onto it. 

5 Days in Sydney Itinerary

STAYING CONNECTED IN SYDNEY

Wondering what is the best tourist SIM card for Sydney? If you’re landing at Sydney International Airport, once you get through customs and immigration, you will see five to six different phone stores, all offering a variety of phone plans for tourists.

My personal recommendation would be to go for Optus. They’ve got amazing tourist SIM card packages, and the coverage is top-notch. When I lived in Sydney, I actually used Vodafone, which I really loved, up until I left Sydney and had basically zero reception. 

Note: Vodafone is only good if you stay in the city.

2 Days in Sydney Itinerary

PLANNING A TRIP TO AUSTRALIA?

I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around the country, so make sure you check out a few of my other articles about my time in Australia to help plan your time there.

  • Greyhound Bus Pass Hop-On / Hop-Off: Cairns to Sydney Route Bus Itinerary
  • The Perfect Weekend Getaway Exploring the New South Wales Coast
  • Two Days on Magnetic Island: The Bungalow Bay Experience
  • The Ultimate Guide for Moving to Sydney on a Working Holiday Visa
  • The 20 Best Music Festivals in Brisbane
  • 14 Words You’ll Start Saying When You Move to Australia
  • The 15 Best Music Festivals in Sydney, Australia

Best Sydney Itinerary

DON’T FORGET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Whether you are heading to Sydney for just a few days or embarking on a lengthy trip around Australia, travel insurance is absolutely essential.

Have you seen some of the crazy animals they have Downunder, or indeed, how expensive some things (including medical care) can be in Australia? Getting sick or having items stolen while traveling is rare, but when it does happen, it can be an absolute nightmare.

Having insurance (which is essential for Visas in some countries) will give you the peace of mind that if anything terrible does happen, you are covered.

I highly recommend HeyMondo due to its extensive range of cover for all situations and trip lengths, its fair pricing and its handy app. The app allows you to manage any claims within the app.

But it also has access to free assistance online, so you don’t need to rack up an expensive phone bill while abroad. So, whether you need a single trip cover or an affordable annual cover for multiple trips worldwide, be sure to buy your travel insurance before you travel. And then you’ll relax during your trip, knowing that HeyMondo has your back.

Nowadays, I would never travel without insurance again, especially after hearing so many (expensive and dangerous) horror stories from other travelers I’ve met.

Are you still planning your trip? You can always just get a no-commitment travel insurance quote now, so you have an idea of how much extra to budget for your vacation.

7 Days in Sydney Itinerary

FINAL THOUGHTS ON YOUR ULTIMATE SYDNEY ITINERARY, 7 DAYS

Every time I visit Sydney, I find a new favorite thing to do or see. That’s just how loaded with natural and cultural attractions Sydney is. From the world-renowned Sydney Opera House to the Bondi to Coogee Walk, the northern beaches, and the Botanic Gardens, you’re sure to have an amazing experience in Sydney.

And to top it all off, you can also enjoy top Sydney attractions like the scenic views at Blue Mountains National Park. Enjoy sun lounging along the white sands of Camp Cove Beach, stroll through the Australian National Maritime Museum, or walk along Darling Harbour – you can do it all when you visit Sydney.

So, which of these incredible sights in Sydney, Australia, are you most excited about exploring?

Thanks for reading my Sydney Itinerary!!

If you’re not already, be sure to follow along on my Facebook & Instagram for more of my international adventures!  As always, feel free to shoot me an email or reach out to me on social-media with any questions you have about Sydney!  I’m a huge fan of Australia, and am always happy to help readers plan their trips down under!  Who knows, maybe I’ll be in town and we can grab a beer!  Until then, SAFE TRAVELS MATES!

Share this Sydney Itinerary with your Australia travel crew!

Thanks for the great info. When was this article written? How up to date is the info? I don’t believe it is possible to pet Koalas in Sydney in 2019??

Such a great and useful article! I will be visiting from New York and your pictures of Sydney and the things to do are gorgeous. Really appreciate your page.

Great post! Really helpful thank you so much!

Wow. Your photo skills are fantastic! I really love the long exposure photos of Sydney Harbour Bridge, especially the one showing Luna Park lit up at night with the Opera House compressed in the background! And your Bondi photos are incredible too! So inspiring thanks for sharing! :)

Great shots. I’ve bookmarked this post to have in mind before visiting Sydney next time (hopefully). My last visit was 2 years ago. A business trip and meeting in Four Seasons Hotels in Sydney, The Rocks area. Its near the center but was too expensive for me and I’ve stayed in Harbour Rocks Hotel instead. It is not on the main streets but close enough to walk to.

Really an awesome Sydney Itinerary, love reading this as it was very attractive and helpful. Please keep posting such articles.

That is such a comprehensive itinerary. I am bookmarking it for later.

thankyou for providing this useful information

This itinerary for Sydney is great. Looks like so much fun stuff to do. I’ll be cherry picking some of the options here for myself.

For Taronga Park, I strongly recommend that you ad that it’s the best zoo for OZ marsupials on the planet. They have wombats! (Yes, I know San Diego has them too, but not housed so well.)

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2 Days in Sydney: The Perfect Itinerary

Planning to visit Sydney soon? If you have 48 hours in Sydney or less, I have put together the perfect itinerary to make the most of your short visit. Read on for the best things to do if you only have 2 days in Sydney.

Best things to do in Sydney, Australia in 2 days. Click for your guide to the perfect 48 hours in Sydney itinerary including what to do and where to stay for your first time in this great city! ***** Sydney Australia Things to Do in | Sydney Travel What to Do | Sydney Attractions Places to Visit | Sydney Australia Travel Vacations | Sydney Australia Hotels Posts | Sydney Australia Travel Destinations | Sydney Australia Attractions Travel Guide

Getting There and Around

Flights into Sydney arrive at Sydney Airport which is conveniently located 8 km (5 miles) from the city center. The most economical way to get to Sydney from the airport is the Airport Link (Sydney’s Airport Train) with a travel time of approximately 15 minutes. If you have more time and enjoy long road trips, another option is to fly into Melbourne or Brisbane and do an Australian road trip to Sydney. To save money on flights to Australia, you can search for flights here .

Sydney is an easy city to get around. It is very walkable but for longer distances there are many public transportation options including trains, buses and ferries. Click here to see all the public transportation options and look up timetables.

Another great way to get around is an open top hop on hop off bus tour .

If your time is short and you enjoy guided tours, there are several half and full day tours that can provide you with an overview of Sydney, including this bike tour and this half day tour .

Sydney 2 Day Itinerary (2024)

This is a fairly packed 2 day Sydney itinerary so if you don’t have two full days to explore Sydney or enjoy exploring at a more relaxed pace check out my one day in Sydney itinerary .

Sydney Itinerary – Day 1

Royal botanic gardens.

Wake up early morning to explore the beautiful and free Royal Botanic Gardens . In addition to enjoying the beautiful plants and flowers, the gardens have great views. Walk to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for some of the best distant views of the Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Opera House / Circular Quay / Harbour Bridge

two days in sydney itinerary

From the Royal Botanic Gardens walk to the Sydney Opera House. While you can see the Sydney Opera House from outside there are also tours available if you want to explore the inside. Make sure to stop by the Opera Bar located at the base level of the Opera House for a meal or drink while enjoying the great views. My favorite time for a drink here is the evening so you might want to come back later at night.

Circular Quay is located between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and has fantastic views of both attractions. This is a great spot for people watching and there are also plenty of restaurants if you want to grab a bite to eat. Circular Quay is a major transportation hub with access to buses, trains, and ferries so it is always crowded with tourists and locals.

There are 3 options if you want to enjoy panoramic views from Harbour Bridge. If you have time and money and are feeling adventurous, you can climb to the top of the bridge but make sure to reserve in advance. A cheaper option ($15 for adults) is to climb 200 stairs to the Pylon Lookout . You can also walk across the pedestrian path of the bridge for free to enjoy views from the lower level.

48 hours in sydney

Ferry to Manly

From Circular Quay you can hop on a short ferry (approximately 30 minutes) to Manly. The ferry ride has great views of the Sydney Harbour as well as the Opera House and Bridge from the water.

In Manly you can enjoy some beach time, take a surfing lesson, walk down the main strip or have lunch at one of the beachfront restaurants. If possible take the ferry back to Circular Quay before sunset to take beautiful photos of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

From Circular Quay, it is a short walk to The Rocks which is the city’s most historic neighborhood. There are many cafes, restaurants and bars here so this is a good neighborhood for dinner and drinks. The Glenmore Hotel is a good spot to dine if you want to enjoy excellent harbour views.

Sydney Itinerary – Day 2

Bondi beach.

Sydney 2 day itinerary

Spend a few hours at Bondi Beach , the most famous beach in Australia. Even if the temperature too cold to swim, there are many shops, cafes and restaurants here so this is great spot to have a bite or drink while enjoying a view of the water.

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

bondi beach 2 days in sydney

The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is one of the most beautiful and scenic walks in Sydney and is popular with both locals and tourists. The walk is 6 km long and takes approximately 2 hours depending on how often and long you stop – there are beaches as well as places to sit and eat along the way.

Central Business District (CBD) and Darling Harbour

Head back to the Central Business District (CBD) and explore some of its major attractions including Town Hall Square, Hyde Park Barracks, St Mary’s Cathedral, Queen Victoria Building and Hyde Park.

darling-harbour-two-days-in-sydney-australia

Head to the beautiful Darling Harbour for dinner at one of its many restaurants. If you have a few hours before dinner, there are tons of things to do and see at Darling Harbour including the Sydney Aquarium and the Chinese Garden of Friendship.

Where to Stay in Sydney

If you are spending the night in Sydney, I recommend basing yourself in the CBD or The Rocks so that you can be close to the major attractions and public transportation.

Here are some of my top picks for the best places to stay in Sydney:

Park Hyatt Sydney. If you are looking for a luxury hotel experience and are willing to splurge or have hotel points to use, you can’t go wrong with this 5 star hotel. It is centrally located in The Rocks area and some rooms have spectacular views of the Opera House. Amenities include a restaurant, bar, spa, free wi-fi and a rooftop pool. Click here to see the latest prices .

Other recommended luxury hotel options: Four Seasons Hotel Sydney , Shangri-La Hotel Sydney , InterContinental Sydney , Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay and Primus Hotel Sydney .

Vibe Hotel Sydney. This modern hotel is conveniently located in the center of CBD. Amenities include a rooftop pool, a sauna, 24-hour room service, meeting rooms, a coffee bar and a convention center. Click here to see the latest prices .

Other recommended midprice hotel options: Novotel Sydney Central , Holiday Inn Old Sydney , Travelodge Hotel Sydney Martin Place , Veriu Broadway and Park Regis City Centre .

Sydney Harbour YHA. This hostel has both private and dormitory rooms and is conveniently located in the heart of the Rocks district with great rooftop views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour. Amenities include a 24/7 reception desk, TV lounge, free WiFi in the lounge area, fully equipped communal kitchen andguest laundry. Click here to see the latest prices .

Have you visited Sydney? If so what would you recommend first time visitors see and do if they only have two days in Sydney ?

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International Travel Checklist: 15 Essential Things To Do Before Traveling Abroad

savvyglobetrotter

There is no doubt that exploring Sydney is on our bucket list. I would love to ride the ferry to Manly to see the amazing Opera House and other sites from the water. But your day 2 itinerary may be my favorite as I am a beach bum by nature so a Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk sounds like heaven to me!

I’ve always wanted to go to Sydney although never knew how long I should spend there. Look like you can see a lot in two days! Good to know.

I’ll definitely go to Bondi Beach!! 48 hours seem short – I guess I would really stay for more!

I doubt I’ll ever visit Sydney, but Bondi Beach looks like fun. I would like to visit Australia though more for the natural beauty than cityscapes.

Absolutely have to visit Australia and definitely Sydney!

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The Ultimate Sydney Itinerary (5 to 7 Days)

Heading to Sydney? Well here’s how to make the most of it with my ultimate Sydney Itinerary – inc where to stay and the top things to do!

Trying to put together your perfect Sydney itinerary and not sure where to start?

Well this iconic Aussie city is packed full of things to see and do – from world famous beaches to postcard perfect views and some awesome day trips too.

So to help you piece together your dream Sydney itinerary here’s a rundown of everything you’ll need to know and how to fit in all the best bits!

The Ultimate Sydney Itinerary – Everything You Need To Know

Getting to sydney.

Sydney is one of the top destinations for any trip to Australia . It’s only a short flight away from most of the major Australian cities too, making it easy to fit into your trip and also for Aussies looking to explore their home country too.

Flight Time To Sydney

  • Perth to Sydney =  4 hours 5 mins
  • Darwin to Sydney = 4 hours 20 mins
  • Cairns to Sydney = 4 hours 25 mins
  • Melbourne to Sydney = 1 hour 25 mins
  • Brisbane to Sydney = 1 hour 25 mins

With each trip being less than five hours, you will have plenty of time to explore the wonderful city of Sydney.

And of course if you don’t want to fly, you could choose to drive as part of an Aussie road trip. From Melbourne it’s around 9 hours or from Brisbane, you will have an almost 10-hour road trip.  

However you choose to travel to Sydney it’s well worth the trip and whether you’re travelling solo, with friends or even with the family in tow this beautiful city won’t disappoint. From the Sydney Opera House to the Skywalk, there are plenty of adventures to be had while you are in Sydney.  

Top Free Things To Do

Like any city, Sydney can get pretty pricey, pretty quickly! Luckily though there are plenty of free things to pack into your Sydney itinerary to keep you busy without breaking the bank!

Explore The Botanical Gardens  

For visitors that want to see some of the natural wonders of the area and beyond, you can take a short trip to the Royal Botanical Garden. This stunning garden is located East of the business district, just a short walk along from the Opera House, and contains 74 acres of land filled with beautiful flowers, plants and wildlife too. Head around to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for come incredible views – including that iconic shot of the harbour, Opera House and bridge.

Grab A Pic Of The Sydney Opera House  

One of the most beautiful structures in Sydney is undeniably the Opera House – which is the Australian icon all over the world! The sail-like structure is a must do for any Sydney itinerary and is free as long as you decide to take a tour of the exterior and not the interior! A great spot for sunset, the adjoining bars are the perfect spot for a cold beer or wine whilst soaking in the views.

Stroll Around Darling Harbour

Whilst you’re at the Opera House you can always extend your walk to take in Darling Harbour too. This vibrant part of the city if filled with amazing bars and restaurants so it’s the perfect stop of to refuel and soak in the city vibes!

Coogee to Bondi Beach Walk  

The famous Bondi Beach offers amazing views of the coast and the Coogee to Bondi Beach Walk is a great addition to any stay in Sydney. The beach walk trail is a 3-km walkway that takes you along the coast of Bondi Beach all the way to Coogee – or you could also do it in reverse too!

A beautiful scenic walk, make sure you pencil in a few hours to complete it so you can stop off and enjoy many of the secluded bays along the way.

Best Day Trips From Sydney  

As beautiful as the city of Sydney is, it’s also well worth including some days trips outside of the city as part of your Sydney itinerary. Escape the big smoke and explore some spots around Sydney – including epic landscapes and gorgeous beaches.

Blue Mountains National Park  

One of the most popular day trips from Sydney, The Blu Mountains got their name from the blue hue that the eucalyptus leaves lay over the entire park and is a spot that all visitors will love. With the fresh scent from the leaves to the to magnificent waterfalls and view point this is a firm favourite for anyone

Manly Beach 

Although the name might make you think of a beach with a gym on it, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! This beach is reached by taking a ferry ride across the harbour from the Opera House – the boat trip alone is worth packing your camera for! Chill on the sprawling sands, learn to surf or visit the wildlife sanctuary to see fish and turtles for even more photo opportunities.  

Port Stephens  

This Port is one of the greenest in the area because of the many plants and bushes that line the border. With the towering trees surrounding the water, you are able to swim, snorkel, or go kayaking in the waters here. On route make sure you stop off and tackle the Port Stephens Sandboarding excursion for a bit of adrenaline fuelled fun!

Another super popular day trip from Sydney, Jervis Bay is full of natural beauty and this stretch of coastline is home to lots of dolphins too, so keep a watchful eye out for them.

Tobruk Sheep Station  

For the animal lovers that want to see some adorable creatures while in Sydney, they can take a day trip to the Tobruk Sheep Station where they can get a chance to see shearing demonstration. This is a family-friendly trip that children and adults will both love.  

Hunter Valley

If you love a good tipple or two then a trip to the Hunter Valley region is a must do during your stay in Sydney! With a huge range of award winning vineyards and breweries to explore jumping on a Hunter Valley day trip will help you make the most of this stunning area and sample some of the best wines and beers in Australia.

Best Places To Eat In Sydney  

Honestly there is a ridiculous amount of incredible restaurants and food vendors to eat your way through whilst exploring Sydney – but here are some of the highlights!

Tetsuya’s  

This restaurant is for those who want a new experience while eating, and not just some great food. The chefs here are known for their multi-course meals that include both Japanese and French inspired dishes that you will not get anywhere else. This place is made for those with a sophisticated palette, so best to leave the kids out of this one!

Ester  

If you want a more casual option, then Ester will give you a contemporary twist on classic Australian dishes with lots of focus on fresh fish. There are also vegetarian dishes that will allow those on restrictive diets to have something great to eat as well. They also serve amazing desserts, so you might want to leave some room for them, or take one to-go….or maybe two!

Mr Wong  

This Cantonese restaurant is a treasure of the area with its industrial décor and comfortable environment. The delicious offerings from duck pancake rolls to dim sum, you can try a different flavor every time you come in.  Sydney has plenty of incredible Asian cuisine to choose from and Mr Wong is one of the top places to hit up.

Just a short walk from Sydney Central Station, the cities China Town is well worth a visit if you’re looking for a tasty, budget friendly spot to eat. With plenty of food vendors and restaurants to choose from you’ll find a huge range of tasty food to keep your belly happy.

Cow and the Moon  

This café and ice cream parlor is a hip corner spot that will give you lots of decadent creations with desserts that are breaking your diet for. They also serve coffee so you can have a bit of something hot with your cold dessert for the perfect afternoon snack.  

Lox Stock and Barrel  

A top choice for many visitors on a budget that want to get a taste of Australian history. From the corned-beef to the eggplant meals, you will find mouth-watering dishes that celebrate the Jewish history of the area while giving you a wonderful hot meal.    

Best Beaches Around Sydney  

Despite being a huge, sprawling city, Sydney is fringed by some incredibly beaches, that are easily reached from the city centre and some serious beach time is something you should add into your Sydney itinerary for sure!

Milk Beach  

If you don’t want to feel like a tourist, then head to Milk Beach with its view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. This beach is close to Bondi Beach, which is always packed full of tourists, but this small beach is usually pretty scarce and gives you much more room to relax.

Shelly Beach  

A great snorkelling spot, Shelly Beach is filled with sewed gardens and heaps of marine life. Make sure you put on plenty of sunscreen though, that Aussie sun isn’t very forgiving!

Bondi Beach  

A trip to Sydney would’ve be complete without a visit to the world famous Bondi Beach and this area is one of the top places that you should visit when staying in Australia. Famous for its bright blue waters, bustling nightlife and of course the lifeguards – Bondi Beach is perfect for sunbathing and surfing too.

Key Events & Festivals in Sydney  

Xmas and new year.

One of the biggest dates of the year for Sydney has to be the period from xmas to New Year – with hundreds of thousands of travellers descending on the city to enjoy an Aussie celebration! When it comes to xmas Bondi Beach is the place to head but you’ll have to get there early to nab your spot on the sand! Coogee is a greta alternative if you want to escape the backpacker crowds though.

When it comes to New Year Sydneys Botanical Garden is one of the best free locations to head for epic views of the midnight firework display. If you want to treat yourself though a ticket to one of the Opera House bars or boat cruises will give you a more exclusive view of the nights events.

