If you’re reading this blog you’ve already well and truly got your heart set on travelling Australia! Like every first-timer, you should absolutely be teeing up Sydney as one of the TOP priorities on that bucket list. It’s such an awesome place and there are tonnes of things to do in Sydney – from incredible beaches, quirky suburbs, yummy brunch spots and plenty of national parks dotted around within a short drive of the city.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of traveller you are – there truly is something for EVERYONE in Sydney. If you enjoy the great outdoors you have walks, surfing, plenty of nature and of course the countless outdoor swimming pools. If boozy evenings get you going you’ll find whiskey bars, beer gardens and plenty of wild nights in the suburbs that’s for sure! Or if you enjoy a little bit of everything you can grab brunch in the morning, be a bit of a tourist in the afternoon, cool off with a dip at sunset before dinner and drinks on Darling Harbour. The possibilities are endless in the big city!
I may have put together a list of 20 awesome things to do in Sydney. How many of these things are you actually going to fit into a 2-4 day itinerary here? Probably only a handful and that is absolutely fine. This blog is just to give you options to make decisions and to ultimately have a pretty EPIC time! If you’re smart and plan your days well you’ll cover a good handful, if you’re lazy and spend the afternoons nursing the hangover you’ll hit only a couple!
Here are 20 things to do in Sydney
The best advice I can give you at this early stage is… PLAN PLAN PLAN. Don’t be fooled into thinking that everything is possible, make a bucket list and try your best to stick with it. When planning your days you should factor in the odd spot of bad weather because it actually does rain in Sydney (quite a lot sometimes!).
Ok so here goes…
There is no particular order when it comes to what’s best so I would suggest making a couple of notes along the way. The list covers not only the central Sydney things to do but also a couple of road trips/day trips to mix things up a bit…
Just be a tourist and go for a wander
You can’t come all the way to Sydney and not sit on the steps of the Opera House and take that legendary selfie with your new travel buddies. Sydney is a very photogenic city so grabbing your camera (or iPhone) and getting a bit snappy will only end in plenty of fresh content for your IG feed!
Take a day trip to the blue mountains
If you’re a nature lover and looking for an excuse to leave the big city – the Blue Mountains is the perfect place for you! You’ll find walking trails, waterfalls and eucalyptus forests. You can either jump on a day tour, take the train or self-drive.
Pro Tip: The tours often stop at a few cool spots to take in the incredible scenery in the area and the driver is usually in search of kangaroos to give you that up-close and personal experience.
Afternoon beverages in Surry Hills
You can either walk from the city centre or take a bus – but for sure you need to check out Surry Hills for some afternoon vino or beers! The streets of Surry Hills are filled with pastel terraced houses and super chilled out friendly locals.
The Beresford has an open courtyard out back to enjoy beer garden drinks on weeknights. The place gets pretty lively over the weekend if that’s your scene!
Brunch in Bondi
You can pretty much go anywhere in Sydney to find brunch. But my personal favourite is Bondi, there are a number of spots to find good coffee, avo on toast or my favourite – Shakshuka.
I recommend you check out ‘Brown Sugar’ or some of the cool spots nearby. Great food, a couple of boutique stores nearby and AMAZING coffee!
Cruise over to Manly
If you want to avoid the crowds at Bondi you should cruise over to Manly. The main beach is huge and there are tonnes of places to eat and drink. In general, it’s a more relaxed beach suburb than Bondi and attracts more locals than tourists.
Take the ferry from Circular Quay – you can either do the fast or slow ferry options. The fast is more expensive but the ‘express’ option.
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for either sunrise or sunset
This is by far the best place to see sunset or sunrise over the harbour. Mrs Macquarie’s point is right on the peninsula of Sydney Harbour and at the tip of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Go visit the ‘Zoo with a view’
Taronga Zoo overlooks the incredible Sydney harbour and the world-famous harbour bridge. You won’t find a Zoo anywhere in the world that has an urban view like it. You can again take the ferry from Circular Quay or jump on the train from the CBD. Entry is approx $50 Aussie and you can grab tickets online here.
Take on the Coogee to Bondi walk
If you’re looking to get yourself out in the fresh air and take in the sea breeze this walk is for you! Be sure to pack your swimmers because the Coogee to Bondi walk is like bar hopping but with beaches. You can grab a couple of cold ones for the road, fish and chips in Bronte and finish with a Gelato on Bondi after crashing through the waves.
If the ocean isn’t your thing you can take a dip in the Bondi Iceberg Swimming Pool. It’s pretty IG friendly so worth a visit either way.
