Sydney is one of the most popular and the most beautiful cities in the world to visit and it’s really not hard to see why. In this Sydney travel guide, I am going to take you through everything you need to know before visiting, to help you with planning your adventure down under.
If you’ve never been to Sydney before, you’re in for a treat. Sydney is no ordinary city. Why? In my eyes, it’s the immersion of beach culture and outdoor living (with over 100 beaches) that it so elegantly offers on the side of its thriving CBD. Sydney is an absolute vibe and when it comes to city living. If you thrive on city living, Sydney is up there delivering the best kind.
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales (NSW) located on the Southeastern coast of Australia and is the gateway destination for a lot of people entering Australia. Sydney is also a popular city to end an adventure down under… with a bang (NYE fireworks to be specific).
For most, a trip to Australia is a once in a lifetime opportunity and so checking off everything on your bucket list is a must whilst you’re here. Sydney holds a number of attractions/events that show up on most peoples bucket lists including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach and most definitely the NYE firework spectacle in the harbour. So it’s a destination to get a little prepared for, hence this Sydney travel guide.
I have personally been to Sydney on 5 separate occasions and so I feel ready to help you plan your time in Sydney and to share with you this complete Sydney guide.
Question is, are you ready?
Sydney airport isn’t far from the CBD, around a 25-minute drive in fact. The best / easiest mode of transport totally depends on where you’re staying, how much luggage you have and how much patience you have haha.
From the airport you have a few options:
Cities always tend to present a higher cost of living than out in the suburbs and beyond. Sydney is no different. It can be an expensive destination on your Australian adventure but it’s worth every penny. You’ve got your boujee hotels and swanky restaurants for sure but you’ve also got backpacker hostels and happy hours dotted everywhere. There are free walks, so much sightseeing and plenty of ways to soak up Sydney’s beauty without denting your wallet too much.
In my eyes, there’s always a deal to be found, even in the most expensive cities in the world. It lies in your willingness to find it.
Before you choose your accommodation in Sydney, consider what your priorities are when exploring Sydney and what kind of vibe you’re looking for…
Are you looking to stay by the beach with a few trips into the city? Consider looking at Manly Beach, Bondi Beach or Coogee Beach.
Looking for a real city bustle feel to your trip? Consider staying in Darling Harbour, in Wooloomooloo or push the boat out with a hotel overlooking the Sydney Opera House!
Looking for walking distance to the city but not right in the centre of it all? Consider Double Bay, Surry Hills. See my guide to Surry Hills here.
Looking to party party party? Consider Bondi, Bondi Junction or Kings Cross. See my guide to hostels in Sydney here.
Sydney is huge and super diverse so have a little think about what you really want outside your doorstep. I’d suggest making your Sydney bucket list and reading this Sydney Travel guide first, then you’ll have more of an idea of where you want to be!
Sydney covers a large area (12,368 km²) and has a pretty complex transport system to navigate it. There’s no best way to get around. It totally depends on where you’re staying and where you’re looking to get to. For example if you live on the northern beach of Manly, getting the express ferry across to the city is much quicker than driving across the bridge which can take over an hour with likely traffic.
Transport options for exploring Sydney include:
Not only is walking a stunning and incredible way to explore Sydney, but it’s also a free activity!
Walk past the Opera House and continue along the waterfront until you reach this point, where you will get a view like no other of the sun over the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
For more information, click here.
If the official Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is a little out of your budget, consider heading up to the Pylon Lookout for similar views for just $19 Adult. See more here.
Located just beside the Opera House itself with incredible views over the landmark, grab your favourite cocktail or glass of bubbles and toast to the incredible adventure you are on! Check out their website here.
You know the ones… Bondi Beach in ya swimmers, Bondi Icebergs swimming pool, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge selfies! Don’t pretend it wasn’t already top of your list…
I know I already mentioned walks but this coastal experience is one you cannot miss and so you must make sure you do it!
Click here to see my post about my self-guided experience – the cheapest way of doing it.
Head down to Circular Quay and hop on a 12-minute ferry to Taronga where you can view over 4,000 animals including Kangaroos & Koalas! Tickets start at $42.30 for an adult day pass and can be purchased on the website here.
Wander around one of the oldest parts of Sydney, located just beside Sydney Harbour Bridge. Look around the boutique shops, stroll through the markets and pick up souvenirs, grab lunch in one of the gorgeous cafes, or grab a smoothie on the go.
Paddy’s market is also great!
My favourite place in Sydney! Take the ferry over and in 15 minutes you’ll arrive at this super laid back, beachy, surfy town that will have you head over heels. See my complete guide to Manly here.
There are SO many to explore here are just a few to consider:
If you’re a wine lover, HELLO you need to do this day trip. Visit a handful of wineries just north of Sydney and get the full experience.
See my full Hunter Valley experience here. Highly recommend!
What were your favourite spots? I’d love to know!?
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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