Top tip though – if you’re heading to Sydney for xmas and/or new year make sure you book well in advance as accomodation books out and many have minimum stays of 7 nights, so be organised!

Sydney Fringe Festival  

The Sydney Fringe Festival is one event that you can’t miss. This festival uses music and art to create a wonderful preview of all the different people and things going on in Sydney. This is an open festival that you can spend all day at finding new bands and artists to see and listen to, which also helps support local music and art.  

Vivid Sydney

Another highlight of the Sydney calendar is the famous Vivid Sydney festival  – where the city comes alive with colour as light installations and performances pop up across the city. Of course the most famous of all is the light show projected onto the Opera House which is one you shouldn’t miss out on!

Chand Raat Festival  

The Chand Raat Festival is one of the biggest multi cultural celebrations in Australia. The festival brings forth all of the best parts of Middle Eastern culture and arts with performances from traditional dancers, henna tattoos, and face painting for the kids. You can also get a taste of food and treats with Middle Eastern spices and dishes that will tickle your taste buds.  

Yulefest in the Blue Mountains  

During the colder months of the year, you can find something fun to do at the Yulefest in the Blue Mountains. There are lots of Christmas events that will get you in the spirit of the season, including the appearance of a fully-suited Santa Claus. Many places in the area offer special events, but the times may vary, so check ahead.    

What’s The Best Time to Visit Sydney?

Shoulder season – september through november  .

If you want to see what Sydney has to offer but don’t want to deal with hundreds of crowds around the city, then you will want to go sometime in September November. This shoulder season means good deals on flights and accomodation – so more bang for your buck! The temperature is most moderate and comfortable throughout the entire day, making it ideal for wandering around the city and coastal paths.

Peak Season – November Through February

If you want the best of the weather and hit all the top events and festivals that dot Sydneys calendar then peak season is the way to go. Be warned though, temperatures can soar and it’s also the busiest time of year – so you’ll be paying top dollar for flights and accommodation and will need to book well in advance.

March Through May  

Many of the same shoulder season perks apply to this time of year with flight prices and event tickets being lower, but it’s a cooler season that is perfect for those who want to see Sydney before the cold winter months begin.    

Best Accommodation in Sydney  

As with the rest of Australia, there are many AirBnB locations across the city. Often close to many of the most popular areas of Sydney so you won’t have to travel far once you are here – these also allow you to feel more at home within the city than staying at a hotel and are great for groups too.

The TreeHouse

best sydney airbnb the treehouse

Click here for more info and to book

Penthouse Suite

This luxurious suite is one way to stay in the lap of luxury on a budget. This suite has one bedroom with two beds and a private bathroom. This place is located in the center of the CBD and is near all the things to do in the city. With a great view of the city below, you will also love just sitting next to the window and looking out around the town.

Studio with Courtyard

This small studio apartment is a budget option that still looks like the perfect spot to stay. The studio is small but will hold everything you need for your trip and comes with a courtyard on the balcony so you don’t feel cramped. This AirBnB is a private apartment and allows you to have all the privacy you need, and it is close to the downtown area where the action happens.

Click here for more info and to book  

Hostels  

If you’re a backpacker or looking for the best value accomodation throughout Australia then staying at a hostel is the way to go. Sydney has a huge range of hostels to suit every budget, ranging from cheap and cheerful to full flashpacker style setups.

WakeUp! Sydney

Situated right across from Sydney Central Station, WakeUp! is one of the most popular hostels in Sydney and is where I stayed when I first arrived in Australia – in fact I’ve stayed there many times since! The location makes it a great base for walking around the city or jump on a bus or train if you want to go further afield. With free wifi, great facilities and even an in-house bar it’s the perfect place for travellers wanting to meet new travel buddies.

YHA The Rocks

A full flashpacker style hostel YHA The Rocks has won a whole heap of awards. The main draw here are the million dollar views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House – with many private rooms offering views of them!

And if you’re not lucky enough to score a room with a view the rooftop BBQ areas has some spectacular panoramic views of the whole Harbour!

Base Sydney

Base Sydney boasts a central location that allows access to the best parts of the city by foot and is another great option for budget travellers. An easy walk down the main shopping streets of Sydney it’s about a 15 mins walk down to Darling Harbour and the Oper House.

Mid-Range Hotels  

Not keen on hostel life and want to ease and comfort of a hotel? Well Sydney has an array of mid range hotels that have all the creature comforts of home for an affordable price…

Mercure Hotel Parramatta

This mid-range option is a great choice for young couples that want to see the nightlight of Sydney within a budget. The rooms are spacious and parking is on-site for those with a rented vehicle. This location is nearby shopping centres and gardens so you have plenty of things to do.

Rydges Sydney Harbour

With an incredible location and rooftop pool overlooking Sydney Harbour this is an awesome choice for a mid range hotel in Sydney. Walking distance to all the icons of the city and the train station for those trips further afield it comes with all the amenities you’d expect from a good Sydney hotel.

Luxury Hotels  

If you would rather spend your time enjoying the finer things in life, then booking a luxury hotel will give you what you want! These hotels boast room service, top-notch spas and gyms, and many have in house dinning options for guests. Kick back in the lap of luxury after a day of traveling and walking around the city.  

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney  

This luxurious option is a choice that comes with fantastic views and modern décor and furniture. The rooms are larger than others in the area, and although the price is higher, you get what you pay for! This includes a bar, fitness centre, restaurant, and pool and of course INCREDIBLE views!

Swissotel Sydney

Another great option right in the centre of the CBD, Swissotel Sydney oozes style, elegance and class! Walking distance from pretty much everything there’s a range of luxurious rooms for singles, couples and families and the on site facilities even include a day spa.

Meriton Suites Kent Street  

These suites are located close enough to the harbor that you can walk to it and nearby a shopping center for some souvenirs.   The rooms come with free Wifi, flat screens, and air conditioning for the hotter months of the year for your comfort as well as a fitness centre to help you stay in shape on your vacation.  

The Perfect Sydney Itinerary

Whether you’re putting together a Sydney itinerary for 5 days or a longer or shorter stay, you will want to tick off all of the best things to do during your stay. So to help make the most of what the city has to offer here’s how I’d recommend spending your time in Sydney…and of course you can tailor it to fit your own style and budget!

Day 1  – Beach Vibes At Bondi

After traveling to Sydney, you don’t want to jump into the action right away, so why not spend a relaxing day at Bondi Beach? This area does get busy, but you can feed off the energy of the other people and splash around in the water after laying out in the sun. There are also lots of shops and cafés nearby so you can get a hot latte or cold smoothie whenever you need it.  

After refuelling, you will be ready to head out on the town. Time to to tackle the Bondi to Coggee Beach Walk that leads you all the way to Coogee Beach – giving yourself plenty of time  to stop off en route.

Time to tick off one of Sydneys top attractions – the Sydney Opera House! Grab the bus or train down to the Harbour in time for some incredible sunset views – including the Opera House, Harbour and Bridge. A great way to wrap up your first day in Sydney.

Day 2  – The Blue Mountains

After a chilled day exploring the beaches and settling into your time in Sydney it’s time to bounce out of the hustle and bustle for the day and explore the Blue Mountains.

You could opt to hire a care and self drive out there but honestly the easiest and most popular option is to book onto a Blue Mountains Tour. With pickups and drop offs across the city its ideal for all styles of traveller.

Depending on the tour your choose you’ll explore stunning waterfalls, stop off at the popular Wildlife Park for your chance to feed kangaroos and get a pic with a Koala, chow down on an Aussie BBQ and of course soak up those famous views of the 3 Sisters and the landscape that makes the Blue Mountains so famous.

Heading back into Sydney in the late afternoon grab a bite to eat at one fo the many restaurants around Sydney or head straight to Darling Harbour for a cheeky cocktail and fancy meal out!

Day 3 – City Strolls

After a day of adventure out in the Blue Mountains is time to tie up those shoes and get ready for a day strolling around the city.

Or if you fancy taking even more of what the city has to offer the the City Bus Pass is a great option – allowing you to hop on and off at all the major stops and attractions around the City. The on board commentary gives you an insight into the city you might otherwise miss so it’s well worth it.

Nip into China Town for some lunch time snacks or boot up TripAdvisor and find your favourite cuisine – Sydney has it all!

Finish off your day at the Sydney Sky Tower, which is an incredible spot for sunset and the in house dinning is certainly and extravagance you can easily justify!  

Day 4 – Jervis Bay

Time for another day trip!

You’ll hit up the beach with the whitest sand in the world at Hyams Beach – so get ready for some pics and world class sunbathing! Keep that camera handy too as there are some stunning lookout points all along this stretch of coastline and you can even jump on a dolphin watching cruise too.

And of course if Jervis Bay doesn’t take your fancy Port Stephens is another awesome option to slot in here if you fancy some sand boarding action!

Day 7 – Across To Manly & The Botanical Gardens

Round off your Sydney itinerary with a final day of relaxation across and Manly Beach. Not only will you get to take in those fabulous views of the Opera House on the boat ride over, but this alternative side to Sydney is perfect for beach lovers, surfers and foodies.

Stroll along the coast, grab a coffee with an epic view and enjoy your final day in Sydney before grabbing the ferry back to the city and taking a walk through the Botanical Gardens.

Not only are they home to heaps of awesome flora and fauna but you’ll get more incredible views of the Opera House and Bridge too…and the perfect excuse for another sunset beer there!

Got Longer?

And of course if you’re putting together a 7 day Sydney itinerary (or longer) there’s more than enough to keep you busy – from Taronga Zoo and the Aquarium to live music, incredible food and of course even more beaches!

What awesome things are you adding into your Sydney itinerary?

Add them in the comment below, related posts.

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Thanks for the info and recommended tour. :) I must also say- the TreeHouse seems amazing!

Fantastic article about Sydney and the prominent places to see is the Opera house most marvelous though…

Can’t wait until it’s safe to travel again? Amazing tips and story. How have you been adjusting to the pandemic so far?

very nice thanks so much for sharing

Amazing place for spend a week.

Thank you so much for sharing this. Is there any news when we could travel to sydney? Because a lot of trips were cancelled due to COVID-19. What do you think?

I was planning my new year trip and couldn’t decide the destination but I’m glad that I came by your post. Now I’m heading to Sydney with my girlfriend and Jeep Wrangler. Thank you for sharing this itinerary and helping me decide the perfect spot.

Glad it helped you out Johnny, have an awesome time!

Hey Chris, thanks for the itinerary! I can attest that most of the recommendations here are absolutely epic, and I had a blast there. I didn’t know about Shelly beach though, will make sure to check it out next time!

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LET uS SHOW YOU THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY

Paula and Charles Sydney Expert

Hi, we are Paula and Charles; we created this independent Sydney travel guide because we want you to have the best time discovering all the places we think make Sydney great!

We cover everything from scenic walks to new bars and restaurants, the best sites on the harbour and in the mountains. Whether you are looking to plan a day out on a budget or splurge for a special occasion, you will find ideas here to help.

Since 2010, we have been sharing our first-hand experience of things to see and do across the city and the state of NSW. We’re here to help you find fun things to do in Sydney, whether you are a local or a visitor.

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A Complete Guide To Sydney, Australia

Updated On 28th February, 2024

Sydney is one of  the  most popular and  the  most beautiful cities in the world to visit and it’s really not hard to see why. In this Sydney travel guide, I am going to take you through everything you need to know before visiting, to help you with planning your adventure down under. From the best places to visit in Sydney to the best things to do in Sydney, you’ll be fully prepared for visiting Sydney while backpacking Australia in 2022 by the time you reach the end of the post.

If you’ve never been to Sydney before, you’re in for a  treat.  Sydney is no ordinary city. Why? In my eyes, it’s the immersion of beach culture and outdoor living (with over 100 beaches) that it so elegantly offers on the side of its thriving CBD. Sydney is an absolute vibe and when it comes to city living. If you thrive on city living, Sydney is up there delivering the best kind. Visiting Sydney is up there with some of the  best things to do in Australia !

Sydney is the capital of New South Wales (NSW) located on the Southeastern coast of  Australia  and is the gateway destination for a lot of people entering Australia. Sydney is also a popular city to end an adventure down under… with a bang (NYE fireworks to be specific). It’s one of the best  places to visit on the East Coast  for a whole host of reasons.

For most, a trip to Australia is a once in a lifetime opportunity and so checking off everything on your bucket list is a must whilst you’re here. Sydney holds a number of attractions/events that show up on most peoples bucket lists including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach and most definitely the NYE firework spectacle in the harbour. And that’s without mentioning the countless  day trips from Sydney  that are on offer, such as the  Blue Mountains  or the  Hunter Valley ! So it’s a destination to get a little prepared for when you’re backpacking Australia, hence this Sydney travel guide.

I have personally been to Sydney on 5 separate occasions and so I feel ready to help you plan your time in Sydney and to share with you this complete Sydney guide.

Question is, are  you  ready?

Other posts that may help you plan your trip to Australia:

  • Farm work in Australia: How to find work, top tips and advice
  • A complete guide to Australia
  • A complete guide to Sydney
  • A complete guide to solo travel in Australia
  • A guide to budgeting for backpacking Australia
  • Planning your transport in Australia

EXPLORE ALL OUR SYDNEY TRAVEL GUIDES HERE

Australia Google Map Legend

Australia Google Map Legend

Get lifetime access to my endless hours of research and time spent on the ground finding the best places to eat, drink, relax and explore in the area. You simply open the Google Map on your device and all my pins are at the touch of your fingertips.

A complete guide to Sydney, Australia

A complete guide to Sydney, Australia

Getting from sydney airport to the city centre.

Sydney airport isn’t far from the CBD, around a 25-minute drive in fact. The best / easiest mode of transport totally depends on where you’re staying, how much luggage you have and how much patience you have haha.

From the airport you have a few options:

  • Taxi  from the airport
  • Uber  from the airport
  • The cheapest option  is the  train  which runs every 10 minutes from the airport terminals into the CBD.

Top tip: Check out the flight deals on  Skyscanner here.

See my complete guide to planning your transport and travel in Australia  here.

Budgeting for Sydney…

Cities always tend to present a higher cost of living than out in the suburbs and beyond. Sydney is no different. It can be an expensive destination while you’re backpacking Australia but it’s worth every penny. You’ve got your boujee hotels and swanky restaurants for sure but you’ve also got backpacker hostels and happy hours dotted everywhere. There are  free walks , so much sightseeing and plenty of ways to soak up Sydney’s beauty without denting your wallet too much.

In my eyes, there’s always a deal to be found, even in the most expensive cities in the world. It lies in your willingness to find it.

Example prices in Sydney:

  • $20 City Airport Train to Circular Quay from airport using Opal card
  • $6-10 for a spirit or mixer (look for happy hours!)
  • $8-14 for a meal out in a cafe.  Check out places for brunch in Sydney here.
  • $65 2 hour surfing lesson
  • $200-250 Sydney Bridge Climb
  • $19 Sydney Pylon lookout (cheaper version of the Bridge climb)
  • FREE –  Coogee to Bondi Beach walk
  • $12-18 cocktail at the Sydney Opera House bar

Find out more about budgeting for backpacking Australia here. 

6 walks to go on in and around Sydney, Australia

On a backpacker budget? Here are  25 top tips for saving money and travelling on a budget!

Accommodation in Sydney: Where to stay in Sydney…

Before you choose your accommodation in Sydney, consider what your priorities are when exploring Sydney and what kind of vibe you’re looking for…

Are you looking to stay by the beach with a few trips into the city?  Consider looking at  Manly Beach , Bondi Beach or Coogee Beach.

Looking for a real city bustle feel to your trip?  Consider staying in Darling Harbour, in Wooloomooloo or push the boat out with a hotel overlooking the Sydney Opera House!

Do you want to be within walking distance of the city but not right in the centre of it all?  Consider Double Bay,  Surry Hills .  See my guide to Surry Hills  here.

Looking to party, party, party?  Consider Bondi, Bondi Junction or Kings Cross.

Sydney is huge and super diverse so have a little think about what you really want outside your doorstep. I’d suggest making your Sydney bucket list and reading this Sydney travel guide first, then you’ll have more of an idea of where you want to be!  See more of the best things to do in Sydney here.

See my guide to hostels in Sydney  here.

If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, check out  this blog post for all my hostel top tips and hostel packing essentials.

Getting around Sydney…

Sydney covers a large area (12,368 km²) and has a pretty complex transport system to navigate it. There’s no  best way  to get around. It totally depends on where you’re staying, where you’re looking to get to and which of the best things to do in Sydney you want to tick off your bucket list. For example if you live on the northern beach of Manly, getting the express ferry across to the city is much quicker than driving across the bridge which can take over an hour with likely traffic.

Transport options for exploring Sydney include:

  • Sydney trains
  • Sydney Metro (underground system)

To use public transport in Sydney you will need to purchase an Opal transport card (very much like the Oyster card in London) which you’ll then be able to use to tap in and tap out. You can purchase from the train stations or from local shops (look out for the sticker in the window).

See more information about  Opal cards and fees here.

6 walks to go on in and around Sydney, Australia

Top tip: If you’d prefer to take public transport instead of walking, CityMapper is a great app that helps you get from A to B in Sydney.  Check out other useful travel apps in this blog post.

6 walks to go on in and around Sydney, Australia

Places to eat and drink whilst in Sydney…

Places to eat:.

  • It’s obviously a little pricey because of the views, but if you get a chance, eat at the Sydney Opera Bar or at one of the restaurants on the harbour. They all boast that view and it’s priceless. Get your cameras at the ready!
  • HOME, a Thai restaurant near Chinatown. Super reasonably priced and v.v. yummy! The massaman curry is my favourite!!!
  • Nudefish Poké in Bondi is another favourite of mine
  • The Bucket List in Bondi too. It’s the place to be for cocktails and live DJ after a day on the beach.
  • Ice cream at N2 (China Town) or Messina ( Surry Hills )
  • Altitude Restaurant. Located 36 floors up, at the top of the Shangri-la hotel, is a restaurant with unrivalled panoramic views over Sydney. An unforgettable experience.  See website here .

Places to drink:

  • You cannot visit Sydney without a sunset beverage at the Opera House Bar. Make sure you do it and watch the sunset go down with your favourite cocktail/mocktail!
  • Kings Cross is one of the many places that come alive in the evenings in Sydney and is where you’ll find a lot of lively bars and live music!
  • Darling Harbour is home to a few night clubs and a lot of restaurants along the river… a real nice ‘put your dress on and feel like you’re on holiday’ vibe
  • Watson’s Bay Hotel is another gorgeous place to explore and spend the day with a few drinks and food.
  • The Ivy for some trendy poolside drinking in the city
  • The Butler is one of my favourites. A gorgeous bar, amazing cocktails and skyline views of Sydney including the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

See my favourite coffee and brunch spots in Sydney  here.

These are my  favourite health cafes in Australia.

Example itineraries in Sydney…

See my 3-day itinerary for exploring Sydney  here in this guide.

A complete guide to Sydney, Australia

See my 4-day itinerary for exploring Sydney  here in this guide.

Top things to do in Sydney, Australia…

1. go on one of the many incredible walks in sydney..

Not only is walking a stunning and incredible way to explore Sydney, but it’s also one of the best free things to do in Sydney!  Check out the best walks in Sydney in this blog post.

The Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk, Sydney

See my favourite 6 walks to go on in Sydney  here.

2. Catch sunrise or sunset from Mrs Macquarie’s Point.

Walk past the Opera House and continue along the waterfront until you reach this point, where you will get a view like no other of the sun over the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. This is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Sydney, or the sunrise if you’re an early bird!

For an epic Melbourne to Sydney road trip itinerary,  check out this post .

3. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most popular things to do in Sydney, and I’m not surprised with the views you can get across the city from the top! For more information, click  here .

If the official Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is a little out of your budget, consider heading up to the Pylon Lookout for similar views for just $19 Adult.  See more here.

6 walks to go on in and around Sydney, Australia

For advice on how to get your working holiday visa,  check out this post!

