Sydney, Australia’s largest city and most well-known city, is a vibrant, alive, sunny metropolis of leafy green parks, chic
harbour promenades, busy ferries moving the city’s just as busy locals, sandy white beaches, and an iconic skyline prominently featuring the Sydney Opera House. Founded in the 18th century by European settlers looking to start a new life, Sydney has grown to be Australia’s largest city. If you like sun, beaches and trendy restaurants – Sydney is the city for you.
Sydney has a number of unique and unforgettable experiences. Below is a list of some of the city’s more memorable moments to have.
beautiful gardens which wrap around Farm Cove. It’s a great place to stroll, run, have a picnic lunch or photograph the Opera House at sunrise/sunset. You can start on the far side near Mrs. Maquuarie’s Chair and finish past the Opera House at Circular Quay for a glass of champagne (roughly $8-$10 AUD for a glass) and a great view of the curving fins of the Sydney’s most iconic building.
2) Climb the Harbour Bridge. What better way to view Sydney than from the top of it’s massive Harbour Bridge. This experience offers amazing views of the city, Sydney Harbour, and the Opera House. Budget Travelers note, it is a bit pricey at over $200 AUD a person, but if you have the room in your budget this is a truly unique and memorable experience.
3) Take the Ferry to Manly. Manly is one of Sydney’s most affluent suburbs, it’s also an excellent budget half day – full day trip from Sydney. This trip is both a great way to see Sydney and the bay from the water, but also a short trip to one of the most accessible, closest white sandy beaches. Catch the ferry from the Ferry Wharves at Circular Bay (the ferries leave regularly about once an hour, more frequently during work travel times in the morning and early evening). Tickets are around $14 AUD round trip. The ride takes 20-30 min each way. Visit the tourist office at the Manly Ferry dock for a map (the downtown is tiny so its not hard to get lost). The beach is a 5 – 10 minute walk from the ferry terminal.
4) Wander the markets at The Rocks. The Rock, Sydney’s historic district, is located near the Circular Quay. It’s a mix
of twisting, cobblestone alleyways; historic pubs; boutique restaurants; stores filled with quality handmade crafts. Check out the Sunday craft market (10am-5pm Sat and Sun) or the Foodies Market (10am-4pm Fri).
5) Explore Aboriginal Dreamtime and art with a free guided tour at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Both the museum and tours are FREE.
6) Day Trip to the Blue Mountains. The heart of the Blue Mountains is an easy 2-2.5hr train ride from downtown Sydney. No matter how short of a time you’re in Sydney, make it a point to do a day trip to the Blue Mountains. The trains run very frequently because its a commuter line. (Use CityRail to find train times) If you take the train to Katoomba it’s a 5 minute bus ride or 20-30 minute walk to a spectacular lookout point overlooking the Blue Mountains gorge. There are also a number of day hike options from Katoomba.
7) Animals are one of Australia’s biggest draw – Kangaroos, Wallabies, Koalas, Crocs, Wombats, Ringtails. The list goes
on and on of animals only found on this continent. For guaranteed animal sightings visit the Featherdale Wildlife Park
8) Try your hand at Australia’s favorite past time – surfing. Bondi Beach is one of the best spots to surf near Sydney and its an easy day trip. Let’s Go Surfing and a number of other surf companies offer half day and full day lessons and rentals.
9) Tour a vineyard in the Hunter Valley. Australia is known for its wines and the Hunter Valley is the oldest commercial wine-producing area in Australia. Boutique Wine Tours organizes day trips from Sydney.
10) Watch dolphins play in the turquoise water, spot black Cockatoos hanging out in the trees, and get up close and personal with a kangaroo at Jervis Bay. It is easiest to get here by car, but you can also jump on a day tour from Sydney. Australian Pacific Tours runs dolphin watching tours.
A memorable moment in Sydney I missed? Drop me a line and I’ll add it to the list.