Sydney is undoubtedly the heart and soul of Australia, boasting some of the world’s most famous beaches, beautiful coastal walks and hikes and an abundance of art and culture. From the Sydney Opera house to Bondi Beach, one day in Sydney will be enough for you to want to stay forever. Although you may not find Nemo or Dory, you will certainly find a love for Australia in its most famous city!
GUEST POST BY CARLY JOOS
What’s the best time to visit Sydney?
Sydney’s weather is surprisingly a lot more unpredictable than most would imagine. It’s not always sunny skies and warm air. While there are plenty of museums and galleries to visit on a rainy day, Sydney’s best attractions can be most enjoyed in the sun. For this ideal weather, come here in the warmer months, between November and May. In November you can see the beautiful jacaranda trees starting to bloom and dress the sidewalks in their purple petals. Throughout the remaining summer months, you can be sure to have perfect outdoor-exploring and beach-going weather!
What’s good to know about Sydney?
Sydney is huge! The Greater Sydney Area is an impressive 12,367 square kilometers. Within that area are over one hundred different beaches, including the famous Bondi and Manly beaches. An hour’s train ride south can bring you to the Royal National Park or west to the Blue Mountains National Park for some great hiking.
A quick ferry ride across the harbour can get you to the Taronga Zoo or Watsons Bay. The good news is that the majority of places in Sydney can be easily accessed by public transportation and, if you travel on a Sunday, even the most extensive travel will cost you $2.50 AUD for the entire day!
One day in Sydney Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Sydney.
Start your day right at the famous Bondi Beach. Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you’ll definitely want to check out Speedo Café where you can get everything from healthy acai bowls to traditional Australian breakfasts with smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado and toast. Once you finish your delicious breakfast, head up to the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. Sydney has dozens of coastal walks to offer, but Bondi to Coogee is by far the best.
Along this six-kilometer walk, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the most stunning coastal views Sydney has to offer and pass by several unique beaches. You’ll even get to pass through a centuries-old cemetery that overlooks the crystal clear Pacific Ocean. The walk should take about two hours and definitely has some uphill stretches, but nothing too difficult! Once you arrive at Coogee Beach, you’ll want to take a bus to your next destination, Circular Quay. You can get there by taking the 373, 377 or 374 bus toward Sydney.
There’s no better place to spend the afternoon than one of Sydney’s most famous destinations. At Circular Quay you’ll get see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Here you can climb the Harbour Bridge (yes, climb), which costs $248-383 and can last from 1.5-3 hours depending on which package you decide on.
If that’s not in your budget, you can experience almost the same views for free simply by walking across the bridge. Once you’ve done that, you’ll definitely be in the mood for some lunch. The Opera Bar offers spectacular views of the harbour and has wonderful food all day long.
Explore The Rocks
A few blocks walk from the Opera House is Sydney’s most historic neighbourhood, the Rocks. There is much to explore in this centuries-old neighbourhood including Aboriginal art galleries, several parks offering great views and people-watching, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the best gelato in all of Australia at Gelato Messina and so much more. For those that are thrill-seekers, spend half an hour on the Oz Jet doing the Shark Attack Thrill ride. The Rocks offers sights and excursions for every type of traveller, just make sure you’re done exploring by 6 p.m.
Free Walking Tour and Dinner
“I’m Free Walking Tours” are completely free city tours offered in Sydney and Melbourne. These tours are an amazing way to view the city and learn a little bit of Australian history! There is a tour that starts at Cadmans Cottage in the Rocks at 6 p.m. every night. This tour lasts an hour and a half, ending right on time for dinner, and will bring you deep into Sydney’s fascinating criminal history. The tour wraps up near the Glenmore Hotel, which happens to be the perfect place for a rooftop dinner and drinks overlooking the city.
Night Cap at Darling Harbour
End your night at the beautiful Darling Harbour, where you can find a ton of bars and are within walking distance to some of Sydney’s best clubs. If you happen to be there on a Saturday, you can enjoy fireworks over the harbour once the sun has gone down.
The best way to get there from the Glenmore is by taking a taxi or an Uber, but it is also accessible by public transportation or a half hour walk. If you opt for public transportation, head to the Circular Quay station and catch a train to Town Hall. From there it’s just a ten-minute walk to the heart of the harbour.
For those who enjoy big rooms for dancing and EDM music, you’ll want to spend your night at Marquee Sydney. If you’d prefer to check out DJ’s and artists, then Chinese Laundry is the club for you. And if you just want to find a nice bar where you can look out at Sydney’s breathtaking harbour views, then head over to The Bristol Arms rooftop bar. Darling Harbour is the perfect place to end the night for any type of traveller.
Where to stay in Sydney?
28 Regent Street, Sydney CBD, 2008 Sydney
28 Hotel offers one of the best value stays in the heart of the city, only a 7 minutes’ walk from Central Train Station. Even though it’s located next to the bustle of Sydney, the area around the hotel is nice and quiet. The rooms provide a stylish and super comfortable stay.
Russell Hotel In The Rocks
143A George Street, Sydney CBD, 2000 Sydney
Russell Hotel In The Rocks retains the elegance and charm of its 19th century origins, offering a comfortable and stylish stay in the heart of Sydney. The hotel features bright and comfortable rooms, each individually designed and decorated. The rooftop garden offers views of Circular Quay and the city skyline.
75 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney CBD, 2000 Sydney
Veriu Central is an exceptional contemporary hotel that combines old world style with modern designs. The hotel is located in the cultural heart of the city, surrounded by eclectic cafes, designer shops and art houses. It’s a perfect choice for those who want a modern, stylish yet super comfortable stay.
Extra tips for visiting Sydney
– Sydney has strict lockout laws, which means that you won’t be able to get into a bar of club past 1:30 a.m. and there is a 3 a.m. last call for drinks. The best time to head to a bar or club is between 10:30 p.m. and midnight.
– If you’re a student, a lot of places throughout Sydney will offer concession prices on admission tickets and even drinks if you show them a student identification card!
– Sydney is quite expensive, in fact it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. From activities to food and drinks, everything will likely seem a bit on the pricey side. If your budget is tight, check out menus and ticket prices before going anywhere. You can still enjoy everything that Sydney has to offer without spending all of your money!
PIN FOR LATER!
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your One Day in Sydney.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.
Carly is a student, marketer and blogger from New York. She now attends school in Boston, Massachusetts at Northeastern University, where she studies marketing and entrepreneurship. Travel has become a major passion of hers since starting university, allowing her opportunities to visit Spain, Costa Rica, Australia and various parts of the United States. Although she will be grounded in Boston for a little while to complete her studies, Carly plans on doing a road-trip across the United States soon and hopes to continue to make travel a regular part of her life!