4. Have sunset dinner & drinks at the Opera Bar.

Located just beside the Opera House itself with incredible views over the landmark, one of the best things to do in Sydney is to grab your favourite cocktail or glass of bubbles and toast to the incredible adventure you are on! Check out their website  here .

A complete guide to Sydney, Australia

5. Get all the tourist snaps!

You know the ones… Bondi Beach in ya swimmers, Bondi Icebergs swimming pool, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge selfies! Don’t pretend getting the snaps for the ‘gram wasn’t already top of your Sydney bucket list…

How to spend 3 days in Sydney

Check out how to improve your travel photography for those all important Sydney photos  here.

6. Take on the Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach walk.

I know I already mentioned  walks in Sydney , but this coastal experience is one you cannot miss and so you must make sure you do it!  This walk  is one of my favourite things to do in Sydney; I absolutely love getting in the fresh air and seeing the city from the ground. Coogee Beach and Bondi are both beautiful so you can take a dip in the water both sides!

A complete guide to Sydney, Australia

See my Coogee to Bondi coastal walk guide  here. 

How to spend 3 days in Sydney, Australia

7. Explore the Blue Mountains (Greater Sydney region).

The Blue Mountains National Park, a short train ride out of Sydney, is one of my favourite places to visit in Sydney. It’s amazing to get out of the city and be at one with nature, marvel at the rock formations, hike through the forest, and chill out in the waterfalls.

Click  here  to see my post about my self-guided experience – the cheapest way of doing it. 

travel blogs sydney

To see how I did my self-guided Blue Mountains trip, which is the cheapest way of exploring this beautiful area in Sydney,  check out this post.

6 walks to go on in and around Sydney, Australia

For my take on a group tour to the Blue Mountains,  check out this post.

8. Head over to Taronga Zoo, ‘the zoo with a view’.

Head down to Circular Quay and hop on a 12-minute ferry to Taronga where you can view over 4,000 animals including Kangaroos & Koalas! Tickets start at $42.30 for an adult day pass and can be purchased on the website  here .

For the ultimate East Coast Australia bucket list,  check out this post.

9. Meander through The Rocks.

Wander around one of the oldest parts of Sydney, located just beside Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s one of the best places to visit in Sydney. Look around the boutique shops, stroll through the markets (Paddy’s is my favourite) and pick up souvenirs, grab lunch in one of the gorgeous cafes, or grab a smoothie on the go.

Make sure you grab some food in the Rocks and take it for a picnic under the Harbour Bridge with views of the Sydney Opera House!

If you’re worried about making friends while you’re solo travelling,  here are all my top tips!

10. Go on a Hunter Valley wine tour.

If you’re a wine lover, HELLO you need to do this day trip. Visit a handful of wineries just north of Sydney and get the full experience. The Hunter Valley is the perfect place for your  Sydney day trip  and I can’t wait to go back again. If you’re not into wine, don’t worry; there’s also a brewery, cheese and chocolate factory, and a wildlife park.

See  my full Hunter Valley experience  here . Highly recommend!

A roadtrip from Sydney to Newcastle... Stockton Sand Dunes and Mount Tomaree | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

If you’re backpacking Australia solo and feeling a little apprehensive, here’s my guide to  solo travel in Australia!

11. Explore Manly for the day.

My favourite of the places to visit in Sydney! Take the ferry over and in 15 minutes you’ll arrive at this super laid back, beachy, surfy town that will have you head over heels. See  my complete guide to Manly  here .

A complete guide to Manly, Sydney

Check out the best 20 day trips from Sydney in this post.

12. Explore some of Sydney’s beaches!

Of all the top things to do in Sydney, you cannot miss the beach! There are SO many to explore here are just a few to consider:

  • Bondi Beach
  • Coogee Beach
  • Manly Beach
  • Bronte Beach
  • Watson’s Bay

A bucket list of destinations for the first time backpacker

Consider a day trip in the car down to Hyams Beach, one of the whitest sand beaches in the world! See my trip  here.

Check out our complete list of the  25 best things to do in Sydney here!

EXPLORE ALL OUR AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDES HERE

Have you been to Sydney?

What were your favourite things to do in Sydney? Anything you’d add to this Sydney travel guide?

Love as always and happy adventuring,

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A complete guide to Sydney, Australia

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I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. 

I’D LOVE TO SHARE THE JOURNEY WITH YOU, WE’VE GROWN A LOT SINCE THEN!

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The Perfect Sydney Itinerary for 3-5 Days

Picture of Alesha and Jarryd

  • Last Updated: February 5, 2024

If you have more than a few days to spend in Sydney, Australia you can find plenty to do! In this post, we’ve put together your best 3-5 day Sydney itinerary!

Sydney is a city that many people dream about travelling here. They see images of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House in magazines or on television and put this destination on their bucket list.

If you want stunning white sanded beaches and beautiful nature where you can go on great walks, Sydney has it. And if you want great historical buildings, galleries and museums to learn about, Sydney has that too. Whatsmore, if you want to have a drink and dine with great views, again Sydney has it.

We’ve only just scratched the surface and it only gets better!!

You could easily spend up to 5 days exploring just the CBD to the outer suburbs of Sydney. There is so much to do in this city and we’re going to take you there in this Sydney itinerary!

People Walking With Sydney In Background

Table of Contents

Getting around Sydney

Cahill walkway, sydney opera house, royal botanic gardens, queen victoria building, sydney tower eye, climb or walk across the sydney harbour bridge, get a ferry to manly, walk along the north styne and the corso, go snorkelling at shelly beach and at cabbage tree bay, observatory hill for sunset, walk from circular quay to darling harbour, australia national maritime museum, lunch on king street right on darling harbour, jump on a harbour cruise, check out the chinese garden of friendship, visit chinatown in the evening to get some great food, taronga zoo, south head heritage trail, hornby lighthouse, paddington markets, bondi beach, bondi beach to coogee beach coastal walk, mrs macquarie’s chair for sunset, the ultimate 3 – 5 day sydney itinerary.

Before we get started on the itinerary for Sydney, let’s cover how to get around the city.

Spending only 3 days in Sydney will be tough. And even with 5 days in Sydney, you’re going to need to understand the best transportation methods and routes so you can make the most of your time there!

This is totally up to you. But our personal favourite option is using public transportation. You do NOT need to rent a car if you are exploring Sydney and the surround suburbs.

Getting around Sydney to your destinations by public transport is easy. Plan your trip on the Transport NSW website here . It is easy to use and the website will tell you what bus/train/ferry to get and how to to do so.

The best thing is to get yourself an Opal Card. This will make everything to do with public transport easier.

There is no charge for an Opal card. But when you first get your card, you will have to put some money on it. For the first top-up, you have to put a minimum value of $20 for an adult card and $10 for a child or concession card.

You can top it up at retailers who have the Opal Card logo on their shop doors/windows or when using top-up machines. You can find a retailer in on the Transport NSW website here .

If you forget your Opal Card, don’t panic! You do not have to buy another one to get on the transport. You can also use your credit card like the opal card to get on the bus/train/ferry now.

You can also get a taxi around Sydney and it is easy to book. The local taxi companies have apps now or you can book a DiDi or Uber on their apps. If there are a few of you it may work out cheaper than public transport.

You can rent a car if you would like. But city parking is a nightmare and can be costly. If you going on a day trip from Sydney to the Blue Mountains or other nearby attractions, then renting a car might be a great option for you.

If you are choosing to do this check out the car rental deals here .

Boat With Opera House And Bridge In Background

Day 1 – City and Surrounding

Welcome to Sydney! You may have flown in during the morning or afternoon so on day one of your five days in Sydney just take it easy and explore close.

This day is about exploring near to the hotel or Airbnb. So put on your walking shoes. If you get tired, your hotel is right there if you are staying downtown.

First up on Day 1 is the area called The Rocks. The Rocks is a hidden neighbourhood of Sydney that features historic laneways, street food markets and shopping. This is a great place to explore during the day and at night.

The Rocks is where European settlers stepped ashore in 1788, making it the birthplace of modern Sydney. Discover its colonial history that has transformed from a British colony into an entertainment precinct by spectacular Sydney Harbour.

To discover the magic of The Rocks, go on a self-guided tour or join one of their walking tours.

Explore by foot and visit markets, museums and galleries tucked into little laneways. Take a free walking tour that starts at 6 pm (Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays) outside Cadmans Cottage .

By going on this walk you learn so much about the area from a local and you can get some tips on the best places to dine or go for a drink. Amble along cobbled laneways, enjoy a great coffee from the number of cafes or a cold drink at some of Australia’s oldest pubs.

It’s also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art for local artists as well as foreign exhibits. If you are into artwork definitely check this place out. They have different exhibitions monthly.

On the weekend is when The Rocks really come alive. There is The Rocks Markets on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am – 5 pm with lots of stalls selling a variety of products, food trucks and cafes to enjoy.

You can even go on The Rocks Ghost Tour , which will bring you a whole other view and knowledge about this ancient suburb.

On the weekends, pubs and cafes in the area have live music while you dine and enjoy some food or drinks. If you want something a little fancier, check out the upscale restaurants with harbour views.

Old Buildings The Rocks

The Cahill Walk is one of the best lookouts in Sydney, and it’s a pity that so few people know about this incredible place.

The Cahill Walk offers some truly stunning views over iconic landmarks which makes it well worth checking out even with only a few days in Sydney!

It is a great viewpoint during the day and at night if you are into photography.

There are three ways to access it:

1. Royal Botanic Garden- located on the northern end of the Royal Botanic Garden along Macquarie Street.

2. Lift at Circular Quay – by a lift in the eastern section of Circular Quay. This is the best entry point for wheelchair access to the Cahill Expressway Lookout.

3. Bridge Stairs in The Rocks: this entrance is at the Bridge Stairs in The Rocks, which is also the starting point of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk heading in the opposite direction.

Views From The Cahill Walkway In Sydney

The Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous icon of 20th Century architecture.

It’s known for its beautiful location on the harbour, innovative design & construction, state-of-the-art engineering achievements as well as world-class performances in opera music and ballet to contemporary dance theatre.

Get an inside look into this iconic building with daily tours that are available in multiple languages!

If you are interested in booking any of the shows that are at the Sydney Opera House, you will need to book in advance.

  • Address – Bennelong Point, Sydney
  • Price – Free to walk around the outside. $42 for an adult and $22 for children.
  • Opening Hours – Monday to Saturday 9am – 8.30pm and Sunday 9am – 5pm 

The Opera House

The Royal Botanic Gardens is a favourite of ours and should be on any Sydney travel plan. It is located only 5 minutes from the CBD and you will walk into this lush oasis.

The beautiful 30 hectares of garden wraps around the Sydney Harbour and offers so many great viewpoints of the iconic Sydney Opera House, Bridge and the skyline.

The garden was established in 1816 and is home to an amazing collection of plants from Australia and overseas. These are located in the garden’s glasshouses. This place has over 2.400 plants from various countries. It’s definitely worth going in if you are a plant lover.

If you want to explore the whole garden, it will take you about 2.5 hours. There are cafes in the gardens where you can grab a bite and sit and enjoy your snack by the harbour water.

The garden offers a number of tours including the Aboriginal Heritage Tour , a free guided walk and bespoke heritage tours. If you are interested, see their website for details.

You can check out the map on the Royal Botanic Gardens website here . They update the website with events and exhibitions that are going in the garden so keep an eye out.

This garden is a beautiful way to have some nice peace and quiet and get away from the city’s hustle-bustle.

  • Address – Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney
  • Price – Free / Glasshouse – $19.50 per adult
  • Opening Hours – 7 days a week from 7am to 5pm

People Walking In Front Of Sydney's Skyline

READ MORE – Check out our article on Free Things to do in Sydney

Australia’s oldest park, Hyde Park is divided by Park Street. The southern section of the park contains the ANZAC Memorial building and the visitor centre if you have any questions or need a map.

The iconic Archibald Fountain in the northern end of the park has theme gardens of Nagoya Gardens replete with public artworks and water features.

Hyde Park is a historic place with around 580 mature exotic and native trees including Hill’s Figs, which line the central pedestrian avenue from Macquarie Street to the ANZAC Memorial Building. It is really beautiful to see during the day or at night.

If you follow Hyde Park down the north end where the fountain is, you will see St Mary’s Cathedral. It is hard to miss with its two large towers.

It took a total of 60 years to build this church, starting in 1865, as it was completed in three stages – the northern section in 1882, the central tower in 1900 and the Nave in 1928. It is free to go in if you like and is open from 10 am – 5 pm weekly and hours reduce on the weekends.

If you are interested, there is the Australian Museum located right near the park also. The Australian Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world.

It has a global reputation for its natural history and anthropology collections, with an international standing that surpasses many other institutions across Australia.

The museum is free to enter to visit the permanent exhaustion but if there are any special ones there may be a small fee. It is located on William St and is also open from 10 am to 5 pm.

  • Address – Elizabeth St, Sydney
  • Price – Free to enter the park, church and museum
  • Opening Hours – Park is open all hours. Church and Museum – 10am – 5pm

Fountain In Hype Park

As you walk through the CBD, make your way down to the Queen Victoria Building . Also known as the QVB, the stunning piece of architecture was built in 1897 to show respect to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

This beautiful historical building is lined with department stores and big-name brands. This pedestrian area is nice even just for window shopping if you don’t have the money to spend.

Whether or not are looking to shop, turn into Strand Arcade , a historic arcade from the 19th century that’s also listed as a heritage site. This building is definitely worth a pop in for a look.

  • Address – Pitt St, Sydney
  • Opening Hours – Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat: 9am-6pm, Thu: 9am-9pm, Sun:10am-5pm

Queen Victoria Building

At 309m tall with amazing 360 degrees views of the city and surroundings, the Sydney Eye Tower is the tallest building in Sydney and should be automatically added to your Sydney itinerary.

The Observation Deck lets you gaze 250 meters above ground level from a glass floor and an outdoor platform called Skywalk that makes it easy to get vertigo. You can head up here for sunset and get a beautiful view. Stay a bit longer and check the city out at night.

You can even check out the skywalk at about 268m and walk out into the open air and take in the breathtaking views for 60 minutes. The ticket for this also gives you access to the Observation deck before and after the skywalk.

  • Address – Level 5/108 Market St, Sydney
  • Price – General Admission to the Observation Deck – $24.80 per adult / Skywalk Admission – $59.80 per adult
  • Opening Hours – 10am – 8pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
  • If you want to plan ahead and skip the line?

Looking Up At Sydney Tower Eye

Day 2 – Sydney Harbour Bridge and Manly

Day 2 starts by getting up early and watching the sunrise over Sydney. Grab your flip flops and head to the beach and learn to surf or go snorkelling!

Why not get up before sunrise and watch the city light up on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can do this tour or wait until later in the day if you want.

The bridge is one of several iconic symbols that represent Sydney. Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is one attraction that many tourists add to their Sydney itinerary.

The Bridge is the largest steel arch bridge in the world and spans one of the finest natural harbours – it’s also known as The Coathanger because of its unique design.

It is possible to explore the bridge in several ways. You can walk or cycle across it or you can climb up it, with a harness, of course, and get stunning views from above Sydney Harbour!

Walkers On Sydney Harbour Bridge

A trip to Sydney is not complete without an excursion to the famous suburb of Manly in Northern Beaches.

Over 8 million visitors per year head to Manly, some on the iconic green and yellow ferries which travel from Circular Quay to Manly Harbour. The ferry service started in 1855 and now there are many iconic ferries that take you to different locations.

Two of the ferries go from both ways – the Manly Fast Ferries and the famous iconic ferry which takes a little longer. The famous icon ferry is a 30 minute trip across the harbour, past the opening for the harbour and onto Manly. And the Fast Ferry takes about 18-20 minutes.

Visitors come from all over Australia and around the world because Manly is a gateway for natural attractions like beaches, restaurants, shops and cultural events.

  • Price – Iconic Ferry: $7.76 per adult per way, Fast Ferry: $9.90 per adult per way
  • Opening Hours – Operates 7 days a week from 6:15am until 9:25pm on weekdays and from 9:45am until 9:00pm on weekends and public holidays.
  • Transport – Catch the F1 ferry to Manly from Circular Quay Wharf. The ferry goes every half an hour.

Ferry In Circular Quay

One of the best things you can do visiting Sydney in 3 days is to spend a morning exploring the iconic beach of Manly. This place is a tourist attraction and there are so many reasons why.

If you are there on the weekend the Corso will be full over markets with people selling unique products. It is very lively with a relaxed beach feel.

You can grab a coffee and walk up and down the Noth Styne walkway people-watching or watch the volleyball players if a game is on. This pedestrian walkway gets busy with cyclists, skateboarders, friends walking, people running and families going for a stroll.

Grab breakfast or lunch at one of the many cafes with beachfront views or get a takeaway and sit by the water.

Manly Beach People Walking

Next on your Sydney itinerary is some swimming and snorkelling. Head to Shelly Beach in Manly, a beautiful spot for snorkelling around Sydney!

In this perfect little bay, you may see an eastern blue grouper or a Port Jackson shark. They feel safe here and are seen regularly as the bay is protected and has been for more than 15 years.

Be sure to explore the whole bay, which is well protected on the north side by a barrier of rocks. Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve is located between Manly Beach and Shelly Beach. So don’t forget to stop off here on your way back.

There’s an active fish life around the rocks, even a resident cattle fish at the right time of year. You can hire snorkelling gear across the road from Cabbage Tree Bay or downtown Manly starting from $25 for the day.

Cabbage Tree Bay is a No Take Aquatic Reserve. Please take nothing and only leave footprints. Thank you. This area has become famous among divers and snorkelers due to its high visibility allowing them to see marine life up close.

If snorkelling is not your thing or you have more time to explore, why don’t you hire a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard for a couple of hours and explore the coastline?

  • Address – Bower Ln, Manly. The beach is located along Marine Parade Pedestrian Walkway
  • Price – $25 per rental set. Free to snorkel
  • Opening Hours – All day and ever day

Shelly Beach Drone Shot

After the day on the beach sunbathing, snorkelling or learning to surf grab some food and relax and watch the sunset over the city.

Observatory Hill is a great spot in the city CBD to watch the sunset. Bring along some cheese and crackers and watch the sun go down over Sydney.

The Observatory Hill grounds are open and free to walk around in. Pick a spot on the lawn and enjoy. This is a great way to end the day.

There is an observatory heritage-listed building on Observatory Hill with panoramic views over the harbour. It boasts beautiful gardens, which recreate historical 1880s garden designs.

This place has a central role in the history of timekeeping, meteorology and astronomy and is one of the most significant sites in Australia’s scientific history.

Daytime tours explore the southern sky via telescope while at night you can learn about some celestial objects from the guide! If you are keen, definitely book beforehand.

Views From Observatory Hill

Day 3 – Darling Harbour and Chinatown

Day 3 is another walking day on your Sydney itinerary so put on comfortable shoes. You will be going on a ferry and seeing the city from another point of view.

Take an easy morning and head out on a walk to Darling Harbour. You can walk this trail by following the harbour. The path will curve around the foreshore towards the bridge.

After going under the bridge you will walk past a row of former warehouses which were built in 1839, called Campbell’s Stores .

These buildings are now the home to a row of trendy waterfront restaurants and behind them, you can see the Metcalf Bond Stores (constructed much later between 1912-1916), which were converted into offices and shops in 1972.

You will hit Barangaroo Reserve , which is a beautiful spot. The reserve was named after a Cammeraygal woman called Barangaroo who was a powerful voice in the early days of colonial Sydney. The reserve is rich in Aboriginal and cultural history. This area is a favourite of ours.

Continuing the walk, this will take you to Darling Harbour.

The Old Factories And Brifge

Once you have walked over to the Darling Harbour, you will see the Australia National Maritime Museum across the harbour. You can’t miss the boat.

While you’re walking around to the museum, make sure to take in the views of the harbour. Darling Harbour is home to a number of attractions that will provide visitors with an immersive experience.

