Australia spoils us with its choice of cool, quirky cities – from the trendy, art-filled culture hub that is Melbourne to the laid-back charm of Perth. Let’s put the spotlight on east coast’s finest – NSW’s capital city, Sydney! With an incredible selection of beaches, vibrant neighbourhoods and various harbours boasting buzzing bars and restaurants, how could you possibly get a taste for this city in just a week? Here’s how…
Embrace your inner tourist
Visit the Sydney Opera House
The first thing you’ll definitely have to do is hit up the tourist spots; hop on public transport and get to Circular Quay, your gateway to the Harbour Bridge (where you can also opt to do the Bridge Climb) and of course, visit the Sydney Opera House. Enjoy a stroll around the sights, lap up the sun on the steps of the Opera House or stop at one of the restaurants and bars along the harbour where you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail with a view. A personal favourite is the Opera Bar, situated right next to the Opera House with great views of the Bridge too.
From here you can also visit the Royal Botanical Gardens where you can visit one of their exhibitions, learn more about Aboriginal culture or just relax in the Aussie sun.
Take a free city walking tour
A walking tour is such a great quick introduction to any city led by locals who really know their stuff. Head to Town Hall Square at 10:30am or 2:30pm to catch a 2-3 hour tour covering hot-spots like The Rocks District, Sydney Tower and Australia Square as well as getting tips from your guide on hidden gems.
Marvel at views from Mrs Macquaries Chair
Just a 20 minute walk from Circular Quay, head here for iconic views overlooking both the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
Explore the Beaches
Fast track your beach sightseeing and head for the Bondi to Coogee walking trail for the perfect way to beach hop across some of the best beaches Sydney has to offer. The route takes you through 6km of Sydney’s suburbs with beach, cliff and rock-pool views across Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. If you were to walk the trail without stopping, it would take you around two hours, however, this could be a whole day’s affair if you take it at an easy pace.
Start in iconic Bondi where you can watch surfers riding waves, snap pics at the famous Bondi Icebergs and prep for the walk with a delicious and Instagram-worthy brunch at Speedo’s Cafe.
Your first stop is Tamarama, a glam hang-out spot that’s far less crowded than Bondi – although not always a great swimming spot as the waves here can be very rough – look out for lifeguards on duty to see if it’s safe to swim.
The next spot is Bronte, a small yet beautiful beach that boasts an Icebergs-esque rock pool called Bronte Baths. This is a gorgeous rock pool situated on the far right side of Bronte and it’s completely free to enter. Practice your laps here or just cool down while overlooking the ocean below.
This tiny beach differs to the others as there’s fewer waves here plus with amazing marine life, it makes it a perfect snorkelling spot.
The final stop on the itinerary is Coogee; a relaxed sandy beach with an array of laid-back pubs and bars across the beachfront. You could treat yourself to one of the al-fresco cafes or go true Aussie style and have a BBQ at one of their free electric barbeques on site. Dreamy!
Wander through the neighbourhoods
This trendy part of town has everything from brunch spots, restaurants and quirky bars. It’s a great area to hang out and unleash your inner foodie, as there are so many great eateries to choose from. The Italian Bowl is a small joint that offers fresh pasta options – choose your shape, sauce and meat to create your own dish. Dumpling Hut offers a delicious variety of steamed or pan-fried dumpling plus other staple dishes, The Pie Tin. If you have a sweet tooth, head for Cloud 9 Chocolate Cafe where they do ice cream sandwiches (two warm brownie slices hugging a scoop of ice-cream – yum!) or Cow & Moon for indulgent and artisanal gelato.
If you’re searching for a drinking hole, head to The Courthouse Hotel – more popularly known as ‘The Courty,’ which boasts a beer garden and secret Pinball machine room. Or if craft beer is more your calling, check out Young Henry’s.
This buzzing part of Sydney located on the shore of Cockle Bay Wharf brings together the best selection of museums, shopping and entertainment with a great choice of restaurants and bars dotted throughout the laneways. It’s also home to Chinatown, where you’ll find delicious eateries on every corner…dim sum-body say dumplings?!
Nestled right by Chinatown, you’ll find a gem called Paddy’s Market, perfect for a bargain find on clothes, jewellery, art, books, souvenirs and food! Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am – 6pm.
Explore outside of the city
Featherdale Wildlife Park
If you’re determined to leave Oz meeting both a koala and a kangaroo, then this place is the perfect spot. It’s less than an hour outside of Sydney centre and well worth the trip to see the fuzzy koalas hanging off trees plus you can feed some wallabies and kangaroos from their enclosures.
A visit to these mountains is a must on your trip to Sydney. The eucalyptus forests produce a blue mist that settles in the air which gave name to the mountains. Set off on one of their many walking trails ranging from half an hour to 5 hours and discover the scenery, breathtaking lookouts and waterfalls.