The Complete Sydney Travel Guide

As I traveled down the east of Australia I’d heard a few different things about Sydney from other travelers which were, unfortunately, negative. It was ‘too expensive’ and ‘too busy’ and ‘overrated’. But I’m a firm believer that you should make your own mind up about a place, despite what other people might tell you.

I ended up really enjoying my two months spent in Sydney. Australia’s largest city has a lot to offer. From the harbour front with its iconic landmarks and bustling restaurants, to the many lush, inner-city parks and sun-blazed beaches. Whether you’re exploring the city for a few days or making it your home for a while, there’s so much to see and do in Sydney.

The view of Sydney Harbour from the ferry to Manly

7 Days

recommended to explore

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How to get Around

  • Free Walking Tour – Grab your map of the city and explore! Sydney is huge, so the chances of getting lost are high as you navigate yourself around the busy, bustling streets! A free walking tour will give you an insight into the cities impressive sights, history and culture.
  • Opal – if you’re staying in Sydney for a while, grab yourself one of these cards from the nearest 7-Eleven. This is essentially a tap-on tap-off card which offers discounted travel; you’ll never pay more in a day than the standard cap, and on Sundays you’ll spend a maximum of $2.50.

The view of Sydney Harbour from the ferry to Manly

Things to see and do

  • Sydney Opera House – head to Circular Quay and capture Sydney’s iconic landmarks in all their glory.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge – there are many ways you can explore the bridge, whether it be walking, cycling or climbing.
Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • Bondi – arguably the most iconic beach in Australia, and being closest to the city, it can be reached by train and bus. Its easy to spend a whole day here, relaxing on the golden sandy beach and marvelling at the unique art work.
Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

  • Paddys Market – grab yourself a bargain at this huge market on Hay Street. I used to buy my weekly fruit and veg from here!
  • Manly – for a less touristy feel. The ferry journey across the harbour will give you the opportunity to snap a picture of Sydney’s impressive city skyline as you sail across the water ($15 return). The beach is a lot quieter than Bondi, and attracts a lot of local surf.
Manly

Manly

  • The Bondi to Coogee Walk – a walk that shouldn’t be missed! Taking around two hours to complete, it’s incredibly picturesque and allows access to Tamarama and Bronte beach along the way.
  • Visit The Chinese Garden of Friendship – set within the heart of Sydney, its the perfect setting for a tranquil afternoon (entry $6), with the only sound you can hear being the running water from the waterfall within!
The Bondi to Coogee coastal walks takes you by Tamarama and Bronte along the way

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

  • See the iconic landmarks from the water – my favourite way to see them. From around $5 for a ticket from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay how could you resist?
  • View the city from one of its many viewpoints. My favourite of which are Milsons Point and Observatory Hill.

A stunning viewpoint of Sydney

The Prince Alfred Park Pool is a heavenly oasis in the center of Sydney

The Prince Alfred Park Pool

Where to eat

  • Chinatown – for delicious, Asian eateries.
  • Darling Harbour the main entertainment hub in the city hosting an abundance of bars and restaurants. Don’t miss the free fireworks that take place every Saturday at 8pm! 
  • Sushi – it’s just something else in Australia! There are many sushi spots scattered around the city, where you can get takeaway sushi for only a couple of dollars.
  • The Lindt Chocolate Cafe – something I just couldn’t resist. I would recommend the Lindt Chocolate Lovers Ultimate Platter.
The Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Darling Habour

The Lindt Chocolate Cafe

Road trips

  • Take the train to The Blue Mountains – the most popular road trip from Sydney. One of the main highlights, The Three Sisters, is located at Echo Point, which offers you a brilliant view of the mountains behind. According to aboriginal legend, the unusual rock formation represents three sisters who were turned to stone! 
The Blue Mountains is the most popular day trip from Sydney

The Blue Mountains

  • Hunter Valley – one of Australia’s largest wine regions, where you’ll find more than 100 vineyards!
  • Road trip to The Northern Beaches – head further north on a day trip to the various other golden sandy beaches that Sydney has to offer, including Newport, Whale and Palm Beach (famous as being Home and Away’s fictitious setting of Summer Bay) to name a few.

Palm Beach

 Have you been, or are you going to Sydney soon? Would you add anything else to the list? Let me know in the comment section below!

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The Ultimate Sydney Travel Guide

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14 Comments

  1. April 9, 2017 / 11:29 am

    Love it! Reminded me of my trip to Sydney in 2014. I spent 3 days in the Blue Mountains. Ah, I’ll have to plan another trip back soon!

    • Laura
      April 9, 2017 / 1:20 pm

      Thanks Megan! I love reminiscing on travels – especially Australia 🙂 I’m definitely with you on that one!

  2. April 10, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    Such a great in-depth guide! Would love taking the train to the Blue Mountains!

    • April 10, 2017 / 9:01 pm

      You definitely should – it’s a beautiful area!

  3. April 11, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    This is a really good guide. I am going to get back to your blog when I plan my visit. Your post and the pictures are making me want to book my tickets fast.

    • April 11, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      I’m glad it’s made you feel that way! 😊

  4. April 12, 2017 / 12:35 am

    Great guide – concise and i want to do everything on the list! Thanks 🙂

    • April 12, 2017 / 12:56 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it 😊

  5. April 12, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    This is the second post/plan that I’ve read lately that says to check out Manly. I think getting out of the city to have a view and a break is a great idea… and soon there’s going to need to be a suggestion for getting away from hustle and bustle of Manly if we all visit there on our travels. 😉

    • April 16, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      A good point Rob! I just can’t stop myself from promoting Manly to other travellers though…

  6. April 13, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    My girlfriends and I are planning a trip to Sydney and this came right on time! Thanks for the awesome tips.

    • April 16, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      No worries Joanna – I’m happy its helped you! Have a wonderful trip 🙂

  7. April 14, 2017 / 7:17 am

    ^ days in Sydney would be like pure magic. There are so many wonderful experiences lined up, I am sure there can never be a dull moment. I would love to start with the Sydney harbour bridge and the iconic Opera house. Would love to head out to the beach, it looks quite serene and relatively secluded as well.

    • April 16, 2017 / 1:55 pm

      It’s very true Sandy 🙂 The iconic landmarks are definitely the best place to start!

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