An attraction to check out is the Australia National Maritime Museum, which is located right on the harbour. The museum has over 2 million objects with everything relating to Britain’s naval history.

The exhibits include artefacts, maps and maritime memorabilia that cover famous battles in the sea as well as shipbuilding and even Napoleon. Don’t forget to check out the tall ship there also!

Each month the exhibitions change so check their website out for more information.

There is a number of dining options along King Street on the harbour. Each restaurant has beautiful views of the harbour. After dinner, you can go for a walk and take in all the light and the reflections on the water.

  • Address – 2 Murray St, Darling Harbour
  • Price – $25 per adult
  • Opening Hours – 9:30am to 5pm Daily

Want to plan ahead and skip the line?

National Maritime Museum

There is a number of restaurants along King Street looking over Darling Harbour. King Street Wharf is a fantastic place for foodies to eat, drink and with great views.

The area offers international cuisine, cocktails with live music or DJs all in one strip!

Make sure to walk along the wharf first and check out each restaurant. They usually display specials for the day on a board. You can definitely pick up some great lunch (and dinner) deals here.

Address – King Street Wharf

King Street Darling Harbour

After spending the morning walking around the markets and eating a delicious lunch, why not relax on the water?

Next on your Sydney itinerary is to hop on a Harbour Cruise from King Street Wharf where you can explore the area for 90 mins by water. The boats go every hour and a ticket can be booked online beforehand.

Sail through Sydney Harbour on a 90-minute cruise and see the iconic city skyline, enjoy tasty tapas and cocktails from the bar lounge while listening to live music. You can purchase beverages and food onboard if you like.

Enjoy 360° waterfront views sailing past popular sites such as The Opera House, Royal Botanical Garden & the bridge.

Start your journey by departing from the King Street Wharf with options to choose where you want to end up once completed – whether that be Circular Quay or right back where you started!

This is a great way to see the city from the water. You can get off the cruise at either King Street Wharf or at Circular Quay.

  • Address – King St Wharf 1, Darling Harbour, Sydney
  • Price – From $25 per adult

Sailing Boat On Sydney Harbour

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is a quiet escape nestled in the heart of Sydney. Take some time to read and relax here, as it offers an idyllic place for you to recharge your batteries after a day of exploring the Darling Harbour area and before you explore Chinatown at night nearby.

The garden features waterfalls, lakes with lotus plants and fish lagoons that make this spot truly unique! Entering the garden, you will be stepping back in the time with the quiet solitude that ancient architecture brings about with its relationship to nature.

There are a number of elements in the garden such as water, plants, stone and architecture for a tranquil atmosphere where you can sit back and relax.

The garden is under towering willow trees with lagoons filled with lotus flowers surrounded by colourful fish. With features including waterfalls, lakes, pavilions and sculptures, this spot really stands out amongst other parks around Sydney.

  • Address – Pier Street, Cnr Harbour St, Darling Harbour 
  • Price – $8 adult, $4 child (under 12)
  • Open Hours – Daily 9:30am-5pm. Closed Christmas and Good Friday

Chinese Temple In Garden

A vibrant, culturally diverse area of Sydney, Chinatown is buzzing with delicious food and unique culture and is worth adding to your Sydney itinerary.

Named for its first settlers in the 1850s – Chinese gold miners looking to seek their fortune – it has expanded into a much larger space since then.

Visitors can explore both the historical and cultural side by trying many different dishes and stopping off at one of the many stalls selling all sorts of things.

Make sure to check out the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art , which is a hidden gem in the middle of Chinatown. It offers rotating art exhibits that explore relationships between Australia and Asia, which provides an interesting perspective on the culture of both regions.

If you are here around late January and early February, check out the Sydney Lunar Festival, Sydney Lunar Festival Dragon Boat Races and the festivities of the Chinese New Year which all happen every year.

You can explore Chinatown on your own or on a 3-hour food tour, which is available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 6-9 pm. You will try a lot of dishes on the tour and learn about the area.

Sydney Chinatown

Day 4 – Taronga Zoo, Watson Bay, Hornby Lighthouse

This day of your itinerary in Sydney includes another day with those walking shoes! But on Day 4 you will go from seeing animals with a harbour view in the background to climbing up to a lighthouse and looking back on beautiful beach views.

The Sydney Taronga Zoo is home to over 1,000 animals, including a wide range of exotic and native animals.

One of the best things you can do is to admire the zoo’s various areas breaking the zoo up into areas like the Rainforest Trail, the African Savannah, the Free Flight Bird Area, Reptile and Nocturnal House. In these areas, you are able to come face-to-face with some fascinating animals.

The great thing about his zoo is that it does a lot of conservation work. Taronga zoo is committed to the conservation of native species and is actively involved in breed-and-release programs.

They have habitat recovery initiatives and wildlife rehabilitation for injured or orphaned animals before releasing them back into their natural habitats. And the zoo does a lot of good for the animals in general.

On the other end, they also have a lot of information to learn about the animals and bring up issues and threats these animals have to face in the wild. They have a section about ocean rubbish and climate change and what we can do to do our part.

  • Address – Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman
  • Price – $49 per adult. If it is your birthday and you have ID to prove it, it is free.
  • Opening Hours – 10am to 4 pm, Thursday to Monday. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Transport – From Circular Quay you can take a ferry across to the zoo. Take the F2 Taronga Zoo ferry. They start running from 9am and go every half an hour.

For other ways of transport, you can check out the Taronga Zoo Page here .

Giraffe With Sydney Landscape

After you have spent the morning at the zoo, take the ferry out to the Watson Bay area and walk up to Hornby Lighthouse . You will have to get the ferry back to Circular Quay and take another ferry to Watson Bay.

You can go for a dip in Watson Bay Beach or Camp Cove Beach. Camp Cove Beach, a beautiful little bay, is the better out of both options. The beach is nestled on the harbour side of South Head.

This delightful beach boasts millionaire views that are hard to miss. From swimming and snorkelling in calm waters, it is a beautiful bay to relax and break up the day.

Check out our post on Camp Cove Beach and other great beaches in Sydney .

If you are not up for a long walk but would like to see a nice lookout, you can make the 5-minute walk through Robertson Park and over to The Gap.

The Gap lookout is a rocky cliff in Watsons Bay where you can see the sandstone end abruptly and high, near-vertical cliffs that jumble of broken boulders along with pounding surf about 40 meters below. The lookout offers great views out along the rocky coastline and over the water.

Transport – Take the Ferry from Circular Quay to Watson Bay Wharf- F9 Watson Bay

Views From Watson Bay

The South Head Heritage Trail leads visitors through historically significant and majestic sections of Sydney Harbour’s tip, including The Gap and Hornby Lighthouse.

You can see where Europeans landed in Australia for the first time and explore military defense systems that were used by Australian soldiers during WWII to protect their country from invasion.

There are a few opportunities along this trail to grab something delicious to eat or sip on some coffee while taking it all in. This walk starts at Camp Cove in Watsons Bay, where you can walk along a cobblestone road that was built during the 1870s.

You can follow the map here if you are interested.

Camp Cove Beach

The iconic red and white striped tower sits on the clifftops surrounded by amazing views of the Sydney Harbour, Middle Head, North Head and, of course, the Pacific Ocean.

It’s a great spot for whale watching in winter if you are there at that time of the year. Or if you are an early riser, this is a great spot for sunrise and should easily make your Sydney itinerary.

The lighthouse was built in 1858 following the wrecking of The Dunbar at South Heads footings. It was designed by colonial architect Alexander Dawson Hornby and the Lighthouse was the third lit-up building on NSW soil.

Take some time exploring the gun emplacements before enjoying spectacular views of Sydney city. On your right, you will see be Middle Head while ahead lies beautiful Lady Bay Beach.

Once you get off the ferry, you will take Marina Parade along the Watson Bay Beach up to Camp Cove Beach and take the South Head Heritage Trail.

This trail leads up to the lighthouse. From the ferry station, it will take about 20 minutes to walk or you can take a taxi for about $9.

Hornby Lighthouse And The Ocean

Day 5 – Bondi to Coogee Beach

On this day in your Sydney itinerary, you will be exploring the markets before heading out to the beach. Bring your walking shoes, swimsuit, hat and a towel!

If you plan Sydney trip details to arrive in the city on a Saturday, the Paddington Markets is the best place to look for a bargain! Every Saturday, more than 200 vendors set up stalls where you can buy all sorts of products, from homemade goods to authentic items.

Located on Oxford Street, the atmosphere in this market is vibrant. There is live acoustic music as well an international food court, which makes it a great place to spend the morning.

Grab some breakfast and a coffee and enjoy the area. Parking may be difficult so best to take public transport or taxis.

  • Address – Paddington Uniting Church, 395 Oxford Street, Paddington
  • Price – Free to enter
  • Opening House – Every Saturday from 10am – 4pm
  • Transport – Take the B333 from Circular Quay to the nearest stop near Paddington Uniting Church. Just ask the bus driver to let you know when to hop off.

Stalls At The Paddington Markets

You can not come to Sydney without seeing the city’s most famous beach – Bondi Beach.

You will be surprised how many people are out swimming or surfing at this time of the morning. If you arrive early enough you can watch the lifesavers set up the flags and their gear for the day.

Relax on the beach and take it all in. Or book some surf lessons and get some tips from the pros.

By midday, the beach will be packed. So the earlier you come the better. If you do decide to go for a swim, do swim between the flags as this beach can be dangerous with strong currents and rip tides.

If your itinerary in Sydney permits you to be there on a Saturday or Sunday, the markets will be on. Head to Campbell Parade to check out the stalls.

On Saturday you will find the Bondi Farmers Markets which is on from 9 am – 1 pm selling fresh produce, gourmet food and some other stalls.

On Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm is another market called the Bondi Market which will also have lots of stalls with loads of goodies, food trucks and maybe even some live music. Both markets are in the same location.

Bondi Icebergs Pool

This iconic stretch is one of the most popular walks in Sydney. This 6 km (2-3 hr) walk along the beautiful cliffs has amazing views and is one thing you should not miss on your Sydney itinerary.

Highlights on this coastal walk are Bondi Beach, Bondi Icebergs, Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach, Clovelly, Coogee Beach and a 2,000-year-old Aboriginal rock carving.

This walk passes through places with history, beautiful landscapes and dreamy beaches. It is a great way to get away from the city hustle and bustle. And in the winter, this is a great place to spot humpback whales also.

There are toilets, drinking fountains, restaurants, cafes and BBQs along the way. But this is a long walk, so be prepared with a backpack, snacks and a water bottle.

Here are some suggested stops for you along the way:

Stops – Bondi Beach, Monument to Black Sunday, Mackenzies Point, Aboriginal engraving site, Tamarama, Bronte SLSC, Bronte Beach, Waverley Cemetery, Clovelly, Gordons Bay Underwater Nature Trail, Gordons Bay, Dunningham Reserve Sandstone Cliffs, Bali Memorial, Shrine to Virgin Mary, Coogee Beach.

In spring for 3 weeks, there is an exhibition on every year called the Sculptures by the Sea which has over 100 sculptures displayed outside with beautiful backgrounds. It is located in the Bondi to Tamarama section of the Coastal Walk.

Path On The Coatal Walk From Bondi To Coogee

Whether you come here on your last day in Sydney or on another evening on your trip, this is a great spot to get the iconic photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House with the sun setting over the city.

Head to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. This is a beautiful location to look at the sun setting behind the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sunset Over Harbour

As you can see there are so many things to do in Sydney. Every corner of Sydney offers something different.

We hope our Sydney itinerary helps you will plan your trip here!

READ MORE: Want to see more around Sydney? check out our article on Day Trips from Sydney you can do.

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The World on my Necklace

The World on my Necklace

A Travel Blog by Katie Chavez

The Ultimate 5 Days in Sydney Itinerary

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The Ultimate 5 Days in Sydney Itinerary | The World on my Necklace #sydney #itinerary #australia

Beautiful Sydney, Australia. You could spend weeks in Sydney and not see everything worth seeing so 5 days in Sydney will never be enough time – although you can cover some of the highlights if that is all you have to work with. 

With its iconic opera house, world-class dining, stunning city beaches, and pockets of National Park, Sydney gives any city around the world a run for its money in the best city stakes.

It is absolutely one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it’s not just beautiful, it has substance too.

Sydney is the oldest city in Australia, and there are a number of historic sandstone buildings that are still standing today. There are parts of Sydney that will make you feel like you have stepped back in time, and they sit right next to modern skyscrapers.

It’s this juxtaposition of old and new that makes Sydney a fascinating, and beautiful city.

Jacarandas in Sydney

Sydney draws over ten million tourists per year and is one of the top tourist destinations in Australia – Sydney tourism is booming.

It’s not hard to find a Sydney Itinerary online, but it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to do in Sydney.

There are so many places to visit in Sydney!

Beach views on the Bondi to Coogee Walk in Sydney

I lived in this gorgeous city two different times, for three years in total. I always knew that I wasn’t going to live in Sydney forever, so I made it my mission to explore as many Sydney attractions as possible during my time there.

I now consider myself a Sydney Expert – especially when it comes to the best Sydney walks .

So if you are wondering what to do for 5 days in Sydney – I’ve got you. If you have even less time, this 2 day itinerary is a good one.

Relaxing on Coogee beach is a must on any Sydney itinerary for 5 days in Sydney

I created this 5 days in Sydney Itinerary based on the best Sydney sightseeing, as well as the things that I enjoy the most about the city – the hiking, the beaches, and the food.

I could have literally put together an itinerary for one month in Sydney and still had more things to add, so this is really cut down. 

In fact, it was so hard to choose what things to see in Sydney, that I ended up adding a long list of bonus suggestions for things to do in Sydney at the end – just in case you do end up spending a month or more there.

So, without further ado, here is my ultimate five days in Sydney Itinerary to help you plan your Sydney trip.

The Ultimate Sydney Itinerary: 5 Days

Sydney Itinerary Map

Check out my interactive map for the best things to do, see, eat, drink, and where to stay in Sydney.

Day One – City and Surrounding Suburbs

Day one will get you familiar with the city center and the surroundings, and some of the more well-known Sydney tourist attractions.

Morning – Paddington

Start the first day of your Sydney Itinerary in the lovely city suburb of Paddington, firstly grabbing breakfast at Paddington Markets if you are visiting on a Saturday, otherwise try Ampersand – a cafe/bookstore with great coffee.

Visiting the inner-city suburb of Paddington is a must on any 5 days in Sydney Itinerary

Paddington is one of the best places in Sydney to shop with many independent boutiques. If the market is on, make sure to browse the excellent stalls there too which include locally made jewelry, clothing, homeware, books, and more.

William Street is home to an array of small and interesting stores so make sure you check it out too.

Paddington Reservoir Gardens, which used to be one of the city’s reservoirs from 1866 to 1899, is now a peaceful sunken garden that is a great place to chill out.

If you are visiting Sydney in spring, you will love all of the purple jacarandas that bloom along Oxford Street in Paddington.

Visiting the Reservoir Gardens in Paddington is a must on any Sydney itinerary. | The World on my Necklace

Afternoon – Hyde Park, Opera House, and Botanic Garden

Day one is the only day I haven’t added a hike in, so if you want the exercise, I highly recommend walking from Paddington, along Oxford Street past the bars of Darlinghurst, to Hyde Park. Alternatively, you can take the bus.

Grab lunch somewhere along the way – Arthur’s Pizza in Paddington is a great choice.

At Hyde Park, make sure to check out the Art Deco ANZAC War Memorial and the small, free museum underneath it, if it’s open. St Mary’s Cathedral on the edge of the park is a stunning sight – it will make you feel like you are in a European Capital, not Australia’s largest city.

Add a visit to the War Memorial in Hyde Park to your Sydney Itinerary

Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering the gorgeous waterside Royal Botanic Garden, and around the Sydney Opera House.

If you are a history lover, be sure to check out the sandstone buildings of Macquarie Street too, and if you have time – the Hyde Park Barracks Museum is worth a visit.

Evening – The Rocks

After freshening up back at your hotel, head down to The Rocks Sydney – the oldest European settlement in Australia – which is full of historic sandstone and brick buildings and small laneways where you can get pleasantly lost.

In The Rocks, don’t miss a drink at one of the oldest pubs in Sydney – The Hero of Waterloo and The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel are great choices, as well as checking out the view of the Opera House from Hickson Road Reserve, and exploring the piers of Dawes Point.

Walk around The Rocks in Sydney

If you have enough time and still have energy, walk over Sydney Harbour Bridge to Kirribilli – the view over the harbor and the Opera House is fantastic, and it’s free (unlike the ridiculously overpriced Bridge Climb).

You can then take the ferry back to Circular Quay. If you decide to have dinner in Kirribilli, I recommend The Botanist – it offers creative cocktails and a fantastic food menu.

For dinner in the Rocks, I recommend Lotus Dumpling Bar for dumplings and cocktails in a historic warehouse or Munich Brauhaus for German cuisine and beer in a lively atmosphere. If you have room for dessert – head to a local institution: Pancakes on the Rocks. They are open 24 hours.

If you’re not too tired, head for a nightcap at Opera Bar, right next to the Opera House – the views of the Harbour Bridge are fantastic.

The Sydney Opera House is a must on any 5 days in Sydney Itinerary

Day Two – Bondi to Coogee Walk

Day Two is all about getting up close and personal with some of Sydney’s most iconic beaches – by doing the 10km Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk! It’s absolutely one of the top things to do in Sydney.

Morning – Bondi Beach

Start off the morning in Bondi Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world, where you can grab breakfast to fuel yourself up for the hike ahead – I love Gertrude & Alice Book Shop and Cafe.

Visiting Bondi Beach is a must add to your Sydney Itinerary

After checking out Bondi Beach, head south along the coast to pretty Tamarama Beach, before getting to the halfway point of your hike – Bronte Beach.

Bronte Beach is home to both a natural and a manmade rock pool – and I highly recommend taking a dip here to cool down before continuing on your hike.

The next beach along from Bronte is narrow Clovelly Beach, which also has an ocean pool, then the last stop before Coogee is Gordon’s Bay, which doesn’t really have a beach as such, but it is a fantastic place to swim off the rocks.

Gordon's Bay on the Bondi to Coogee walk - one of Sydney's best walks

Your last stop is beautiful Coogee Beach, which is one of my favorite beaches in Sydney – I was lucky enough to live there for a couple of months during summer. Grab lunch at an iconic Sydney chain – Charcoal Charlie’s, which has delicious rotisserie chickens, salads, and fries.

Afternoon – Coogee

For the afternoon, I recommend just relaxing on the beach and at Giles Baths – a stunning natural rock pool at the northern end of the beach. There are two other paid ocean pools in Coogee to choose from too including the excellent McIver Ladies Baths.

Chilling on Coogee beach is a quintessential Sydney experience

There is a small but interesting shrine to the Virgin Mary upon the headland above Coogee (by the entrance arch that leads to Giles Baths) where a local woman saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary on a fence.

Evening – Chinatown and Darling Harbour

After relaxing back at your hotel for a bit, head out to Chinatown for dinner – I’m a big fan of the dumplings and bao at Old Town Hong Kong, or for cheaper eats, hit up one of the food courts.

There is also a branch of the Taiwanese restaurant chain that does incredible dumplings – Din Tai Fung – in Chinatown.

Visiting Darling Harbour is a must on any itinerary for 5 days in Sydney.

Any visit to Chinatown should finish with Emperor’s puffs – you will probably notice the long line at their otherwise blink and you’ll miss it dessert window, part of Emperor’s Garden Restaurant. These little pillows of fluffy dough stuffed with hot and creamy vanilla custard should not be missed.

Finish the night by wandering Darling Harbour and admiring how pretty it is when it’s all lit up, or grab a drink a bit further north in the flashy inner-city suburb of Barangaroo.

