5 Best Things to Do in Sydney
Read our guide to the 5 best things to do in Sydney, top attractions, must visit places and tips on where to stay.
Explore the best things to do in Sydney including Bondi Beach, The Rocks, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Royal Botanical Garden with pictures and travel tips in our Sydney city guide.
Sydney is one of our favorite cities we've visited so far. Even though it is a large and busy city, it has a relaxed vibe, and the location by the ocean, fresh salty air, humid subtropical climate and lively beaches make this place exceptional.
Even though Sydney is not the capital of Australia, the city is for sure the flagship of this continent and entice travelers from all around the world.
Located on the east coast of the South Pacific Ocean with a population of 5 million it's the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. It's also one the most culturally diverse cities in the world with almost 40% of its residents born overseas.
Simply put, this is a place where you can satisfy your wanderlust, experience a new culture and lifestyle, and have a great fun.
#1 Sydney Opera House
One of the world's most iconic buildings stands right here on Sydney's Bennelong Point. The building is famous in particular for its white-shelled roof, and its shape forms the city's panorama.
You can appreciate Opera House from the outside, you can take a guided tour to get more familiar with the architecture, or you can visit one of many concerts. The uniqueness of the building was officially confirmed in 2007 by inscribing Sydney Opera House on UNESCO list.
We hung around this area a lot during our time in Sydney and couldn't get full of the positive vibe of this place increased by packed Opera Bar sitting right on the water edge near Opera House.
The architecture from distance or up close is stunning, and you don't need any engineering or design education to admire and fully appreciate shapes and overall complexity of this magnificent building.
#2 Sydney Harbour Bridge
This bridge connecting the Sydney central business area and North District since 1932 is one of the most photographed features in the whole continent and iconic landmark of Australia.
The massive steel arch is so distinctive that the bridge nickname is The Coathanger.
You can easily walk on the bridge's pavement to enjoy views of the harbor and Opera, but the bridge is the most photogenic from the shore during the sunset or at night with all the lights on.
The side for pedestrians-only is, fortunately, more scenic and faces Opera House, The Rocks, and the downtown with modern skyscrapers and it's free of charge. Cyclists can use the other side of the bridge.
The climb to the top of the bridge is expensive though but can be once a lifetime adventure if you're looking for excitement.
#3 Bondi Beach
You can find many beaches in Sydney such as Manly or Bronte, but probably the most famous one is the Bondi Beach which can be easily accessed by bus directly from the city center.
The beach is huge and wide.
Soft and lovely sand, sea relatively safe for swimming, nice facilities, positive vibes and lots of people, that's Bondi Beach.
Even though it can get crowded and we are not huge fans of city beaches we enjoyed this one probably for its relaxed atmosphere cleanliness and close proximity to a coastal walk.
There might be better options for a beach visit in Sydney but if you want to experience the real movie-like atmosphere with surfers, lifeguards, bikini girls, and bodybuilders, give a try to iconic Bondi. And if you get tired of the buzz, there is a nice grassy lawn next to the beach, great for an afternoon picnic or you can stroll around the area and stop and grab a coffee or a bite to eat.
The only drawback is the distance from the city center. To get there, use public transport (bus goes from Circular Quay, and it takes approximately 45min), take a taxi or rent a car.
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#4 Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Are you looking for a place right in the heart of Sydney where you can spend several hours and do not have to pay a single cent for an admission? Well, you just found it.
Either you are seeking for botanical knowledge, or you only want to spend some time walking around at a leisure pace, this is the place to visit.
You will find there great spacious grassy lawns, colorful flowerbeds, impressive trees, lots of birds chirping and a few structures and statues. It's a well-maintained garden which makes a perfect picnic place for families.
Even solo travelers can find peace in the sometimes hectic and stressful city and get lost in their thoughts without even realizing it. There are a little bit pricey cafe and a restaurant for weary legs.
And the best part?
The entrance is right next to the Sydney Opera House which you are going to visit anyway.
