Australia was one of my favorite placed I’ve lived in, and the first stop I made was in the beating heart of the country – Sydney, New South Wales.
I arrived in Sydney on January 26th (Australia Day!) and spent 3 full days exploring the incredible city with my friend Tara, a local! I am lucky to have people who can show me around these new places and give me an insider perspective.
This itinerary is perfect for people who don’t have much time to spend in Sydney but still want to get a good taste of the highlights. There is so much to do in the city, you could spend loads more time here, but if you just have a few days before going on to another city, these are some top things not to miss!
If you’ve been to Sydney and think there are some must-sees that I’ve left off this itinerary (which I am sure there are!) Please leave a comment below! I will be returning to Sydney at some point in the near future and I love getting reader suggestions!
When you first arrive in Sydney, buy an Opal card at the airport and put $30-40 on it if you’re planning on using public transit. It costs about $13 just to get out of the airport, so it’s good to load it up with some money so you’re good to go. It’s easy to refill it online if you need to!
I stayed in Newtown, a very cool neighborhood of Sydney with loads of restaurants and bars. It was an awesome area to explore for the few days I was there.
Day 1 – Sydney on foot. Luna Park & Bridge Walk
Take public transport to the north side of the harbor, and get off at Milson’s Point. You’ll get a good view as the train crosses the bridge of the harbor. Right outside the station is a unique market with food vendors and shopping called the Kirribilli Market. We ate a spinach and feta Gozleme from here that was delicious.
Walk through Luna Park and take a picture at its iconic entryway.
Continue on the boardwalk that wraps around the side of Luna Park. It’s a great view of the harbor and the bridge. You can also hire a boat in Sydney if you want to have a private tour around the harbor.
Climb up the steps and take in the natural surroundings at Wendy’s Secret Garden. It’s a small park on a hill that you can pass through on your way back up to the bridge.
Walk across Harbor Bridge, marvel at the opera house from above.
After crossing the bridge, stop at the Glenmore Hotel for a rooftop view and a drink. It’s a great place to cool off if it’s a hot day and take a break from walking around. From here, you can spend some time exploring and walking around the Central Busines District (CBD) of Sydney, with its skyscrapers and busy streets. We stopped for lunch at a sushi restaurant in the center.
After a long day of walking around, we had dinner in Newtown. A lot of restaurants in Australia have a BYO (bring your own) liquor license, where you’re allowed to bring your own beer or wine to a restaurant to drink with your meal. We picked up a bottle of Riesling and went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. I love Asian food and the abundance of options and relatively low prices on it here are a bonus.
Day 2 – Two beaches, one day, lots of walking.
So I didn’t actually do the complete Coogee to Bondi Beach walk, just a small part of it, but I did see both beaches while in Sydney. It’s a fantastic thing to do while in Sydney, however, to get some exercise and see the two gorgeous city beaches. They are busy but you can certainly find a place to put your towel. After a long walk between both beaches, a drink on the rooftop of the Coogee Pavillion is a great idea. Just don’t forget to bring sunscreen. The sun is so much stronger in Australia, and you can get really burned really fast.
In the evening, we went for drinks in Newtown.
Day 3 – Ferry from Circular Quay to Watson’s Bay
This was probably my favorite day of all time! On Sunday’s, public transport is much cheaper as it caps out at about $2. This means a ferry ride on a Sunday is like a $2 Sydney Harbor Tour!
We took the bus to Circular Quay, a harbor popular with tourists. There are loads of shops and restaurants in this area. From Circular Quay, we jumped on a ferry and cruised through the harbor to Watson’s Bay. It cruises through the harbor and provides an awesome, up-close view of the opera house. It can get very windy onboard though!
Watson’s Bay is a beautiful waterside suburb with gorgeous natural surroundings.
Robertson Park is located right in the middle of Watson’s Bay and it’s a lovely nature walk. It gives views of the open ocean and a boardwalk through some beautiful foliage.
Swim & a drink at the Beach Club
After walking around and exploring a bit of Watson’s Bay, we cooled off with a swim. I love how all the beaches in Australia have fresh water showers; being able to rinse off the salt makes the entire beach experience so much better. After our swim, we went for a pricey but delicious drink at the Beach Club. It has a swanky, Hampton’s vibe to it and it provides a stunning view of the bay.
Overall, I had an amazing experience in Sydney. I really can’t thank my friend Tara enough for taking me all around the city and showing me the best parts. This is just a brief overview of what we did, and I’d love to hear any suggestions of things to do and see for my next visits to Sydney!
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