Day Three – Manly and Sydney Harbour

Day Three involves seeing more of the harbor and exploring one of my favorite beach suburbs in Sydney – Manly. A Sydney must-see.

Morning – Ferry to Manly

Take a morning ferry over to magical Manly, a beach suburb that was my home for a year. Visiting Manly is one of the best things to do in Sydney.

The ferry ride takes half an hour. Make sure to get a seat outside so you can admire the views along the way – it’s a lot cheaper than doing a harbor cruise and just as nice.

If you are really lucky, you might even see dolphins frolicking beside the ferry. Taking a ferry is one of the best and cheapest Sydney activities.

Manly is a beautiful seaside suburb of Sydney, and a must add to your Sydney Itinerary

If you haven’t eaten yet, treat yourself to breakfast at Belgrave Cartel or In Situ which both have lovely gardens to enjoy the sun. For something quick and light, grab some Swedish pastries and coffee from Fika Swedish Kitchen. Shout out to Barefoot Coffee Traders too – they do some of the best coffee in Sydney.

You have a couple of choices from here, you could either tackle the 10km Manly to Spit Bridge walk , which will take you past some gorgeous harbor beaches, through pockets of National Park with views over the coast and to some aboriginal rock art.

Beach along the Manly to Spit Bridge walk in Sydney

The second choice is to do a loop hike from Manly Beach around to Shelly Beach – a great beach for swimming and snorkeling, and then up and over the headland to Collins Flat Beach and Little Manly Beach, before ending at Manly Wharf.

You can add a couple of extra kilometers on and hike to Quarantine Beach too, which is home to Quarantine Station – one of the most haunted places in the world.

Quarantine Station was where immigrants coming into Sydney who were exposed to diseases were quarantined – hundreds of people died here so it wouldn’t be surprising if it is haunted.

Walk from Manly to Shelly Beach

You can spend a night here if you dare – it is now a hotel – and there are also ghost tours offered in the evenings.

Afternoon – Manly or Brookvale

After grabbing lunch – Banana Blossom does amazing Asian salads or head to 4 Pines Brewery for delicious craft beer and gourmet pub food – chill out on one of the many beaches around Manly: Shelly Beach and Fairlight Beach, which has an ocean pool, are two of my favorites.

Pool in Manly near Shelly Beach

If you have had enough of beaches, head to nearby Brookvale to do a self-guided brewery crawl – 7th Day Brewery, Nomad Brewing Co., and 4 Pines Truck Bar are all great and close enough to walk between.

Evening – Manly or Surry Hills

If you want to stay longer in Manly (believe me, you probably will), you can catch a ferry back to Circular Quay till as late as midnight. There is a little penguin colony that lives under the wharf and if you are lucky, you can see them around sunset from around May till February.

I was a Penguin Warden for around six months and I loved being around these loud and gregarious little birds – the smallest but loudest penguin in the world.

Manly Harbor - the start of the hike from Manly to Spit

For dinner in Manly, I recommend Hemingway’s, which has a delicious French menu and inventive cocktails.

If you do decide to head back to the city early, head out to the chic inner-city suburb of Surry Hills for dinner and drinks. For cheap and cheerful pub grub, you can’t go wrong with local institutions Forrester’s or The Clock.

Make sure to leave room for the famous gelato at Gelato Messina – which very well may be the best gelato you have ever tasted.

Day Four – Watsons Bay and Newtown

Day Four will be a mix of old and new – you will be visiting a historic fishing village and hiking to a lighthouse, then in the afternoon you will be checking out Sydney’s alternative side in Newtown.

Morning – Watsons Bay and Hornby Lighthouse

After grabbing breakfast from La Renaissance Bakery and Cafe in The Rocks – which has authentic French pastries, sandwiches, and tarts – take the ferry to Watsons Bay from Circular Quay.

On arrival in pretty Watsons Bay, start the short 4km return hike to Hornby Lighthouse via Laings Point and Camp Cove Beach. Pop into Lady Bay Beach too if you don’t mind a bit of nudity.

Hike to Hornby Lighthouse from Watsons Bay on your Sydney Itinerary

Hornby Lighthouse is a historic candy cane lighthouse – one of my absolute favorite lighthouses – that was built in 1858 and sits in a prime position overlooking Sydney Harbour, North Head, and out to sea. It is a great spot for whale watching during the winter months.

Back at Watson’s Bay, reward yourself with a classic fish and chips lunch at the iconic Doyle’s on the Beach, Australia’s first seafood restaurant – it was opened in 1885.

After a swim, take the ferry back to Circular Quay then the train to Newtown, in the Inner West.

Eating Fish and Chips at Doyle's on the Beach in Watsons Bay in Sydney

Afternoon – Newtown

Newtown, and the Inner West in general, is the cultural heart of Sydney, the alternative compass point, and one of the best places for food and coffee in the city.

Newtown in Sydney

I lived in Newtown for a year back in 2005, and although there have been changes in the past 18 years, it still has the same alternative vibe that it always has.

Sydney can feel quite chichi at times, but Newtown is the antithesis of this – and that’s why I always feel so at home here. You can wear anything and be anyone here, and no one will bat an eyelid.

Your Sydney Itinerary for 5 days should include some brewery hopping

Newtown is one of my favorite places to shop with so many alternative boutiques and eclectic shops, so I recommend spending some time doing just that. Newtown is also a street art mecca so you could easily spend a couple of hours hunting out the best of it.

Also, if you love craft beer – then Newtown and the Inner West are great for that too. Sample the beer at Young Henry’s then walk to nearby Marrickville to try the eclectic and delicious beer at The Grifter Brewing Co. 

Young Henrys in Newtown

Evening – Newtown

When you have had your fill of the shops and street art, head to one of Newtown’s excellent restaurants like The Stinking Bishops which specializes in fine cheeses, Golden Lotus for vegan Vietnamese, Pastizzi Cafe for Maltese, and Bella Brutta for excellent Neopolitan style pizza.

Bella Brutta pizza

Grab some American-style sweet pie from The Pie Tin or gelato from Messina or Cow & the Moon for dessert, then grab a drink at a Newtown pub – Courthouse Hotel and The Marlborough Hotel are both good. 

I hope you enjoyed Newtown as much as I do – I think it is one of the best places to go in Sydney.

Day Five – Northern Beaches

Day Five will be about really getting out of the city: Rent some wheels and head to the Northern Beaches! In my opinion – this is a must-do in Sydney.

Sydney Ocean Pool

Morning – Balmoral Beach and Palm Beach

The best way to really explore the Northern Beaches of Sydney is to hire a car for the day – check out Kayak  for the best deals.

After you have picked up your car, start driving north, stopping first at beautiful Balmoral Beach for breakfast.

Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach isn’t technically the Northern Beaches, but it’s one of my favorite beaches in Sydney, with some of the whitest sand – and it’s on the way. Make sure to walk out to the little island which is connected to the beach by a small bridge.

The Boathouse in Balmoral is an excellent choice for breakfast and the deck has great views of the beach. The coffee here is outstanding too.

Once you have had breakfast and checked out the beach it is time to hit the road again, this time for the Northern Beaches proper.

Visit the Northern Beaches on your Sydney Itinerary

Sydney’s Northern Beaches stretch from bustling Manly in the south all the way north to Palm Beach, where the popular Australian TV Show ‘Home and Away’ is filmed. You will notice that the sand is dark orange on the Northern Beaches, quite different from anywhere else in Sydney.

There are multiple places that you can stop on the drive up, but I do recommend that you drive all the way up to Palm Beach, and do the easy 3km return trail to Barrenjoey Lighthouse – which overlooks the Pittwater (a large estuary) and the beach.

Visiting Palm Beach is a must on any itinerary for 5 days in Sydney.

Follow the hike with a swim at Palm Beach and lunch at Dunes Palm Beach.

Afternoon – Take your Pick!

The world is your oyster in the afternoon – well, the Northern Beaches are. My recommended Sydney Northern Beaches stops include:

  • Taking the ferry from Palm Beach across the Pittwater to the Basin in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, where you will hopefully be lucky enough to see Kangaroos
  • Check out the shops and beach at hippie Avalon
  • Hit up one of the less developed beaches in the Northern Beaches for a swim and a sunbathe – North Curl Curl is my favorite but Whale Beach, Bungan Beach, and Bilgola Beach are also very nice
  • Walk some or all of the 7km one-way coastal track from Dee Why to Manly
  • Walk around the lagoon in Narrabeen for something a bit different – it is a 7.5km loop
  • Drive around the Pittwater side of the Northern Beaches to lovely Clareville and Church Point
  • Take the ferry over to Scotland Island – there’s not a lot there but it’s a nice place for a wander
  • Stop for a couple of drinks in the sunshine at The Newport, which has incredible views over the Pittwater

Freshwater Beach

Evening – Sydney City Centre

Drop off the rental car, freshen up, then head out for your last dinner in Sydney. If you are feeling a bit fancy, have dinner at Mr Wong for delicious dim sum and mud crab.

There are a number of speakeasy-style bars in Sydney and now is the time to check them out – make sure to make it to at least one. The best are Palmer & Co, Shady Pines Saloon, The Baxter Inn, Grandma’s Bar, Ramblin Rascal Tavern, and The Lobo.

As well as hitting up a speakeasy, don’t miss Blu Bar on 36 in the Shangri-La Hotel – the cocktails are divine and the views are even better.

So there you have it, the Ultimate Guide to 5 days in Sydney – written by a Sydney lover and former local. I hope you find it helpful.

Ferry on Sydney Harbour

Additional Things To Do in Sydney 

  • Head out to the cool suburb of Balmain which is a lovely place to walk around. Relax in one of the waterside parks, swim at Dawn Fraser Baths, and eat at one of the many restaurants along Darling Street.
  • Head further into the Inner West – hit up the Marrickville Farmers Market and have some of the best Vietnamese food in Sydney, soak up the brunch culture – my favorite brunch spot is Corelli’s in Newtown, and hit the shops. 
  • There are loads of interesting museums in Sydney and if you have the time and inclination – you should definitely squeeze in a visit to at least one. The excellent Powerhouse Museum Sydney is the obvious choice, but I also love the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Australian Museum Sydney, the Museum of Sydney, and the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. If you’re an art lover – don’t miss the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of NSW. Sydney weather can be unpredictable so visiting museums are a great wet weather alternative.
  • This itinerary doesn’t even touch on the Eastern Harbour Beaches of Sydney and they are definitely worth a visit. Check out lovely Rose Bay, quiet Milk Beach, and beautiful Shark Beach.
  • I have mentioned a few Sydney Walks in this itinerary, but there are so many more to choose from. Check out my post for all the Sydney Walks you can do.
  • As well as the pockets of Sydney Harbour National Park that are around the city, if you have the time, you should also check out Royal National Park, just south of Sydney, and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, north of the city. There are gorgeous beaches and scenic hiking trails.
  • There are 13 Sydney Harbour Islands and you can visit around half of them. Cockatoo Island is the most popular choice, and you can even camp there! Fort Dennison is also a great choice if you are into history – it was used as a convict prison during the early days of settlement.
  • There are loads of Weekend Markets in Sydney including Bondi, Marrickville, Kirribilli, Glebe, Rozelle, and Paddington. They are usually held on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
  • Leafy Woollahra is a quiet suburb that is home to beautiful Victorian-style homes and great cafe culture. Make sure to check out Centennial Park when you are in the area too – there are a number of short trails past the many lakes and majestic trees, and it’s a good spot to check out some of Australia’s native birds. Stick around till sunset to see a whole lot of giant bats flying overhead – it’s a nightly occurrence.
  • Redfern used to be a down-and-out part of Sydney when I first lived in the city back in 2005, but it has been largely gentrified since then and now has some of the best eating options in the city.
  • If you want a big night out during your Sydney trip, head to the bars along Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. This is the center of Sydney’s LGBTQ scene and it is high energy and so much fun. There is always something going on on Oxford Street!
  • A short detour from the Sydney Botanical Gardens is Wooloomooloo, a ritzy part of Sydney with a wharf lined with fine dining restaurants and a stunning harbourside pool – the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool. If you want a cheaper option for food – grab a pie with mash and mushy peas from the famous Harry’s Cafe de Wheels.
  • Head south to visit chilled-out Cronulla beach and town center. Cronulla has one of the most relaxed vibes of Sydney’s beaches and is a great place to spend a day.
  • If you are visiting Sydney in the summer – book tickets to see a movie at an open-air theatre. There are numerous options but I would recommend going to the Westpac OpenAir Cinema in the Botanical Gardens because you have a view over the harbor and opera house.
  • There are so many short trips from Sydney too – the Blue Mountains for cute villages and hiking, the Hunter Valley for wine tasting, the Central Coast for chilled-out beaches with no crowds… the list goes on. You can even take organized Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley day tours from Sydney if you want to just sit back and let someone else take control. There are so many cool places to visit near Sydney!
  • Check if there are any concerts at the Sydney Opera House while you are visiting Sydney. As well as being one of the most famous Sydney sights, it is an amazing venue and the acoustics are fantastic. Alternatively, you can take a Sydney Opera House tour if you want to see inside.
  • Take a look to see what Sydney events coincide with your visit – the What’s on Sydney website is a great resource for this. Vivid Festival of Lights is a great one if you are visiting in spring.

These are just some of the extra fun things to do in Sydney – I could go on for pages more!

Sydney Harbor

Plan Your 5 Days in Sydney Itinerary

How to get around in sydney.

The first thing you should do when arriving in Sydney is to get yourself an Opal Card – you can buy and load money onto them at most train stations and Newsagents.

The Opal Card will cover all public transport in Sydney including the airport train, buses, ferries (except private ones), and trains. You pay as you go and swipe on and off. There are loads of benefits for getting an Opal card. 

I recommend hiring a car if you want to go to multiple places outside the city or the far-reaching corners of the city in one day – it is pretty spread out.

The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains. A day trip away from Sydney.

Where To Stay in Sydney

Although it is so nice to stay by the beach, I would recommend you stay close to downtown – particularly The Rocks and Circular Quay – as it is the best base to get around from.

Some great hotel choices include the East Sydney Hotel in Woolloomooloo, Great Southern Hotel Sydney in the CBD, The Ultimo in the CBD, and The Woolstore 1888 by Ovolo in Pyrmont.

If you really want to splurge, I highly recommend the Four Seasons in Circular Quay or the Park Hyatt in the Rocks – they both have pools and are handy for trains, buses, and ferries.

There are a number of hostels around Sydney but I have heard really good things about one in particular –   the Sydney Harbour YHA Hostel in The Rocks . The location is perfection and there is even a harbor-view rooftop.

Sydney views

Alternatively, look for vacation rentals in Paddington, Darlinghurst, Pyrmont, CBD, Surry Hills areas – as these are all pretty central. Here are my picks for the most affordable, centrally located, and highly rated rentals:

  • Inner City Old Dairy Loft
  • Studio Garden Cottage in Balmain
  • Quiet Studio Close to Beach in Mosman
  • Two Bedroom Suite in Historic Heritage Building in Heart of CBD
  • Bright and Sunny Paddington Apartment

Here is an excellent list of luxury Airbnbs in Sydney if you want to treat yourself.

If you really want to be by the beach, go for Bondi or Coogee – these have the best transport links of the beaches, with a train line at Bondi Junction, as well as regular buses.

North Curl Curl Beach

My favorite place to stay in the area on a budget is the PodBed Coogee Beachside which is very affordable for a pod in a dorm or for a private room and has an excellent location on Coogee Bay Road.

For a budget option in Bondi, stay at Wake Up! Bondi Beach – it has great reviews and is right on the beach. The best hotels and bed and breakfasts in Bondi are Bondi Beach House Bed & Breakfast , and QT Bondi Condo Hotel .

The best vacation rentals in Bondi and nearby Coogee are:

  • One-Bedroom Apartment With Lap Pool Near Coogee
  • Contemporary Secluded Studio in North Bondi
  • Tiny House Studio Apartment With Sea Views
  • Sunny Bondi Studio  With Garage, Balcony and Pool

Bungan Beach

The Best Insurance for Your Sydney Trip

Make sure you get travel and health insurance before your trip.  Safety Wing is my go-to and they are cheap and easy to claim with – it auto-renews every month unless you turn it off so you don’t have to think about it for longer trips

Safety Wing also allows you to sign up when you are already traveling, unlike a lot of other travel insurance providers.

So, have I convinced you to visit Sydney? Have you got any other places in Sydney to add to my 5 days in Sydney Itinerary?

Bondi Beach Icebergs pool in Sydney

Check out my other Sydney posts for more Sydney inspiration!

  • The Best Walks in Sydney
  • Ultimate Bucket List for a Summer in Sydney
  • Sydney Walks: Manly to Spit Walk
  • A Beach Bum’s Guide to the Eastern Suburbs Beaches in Sydney
  • 30 Reasons Why I Love Sydney
  • The Best Long Weekend Blue Mountains Itinerary
  • What It’s Like to be a Penguin Warden in Sydney

Sydney Itinerary: 5 Days in Australia's biggest city

13 Comments on The Ultimate 5 Days in Sydney Itinerary

You didn’t talk bout the zoos. I know there are 2. Would you recommend one over the other, or go to both if time allows. We have been in Sydney before and did checkout the beaches so don’t need to do that again,

Hi Jan, I personally don’t think zoos are ethical so I didn’t include the zoo in Sydney in my itinerary.

Thank you, a great guide!

Thanks for the very nice write-up about Sydney. We will be traveling to Sydney in November. Staying for 6 days. Variation in age is large from 1 year 6 months to 75 years. Long walks or museum visits are not possible. We will be staying in Bundeena in an Airbnb. My list is Sydney harbor/ferry trip, Sydney zoo, and the Blue Mountains. I will highly appreciate it if you suggest some more places. We will rent a car.

Definitely check out the Botanic Gardens, the opera house and the Rocks. You should visit one or more of the Sydney beaches too – Coogee, Balmoral and Manly are my favorites and take the ferry to Watsons Bay to eat fish and chips at Doyle’s.

Great sydney itinerary! Thanks for sharing

Thanks very much, I love that city.

Just had a read of your blog. It is a good wrap up of Sydney. I liked the bit about the penguins under the wharf. I would probably add something about the other animals that can be seen in Sydney. There are wildlife sanctuaries as well as small enclaves with wild animals.

Thanks Bruce, I never went to any wildlife sanctuaries in Sydney but I did see wild kangaroos at the Basin. I will have to look into visiting some next time I am there.

With this guide, everyone planning to visit Sydney will definitely enjoy their vacation to the fullest.

Thanks Faye! I spent a lot of time researching it (17 months in fact) 🙂

I am fired up and excited after reading your suggested itinerary in Sydney and thereabouts. Just looking at your photos makes me even more enthusiastic about this bucket list trip down under. They are beautiful! You did a great job of laying it all out—location, transportation, costs, etc. I could follow this itinerary like a map! Can’t wait to put it all into action!! Thanks!

Thanks very much Sandra! Sydney is one of my favorite cities and somewhere I spent a lot of time exploring so I really hope you enjoy your time there.

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Anna Sherchand

Anna Sherchand

Solo Female Travel Blog

Sydney Australia Travel Blog 2023

Sydney is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere. Although many may think this is the capital city of Australia, it is actually not, Sydney is the coastal modern city full of skyscrapers but also equally full of jaw-dropping nature. More on that below.

I have updated this Sydney Australia travel blog with everything you need to know before you come here. From where to stay, where to eat, the points of interest in Sydney, visa, Sim cards, and more . This is the ultimate Sydney travel guide right here. What to know about Sydney before traveling? This is all you need my friends!

  • Sydney Australia Blog
  • How to get around Sydney?

Which visa to apply for Sydney, Australia?

Is wifi any good in australia what about the local sim, what cell phone/plan is good, how to book cheap flights to sydney.

  • Read the most wanted travel resource here.

