Sydney Travel Guide and Top Things To Do In The City

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When planning a trip to Australia, Sydney is definitely on the top of most travelers’ lists. Australia has always been my top travel bucket list item. With beautiful beaches, yacht-studded harbour, great cafes and restaurants, vibrant vibes, Sydney is one of my favourite cities in the world. 

Sydney has grown into Australia’s most diverse city and it is a huge city for every type of travelers. From hiking in the Blue Mountains, sunset watching from the Opera Bar to surfing at Bondi beach and wine tasting at Hunter Valley, Sydney has so much to offer and these top things to do can easily fill up your 3 day Sydney Itinerary.

In this Sydney travel guide, I will share about what are the best things to do in Sydney from my past experiences in Sydney.

When is the best time to visit Sydney?

Sydney has four seasons. If you want to avoid crowded seasons, then March to May and September to November are the best time to visit the city. The weather in these times is also more chillier, hovering between 11-24℃. 

The summer season ( December to February) is when the city is most crowded. It is also the most expensive period to travel to Sydney in this peak season because most of the tourists choose to flock to this city for the heat.

Getting from Sydney airport to the city center

Getting from Sydney airport to the city central business district is very convenient. The easiest mode of transport from the airport to the city center totally depends on the place you stay as well as how much luggages with you have. There are several options to travel from airport to city which includes :

By Train

Train is the fastest and cheapest way to get to the city center from the airport. By train, Sydney Airport is only 13 minutes away from the city center. You can access the train service by using an Opal card or tapping on directly with your Visa, mastercard or Amex.

By Car:

With 8km of distance between the airport and the CBD, the journey takes about 25 minutes by car under light traffic conditions. You can either get a car ride through car rental or use rideshare services like Gocatch, Didi or Ola. These three are the most popular rideshare service used by both locals and tourists.

Getting Around Sydney

Getting around Sydney is pretty easy and convenient. Get an Opal card and start using Sydney’s public transport system. You can load money onto this public transportation card to effortlessly travel on Sydney’s railway, bus, ferry, and light rail systems.

The fares of using public transportation varies depending on the zones you travel in and also the off-peak or on-peak times. 

Trains:

The City Circle is a train network that circles the city, stopping at Central, St James, Town Hall, Museum, Circular Quay, and Martin Place. If you are traveling in the city center, this is the easiest way to get around. 

Light rail (Tram):

The light rail network has three main lines which are L1, L2 and L3.

Buses:

Sydney has a comprehensive bus network. If you wish to travel from the city center to the suburbs, take the buses to reach places like Blue Mountains, Surry Hills or Bondi beach.

Ferries:

Sydney is a harbour city, and traveling by ferry in Sydney is a great way to see the city’s landscape. The ferry service operates around Sydney Harbour to eight main destinations. You can take the ferry ride to Manly beach, Luna Park or Taronga Zoo.

Check out this article on details about Sydney’s public transportation.

Where to stay in Sydney?

When deciding where to stay in Sydney, think about the places you want to visit and the types of travel styles you prefer. Sydney is a large city with diverse vibes and highlights in different parts of the city. So, when deciding where to stay in Sydney, it is best to plan ahead of time which places you want to visit and select the most convenient stay.

If you prefer beach fun and party, then Bondi and Kings cross are the best neighborhoods to stay. Consider Hotel Bondi and Springfield Lodge for your stay in the area.

Bondi:

Mid Range : Hotel Bondi

Luxury : Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi beach

 

Kings Cross:

Mid Range : Springfield Lodge

 

Darling Harbour or CBD:

If you are looking for a city bustle vibe, then consider staying at Darling Harbour or Sydney CBD.

ParkRoyal Darling Harbour

The Star Grand Hotel And Residence

Vibe Hotel Sydney

Sydney Travel Guide : Best Things to do in Sydney

1. Wander around Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour
Sunset at Darling Harbour.

On Sydney’s waterfront, Darling Harbour is a pedestrianized neighborhood with a lot of cafes and eateries. You can find a lot of great restaurants and cafes here that offer various ranges of dining options including European cuisine, Malaysian food, Japanese food, Spanish eateries and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Opera Bar is a great place to have a wonderful sunset view at the Harbour. Located just next to the iconic Opera House, Opera Bar has a chill vibe. Grab a cocktail or dinner here by the bay to enjoy the sunset.

3. Have beach fun at Bondi beach

One of my favourite places in Sydney is Bondi Beach! Relaxing on the Bondi beach and soaking up in the sun during the summer is the best way to enjoy it here.

4. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

One of the most popular things to do in Sydney is to climb the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge! The view up on the bridge is fantastic and you can see the Sydney city landscape from the top.