Skydive over Wollongong
If throwing yourself out of a plane gets you excited, head down to Wollongong or book yourself on a freefall with Skydive Australia. This is one of the cheapest places to jump out of a plane in all of Australia.
Get tipsy on a wine tasting tour
If you love vino and haven’t heard of the Hunter Valley you’re a fraud… Nah only joking! If wine tasting tickles your taste buds you should hop on a trip to Hunter Valley. There are a bunch of tours that can take you so that everyone can get a bit boozy rather than one person driving and being T-Total… that’s no fun!
Road trip south to Jervis Bay & Hyams Beach
If you’re looking for the most pristine beach and the whitest sand in the world – welcome to Jervis Bay! What makes this place even more special is the national parks that surround the area… you know what that means?! Kangaroos!
Roadtrip south out of Sydney and be sure to stop at the Seacliff Bridge for some epic views of this incredible coastline. The bridge itself is some pretty impressive engineering.
Grab some dinner on Darling Harbour
A very popular thing to do in Sydney is to grab food and drinks in the pedestrianised areas of Darling Harbour. There are tonnes of options from Italian, Greek, French, Brazillian (my fav) and much much more. You can go with pocket change or deep pockets and guarantee a good feed overlooking the water.
If you fancy for an all you can eat Brazilian style grill you should try Braza. It’s not cheap but absolutely worth the meat sweats!
Brave the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb
If you want to get your token bridge climb photo overlooking the harbour and the Sydney Opera House then this one is for you! I’ve personally not done it but I know plenty of people that have. Price is around $200-400 AUD per person to the summit.
For a more budget option, you can do the climb to Pylon Lookout. You can find information on both here
Wander through Paddy’s Market
Every Saturday morning on Oxford street you’ll find 150 unique stalls trading all sorts of different things from fashion, handmade crafts to delicious baked goods & a range of other local produce. The market itself started trading back in 1973. If you fancy a little wander in the park after you’ve stuffed your face you should head over to the Paddington Reservoir.
Party in King’s Cross
If getting tipsy and wild any night of the week is your kind of thing – King’s Cross is for you! You can party late and find probably the cheapest beer in Sydney, plus it’s a place that attracts both locals and backpackers. For something a little less full-on you can find fancy cocktail bars and a more sophisticated evening in the CBD, The Rocks, Manly and again Surry Hills. These places generally attract fewer tourists and more locals.
Visit Luna Park
The super cool fantasy-based architecture and deco of Luna Park makes it a very unique and magical experience. The concept is based on the original Luna Park from New York Cities, Coney island. If you’re looking for a fun evening of adrenaline, cotton candy and fairground rides you should pencil in a visit to Luna Park on your trip to Sydney.
If you’re a pretty active person and fancy taking on the waves you should rent a board and go for a surf. There are a number of beginner/intermediate spots in Bondi and Manly or you can venture further out of the city to the Northern Beaches.
Board hire ranges from $15-25 AUD for an hour. Or $40-80 AUD for the day. Spots like Bondi are more expensive whereas Manly and other less touristy beaches are cheaper and far less crowded.
Go searching for a Whiskey Bar
One of my absolute favourite things to after a nice meal or date night is going in search of Whiskey & Cocktail Bars. If you aim for Clarence/York street you’ll find a number of hidden spots along the way.
My 2 favourite Whiskey Bars are ‘The Lobo’ or ‘The Baxter Inn’. They are both on Clarence Street but if I remember correctly you can enter Baxter Inn through a secret doorway in a hairdressers on York Street (don’t quote me on that).
Go explore ‘The Rocks‘
If you fancy exploring Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood where the British settled when they first landed in Australia, head to ‘The Rocks’. You’ll find narrow laneways, old colonial buildings and Australia’s oldest pubs. Apparently, it’s lost its charm over the years since the bigger high risers and apartment blocks turned up. But worth a visit if you have the time!
Sunset at Watsons Bay
There are plenty of places in Sydney to find a killer view of the city but nothing trumps the view from Robertson Park – Watsons Bay. Here you get a full view over the harbour with the city in the background. The chances are you’ll only be joined by the odd dog walker as it’s not a very well known spot (shhhh it’s a secret 🤫).
Well there you have it…
Sydney is just one of those cities that will capture your heart and keep you wanting more. But also it’s not ‘full-on’, it carries a very relaxed vibe with tonnes to do outside in the beautiful weather. As much as this list of things to do in Sydney will for sure fill that schedule – hands down, my recommendation would be to fit in some time to just wander. With so many parks, beaches and national parks in the area you can easily get lost and have such an amazing time in Sydney.
Did you find this blog helpful?
We’d really appreciate it if you could share it and help us spread the love 👇🏼 👉🏼