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What to Do in Sydney

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Sydney is on every backpackers or travellers trail and with good reason! But with so many ‘Sydney must do’s’ you might still be wondering what to do in Sydney, what are the absolute must do’s especially if you don’t have unlimited time, although do be aware that 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. Here’s what to do in Sydney – well our Top Ten anyway.

1. Sit on the Steps of The Sydney Opera House

Well this is THE Sydney must do! 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.

sydney opera house
Sydney Opera House steps – pixabay

2. Climb The Harbour Bridge

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.

3. Go To The Beach!

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 so many beautiful beaches so close to the CBD. 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.

manly sydney
Head to Manly to enjoy both Manly Beach and Shelly Beach

4. Buy Some Souvenirs at 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, 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. Even if you haven’t got the money to spend, the window shopping is awesome.

5. Kill a Few Hours in 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. Relax by the water with a cold beer in hand or visit one of the many attractions along the harbour, such as Sydney Aquarium, the Powerhouse Museum or the IMAX theatre.

darling harbour
Darling Harbour – pixabay

6. Shop for Bargains at The 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 a market focused on fashion try Paddington and for arts and crafts try The Rocks.

7. Take a Tour To 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.

blue mountains
Blue Mountains – pixabay

8. Wander Around Sydneys Funky Suburbs

If you’re in Sydney for long enough, venture out to some of the surrounding suburbs for a glance into the true Sydney. Experience a few things that many 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.

If you miss some UK shops, check out the shopping in Sydney.

9. Take a 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. The island itself is the perfect place for a picnic. You’ll get the feeling of being isolated whilst 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.

cockatoo island
Cockatoo Island – depositphotos

10. Visit Chinatown

With a wide range of some of the tastiest, most reasonably priced food in the city, it’s hard to beat Chinatown for a seriously satisfying feed. It’s 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 and bustle of Asia. You can easily spend an hour or so wandering around and picking up some souvenirs for home.

The majority of tours and activities in and around Sydney can be done all year round. If you’re on a budget then check out Free or Cheap Things to Do in Sydney or if you only have a quick stopover in Sydney check out how to spend One Day in Sydney.

If the weather is too hot, too wet, or just a bit chilly then check out these Indoor Activities in Sydney.

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5 thoughts on “What to Do in Sydney

  1. much appreciated your detailed and accurate description of Sydney! It is indeed a marvelous place to stay We are on a world trip with our kids and this is indeed a little paradise with so much to do and such a laid-back attitude.

  2. Is it really possible to have a view of the Opera House from the Cockatoo Island?
    Judging by Googlemaps it is impossible.

    1. That would be quite difficult, but you would get great views from the ferry which is what the article is referring to.

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