Sydney is on every backpackers or travellers trail and with good reason. Many a person has the same old story of flying in to Sydney with intentions of seeing the entire country and 10 months later you are still in Sydney wondering how you can fit in seeing the rest of the country in 2 months.
Whether you are on an Australian working holiday visa and intending to stay for a few months while you work or just stopping by the city for a few days there is plenty to occupy yourselves with and it doesn't all cost a lot.
1. The Sydney Opera House
One of the most beautiful and technically designed buildings in the world, the Sydney Opera House is truly a sight for sore eyes. Apart from being one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks it’s also situated in an amazing location offering breathtaking views of the Sydney Harbour and Harbour Bridge. Get a photo on the stairs, tick it off the list and make ya mumma proud. Maybe even grab a beer at the awesome Opera Bar located on the water beneath the Opera House.
2. Harbour Bridge and Climb
It won’t be for everyone but for those who do have enough time and the financial funding to back it should definitely test their nerves by climbing one of Australia’s most well-known structures - the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are a number of different bridge climbs available for every type of fitness level ranging from an afternoon climb, morning climb, dusk climbs and sampler climbs for those just looking for a taste tester.
Amazing golden sand beaches, it’s what Australia’s famous for. Even in winter everyone who visits Sydney should take the short trip out to Bondi Beach or one of the other spectacular beaches on the coast of Sydney. It’s one of the only cities on the world to have such beautiful beaches within a short bus trip from the city centre. However DON’T JUST GO TO BONDI!! There are loads of beaches along the coast of Sydney including Coogee, Tamarama, Bronte and Maroubra that are equally stunning and may even have a bit more space on the beach for you to lax out and work on your tan.
For a different beach experience, take the ferry from Circular Quay over to one of the Northern Beaches such as Manly, Neutral Bay, and Mossman Bay. Manly is one of the more thriving areas on the North Shore. There are a number of stunning beaches, all with something a little different to offer than the other. For surf head to Manly, for a leisurely harbour bay swim head for Neutral Bay.
4. The Rocks
A few weekend afternoon beers in some of the old pubs in The Rocks will set your day off nicely, it's a lovely part of Sydney to visit. For those of you looking for unique souvenirs that nobody else will have or maybe just really cool jewellery then head to the weekend markets at The Rocks (next to Circular Quay). Open from 10am to 5pm there are so many treats to be found and even if you haven't got the money to spend, the window shopping is awesome.
5. Darling Harbour
After a recent renovation Darling Harbour is now looking sexier than ever! With a variety of different pubs, clubs and cafes on offer, Darling Harbour is yet another must see. Located a comfortable walk from the city centre, it’s the perfect place to kill a few hours relaxing by the water with coldy in hand or visiting one of the many attractions along the harbour such as Sydney Aquarium, the Powerhouse Museum or the IMAX theatre.
6. The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are a beautiful National Park area situated about 50km’s West of Sydney city. The mountains take up an area of 11,000km and are densely populated by the famous Eucalyptus trees. When the oils from the Eucalyptus trees are dispersed into the air, it gives off a blue haze that hangs over the mountains. There are a number of companies that regularly operate tours out there. The Three Sister’s Rock formation, the Katoomba Scenic Railway, Jameson Valley and the Jenolan Caves are just a few of the most visited sights in the mountains.
7. Sydney Markets
On the weekends Sydney also has a number of vibing markets located in different areas around the city. Some of the best to check out are at the Rocks, Glebe, Rozelle and Paddington. Depending on what you’re looking for all the markets offer something a little different. For your old furniture & homeware, books, records and vintage clothing check out Rozelle and Glebe. For your market focused on fashion try Paddington and for your arts and crafts try The Rocks.
8. Funky Suburbs
If you’re in Sydney for long enough and have the time, venture out to some of the cities surrounding suburbs for a glance into the true Sydney and experience a few things that travellers before you would not have seen! A few funky suburbs to start your adventures are Glebe, Newtown, Surry Hills, Paddington and Redfern. Think small quirky cafes and bars, boutique shopping and a few sneaky surprises.
Located 2 minutes walk from Nomads Westend on Pitt St is one of Sydney’s cultural hubs China Town. With a wide range of some of the tastiest, most reasonably priced food in the city, it’s hard to go past it for a seriously satisfying feed and is always an interesting visit. Another great thing to check out in Chinatown is Paddy’s Markets. Located towards the Central end of Chinatown, the markets open from Wednesday to Sunday and are the closest thing that Sydney has to the crazy hustle bustle of Asia. You can easily spend an hour or so wandering the market and picking up some souvenirs for home.
10. Free Ferry to Cockatoo Island
This world heritage island is in the middle of Sydney Harbour and is something a little bit different from the usual sightseeing spots. You get wonderful views of the Bridge and Opera House and the island is the perfect place for a picnic. You'll get the feeling of being isolated but in the middle of a great big city. Cockatoo Island is definitely worth a visit and if you fancy staying over you can pitch your tent for a unique Sydney overnight experience.
11. Stay at Nomads Westend on Pitt Street! ;)
If you don't have the time or budget to head further afield from Sydney City Centre (although if you do, it is worth doing) don't worry, there is plenty to do right in the heart of the City Centre for all personalities and budgets which is why you can't help but fall in love with Sydney.