Many of you already know I hold a special spot in my heart for the Land Down Under. It’s been nearly seven years since I was last able to take in the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in front of my eyes, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. After living in Sydney for six months, my life has truly never been the same.
1. The Sydney Harbour Bridge
For those of you who aren’t afraid of heights, you can actually climb the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. This does prove to be a bit of an expensive option; but from friends that have done it, I’ve heard the views are absolutely breathtaking. For those not looking to splurge and stay closer to the ground, walking across the bridge alone is a must and offers great panoramic shots of the city at that level too.
2. Royal Botanical Gardens
Easily accessible from right off of the Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens are a free option that also provides some quite beautiful scenery. I found this to be a beautiful place to go for a run or walk and truly immerse myself in the city as it is located in the heart of Sydney.
3. See a Show at the Opera House
This one goes without saying, but it’s truly an experience I will never forget. Similar to iconic theaters in the States, you’ll be able to find some lower-budget productions if you’re trying to catch a show without breaking the bank, but you’ll have a lot of options available to use to choose from.
4. Opera Bar
While you’re at the Opera House, grab a drink at the Opera Bar, located underneath the Opera House. It’s a little expensive, but the views are breathtaking and let’s be honest – when else are you going to be able to drink at the Sydney Opera House? Highly recommend going at night to see the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up.
5. Take a Walk around Circular Quay/The Rocks
If you can’t tell already, you can’t really go wrong from a sightseeing perspective by simply walking the streets and taking in the views. The weather, the people, the atmosphere, everything will make you feel instantly at home and each neighborhood has a little something different to offer. Pancakes on the Rocks is one of my favorite restaurants in the Rocks, where the pancakes are literally the size of your face and delicious.
6. Take a Ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach
Manly Beach itself wasn’t my favorite beach I visited in Sydney, but the fact that’s it’s a beach literally right within the city is a pretty crazy concept. The ferry itself is a really cool experience. For a city built on the harbour, it’s pretty cool getting to see it from the water perspective too.
7. Paddy’s Market at Haymarket
Paddy’s Market is a great place for buying produce or finding cheap trinkets and souvenirs to bring home. One of my friends found this gem when we were living there and we had fabulous and inexpensive Asian food for lunch after a morning walking around the market.
8. Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk
If you only have one time to do one thing besides seeing the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, I’d say this should be it. I may be a little bias as I used to live in Coogee Beach, but the walk to Bondi is truly out of this world. The walk winds you along the cliffs along the ocean and through several different beaches. Bondi itself is a much more touristy beach and known for surfing scene, Coogee is a bit more residential with a wonderful main street of bars, restaurants, and cafes.
9. The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are about a 90 min drive outside of Sydney – I actually ended up going with a tour group when I was there. They are gorgeous and definitely a fun different change of scenery from the beach; unfortunately The Three Sisters are only visible on a clear day, else the fog will make the view pretty impossible.
10. Hunter Valley
Located about an hour north of Sydney, you’ll find the heart of wine country in Hunter Valley. I think it’s pretty self explanatory how it’s impossible to go wrong spending the day enjoying a bottle of wine in a gorgeous country 🙂
11. Darling Harbour
Many sites to see in the famous Darling Harbour – including the Sydney Aquarium, largest IMAX movie screen in the world, and fabulous restaurants and bars. Good for visits during the day and at night.