5. Take a day tour to Blue Mountains

Blue Mountain - Best things to do in Sydney
Scenic view at Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains National Park , the World Heritage listed site is on the top of my bucket list when visiting Sydney. Blue Mountains is only a short train ride from the Sydney city center.  From steep cliffs , Majestic waterfalls, jungle walks to thick forests, there are so many things to see in Blue Mountains National Park and I highly recommend spending one full day here to fully immerse in the jungle vibe. The scenic railway that takes you up the sheer cliffs where the breathtaking views are displayed is one of the best things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Check out the All-Inclusive Blue Mountains Day Tour here.

6. Take a walk at Botanical Garden

The Birdcage in Royal Botanical Garden

You will find one of the city’s landmarks – Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Garden. It is a carved seat overlooking the harbour. This garden is a treasure trove of unique trees, ferns, and plants. Locals especially enjoy stretching out to enjoy the sun during the summer days.

7. Indulge at Sydney Fish Market

Enjoy the freshest seafood in the city in this World’s third largest fish market. Sydney Fish market is like a seafood heaven to seafood lovers. There is a wide variety of seafood here. When I visited the Fish Market, it was very crowded. Buy the seafood from the market, then eating it on the deck next to it that faces the water, is the ideal way to enjoy the seafood there.

8. Visit Luna Park

The heritage-listed amusement park is located at the harbourside suburb in Sydney. The entrance to Luna Park is a giant smiling face of the moon which you might have seen on the internet before. The entrance is very iconic. This is a perfect place to visit especially when you are traveling with kids. Take a ride at the Ferris Wheel that let you oversee the beautiful scenery across the harbour.

9. Take a coastal walk

While Sydney is a coastal city, there are many interesting and breathtaking coastal walk you can take here. One of the most famous walks is the Coogee Beach- Bondi Beach walk that spans about two hours to complete. The coastline walk is stunning and incredibly soothing as you take in the sea breeze and the sound of the waves crashing on the sand.

10. Stroll at Hyde Park

Located in the central business district (CBD) of Sydney, Hyde Park is a popular spot for locals and tourists to picnics and strolls. The park is separated into north and south sections, each side has pretty trails surrounded by trees. At the north side, you will find plenty of monuments and statues with significant history and meanings.

11. Go on a Hunter Valley Wine Tour

The Hunter Valley is home to amazing wineries that create exquisite wines. If you are a wine lover, here’s a great place to taste different types of wines. Even if you are not into wine, you can also visit other breweries, chocolate and cheese factories too!

12. Visit The Rocks

The Rocks is the oldest historical part of Sydney. There are a range of funky restaurants, cool bars, attractions and also Australia’s oldest pubs. This part is one of the oldest yet coolest areas in Sydney. Visit the museums, weekend’s markets here or take a walk tour in this neighbourhood to explore the laneways and learn about the stories behind these buildings.

Travel Expenses in Sydney

The travel cost in Sydney depends on your travel styles and how many days you spend traveling in Sydney. The costs can be divided into few factors:

Accommodation:

Accommodation in Sydney is slightly higher compared to other parts of Australia. For budget traveler, a dorm with 8-10 beds sharing starts at 20-35 AUD per night. If you prefer some privacy, a private room at hostels or budget hotels costs around 100 AUD a night. 

A mid-range hotel can be found for 150 AUD per night if you have a larger travel budget, but as you approach closer to the city centerIt is always better and more efficient to make travel arrangements in advance., the cost can more than quadruple.

Airbnb can be found widely in Sydney. Starting from 100 AUD per night inclusive of cleaning and service fee, you can find some great stays in Sydney but if you stay at the CBD, it certainly costs more than double of that.

Transportation:

Transportation costs depend on how frequently you use public transport or drive. To me, Sydney is a walkable city. To save on transportation, get an Opal card and top up when you need to use public transport. The card is highly useful because you may use it on almost all Sydney public transportation, including buses, trains, ferries, and light rail.

Car Rental:

Car rental rate is pretty expensive in Australia. If you are traveling with family, then it might be worth getting a car rental for the ease of transportation. When estimating the cost of renting a car in Sydney, it’s important to consider other costs as well, such as gas prices and parking fees.The average petrol price in Sydney costs about 1.78 AUD per liter and Sydney is on the top three when it comes to the ranking for most expensive cities for parking.

Food:

Food in Sydney is pretty diverse. For a standard meal at a cheap cafe or restaurant, it costs around 20- 30 AUD. A meal at a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s starts at 14 AUD. 

Tours and Entrance Fee:

Many of the attractions like Bondi beach, botanical gardens and Hyde park are free admission. If you take the tours like Blue Mountain, The Rocks walking tour, food tours, then expect about 30-50 AUD per tour.

Nha Trang is a coastal city where there is a beach area like Phu quoc but with more sightseeing places. By day, you can chill and soak in the sun on the beach. By night when the nightlife wakes up, you can join the party at rooftop bars or whisky bars.

I hope you find this Sydney travel guide useful and help you plan your trip to Sydney. This guide is based on my visits to Sydney. If you have any suggestions, you’re welcome to let us know in the comment section below.