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 thinking how you can fit seeing the rest of the country in 2 months.
Whether you are on an Australian working holiday visa or just stopping in the city for a few days there is plenty to occupy yourselves with and it doesn't all cost a lot.
Although heading out of the city to the Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley are often cited as Sydney must do's, here are some of the Sydney must do's where you don't have to leave the Sydney CBD.
An easy afternoon spent here at the Sydney Aquarium and to get to it you have to go to Darling Harbour so that ticks that box too. Sydney Aquarium is pretty much the only place in the world where you will get the chance to see the awesome Dugongs as well as an insight in to the Great Barrier Reef and some of those infamous Jellyfish.
2. Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe
You can find this amazing heaven down in The Rocks. There's chocolate, hot chocolate and more chocolate and although in the height of summer this isn't the best option, during the winter this place is a saviour. Go on treat yourself, what better way to cheer yourself up when you're lonely, broke, dumped or having to head home.
3. Imax Theatre
It's the biggest Imax theatre in the world so you just have to try it out. It will most likely ruin any other cinema experience for you ever again but it's the biggest in the world!
4. Harry's Cafe de Wheels
Pies. The New Zealand pie vs the Australian Pie debate is ongoing but Harry's Cafe de Wheels is the one place that may just edge it ahead for Australia. This trailer style cafe sits next to the theatre and offers the ultimate in pie heaven. Take my word for it the Tiger (beef) pie complete with mash potato, mushy peas and gravy is possibly the best meal you will have in Australia. It's backpacker budget friendly also so you can even have one a day.
5. Sit on the Opera House steps
Whether you believe in something spiritual or not, for me there are certain places in the world that you need to take a moment and take it all in. The Sydney Opera House is one of those places. It's iconic and needs to be given your full attention so once you have taken 50 pictures sit on the steps look around you (there's a massive bridge and awesome harbour too). It isn't all too often that you travel to another part of the world and set off on an adventure so make the most of it at the Sydney Opera House.
6. Weekend Market at The Rocks
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. A few weekend afternoon beers in some of the old pubs in The Rocks will set your day off nicely. Find out more about Sydney Markets.
7. 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 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. Definitely worth a visit and if you fancy staying over you can pitch your tent for a unique Sydney overnight experience.
8. Spend the afternoon at one of the Northern Beaches
When you are tired of wandering and partying the beach is the perfect place to relax and recoup. The fresh air helps the hangover as does the peace and quiet. A simple bus ride will take you over the Harbour Bridge to the Northern beaches of Sydney and their quaint and funky seaside townships.
9. Dinner in Chinatown
Seeing as you've had a pie for lunch, for dinner it's Chinatown. Head down to the food courts for seriously cheap meals that are twice the size of your usual noodle dinner. It's in Chinatown that you can eat like a king for less, have a few beers or wine for less and the coffee is beyond cheap so it's perfect for everyone. Once you've filled up wander around the late night markets to work off the chilli beef.
10. Paddy's Market
Bargain hunters paradise, Paddys Market is the one stop shop for all your needs. This market is massive and has stores which sell just about everything and at good reasonable prices. If you don't get lost that's impressive. You can easily spend an hour or so wandering the market and picking up some souvenirs for home.
So 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.
Stay at Nomads Sydney (Westend Backpackers) on Pitt Street!
Author: Nomads Westend