Sydney Australia travel blog

What are the best walks in and around sydney, what are sydney’s top attractions, where to stay in sydney, any hidden bays and secret beaches in sydney, best beaches for solo or group, where are the most instagrammable cafes in sydney, recommendations on where to eat in sydney, most instagrammable places in sydney, australia, let me know in the comments.

Sydney Australia travel blog with a girl sitting in front of opera house

How to get around Sydney ?

Whether you are heading to the most instagrammable places in Sydney or secret Sydney walks , don’t worry. Sydney is well serviced by public transport across buses, trains, ferries, and light rail. Public transport inquiries number is 13 15 00 or transportnsw.info

If you are using public transportation, I recommend buying an Opal card which is the ticket to ride the train, ferry, light rail, and bus services around Sydney and in the neighboring areas of the blue mountains, the central coast, and the hunter, and the Illawarra. You can buy an Opal card from retailers including news agencies, 7/11, supermarkets, and some pharmacies. Just load dollar amounts onto the Opal card and tap on and off at Opal card readers.

Buses Bus routes service most of Sydney. Check the website or your google map for convenient and current routes.

Trains Rail lines service much of the city plus inner and out suburbs. The airport line train is the most convenient method of transport between Sydney Airport and the CBD.

Taxis, cars, and Rideshare Taxi ranks are available around the city and at the airport. Ride-share service Uber operates in Sydney, with a designated pickup area at the airport. Car hire is available at the airport and points around the city from companies including Avis, Budget, Thrifty, and Hertz.

Use code k7zapn for $10 off your first Uber ride and use code WT7BSQD2 for a $20 Didi discount which is a rivalry to Uber.

If you are still wondering about the capital city of Australia. You may like to read a solo itinerary to Canberra , enjoy!

There are many options to choose from when it comes to visas. Australia wants the world to come and enjoy our great weather and beautiful sights:)

It could be just a holiday visa, working holiday, students, partner, joining a family, starting a business, investing, and more types of visas are available. You can use this official  Australian Immigration website to find out which visas fit you best and how to apply.  This is a brand new government site that they are testing at the moment (Sep 2018) and you can provide feedback as well.

If you wish to use the old and trusted website, go here.

As most of my readers are from the USA –  Most U.S. passport holders traveling to  Australia  for tourism or business purposes for less than 90 days can obtain an Electronic  Travel  Authority (ETA). Apply on the Australian government’s official website  here.

Remember while on the tourist visa, working isn’t legal in Australia unless you have a working holiday visa. 

The visa application fee is non-refundable, so make sure that your information is entered correctly the first time and that your photo meets the specifications.

Compared to international standards, WIFI is a little slow here in Australia but it does the job. Most cafes would give you a password once you order your coffee. For free WIFI head to the nearest library.

In regards to the local sim, if you have an unlocked phone that is compatible with Australian GSM technology, then all you will need is a SIM card and a prepaid plan. Having said that, there are other options available too. For example Package deals, data deals, capped inclusions, and contract options. I suggest comparing either one of the following 4 major cell phone carriers in Australia and buying what suits you best.

1 Telstra – Australia’s leading provider of mobile phones, mobile devices, home phones, and broadband internet, 2. Optus – second in the area covered behind Telstra; about 30 personal plans + 8 business plans; 3. Vodaphone – the smaller of the 3 major providers and covers mostly metropolitan and larger regional areas); about 38 plans; and 4. Virgin Mobile – uses the Optus network; with about 27 plans.

Well, that depends on what you are after. If you are like me a social media fanatic then perhaps best to get a data plan but if you are into talking and texting a lot then getting a call and msg plan would suit you. There can be many considerations like how much data you might need, what network coverage is available, and whether you should enter into a contract or go prepaid. But if you are here for a short amount of time, I wouldn’t worry too much, and just get a prepaid plan that you can cancel anytime.

However, if you are planning to travel or live in Australia for over 3 months, then spend some time researching beforehand as many options are available. Weigh up prepaid vs entering a contract.

Here is one of the pro tips not only for this Sydney Australia travel blog but anywhere you would like to book cheap flights. The secret is to be in a private or incognito mode for searching or clear your browser’s cache after searching to avoid price increases! I recommend using these two websites Skyscanner  and  Momodo.

Skyscanner lets you search “everywhere” to see where is cheaper to fly to and from! It also lets you search full month if you are flexible with dates. Momodo lets you filter by airline alliance, which is also helpful when trying to earn frequent flyer miles in a particular loyalty program. It also displays an overview of information about your route and the factors that affect the price.

Read the most wanted  travel resource  here.

After years of full-time traveling, I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how to travel cheaper and better. This is a collection of the best travel resources when it comes to flights, accommodation, gear, travel insurance, and more. I have personally used all of those items listed and recommend them to you.

Currency = Australian Dollars Hello = Good Day, G’day! Bye = See you later! Capital City = Canberra ( Sydney -New South Wales, Melbourne -Victoria, Adelaide -South Australia, Perth -Western Australia, Brisbane -Queensland, Hobart – Tasmania ) and 2 territories ( Canberra -Australian Capital Territory and Darwin – Northern Territory )

Sydney Australia travel blog

Let me start by sharing the extensive list of Sydney bucketlist things . How many of these AMAZING activities can you tick off?

Sydney Australia travel blog

If you click the photo above, you can find the best way to see it all in 5 days in Sydney. It is literally the best sydney itinerary for 5 days !

secret sydney walks

Here are my top 24 best walks in and around Sydney, secret sydney walks with pictures included also. Sydney has great weather all around so hope you enjoy that by heading outdoors.

Best places to take photos in sydney

Although I am local, I am not usually home because I am away traveling the world. So when I am home I make sure to visit many places in Sydney and have some awesome and different experiences. Here’s the list of top Sydney attractions also known as the best places to take photos in Sydney .

Sydney suburbs for travellers

 Did you know Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs  and residents of Sydney are known as “Sydney Siders”? If you want to pick the best place in town or to find out the options that are available, you will find this where to stay in Sydney post helpful.

There are 3000+ hotels & hundreds of hostels available in Sydney. In 2021 Hostel price starts at $14 AUD & Hotel Prices start at $70 AUD per night for 2 adults 1 room! Check out trusted booking.com to see all the properties and find one that suits you best. Alternatively,  Agoda offers various accommodation options also.

best hidden beach and bays in sydney

Since I am local, I have been to many hidden gems in Sydney. Here I am sharing my hidden beaches and bays  just for you guys.

Sydney Australia blog

Any Sydney Australia travel blog wouldn’t be complete without including the beach. Here I have handpicked the 9  best beaches in Sydney, Australia  for families and it is equally good for solo also.

Backpacking in Melbourne Travel Guide 2022 Everthing you need to know

Sydney Australia travel blog

I covered that question too 🙂 You can find the guide to most instagrammable cafes in Sydney here.

where to eat in sydney

As you can imagine, there are thousands of dining places to choose from. This guide comes from my personal experience of eating at many restaurants in Sydney multiple times.  They won’t break your bank either, prices are reasonably standard except for the Japanese one as it’s a fine dine. This straight-to-the-point guide will help you uncover different cuisines and restaurants not to miss in Sydney, Australia.

Here is a blog post dedicated to where to eat in Sydney . 

Sydney Australia travel blog

As a lover of beautiful places, I seek and find Insta worthy places in all the countries I travel to no matter home or abroad. Here are my favorite Insta worthy places in my own backyard. See the 31 most Instagrammable places in Sydney, Australia (updated)

I hope this Sydney Australia Travel Blog gave you an insight into what to expect during your travel to Sydney.

If you want more places to visit in Sydney, New South Wales or NSW; check out my Sydney Australia blog

  • if you have any other questions on the Sydney Australia travel blog
  • 99% of readers found must see on the east coast of Australia helpful.
  • Heading to Melbourne next, check out backpacking in Melbourne
  • Things to do in Melbourne when raining
  • Check out how you can explore Adelaide  South Australia the best way.
  • Heading to iconic Alice Springs for that unique Uluru trip ?
  • Here I share must do in Darwin , Australia.
  • Solo travel guide to Brisbane (Insta-worthy places included!)
  • Heading to Perth?  read Perth solo itinerary
  • Most beautiful places in New Zealand North Island
  • Next Stop? check out the most beautiful places in New Zealand South Island
  • Going to Vietnam after Australia? Check out the 7 days Hanoi travel guide. How about Colombia? Check out how to get from Medellin to guatape Check out where to stay in Medellin , Colombia
  • Check hotel prices and book it through trusted Agoda , or  booking.com
  • Read the most wanted  travel resource here.
  • If you like this article, follow my adventures on Instagram ,  Facebook ,  YouTube , Twitter , and Pinterest , but most importantly   sign up to my e-mail list  to keep up with updates and travel posts!
  • ← Perth to Esperance Road Trip 2023
  • From Krakow to Warsaw by train →

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40 thoughts on “ sydney australia travel blog 2023 ”.

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It has been a few years since I was last in Sydney, so I am due to return. I will definitely keep in mind all of your recommendations. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

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Hope you get to visit and use this guide soon Alex! Thanks for dropping by 🙂

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I never really thought about going to Sydney before, it looks beautiful though. May need to add it to my want to do list.

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Oh my goodness I have always wanted to got to Australia! You’re pictures make it look so beautiful 🙂 This is such a great post with so much helpful information… thank you!

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I am dying to visit Australia, it has been on bucket list for year, hopefully one day soon I will see all these beautiful places.

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Thank you for sharing! Australia is one of the number one countries on my bucket list right now and I’m hoping to go as a celebratory trip once I graduate from my masters program. This guide will come in handy for the planning!

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One day when I’m not running Coombe Mill I going to travel. Long haul like this would be wonderful, what a handy guide you have here.

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This is a perfect post for me, as I’ve yet to visit Sydney. It looks like such a great city to see, and I love your photos too. I’m inspired to finally visit!

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I have never been to Sydney, so these recommendations are great when I plan my travel out there. I did love Melbourne.

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Thanks for this, have saved it as a reference. I have so many friends and family in Australia these days, and I can see us making the trip next time we’re in the Far East. Daily blogging, eh, good luck with that!

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I’ve never been in Sidney before! but your travel guide is amazing, you really cover every detail I should know before travelling there! I love it!

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I would love to get down to Australia sometime. It has always captured my attention whenever anything about it is on tv.

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I need to save up for my Australia trip! 🙂 Do you know that Telstra customer service hub is in the Philippines?

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Ahhh Sydney is on my bucket list! Love your tips. I hadn’t even thought about the Visa needs until just now!

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I would love to visit Sydney someday. Any kind of international trip like that would take planning and a careful packing check list. Thanks for your ideas of where to visit!

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If I ever plan a trip to Sydney this is the post I am using!!

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I’m glad you were honest about cell phone service in Australia. We just came back from Paris and was surprised to find how bad our cell service was. We had ordered the enhanced plan and everything and it was still not good enough that we could rely on it to use for GPS. This looks like an awesome place to visit. Thanks for sharing.

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Australia always is my bucket list. but just have some problem with the visa. but will figure it out soon since i read you beautiful guide post now. thank you

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ThIs is all I need to travel to Australia. It has been on my bucket list for years, but I’m tying to gather up the courage for the long haul flight (we are in Florida). One of these days. Thank you for this thorough post that includes everything.

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wow, it seems stunning in your picturesQ made me wanting to go

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I am adding Australia to my bucket list. Thanks for this very comprehensive post

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Sydney is such a great place to visit, and it’s always helpful to have tips of what to see and where to eat. Thank you for sharing this guide, I’m sure it will help those travelling to this exciting city!

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this is such a great guide! its so easy to follow. thanks for posting

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I would absolutely love to visit Australia! It’s on my bucket list. Thank you so much for this wonderful guide. Saving this for the day that I get to go on my Australia adventure ♡

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Great guide 🙂 We just visited Sydney during our two month travel trip 🙂

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“Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret” – Oscar Wilde

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Amazing city. Been there twice and fell completely in love with it.

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Sydney is a world-famous tourist destination, I love this city and you have mentioned great famous places in Sydney. Thanks for this blog.

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Really an awesome article, love reading this as it was very attractive and helpful. Please keep posting such articles.

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This was really helpful, we used it to find a lot of great places on our last trip to Sydney.

Glad to read it was useful Chris, hope you’ll revisit again!

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Thank you for the valuable information in your blog.

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thankyou for sharing this trip, this is really helpful, wish i can visit sydney very soon 🙂

Glad it was useful 🙂

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I have never visited Australia, but have heard and read so many interesting things. And Sydney definitely sounds like a wonderful place to explore. Thanks for taking me on a virtual journey

Hi Priya, Glad it was handy! Hope you make it in person soon

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It is the most beautiful city especially for tourist.

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is there public transportation available for traveling to outskirts like the cliffs? Ps: thanks for your blog, it helped me a lot so far

Hi Roy, which cliff do you mean? In general, Sydney has pretty extensive public transport available.

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Sydney is a diverse city, and you can see that in its colorful neighborhoods. V useful guide, thanks

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Sydney Itinerary – How To Spend 1 – 3 Days In Sydney

Posted on Last updated: 23 April 2024

Categories Australia , Itineraries

One of Australia’s largest cities, Sydney is the capital of the state of New South Wales and sits on the south-east coast of Australia.

Home to over 5 million people, this large city has some iconic landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s also home to some superb beaches like Bondi, Coogee and Manly, to name just a few.

Apart from spectacular coastal views, this cosmopolitan city also offers plenty of great attractions from museums to parks, shopping experiences, delicious cuisines and much more.

So here’s our easy to follow 3 day Sydney itinerary to help plan your visit.

Table of Contents

How To Get Around Sydney

Getting around Sydney couldn’t be easier. There are generally 3 options:

Public Transport

If you are visiting Sydney and the surrounding regions, an Opal card is the most convenient and affordable way to pay for your fares on public transport.

You can use an Opal card on the metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail services. 

The card acts just like a ticket, except you keep it, top it up and simply tap on and tap off at either end of the journey.

Opal cards are available to purchase at many convenience stores and newsagents around Sydney.

There is no charge for an Opal card, however the minimum top up is $10 for an Adult Opal card and $5 for a Child/Youth Opal card.

Hop On Hop Off Bus

There are also standard buses and bus routes that can get you just about anywhere in the city.

However, there is also of course the famous  Sydney & Bondi: Big Bus Open-Top Hop-on, Hop-off Tour .

This is always popular among tourists, and a is great way to see many famous landmarks around the city at ease.

Some of the best days out we’ve had in Sydney have been on private tours.

So for those short on time, or those that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on  Get Your Guide  available to book in advance.

From food tours, to river cruises and pub crawls, there’s plenty to keep you busy in the capital of New South Wales!

Best Time To Visit Sydney

Summer falls between December and February, so if you fancy Christmas on the beach, Sydney is the place to be.

However, this is obviously the busiest and time of year so, if you want it a little less crowded, either side of the summer season is great.

March to May and September to November, Sydney holds various festivals including sports festivals, writing and art festivals and of course the famous Mardis Gras Pride Festival.

Remember, this is just a guide, so you may want to mix it up and add/subtract different attractions.

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Reusable Water Bottle

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Quick Dry Towel

Lifeproof Phone Case

Coogee Beach Bondi To Coogee Walk Bondi To Coogee Coastal Walk

Sydney Itinerary Day 1

Sydney opera house.

Where better place to begin your 3 day Sydney itinerary, than the famous Sydney Opera House.

Located at Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House is an iconic landmark of Sydney, and Australia itself.

We recommend using your Opal card to visit early in the morning. This way you can enjoy a moment away from the crowds, in front of one of the most iconic monuments in the world.

At sunrise, a moment of peace and quiet before the hustle and bustle comes in is certainly something you’ll remember forever. 

If you want to get the most out of your visit, I recommend the Guided Opera House Tour with Entrance Ticket .

Otherwise you can either attend one of the 40 shows available per week, or wine and dine in the beautiful restaurant overlooking all the best parts of Sydney.

Sydney Opera House Fun Things To Do In Sydney For Couples

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Turn to your left and you’ll have already spotted the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background!

For most, the Opera House is the best place to take a photo of the Harbour Bridge from.

Simply head to the Opera Bar and you’ll be presented with one of the most famous backdrops in the world.

If you’re looking for something specific, or a special way to remember your Harbour Bridge experience, check out Sydney Harbour Bridge tours .

For us, we decided to create an experience to remember by taking a slow stroll across the very famous landmark.

There is a pedestrian walkway on the eastern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge that offers some of the best views of Sydney Harbour.

Access to the walkway is completely free!

It’s 1.5km one way, and takes roughly 15-30 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to take photos.

We walked the from one side of the bridge to the other, stopping to admire the Opera House and Circular Quay on the way.

However, if you want to push it even further, you can try the bridge climbing experience!

Sydney Harbour Bridge Fun Things To Do In Sydney For Couples

Catch The Ferry To Manly Beach

Following on from Circular Quay, naturally the next place to head on to on your 3 day Sydney itinerary is Manly.

Manly is one of the most touristy beaches in Sydney after Bondi.

It can be reached from the CBD by ferry across the Sydney Harbour and it has a relaxed holiday vibe.

Ferries depart to Manly from Circular Quay daily, at wharf No. 3!

Tickets can be paid for on your Opal card, and trust us when we say that this ferry journey is a scenic one.

On the ferry journey over to Manly, you get to see Sydney in a completely different way. If you want to take it to the next level you could even book a Sydney Harbour helicopter tour !

It looks even more beautiful from the water, and if you can catch a sunset on the way home, it will certainly be a perfect finish your first day in Sydney!

Sydney Opera House Sydney Bucket List Sydney Itinerary Best Things To Do In Sydney

If you have time in the evening after Manly, Luna park is another popular destination located just on the North side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Popular for people of all ages, Luna Park is the most iconic amusement park in Australia.

Full of rides and attractions, you’re guaranteed an evening of fun. Plus, come sundown you’ll have spectacular views of Sydney Harbour lit up at night.

So if you’re young at heart, this is certainly a place to try and squeeze into your 3 day Sydney itinerary.

You can also book a Luna Park Sydney Unlimited Rides Pass in advance, and get unlimited access to all the rides and attractions of Luna Park!

Just be sure to check the closing times before you make the journey. It’s usually 4pm Mon-Thur, and 10pm Fri-Sat.

Luna Park Sydney Bucket List

Sydney Itinerary Day 2

Bondi beach.

Bondi Beach is arguably the most famous beach in the world. So day 2 of the 3 day Sydney itinerary begins here.

We recommend taking public transport to Bondi. From the city the easiest way to get to Bondi Beach is to catch the train to Bondi junction (from Central, Town Hall, Martin Place) then change to the 380, 381, 382 or 333 bus at Bondi Junction for a 15 minute ride to the beach.

You’ll have to get up early if you want to experience some quiet time at the empty beach, because during the day, this stretch of coastline completely packs out.

Bondi Beach is popular for surfers, morning joggers and of course tourists as soon as the sun comes out! You may even want to book a  Bondi Beach Surf Lesson !

There’s so much to see and do in the Bondi area, which makes it undoubtedly one of most important things to add to your Sydney bucket list .

We recommend spending a full morning here and enjoying some holiday time. However, if you’re not a fan of sitting still then our next recommendation is for you.

Bondi Beach Sunrise Sydney Bucket List

Bondi To Coogee Coastal Trail

After relaxing on the beach if you fancy getting up and getting active then this walk is for you!

The Bondi to Coogee walk is one of the most popular scenic routes in the country. With locals and tourists flocking daily, it makes for an awesome day out with breathtaking views.

We started the walk bright and early to avoid the tourist rush throughout. It was an enjoyable way to start the day, passing only joggers and early morning dog walkers. 

It’s a fairly flat and straight forward walk, sticking to the coast with slight up hill walks in parts.

It takes roughly 2 hours without stops! Although you’ll probably want to dip in the baths/ocean along the way and take plenty of photos.

We saw Sydney in a completely different light on the Bondi To Coogee coastal walk, and we definitely recommend you experience this side of Sydney.

