This year I did a 2 month trip around Australia. It was a long time coming as I have wanted to visit Australia for so long. It is just so far from home (I live in Canada) so I knew if I was going to make the trip I wanted to spend more than a couple of weeks.
I started off in Sydney which I was very excited about because there is so much to see and do. I spent 5 days but could have easily gone longer.
Take a free walking tour
I’m Free Tours offers a free Sydney Sights tour 2 times a day. I love doing a free tour like this on my first day in a new city as a sort of orientation. They show the main sights and will give tips and recommendations on how you can spend the rest of your time in Sydney.
Visit the Opera House & Harbour Front
The tour will end off at the Sydney Opera House making it a great time to explore and take a tour, if interested. I didn’t take one of the tours, instead, I opted to admire the beauty from the outside. If you want to see the inside of the Opera House another way, instead of taking a tour, is to buy tickets to an opera! I think some tickets can cost at little as $30.
Also, being a photography enthusiast, I wanted to take photos of the Opera House at night. I ended up returning another evening to do night-time photography. Of course, there were plenty of other photographers there who had the same idea.
Walk to the Botanical Gardens
About a 30 minute walk from the Opera House is the Royal Botanical Gardens. It was a cloudy day so I didn’t explore too much of the gardens but from here you can get a great view of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Another popular spot for photography enthusiasts.
Walk Across the Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour bridge is one of the main attractions in Sydney. There is a pedestrian walkway on the bridge which makes it easy and safe to walk across. From here you will see Sydney from a different perspective. There is also the Sydney Bridge Climb for all of the adrenaline junkies. I didn’t do this because it is over $150.00. Walking across the bridge is free and you will see the exact same views.
Bondi to Coogee Walk
Named Sydney’s greatest coastal walk is the Bondi to Coogee walk. it is a 6km walk featuring stunning beaches, cliffs, bays, and rock pools. It is an easy walk but does have some steep paths and staircases. It took me 2 hours to complete but since it was an overcast day, I didn’t really take many breaks along the way. If it is nice weather there are many great swimming and picnic spots. I started the walk from Bondi Beach which was about a 30 min scenic bus ride from the centre of Sydney.
From here you can also see the Bondi Icebergs Club. It was closed when I was there (It closes on Thursdays for maintenance) but it is only $7 to enter and is a popular place to swim right next to the ocean.
The Bondi to Coogee walk has clear signage making it easy to find your way. This is a popular walk for locals as well. Imagine living here and being able to go morning walks every day?!?
Visit Newtown for Dinner
Newtown is a hip bohemian neighbourhood that bustles with energy day and night. There are plenty of bars and eateries making it a popular spot for lunch or dinner. I came to this area twice because there are so many restaurants to try out.
A friend of mine that I met during my travels in Africa lives in Sydney and works at Taronga Zoo. When I told her I was coming to Sydney she offered to take me on a tour of the zoo. I was so excited because I am a huge animal lover. This is a great zoo and I got to see my very first koala and kangaroo. I was like a kid in a candy store!
Not only are there so many amazing animals but the zoo is on the other side of the harbour which means you can take a boat to get there. There are a lot of events and shows that happen at the zoo. I’m normally terrified of birds but my friend convinced me to go to the bird show. It was actually very entertaining and there was a great view of the city.
Visit Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is a harbour adjacent to the centre of Sydney. It is easily accessible and within walking distance from downtown accommodations. It is a bustling mecca for all things entertainment. It is beautiful during the day but I think even more beautiful at night because of how colourful it is. Walking around in the harbour gives off a really relaxed and chill vibe. You can take a cruise or visit one of the many restaurants. I was just interested in doing night-time photography because of all the great colours in the marina.
Visit Manly Beach and Watsons Bay
I love a good beach day and I know that Australia has great beaches to offer. Manly beach wasn’t the best beach I saw in Australia but it was still impressive with white sand and blue water. One downside, it is a popular spot so it wasn’t a quiet, relaxing beach. It gives off surf vibes which is exactly what I had pictured for Australia. There is also a shopping area next to the beach with a lot of surf shops and restaurants. I had my first Açai bowl here. They love their Açai bowls in Australia and I had seen signs for them everywhere. I finally decided to try one and it was so delicious. A good healthy treat at the beach. The Manly ferry departs from Sydney harbour wharf 3 and is a 30 minute direct ferry ride across the harbour to Manly wharf.
Another popular activity at Manly is to walk the Manly to North Head Loop Trail. It is a 10.9km loop trail suitable for all skill levels. It is a stunning walk through the coast with views of the Sydney harbour, the city skyline, South Head, and Manly Beach. There are plenty of beautiful views and beaches along the way
Watsons bay is a harbour side town on the eastern side of Sydney. You can take a boat direct from Manly or you can catch the ferry from Circular Quay directly to Watsons Bay. Public transport is also good, with regular buses (324 and 325) departing Circular Quay. It is a wonderful stop to admire the skyline and enjoy the fresh air. I did the walk to the lighthouse. It is a scenic hike around South Head featuring beautiful views of Sydney Harbour, the city skyline, the Pacific Ocean, North Head and the historic Hornby Lighthouse.
Overnight trip to the Blue Mountains
Hop on a train at Sydney’s Central Station and just two hours later you will be in the magical area of the Blue Mountains with an abundance of eucalyptus trees, animal life, cliffs, waterfall and caves. The Blue Mountains are so easy to get to. The train is comfortable and cheap. Get off at Katoomba station right in the heart of the Blue Mountains. If you are tight on time you could do a day trip but the Blue Mountains deserves at least 2 days. It feels so different going from the big city to this relaxing oasis. There are a lot of trails to do. I did the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Katoomba Cascades, and Giant Stairway. The views were fantastic. The Blue Mountains are most popular for the Three Sisters. It is usually crowded on the lookout but once you leave that area and go further into the trails it will get quiet with very little people.
If you are planning to visit Sydney I hope this will help to offer you suggestions on how you can spend your time. Enjoy!