10 Great Things To Do in Sydney

Sydney is a gorgeous city and after spending over a month there it never ceased to amaze us how many great things there are to do in town. From checking out the sights to chilling on the sand to walking in fields of daisies, Sydney has it all.

For those of you thinking of checking out this world famous city, here’s a quick list of 10 great things to do in Sydney.

1. Head to the beach

That’s Bondi Beach, baby. It might be ridiculously crowded on a hot summer day, but Australian locals and tourists alike flock to the water when the temperature soars. Located on the eastern side of town, Bondi is far enough away from downtown to feel like you’re in the suburbs, but it’s only a few minutes train ride away. Definitely the place to see and be seen.

Busy Bondi Beach - Sydney
Busy Bondi Beach – Sydney

2. Take a cruise

Being right on the ocean, Sydney is a hub port for a lot of cruise ships in the area. When we were there, we had the opportunity to see the largest ocean liner in world, the Queen Mary 2, docked in town.

3. Get iconic

The famous Sydney Opera House can be found on everything from postcards to paintings to clam shells. Even if you don’t get a chance to sit inside and listen to the wonderful acoustics, no trip to Sydney would be complete without checking it out first hand. It’s free to walk around outside and there are tons of great restaurants close by to fill up. Even if it’s not sunny, don’t forget your camera, because although the opera house practically glows when the sun is out, it still makes a nice backdrop to a gorgeous city on those cloudy days.

Sydney Harbour in the Rain
Sydney Harbour in the Rain

4. Ferry riding

Being right on the water, sometimes the easiest and most picturesque way to get across the city involves jumping on a ferry. Take off just a stone’s throw from Sydney’s iconic bridge and opera house at Circular Quay Station. Not only are the tickets affordable, but it can be a great way to see the city from a different angle.

5. Climb time

Feeling adventurous? If you haven’t gotten enough views of the opera house, how about from 134 metres (440 ft) above the waterline? Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a classic Sydney attraction and a great way to get a workout while also seeing the best that Sydney has to offer.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge (see the little people on top?)

6. Go botanic

The Royal Botanic Gardens are just a leisurely stroll from the Opera House and Circular Quay Station. They offer a quieter view of Sydney, and the vast gardens will insure that something is in bloom while you’re there. With its beautiful surroundings you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked to an oasis after fighting the crowds in the more popular venues.

7. Choo chooing

Sydney has great in town train service with routes zigzagging all throughout the city. Just like all roads lead to Rome, all trains lead to Sydney. If you find yourself close to a station, all lines go to a City Circle Station where you’ll find great shopping and restaurants. The City Circle Stations are Central, Circular Quay, Museum, St James, Town Hall and Wynyard.

8. Grab your hiking shoes

Whether you’re in Sydney for a while or only a few days, getting a little exercise and stretching those legs is a fun, affordable option. Whether you’re checking out Sydney Harbour on foot or hiking the six km gorgeous coastal path between Bondi and Coogee Beach there are a lot of ways to take in the scenery and get your heart rate up. The Manly Scenic Walkway and the Cronulla Beach Walk get great reviews.

Sydney Harbour Walk boardwalk with water and streetlights
Sydney Harbour Walk

9. Chowing down

Sydney has hundreds of great places to eat, however if you”re feeling a little nostalgic and hungry at the same time, you should check out The Rocks. History abounds in this ancient area of the city that has been uplifted to trendy status with its array of delicious restaurants, chic boutiques, old style pubs and hot dance clubs.

10. Artistic impressions

If galleries are more your thing, you can’t go wrong with the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  From traditional art to contemporary indigenous works, the Art Gallery of NSW is all around world-class. It’s also free, so it should be on your list if you want to discover Australia’s past for yourself.

Does all this sound like a lot of work?

We’re big fans of Viator tours, and they have some fantastic tours and things to do in Sydney.

Sydney Viator Tours

Have any must see activities not listed here? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below and we’ll add them to our to do list the next time we’re there.

10 fun things to do in Sydney Australia

11 Responses

  1. Maria

    Like the section Go Botanic… witty.

    Getting whisked to an oasis away from the crowds is nice and the gardens sound perfect for a picnic.

  2. Colin

    Jolly good article this! This will make up my checklist when I actually make it over to Aus… one day

  3. Deia @ Nomad Wallet

    My favorite city in the world! Great recommendations. I’d also add going to the weekend markets. There’s a big one in Paddington and a smaller one in Glebe. Get brunch at one of the chic outdoor cafes and explore the markets (if you’re in Glebe, take a short walk to the historic University of Sydney campus).

  4. Anne @ Pretraveller

    Charles, thanks for sharing your Sydney tips! As a person who is currently living in Sydney I definitely concur with your recommendations.

    The only extra tip I have is that if you do not want to pay that much money to do the Harbour Bridge Climb (although I would definitely recommend it!) you can also do the walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for free, and if you want to get some elevation pay to go into the Pylon museum which is along the way – you can climb the steps to the top and still get that great view over Sydney Harbour and the Bridge at a fraction of the price!

    • Charles Kosman

      Anne, we couldn’t bring ourselves to pay that much for a few hours entertainment. It just seems like a lot of money for a workout and nice view. Besides, there’s tons of things to do in Sydney regardless.

      I love your idea of crossing the bridge for free and then checking out the Pylon Museum however. The price is ridiculously cheaper, you still get some amazing views and they allow kids of all ages (not just kids 10 and up like the bridge climb).

      Thanks for the tip! We’ll definitely check it out next time we’re down under.

  5. Tirun

    Sydney is a my favourite city. I have seen a lot of places in sydney. I like cruising, bondi beach, sydney harbour bridge and many more.

  6. Vanessa (@Turnipseeds)

    We did nearly all those things when we were in Sydney a few weeks ago! It’s such a gorgeous, diverse city. On Wednesday nights the art gallery of NSW is open late and is free and often has special events. When I was there it hosted a special presentation by a journalist from Rolling Stone to correspond with an art exhibit on America. On Wed night they also sell local wines and beer (about $8-9.50) and they do a signature cocktail with gin, elderflower liquor, lemon juice, and soda.

  7. Nicole @ Caribbean Travel Blog

    Sydney is one of my favorite places in my home country. And as many times as I have been there (and lived there) I am ashamed to say there are a couple of things on your list I am yet to do! Will make more of an effort if ever ever return.

  8. Jesse Richheimer @ Green Global Travel

    Sydney is the most beautiful city in the world. I’m living here for the semester and can’ t get enough of this place. The beaches, the people, the easy public transport system, and the Harbour are just a few great things about Sydney. I want to live here forever!

  9. Janelle Foster-Kittrell

    Please, please don’t restrict yourselves to Bondi Beach when you come to visit Sydney – we have so many fabulous beaches here, you can choose a different one every day!! Catch a ferry from Circular Quay across Sydney Harbour to Manly Beach for the day; while you’re there take a walk around the foreshore to Shelley Beach – it’s tiny and more secluded and only 10 minutes away and there are great restaurants along the way. Or if you want to see more of our wonderful coastline, more beaches and more of Sydney catch a bus from the city to Palm Beach where the TV series Home and Away is filmed. It’s about a 50 minute bus ride along the coast past many of the northern beaches. The beach itself is golden sand, the sea is blue, the fish and chips are golden too, it’s a beautiful part of a beautiful city!

    • Charles Kosman

      Definitely good advice Janelle. Bondi Beach is in the heart of town and easy to get to so that’s why it made the list. Thanks for your input!


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