Bondi To Coogee Walk Bondi To Coogee Coastal Walk Sydney Bucket List

George Street & Darling Harbour

In the afternoon on day 2 of your 3 day Sydney Itinerary we recommend heading back into the city.

Aside from the beaches, and iconic landmarks, Sydney is also know for it’s huge city and stunning skyscrapers.

We believe there’s nothing more epic than wandering beneath mile high buildings with no end in sight. A Sydney itinerary wouldn’t be complete without taking in the beauty of the city.

George Street is the main street leading through the centre of Sydney’s CBD. There are an abundance of shops, malls and souvenirs stalls.

However, just around the corner is Darling Harbour. Easily walkable to, it’s more of the fine dining area of Sydney and is another beautiful spot to enjoy dinner with a view.

George Street Sydney City Sydney Bucket List

Mrs Macquaries Chair

Depending on timing, this spot may come before or after your walk around the city.

Either way though, Mrs Macquaries Chair is a great spot for sunset!

To reach Mrs Macquaries Chair you’ll want to head back towards Circular Quay. From Circular Quay there’s a beautiful walk through the Botanical Gardens that you follow to get there.

It’s normal to find a gathering of people around the rocks at golden hour, because it gives a great view of both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

It’s also super popular destination for photographers and one of the most Instagrammable places in Sydney .

Mrs Macquarie's Chair Sunset Sydney Bucket List

Sydney Itinerary Day 3

Blue mountains.

To being our third and final day of the 3 day Sydney itinerary we’ve left space for the Blue Mountains!

The Blue Mountains National Park is an absolutely huge region of mountain ranges and even villages. There are endless trails, waterfalls and viewpoints scattered throughout.

The best option for visiting the Blue Mountains is to rent a car for the day. That way you can explore the region at ease as there’s a lot of grounds that you can cover.

It is possible to take a train from the city – the train from Central Station in Sydney takes approximately 2 hours to reach the mountains, and costs roughly $6.80 each way using an Opal card.

Another popular way of visiting the Blue Mountains is on a Blue Mountains Full-Day Trip with Cruise .

There’s also the option of the  Blue Mountains Hop on Hop off pass .

The most famous tourist attraction are the three sisters, which you’ll likely want to take photos of. However,  Lincoln’s Rock is also an unbelievably breathtaking viewpoint.

Although it’s a good hour drive from the city, it’s definitely top of most tourists bucket lists.

Lincoln's Rock Blue Mountains Sydney Bucket List

Relax At The Beaches

For the final afternoon on your 3 day Sydney itinerary we’ve left it open to down time.

Being a first time tourist in such a hectic, exciting city will completely take it out of you.  So obviously, one of the top things to do in Sydney is to treat yourself to some beach time!

There’s no doubt that by the time you’ve conquered your Sydney quest, you’ll want to find a beach and soak up the beautiful Australian sun. Any single beach in Sydney will be perfect for just that.

One of our favourite, less touristy beaches was definitely Bronte.

Not only does it have the incredible beach and ocean, but Bronte Baths and its awesome secret viewpoint is a hidden gem!

Bronte Baths Sydney Bronte Beach Viewpoint Sydney Bucket List

Where To Stay In Sydney

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Overlooking Sydney’s historic Rocks area, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney offers free WiFi, a bar, restaurant, fitness center and swimming pool.

Located in Sydney’s CBD Central Business District, it features luxurious rooms with panoramic views over the iconic Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay. 

Each room offers an LCD TV, an iPod docking station and free toiletries.

There’s also a 350 square fitness centre that includes a relaxing sauna.

Guests can unwind in the hotel’s therapeutic spa and wellness center, which offers skin treatments and relaxing massages. Airport transfers are available upon request.

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney

Located in Sydney CBD , The Fullerton Hotel   features an a la carte restaurant, a bar and access to a fitness centre.

It boasts luxurious rooms with unique decor as well as a flat-screen TV.

Some rooms offer the most stunning city views and guests can enjoy free WiFi in public areas. 

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney is 15 a minute walk from both Darling Harbour and  Sydney Opera House.

The Village Bondi Beach

The Village Bondi Beach is just just a 2 minute walk from the world famous Bondi Beach and offers comfortable air-conditioned rooms. 

The hostel is a 20 minute drive from Sydney Harbour and a 25 minutes drive from Sydney Airport.

Markets, shops, restaurants and cafes are all within a 2 minute walk from the property. 

Facilities include guest laundry, kitchen, TV room, lounge room and a private bathroom.

There is a bus stop located at the end of the street with easy access to the city.

Free WiFi also is available with a limit of 500mb per day. You can pay for extra wifi too!

For more places to stay in Sydney, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com .

Planning Your Trip

Book your flight.

Use  Skyscanner  to find a cheap flight. 

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use  Booking.com  to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile. 

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

Pin It For Later

The Perfect 3 Day Sydney Itinerary

Antonio Gabric

Wednesday 18th of December 2019

Wow, Sydney looks stunning - a perfect combination of the natural and urban worlds. I'm heading there next week and can't wait. Thank you very much for your detailed itinerary, it will definitely help! :)

Charlie Pauly

Thursday 19th of December 2019

Ahh that's awesome to hear! Thanks so much and have an amazing trip!

Headout Blog

Visiting Sydney? Explore with this handy Sydney travel guide

Things to do in Sydney Sydney Travel Guide

Landlocked by sea and boasting unbelievably ornate attractions, Sydney is the most modern of cities. Spend your precious vacation at sun-kissed beaches, vast exotic zoos under the scarlet sunsets of Sydney.

A City With Sails The coastal metropolis and the largest city in all of Australia , Sydney is enclosed by the gaping Sydney Harbour. Seated on a basin by the Pacific Ocean and home to an extensive fauna, Sydney is the oldest city of the continent. It attracts more than 10.5 million visitors every year and is the gateway to New South Wales. Packed with iconic destinations such as Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Mardi Gras, Royal Botanical Gardens, Taronga Zoo and the tranquil sandy beaches, Sydney is most tops the bucket list. The House of Art One of the unarguable masterpieces of human creativity, the Sydney Opera House is situated on the tip of the Sydney Harbour. The house presents more than 2000 performances every year by First Nation showcasing arts, culture, talks, ideas, theatre, dance and musical shows. The Sydney Opera House has been a vision to the people of Australia and is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its modern design and architectural inspiration. A Rare Carnival Vivid Sydney is a festival like no other featuring music, light, fun and the extraordinary illumination of the Sydney Opera House. The multi-award winning festival hosts performances by local and international musicians, talk shows by global thinkers and creators. Don’t miss out on this one of a kind celebration and the chance to view Sydney as a 21st-century dance ball! The Prettiest Natural Harbour The Sydney Harbour is surrounded by a long shoreline, iconic sites, wildlife parks and serves as a visible symbol of Australia. The prominent Sydney Harbour Bridge spans across the Sydney Harbour which hands you the dramatic views of the city. Spend an evening dining on a cruise, take a walk along the shore or ride a ferry to Taronga zoo passing by the world famous landmarks to experience this magnificent and capacious beauty.

Sydney Travel Guide?

Sandy beaches, yacht vacations, sunny harbours, and noble entertainments have made Sydney a holiday destination. It is rewarded with many names such as ‘The Harbour City’ and ‘The Emerald City’ for being a coastal metropolis. Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House , Sydney Tower Eye and the city’s many museums have created high regard in the minds of people from the nook and corners of the world of the city. With contemporary architecture, love for art, palatable seafood, courteous hospitality, and culture so hip that you want to party every day, Sydney is a city that offers you so much to see and do. This Sydney travel guide is a summary of everything from things to do, what to eat, where to stay, to day trips, budget and culture tips for helping you plan the ultimate vacation.

Why Visit Sydney?

The once colony of British exiles, Sydney has become the vibrant city it was destined to be over the past century. Travellers have a fun time exploring the harbour city’s major attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, the various wildlife parks, gigantic aquariums, and esoteric art galleries. Whether you are travelling alone or with your family, Sydney has got you covered for all sorts of entertainment. The city is both a backpacker’s and a spendthrift’s dream come true. Viewing sunrises from Bondi Beach, strolling around the Rocks Market, and evenings with a view of the Sydney skyline from the Harbour Bridge are soul-healing affairs. Those who don’t mind spending money take a trip to the Hunter Valley and sip on the most extravagant wine. The megacity is humble with its visitors yet offers them a glimpse of a perfect tomorrow’s world.

Top 10 Things To Do in Sydney

Sydney travel guide

Sydney Essentials

Language English & Mandarin

Time zone GMT+10

Country Code +61

Socket Type I

Currency Australian dollars (AUD)

Sydney Trip Planner

Things to keep in mind while packing for your trip to Sydney.

When to visit

Travel tips, weather in sydney.

Sydney is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world since the weather is always pleasant, thanks to its tropically balanced climate. However, if you want to know before you go, this is how the seasons in Sydney look.

spring in london

Sydney in Spring

During spring, the temperature is mild and comfortable giving you just the right amount of sunshine that you need to explore the busy city. Look around to find beautiful lush green gardens and Jacaranda trees blooming on every single street. Alternatively, you can enjoy walks over the clear white sand beaches and explore the local street markets. Keep your eyes open as the city also offers an exciting array of activities and events during this season that is definitely worth checking out.

summer in london

Sydney in Summer

Summers in Sydney can change rapidly from warm to hot so prepare by carrying lots of sunscreen, hats and sunglasses while packing for your vacation. Sydney is known for hosting a wide range of outdoor activities during this period including swimming, surfing, concerts and festivals. Christmas also comes towards the beginning of summer holidays, making it best weather to visit Sydney.

autumn in london

Sydney in Autumn

Autumn in Sydney is a good time for walking tours and day trips from the city. Discover the city’s top landmarks from the Sydney Opera House , the Royal Botanic Gardens to Hyde Park, Chinatown and Hunter Valley Gardens to experience the Aussie land during this season. It is the best time to visit Sydney if you wish to experience a fine balance between hot and cold weather.

winter in london

Sydney in Winter

Unlike other destinations, Sydney winters are pleasant. It is a magical time in the city, where you can find plenty of activities to be a part of like whale-watching, hiking and even visiting the aquariums. Don't miss out on Vivid Sydney - a spectacular annual festival for light and music that has proved to give a memorable visual experience for all during winter.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Sydney

The best time to visit Sydney is from September to November, and February to May when the weather is pleasant and not as crowded. If you are travelling with a tight budget, June to August is considered to be the cheapest time to visit Sydney due to the city's winter season. Sydney enjoys a pleasant weather condition, so, if you can handle a temperature drop between 10°C to 13°C, take a budget trip and make the most of your experience.

Pleasant time to visit Sydney - September to November and February to May Cheapest time to visit Sydney - June to August

Best Time To Visit Sydney For Different Kinds Of Travelers

Best Time for Staying Outdoors in Sydney : December - February Best Time for Sightseeing & Museum Hopping : October, November, March, and April Best Time for Honeymooners : Late spring (October and November) and early autumn (March and April) Best Time for Budget Travelers : June - August Best Time for Shopaholics : December - March

Sydney in January

Sydney in February

Sydney in March

Sydney in April

Sydney in May

Sydney in August

Sydney in November

Sydney in December

Daily Budget For Sydney

Average Daily Budget: $180

  • Budget Traveler: $150
  • Mid-Range Traveler: $200
  • Luxury Traveler: $250

Budget Your Trip here .

Visa Requirements

Getting a visa to Australia is relatively easy when compared to other countries. People planning to travel as a tourist can apply for the Australian Visitor visa (Subclass 600) as a business visitor or to visit family. The visa is valid for a temporary stay of 3 – 12 months which leaves ample time to explore the city.

There are 5 subcategories of this visa: Tourist Stream, Sponsored Family Stream, Business Visitor Stream, Approved Destination Status Stream and Frequent Traveller Stream. You can read more about them here .

Install the local taxi app More often than not people around the world don’t always use uber, since there are better options. As does Sydney. Here are a few uber-like applications you can use in Sydney.

Look out for no smoking signs Sydney has the strictest rules when it comes to smoking in public places. You are not allowed to smoke in most places, especially school zones or will be fined. Watch out for no smoking signs before you like a cigarette.

Step into free art galleries Many free art galleries are held in the city which you should not miss walking into. It showcases talent from the local and international artists and encourages more young minds to take up art. These galleries also exhibit the most interesting and vehement art which are underrated.

Hop on a ferry Don’t shy away from taking a ferry ride when available. The locals here love their water rides and rightfully so. The salty breeze stroking your face, the wonderful view of the city horizon from the waters, and the sun shining warm over you are a thing to experience.

Sydney Itinerary

Sydney Travel guide

Located on Australia's east coast, Sydney boasts sunny beaches, serene parks, contemporary architecture and plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities. Hitting the sweet spot between easygoing and exciting, this dynamic city is the most visited by tourists from across the world. Sydney is a true-blue metropolitan city of the 21st Century, with a heady blend of different cultures and places. You could be walking down the lively streets of Paddington one moment and enjoying a meal at the Vietnam-inspired Cabramatta just 10 minutes later. There are plenty of things to see and do, and no time seems enough to cover all of them. Hence, we bring you out curated itineraries list that offers the best picks and mix of things to do in Sydney over two days time .

How to Save Money in Sydney

Here are some fun ways of saving money while in Sydney.

Stay over in a Hostel Choose to stay over at a hostel rather than a luxury hotel. Yes, hotels offer that privacy and service to your doorstep, but hotels help you save a large margin on your travel budget while offering you to explore the city further. You will also get to spend more on food, cruises, shopping, and attractions. There are many like Sydney Harbour YHA , that offer you a room for as little as $30 a night.

Purchase the Opal card Transportation can swallow a large portion of your travel budget. Fortunately, Sydney has a solution. The city has efficient connectivity by public transport and the Opal card offers amazing discounts on every ride you take. You can learn how to purchase the Opal card here .

Score the Sydney Multi-attraction Pass Sydney is a popular tourist destination and it could be frustrating to queue up at every venue to buy tickets. Thankfully, the Sydney Multi-attraction Pass lets you access 4 prime landmarks in the city with one pass - Wild LIFE Sydney Zoo , Madame Tussauds Sydney, Sydney Sea Life Aquarium , and Sydney Tower Eye . Here is how you can get your hands on the Sydney Multi-attraction Pass .

Explore the streets with free walking tours Sydney’s streets are amusing as its major attractions and free walking tours are one way to traverse them. Free Tours Sydney and I’m Free Walking Tours are two of the most popular free walking tours to discover the city centre, Circular Quay and The Rocks.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s leading performance spaces, located on the banks of the gorgeous Sydney Harbour. Opened in 1973, the venue is home to six performance theatres, which together host more than 30 shows a week and 2000 events a year. The unique architecture depicts huge shells or billowing sails, thereby attracts visitors from all over the globe.

Here is a guide to Sydney Opera House Tickets to know all about scoring the best tickets and seats before your visit.

Listed below are the top shows that you should not miss!

Sydney Travel Guide

Day Trips from Sydney

Visit the many attractions in and around Sydney with these spectacular day tours.

Sydney Travel guide

Sydney Harbour Cruises

Tranquil blue waters, a breathtaking skyline, and most importantly welcoming locals make Sydney a beautiful city in every sense. A trip to Sydney can be something truly special given you know where you're headed and what you're doing. While there are many experiences, one we would recommend not to skip is the Sydney Harbour cruise. A majestic boat will take you on a leisurely trip over the magical waters of Sydney Harbour as you marvel at the beautiful sights the city has to offer. A cruise works double duty by not only giving you a tour of the harbour but also introduces you to the city's iconic landmarks. Read on to know everything there is about Sydney Harbour cruise and how to pick the best one.

SYDNEY SIGHTSEEING CRUISE

Sydney travel guide

Love exploring a city from the waters? Discover the refreshing vivacity of Sydney Harbour. Learn all about the harbour and the many people, places, and events that come together to make the harbour the exciting and lively place it is, from your guided commentary onboard.

SYDNEY DINNER CRUISE

Singapore River Cruises

Sydney City Passes

Sydney Travel guide

Sydney is flooded with tourists all year round. No matter where you come from, you will feel like this party is meant for you. But don't let that fool you. Sydney is as glamorous as any other cosmopolitan. If you are visiting Sydney, you need to experience all of these facets. A Sydney Multi-attraction Pass is your best bet in that respect. From skipping the long waiting lines to the most prominent attractions to saving a few bucks this pass is a lottery for those wanting to see the city fast and at a reasonable cost.

Here is our guide to know all about the Sydney Multi-attraction Pass .

Hotels in Sydney

Sydney Travel guide

Hotel stays offer a luxurious experience. The sea side windows, elegant suites, and tranquil swimming pools will only make your stay in Sydney more memorable. On average a 3-star hotel costs AUD 109 per night. You can explore hotels in Sydney here .

AUD 78 - AUD 157 per night

  • Novotel Sydney Parramatta
  • Oaks Sydney Castlereagh Suites
  • CKS Sydney Airport Hotel
  • Urban St Leonards
  • Travelodge Hotel Macquarie North Ryde

5 star hotels

  • Hilton Sydney
  • Swissotel Sydney
  • Larmont Sydney by Lancemore
  • Hyatt Regency Sydney
  • Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

AUD 157 - AUD 235 per night

  • Avoca Randwick
  • Holiday Inn Darling Harbour, an IHG Hotel
  • Novotel Sydney Darling Square
  • Citadines Connect
  • Veriu Green Square

Boutique Hotels

  • Ovolo Woolloomooloo
  • The Fullerton Hotel Sydney
  • Meriton Suites World Tower
  • Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Dining in Sydney

Paris Travel guide

Must-try Food in Sydney While there is a wide assortment of dishes and desserts, here are some firm favourites.

  • Sydney rock oyster
  • Australian prawns
  • Avocado on toast
  • Bacon and egg roll
  • Lamington cake
  • Potato cake
  • Yellowfin tuna

Top Recommended 2022

  • Lankan Filling Station
  • Saint Peter
  • Momofuku Seiobo

Best of Australian Cuisine

  • Bentley Restaurant and Bar

Valentine’s Day in Sydney

Singapore For Honeymooners

Valentine’s Day is that time of the year to celebrate love, affection, and romance, and make your partner feel special. With the balmy sun, azure waters, lofty skyscrapers, and lush parks, Sydney is the perfect place for every romantic. If you’re thinking of how to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Sydney , we’ve curated a list of the top ten experiences in the city to do especially with your valentine. Look through for something that suits you and your partner, and make the day memorable!

Festivals in Sydney

Sydney has a year long calendar of festivals - some cultural, some religious, some patriotic, a few music festivals and so on. Here are the top recurring festivals that you should know of:

  • Sydney Film Festival: June
  • Mardi Gras: March
  • Australian Open of Surfing: March
  • Sydney Festival: January
  • Sydney Harbour Regatta: March
  • Vivid Sydney: May-June

Sydney Culture Tips

You are not obliged to tip a hefty amount while in Sydney. There is no rule for tipping. Nevertheless, you can tip up to 10% of your total bill or what your budget allows you.

Keep the legal age in mind

The legal age in Australia is 18. People under the age of 18 cannot smoke, drink or enter pubs. It’s best to leave your kids at your hotel if you want to have a drink or two.

If you get invited to a BBQ or a cookout, don’t show up empty-handed. This is an untold rule in Sydney. It’s best to bring a bottle of wine or a home-baked snack to the party as a sign of gratitude.

Bring a ton of sunscreen

This goes without saying. Sydney receives the sun most of the year and you cannot avoid a fun time at Bondi Beach. If you are someone who gets tanned easily, you should apply ample sunscreen before going anywhere.

What is the best time of year to visit Sydney?

The best time of year to visit Sydney really depends on what you want to do while you're here. If you're looking to spend time outdoors and enjoy the city's many beaches, then late spring or early summer (September-November) is a great time to visit. However, if you're interested in attending one of Sydney's many festivals or events, then you'll want to plan your trip around the city's calendar. For example, if you're keen on catching the Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks display, then you'll need to be in town between December 31 and January 1.