Make sure you make it to the northeast point of the garden called Mrs. Macquarie's Point featuring a great view and photography opportunity of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Perfect place to catch the sunset in the Sydney area.
#5 The Rocks
The Rocks is a lively urban area conveniently located near Sydney's city center.
This place is popular with locals and also with tourists who appreciate especially its proximity to Harbour Bridge, Opera House, possibility to walk around a mixture of past and recently built buildings, and almost endless choice of restaurants and themed pubs, craft and souvenir shops.
This place is great for afternoon or night drinking and partying.
The history goes back to the 18th century when original buildings were built using local sandstone, and consequently, the name Rocks was born.
For all history enthusiasts, a visit to Susannah Place Museum is a must. An old residential building, where you can walk back in time, tells the story of all hardworking families, who lived in the area for almost 150 years. The proximity to Circular Quay, a popular Sydney harbor, makes it perfect for a visit.
Ok, I know, I've said 5 best things to do in Sydney, but here is an extra tip!
#6 Bondi Beach - Coogee Coastal Walk
An easy two-hours cliff top coastal walk provides you with excellent views of the blue ocean and postcard photo opportunities, and I am not even afraid to call it one the best short walks in the world. You'll cross numerous beaches where you can swim or stop by for a snack in restaurants or cafes, and it's a nice break away from the city.
Waverley Cemetery, Bronte Cliffs or Giles Baths are the must-see features along the way.
Even though we've mentioned it's a leisurely two hours walk, it took us all afternoon to get to the end of the walk, and I can't remember how much time we spent just watching the huge waves crashing in the massive coastal cliffs or the natural rock barrier at Giles Baths.
You can find the entrance at the southernmost point of Bondi beach, behind Bondi Icebergs Club on Notts Ave.
The probably most famous Sydney walk is split into two parts, Bondi to Bronte walk and Bronte to Coogee walk and if you don't have enough, you can extend it by walking further south to Maroubra Beach.
My favorite part was walking over the boardwalk past the stunning Waverley Cemetery with the restless ocean and eroding sandstone cliffs beneath.
WHAT TO PACK FOR VISITING SYDNEY
Sydney has many various things to do, and when packing for the city break, you need to take it into account as well as a fact, that it can be windy at times, and sometimes even chilly when visiting Sydney in the winter (from May to September).
Here's a quick guide on what to pack when traveling to Australia's metropole.
- Swimsuit for Him & for Her | Sydney has so many beautiful and famous beaches, and it would be a shame not to jump into the ocean and swim with sharks for a while.
- Comfortable Shoes for Him & for Her | We found out that having comfortable shoes for all day walking in the city is a must.
- Camera | We never set of for holiday without camera, although nowadays many people make do with a phone.
- Protection Against Sun - Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Lipbalm with Sunscreen, Hat | Sun in Australia can be harsh, do not walk outside without proper protection.
- Windproof Jacket for Him & for Her | It can be windy in Sydney, so pack a windbreaker to keep warm, just in case.
WHERE TO STAY IN SYDNEY
Sydney is a huge modern city with an estimated population of more than 5 million people. It's also one of the most expensive cities in the world, and the prices for accommodation confirm this fact.
First, you must decide where do you want to stay. You can narrow down your search by looking at these popular neighborhoods among tourists, such as Sydney CDB (Central Business District), Darling Harbour, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Newtown, Bondi or Manly.
And second, you should know your budget and what type of accommodation you want to spend a night in. Good news is, the selection is wide, and you should easily find a place to stay according to your needs.
BUDGET | Base Sydney - Great location at Sydney central business district, clean rooms, and helpful staff.
MID-RANGE | Meriton Suites Coward Street, Mascot - Convenient location to Sydney Airport, new hotel, nice clean rooms.
LUXURY | Hyatt Regency Sydney - Fantastic location at CBD, great views of the Darling Harbour, large rooms, comfortable rooms.
Alternatively, search for your accommodation via Hostelworld.
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