Whatever your reason might be for visiting this glorious city, and the available time you might have – it’s not enough. As soon as you hit the clubs on your first night, or get a glimpse at their majestic beaches, you’ll instantly want to spend at least one whole lifetime (if not more) in this insane, but versatile place.
The hotspot for thrill-seekers, foodies, culture vultures and laid-back locals, no matter who you are, you’ll fit right in the colourful crowd of Aussies, and you can expect a whole range of activities to spice up your trip. Now buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Climb the Harbour Bridge
Sydney harbour bridge, Australia
This one is a no-brainer. This architectural masterpiece is the stamp of the city and an adventure with a gorgeous view, so it’s not only worth the rate, which is $200 plus, but also a bucket-list type of an experience.
Even if you opt for the quickest version named the express climb, you’ll find yourself in awe of the bridge’s raw power as you go deeper into its steel arches. You’ll be able to see the entire Harbour, a huge portion of the city itself, and the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Take the plunge
No visit to Sydney can be complete without a dive into the ocean. If you surf, even better, the city offers a whole range of surfing-friendly spots such as in Manly or Bondi, which also leads you to another perfect, unavoidable experience – coastal walks.
Bring your board or just your shades (and a bottle of water, otherwise you’ll go nuts), and test the waters of all the cool beaches from Bondi to Coogee, where you can also find excellent whale-watching viewpoints, or from Spit to Manly, and head to some of the locals’ favourite brunch spots to kick-start your early morning adventures.
Put on your foodie hat
There’s no better way to have an authentic taste of the city than to indulge in its exquisite cuisine. Few places can be on a par with Sydney’s rapidly growing food scene, so fuel your stay with some of their delicious fresh meals, proudly made by the ingenious local chefs.
Della Hyde in one of their most beloved restaurants in Darlinghurst and a perfect start that will give you plenty of energy for your busy itinerary. There’s no point in roaming the city on an empty stomach – it just ruins the whole experience. Have a taste of their steamed dumplings with a tasty dipping sauce, round it off with a delish cocktail and you’re good to go.
Have a drink at the Opera Bar
Whilst you’re at the harbour, you may as well grab a drink at the Opera Bar. Time it right and you’ll watch the sun set behind the Sydney Opera House and grab a prime opportunity for a picture. It’s all open plan and airy, so you can enjoy the sun all year round.
Situated right by the waters 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 beautiful Harbour. Whether it’s breakfast, a lazy lunch, a pre show dinner date or simply a cocktail; Opera Bar is truly perfect for any occasion.
Sydney’s rich bushland, versatile creeks and hidden oases are perfectly accessible if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get those paddles moving. You’re in the city of water sports, for crying out loud, the effort is half the fun!
You can go it alone or join a group, but don’t miss out on the Narrabeen Lagoon, the Lane Cover River or the Royal National Park – they are all beautiful, mysterious and worth the paddle.
No true Australian experience can go without a wildlife encounter! Head out to the Sydney Wildlife Zoo to meet the friendly wallabies, cuddly koalas, wombats and the ferocious saltwater crocodiles. You can even book a behind-the-scenes tour and have an up-close greeting with some of the friendliest lizards and mammals you’ve seen.
The keepers can take you through the Kangaroo Walk-About, the Koala Encounter and the Butterfly Tropics, and follow up the visit with enticing stories and facts on the local wildlife.
Royal Botanic Garden
Even if it’s just for the afternoon picnic snack, this incredible work of art is teeming with the friendly locals, and there’s always a spot in the shade for you to rest and absorb the Zen energy of the green surroundings.
You’ll get to see some of the most exotic plant species from Australia and the Pacific region bundled up in the Royal Botanic Garden, and you can join a free guided tour which starts every morning at 10:30 from the heart of the park.
The Blue Mountains
Get your hike on! If you fancy amazing views, and a break from city life, you should definitely hire a car and head 2 hours in-land to meet the mountains and three-sisters.
The Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens. Katoomba, a major town in the area, borders Blue Mountains National Park and its bushwalking trails. Echo Point affords views of the storied Three Sisters sandstone rock formation.
If you’re on a budget, it’s your best mate. It’s definitely underrated and worth the visit. Remember to ask what the blue haze is…not all is what it seems!
Head out to Cockatoo
A well-kept secret of the local Aussies, the Cockatoo Island is more than just a fun destination for a spooky history lesson on the convicts, but also a cherished BBQ spot for a Sunday of relaxing. Beautiful beaches, yet another kayaking chance, tennis courts, and a perfect campsite, the island is chock-full of fun if you plan your stay well.
Bondi to Coogee Walk
Combining beaches, rockpools, parks and spectacular coastal views, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk winds its way along 6 km of picturesque coastal paths at the edge of Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Starting by the iconic Bondi Icebergs, just above the Bondi Baths, the walk takes between 1-2 hours at a leisurely pace, offering plenty to see and do along the way.
Make your way up a set of steep stairs near the start of the walk and marvel at Aboriginal rock carvings in Marks Park, one of the walk’s highest points and a prime whale watching spot during the migration season between May and November. Heading towards Tamarama you’ll pass by Mackenzie’s Point Beach, one of the smallest beaches in the State which is only accessible at low tide. The beach is not suitable for swimming, but is a popular surfing spot and a great place to relax by the water.