What is the best way to get around Sydney?

The best way to get around Sydney really depends on your budget and where you'll be staying. If you're staying in the city center, then walking or taking public transportation is usually the easiest and most affordable option. However, if you're planning on doing a lot of exploring outside of the city, then you may want to consider renting a car. Just be sure to budget for parking, as it can be quite expensive in Sydney.

What are some must-see attractions in Sydney?

Some of the must-see attractions in Sydney include the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach. Of course, there are many other great things to see and do in the city, but these are definitely some of the highlights.

What are some tips for saving money while visiting Sydney?

There are a few ways to save money while visiting Sydney. First, consider staying in a hostel or Airbnb instead of a hotel. This can be a great way to save on accommodations. Second, take advantage of the many free attractions and activities that the city has to offer. And finally, make sure to cook some meals at your accommodation instead of eating out all the time – this will help you save on food costs.

What are some things to know before visiting Sydney?

Some things to know before visiting Sydney include the fact that it is a very large and multicultural city. As such, it's important to be respectful of other cultures and religions while you're here. Additionally, Sydney can be quite expensive, so it's important to budget accordingly. Finally, the city is known for its beaches, so be sure to pack your swimsuit!

What are some of the rules one must follow in Sydney?

Some of the main rules to follow in Sydney include being respectful of other cultures, not littering, and not smoking in public places. Additionally, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and not leave your belongings unguarded in busy areas. Finally, make sure to follow all posted signs and obey any other rules that may be in place in specific locations.

What are the best places to eat in Sydney?

The best places to eat at in Sydney really depend on your budget and what you're in the mood for. If you're looking for cheap eats, then there are plenty of great options available. However, if you're willing to spend a bit more, then you'll be able to find some truly amazing restaurants. Some of our personal favorites include Mister Gee Burger Truck, Momofuku Seiobo, and Sepia.

All Sydney Guides

Experiences

Taronga Zoo Sydney

SEA Life Sydney Aquarium

Vivid Sydney

Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb

Sydney Skydive

Sydney Tower Eye

WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

Whale Watching In Sydney

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Opera House Shows

West Side Story

La Traviata

Best Sydney Opera House Shows

Sydney Opera House Tour

Sydney Opera House Seating Plan

Joan Sutherland Seating Plan

Concert Hall Seating Plan

Drama Theatre Seating Plan

Playhouse Seating Plan

Sydney Cruises

Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruises

Hunter Valley Tour

Hunter Valley Gardens

Blue Mountains

Bondi Beach Tours

Sydney Itineraries

2-Day in Sydney Itinerary

Sydney Toolkit

Sydney New Year's Eve Guide

Sydney Travel Restrictions

Best Time to Visit

Sydney Fireworks

Sydney Through the Year

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Born and brought up in Bengaluru, Preetha is an introvert living amidst the toil of the metro, chasing her dreams. She is a movie buff, a bibliophile and is fond of old school music. She has an eye for aesthetics and can draw and paint as good as a ten-year-old. She has been passionate about writing since her teen years and is currently exploring herself and the world, one word at a time.

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Exploring Sydney: A Week-Long Adventure

  • Last updated Jun 18, 2024
  • Difficulty Advanced

Michaela Krajanova

  • Category Travel

how many days to travel sydney

Sydney is Australia's largest city, so you could spend several weeks there and still not run out of things to see and do. However, if you're short on time, you can still see the main sights in just a few days.

If you have two or three days in Sydney, you can explore the central city area, including Circular Quay, The Rocks, and the Sydney Opera House. You can also take a ferry to Manly Beach or do a self-guided walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

With four or five days, you can add some day trips to natural attractions further afield, such as the Blue Mountains or the Hunter Valley wine region.

If you have a week in Sydney, you can also spend a day exploring one of the nearby coastal towns, such as Manly Beach or Bondi Beach.

What You'll Learn

Sydney in a day: circular quay, the rocks, sydney opera house, sydney's beaches: bondi beach, manly beach, coogee beach, sydney's neighbourhoods: newtown, surry hills, crows nest, day trips from sydney: blue mountains, hunter valley, royal national park, sydney's culture: sydney harbour bridge, luna park, royal botanic gardens.

quartzmountain

Start your day in Circular Quay, one of the first stops on any Sydney schedule due to its prime position on the harbour. This is the place to take in the majesty of its iconic structures, which include the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As the city's main ferry terminal, it's also a great spot to kick off your sightseeing activities.

Stroll along the foreshore and be rewarded with spectacular views. Wander under the Harbour Bridge to Walsh Bay, a theatre precinct with heritage wharves. Follow the same path along the water and you’ll arrive at Barangaroo Reserve.

There are plenty of lunch options in Circular Quay, including acclaimed fine-dining restaurants Quay, Aria and Bennelong, which is housed inside one of the Opera House’s white sails. For stunning harbour views, head for Cafe Sydney on the rooftop of heritage-listed Customs House or Hyde Hacienda in the Pullman Quay Grand.

After lunch, head to the Sydney Opera House, Australia's most famous landmark. Wander around the outside and admire its unique design, which visually references a yacht's sails. The best way to experience the interior is to attend a performance, but you can also take a one-hour guided tour (available in several languages), with optional food.

Next, walk to The Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney situated on the western shores of Sydney Cove. This was the first European settlement in Australia, established by Captain Arthur Phillip of England in 1788 as a penal colony. About a hundred buildings from the city’s early days are now preserved here, including warehouses, government buildings, the police station and 19th-century pubs.

If your afternoon in Sydney extends into the evening, take an evening cruise on Sydney Harbour to appreciate the skyline lit up at night.

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Sydney is Australia's largest city, and you could easily spend several weeks exploring it. However, if you're short on time, you can still experience some of the city's highlights in a few days. Sydney boasts a vibrant city centre, stunning beaches, and beautiful natural attractions.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is one of Sydney's largest and most famous beaches, located just 8km from the city centre. It is easily accessible by public transport, and the area is popular for its trendy cafes, bars, and shops, as well as the beach itself. The golden sand and sparkling blue ocean are perfect for swimming, surfing, or simply relaxing and enjoying the sun. The southern end of the beach offers powerful waves for experienced surfers, while the main beach area is patrolled by lifeguards 365 days a year. Bondi is also home to Bondi Icebergs, one of Australia's oldest swimming clubs, which features a 50-metre pool open to the public. The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is a popular 6km track that winds along sandstone cliffs, offering stunning views of the sea and nearby cliffs and rock pools.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach is another iconic Sydney beach, known for its surfing and relaxed vibe. It is a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, offering beautiful harbour views along the way. The beach itself stretches for 3 kilometres, making it less crowded than some of its counterparts. Manly is a great place to learn to surf, with several surf schools offering lessons. The beach is patrolled by three surf lifesaving clubs, ensuring a safe swimming experience. The nearby Corso is a pedestrian mall with surf shops, boutiques, and classic pubs. Manly also offers a variety of waterside dining options, from seafood to local brews.

Coogee Beach

Coogee Beach is a little more chilled than Bondi but no less stunning, with crystal-clear waters and white sand. It is a great place to start or end the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, offering a vibrant dining and bar scene, as well as adventure activities like coastal walks, snorkelling, and diving in an aquatic sanctuary. Coogee features several historic ocean baths, including McIver Baths, the last ocean pool in Australia reserved for women and children only. The beach is surrounded by generous green parks, ideal for picnics, and is a popular spot for families with young children.

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Newtown is the cultural hub and artistic district of Sydney. It's filled with live music venues, gay bars, graffiti walls, street singers, a huge dog-friendly park, and an amazing variety of food options. If you only eat at one place in Newtown, make it Mary's Bar. Newtown is more lively than Crows Nest and is a long way ahead in terms of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars.

Surry Hills

Surry Hills is a trendy and hip suburb in Sydney, with amazing food, top-notch art, an excellent nightlife, and a central location. It's the creative heart of the city, with fashion designers, creative agencies, and tech start-ups. It's also home to Sydney's favourite gelato, Gelato Messina.

Crows Nest is an underappreciated suburb of Sydney, maintaining its suburban charm with accessible transport to the city, the north shore, and the northern beaches. It has restaurants, shops, cafes, bars, and parks, all on or close to Willoughby Road. Crows Nest is predominantly retail, with St Leonards serving as the commercial centre. Crows Nest is home to the first Christian cemetery on Sydney's north shore, now a popular dog-walking spot.

The average price for a house in Crows Nest is $2,200,000, with units at a median price of $930,000. Willoughby Road has a bustling selection of shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants, easily competing with those of neighbourhoods like Surry Hills or Marrickville. Crows Nest has a variety of cuisines, with Japanese in high supply.

Crows Nest is a great area for homebuyers, with easy access to the city and surrounding areas, and plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars.

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Sydney is a bustling city with stunning bay views, iconic landmarks, and a plethora of tourist attractions. However, there are also several incredible destinations just a short distance away from the city that are perfect for day trips. Here are some amazing options for day trips from Sydney: Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, and Royal National Park.

Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains, located just over an hour from Sydney, offer breathtaking views and natural wonders. The Blue Mountains Deluxe Tour is a popular choice, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore breathtaking views of the Jamison Valley, including stops at Echo Point and the famous Three Sisters rock formation. The tour also includes a visit to Scenic World, where you can experience the thrilling Scenic Railway, valley Cableway, and Skyway. Additionally, you'll have the chance to stroll along the Boardwalk at Katoomba, the heart of the Blue Mountains.

Another option is the Blue Mountains Day Tour, which includes a visit to the Sydney Zoo, spectacular scenic lookouts, a self-guided mountain hike, and the chance to ride the steepest railway in the world. You'll also get to see the Three Sisters and explore the mountain cities of Katoomba before unwinding on an afternoon cruise along the Parramatta River back to Sydney.

For a more adventurous experience, consider the Blue Mountains Walking Tour, where you can discover secret waterfalls and swim in natural pools while admiring the lush rainforests and magnificent views. If you're looking for a magical experience, the Sunset Blue Mountains Tour offers the chance to watch the sun set over the Three Sisters, with an unforgettable bushwalk overlooking the Jamison Valley and off-the-beaten-path waterfalls.

Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley, located approximately 120 km north of Sydney, is renowned for its wine, food, and natural beauty. It is one of the oldest and biggest wine regions in Australia, boasting over 150 wineries. A day trip to Hunter Valley offers the opportunity to indulge in wine tastings, visit handmade cheese shops, and enjoy local cuisine at fabulous restaurants. It is also a great destination for adventure seekers, offering activities like balloon rides and Go-Kart tracks.

Royal National Park

The Royal National Park, situated an hour south of Sydney, provides a perfect escape to nature for relaxation and rejuvenation. The park boasts picturesque Wattamolla Beach, where dense bushland meets the beach, creating a slice of Australian paradise. You can swim in the lagoon, walk along the main beach, and enjoy a quality Aussie BBQ. The park also offers elevated lookout points, such as Providential Point Lookout, where you might even spot a whale or two. Additionally, Bald Hill Headland, Australia's most famous paragliding and hang gliding location, offers spectacular views overlooking Stanwell Park and the sea cliff bridge.

So, whether you're seeking natural wonders, culinary delights, or adventure, these day trips from Sydney will provide unforgettable experiences and create lasting memories.

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Sydney is Australia's largest city, and you could spend several weeks exploring it without running out of things to see and do. If you're short on time, it's best to stick to the central city area and its landmarks. Here's a guide to some of Sydney's cultural highlights:

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an iconic, coathanger-shaped bridge that offers spectacular views of the harbour. You can join a Harbour Bridge climb to soak up the 360-degree panorama of the city, or simply walk across the bridge on the pedestrian walkway. The Pylon Lookout offers one of the best views in the city and an exhibition on the history of the bridge.

Luna Park is a famous amusement park located in the charming suburb of Milson's Point, just across the Harbour Bridge from The Rocks. It's a great place to ride some thrilling attractions and enjoy scenic views of Sydney Harbour.

Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens is a major botanical garden located in the heart of Sydney, offering stunning views of the city and the water. It is the oldest scientific institution in Australia and one of the most important historic botanical institutions in the world. The gardens feature themed gardens such as the Camellia Garden, the Palace Rose Garden, and the Succulent Garden, as well as cafes and restaurants. The Royal Botanic Gardens is a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Sydney is a vibrant and diverse city with a rich cultural heritage. By exploring these landmarks, you can gain a deeper understanding of its history, architecture, and natural beauty.

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Frequently asked questions.

This depends on what you want to do and see. Sydney is Australia's largest city and you could spend several weeks there and still not run out of things to do. However, if you are short on time, you can see the central landmarks in an afternoon. If you have a few days, you can take day trips to natural attractions further out. Two to three days is a good amount of time to see the main sights in Sydney.

Jervis Bay is a nice beach, but it is quite a long drive at around three hours each way. If you want to go to the beach, Bondi Beach is a good option, and there are also beaches in Wollongong, which is only an hour and a half drive from Sydney.

May is late autumn in Sydney, so it will be too cold to swim, but you can still enjoy walking and sitting on the beach.

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The 7 Best Hotels in Sydney

The iconic Sydney Opera House on the shore of the city on a beautiful, sunny day

Sydney is where most travelers start their trip to Australia . It’s the country’s largest city (almost 20% of the entire population lives here), boasting incredible beaches, a fun nightlife, and lots of museums and galleries.

I’ve been visiting the city since 2007 and always have an amazing time. Sydney is gorgeous and I never get tired of admiring the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. But while the city has plenty to keep you busy , it is a bit spread out. That means picking the right place to stay is important.

Over the years, I’ve stayed at countless hotels. There’s a lot in the city and picking one can be overwhelming. Here’s my list of the best hotels in Sydney:

1. Mercantile Hotel

A large and spacious hotel room at the Mercantile Hotel in Sydney, Australia

A mid-range hotel, the rooms here are simple, minimalist, and practical. While it’s not super arty or unique, the rooms are large and the beds are comfortable. There’s free Wi-Fi, AC, and a coffee/tea maker in each room too. The bathrooms, while small, are well-kept and everything is in good condition. There’s no breakfast available, but there are lots of options nearby. The emphasis here is more on location than amenities, but you still get good value. It’s the best place to stay in The Rocks on a budget.

Book here!  

2. Coogee Bay Boutique Hotel

A large hotel room with ocean-influenced wallpaper the Coogee Bay Hotel in Sydney, Australia

Breakfast is served at the hotel’s beachside bar and grill, and the hotel also has an art-deco style cocktail bar and sports bar. If you have a vehicle, there’s private parking too (which is rare in the city). If you want a quieter, more relaxing stay, this is the hotel for you.

3. Crystalbrook Albion

A large and spacious hotel room with a huge bed at the Crystalbrook Albion in Sydney, Australia

Each room is unique, but all are bright and airy, with lots of natural light. The beds are large and comfy, and rooms also have flatscreen TVs, desks, coffee/tea makers, and plush bathrobes. The bathrooms are also spacious and bright, with large rain showers and boutique design touches like colorfully tiled walls. There’s a cool rooftop terrace too, and the breakfast each morning includes lots of fresh pastries. I think this is a gorgeous, stylish hotel, perfect if you want to splash out.

4. Glasgow Arms Hotel

A small but cozy hotel room at the Glasgow Arms in Sydney, Australia

The rooms, while not particularly large, are bright and have lots of natural light. There’s a desk, flatscreen TV, and free Wi-Fi in each. The bathrooms are on the smaller side but have nice showers with great water pressure. Everything is clean and comfortable, making this a good choice for travelers looking for value and simplicity.

5. The Darling at The Star

A huge hotel room with lots of natural light at the Darling at the Star hotel in Sydney, Australia

The rooms are large and spacious, with lots of natural light. They have a sleek, modern design and feature tons of perks, including flatscreen TVs, minibars, desks, plush bathrobes, and Egyptian cotton sheets. The bathrooms are also bright and spacious, with marble features and huge bathtubs. If you want luxury in the heart of the city, this is the hotel for you.

6. Hotel Bondi

A large but simple hotel room at Hotel Bondi in Sydney, Australia

While the hotel itself isn’t anything to write home about, the price for the location is fantastic. After all, Bondi Beach is right across the street!

7. Sydney Potts Point

A large bed and spacious hotel room at the Sydney Potts Point hotel in Sydney, Australia

It’s not super fancy place, but everything is well-maintained and there’s even some art in each room. I like that everything feels modern and clean here.

Book here!   ***

Sydney is a fun city. I always love my time here when I visit. And while it is a large city, by staying in one of the hotels above you’ll be well positioned to see the sights and make the most out of your trip.

Book Your Trip to Sydney: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

For more suggested hostels, here’s a list of my favorite hostels in Sydney . And to figure out where to stay, here’s a list of the best neighborhoods in Sydney so you can pick the right area for your visit.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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The Sydney, Australia skyline and Opera House lit up at night

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    3 Day Sydney Itinerary Overview. Day 1: Bronte Baths | Sydney Opera House | Walking Tour | Wendy's Secret Garden | Golden Age Cinema. Day 2: Bondi Icebergs Pool | Bondi Beach | Bondi to Coogee Coastal Path | Lansdowne Hotel. Day 3: Sydney Harbour Bridge | Royal Botanic Gardens | Luna Park Sydney.

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    The Russell Hotel is located in the heart of Sydney's historic The Rocks district, and is just a 2-minute walk to Sydney Harbor. It has the original charm of its 1887 origins, but the rooms are modern and comfortable—such a unique property! Check Prices. Downtown, CBD. 3-Star.

  3. 7 Days In Sydney 2024: The ULTIMATE Itinerary ...

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    5. Walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Almost as iconic as the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built in 1932 as a government employment project during the Great Depression. The project took almost 10 years to complete, and at the time it was the world's largest steel arch bridge.

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    Price: $137.20. Duration: 11 Hours. From Sydney: Hunter Valley Wine/Spirit Tasting Tour & Lunch - "Get ready for a diverse tour exploring the Hunter Valley wine region, tasting some of Australia's best wine, food, cheese, chocolate, beer, and distilled spirits.". Read Reviews & Check Availability.

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    Budget hotel prices - Budget hotels begin at 100 AUD per night. Expect to pay upwards of double that for a more central hotel with better amenities. Wi-Fi, TV, and AC are all standard. Airbnb is widely available around the city with private rooms starting at 60 AUD but averaging double that.

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    Park Hyatt Sydney. If you are looking for a luxury hotel experience and are willing to splurge or have hotel points to use, you can't go wrong with this 5 star hotel. It is centrally located in The Rocks area and some rooms have spectacular views of the Opera House. Amenities include a restaurant, bar, spa, free wi-fi and a rooftop pool.

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  10. A Complete Guide To Sydney

    Coogee Beach and Bondi are both beautiful so you can take a dip in the water both sides! See my Coogee to Bondi coastal walk guide here. 7. Explore the Blue Mountains (Greater Sydney region). The Blue Mountains National Park, a short train ride out of Sydney, is one of my favourite places to visit in Sydney.

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    The Best Insurance for Your Sydney Trip. Make sure you get travel and health insurance before your trip. ... Just had a read of your blog. It is a good wrap up of Sydney. I liked the bit about the penguins under the wharf. I would probably add something about the other animals that can be seen in Sydney. There are wildlife sanctuaries as well ...

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    3. Crystalbrook Albion. South of downtown in Surry Hills, this five-star luxury hotel is located in a gorgeous brick heritage building that was once a former convent. The property is elegantly designed, taking inspiration from both the 20's and the 70s. The result is eclectic yet chic.

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    While there isn't an airport at Perisher, the fastest way to get there from Sydney involves taking a flight from Sydney to the Snowy Mountains Airport in Cooma. With a duration of 1 hour flight time, you can then either rent a car, private transfer or catch a bus from Cooma to Perisher Valley, which takes roughly 1.5 to 2 hours.

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