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19 Things to Do in Bondi, Sydney

19 Things to Do in Bondi, Sydney

Bondi Beach is possibly, no definitely, the most famous beach town in Sydney. It’s known around the globe for its beauty and of course the hit show ‘Bondi Surf Rescue’. It seems like everyone who visits Sydney wants to snag a cheeky pic or 2 with those hunky lifeguards! Bondi Beach was one of our first ports of call in Sydney And after a few weeks of checking out the local suburbs, we actually decided to live in Bondi!

In a bid to be nearer the beach so we could live out a beach town life for a while we fully embraced ourselves in the Bondi lifestyle. I say lifestyle because living in Bondi is a lifestyle choice. You’re living in your own little Bondi bubble and often forget that your anywhere near the city! So after living in Bondi I thought I’d put together this post giving you 19 things to do in Bondi because there is so much more to this place than just the beach!

19 Things to Do in Bondi Beach!

1. Go to the Beach 

Bondi beach at sunset
Bondi Beach at Golden Hour!

Okay so yes there are a lot more things to do in Bondi than just hanging out on the beach BUT it is the go-to activity in Bondi. Bondi is full of surfing buffs, sun lovers, families playing on the sand, friends watching the sunset, the beach is a huge part of the lifestyle in Bondi so make sure you enjoy it during your visit too!

When we first came to Bondi I was actually surprised at how small the beach was – it looks a lot bigger on TV! I recommend heading to Bondi during the week when it’s less busy and catch some of those rays! 

2. Take a Surf Lesson with Let’s Go Surfing 

Surfing is the ultimate Aussie sport! If you haven’t imagined yourself at least trying to ride those waves then maybe you can never be a real Aussie, sorry! Just kidding but surfing is a way of life down at Bondi Beach and everywhere else in Australia so you might as well give it try! We took our first lesson on Bondi Beach in December 2018 for Dave’s birthday and it was epic! Neither of us had surfed before and we couldn’t have had more fun – we even both managed to stand up on our first lesson!!! True Aussies at heart?

Let’s Go Surfing is the only company teaching in Bondi and they also have a school up in Byron Bay. The guys at Let’s Go Surfing learnt to surf before they could walk and are the best people to teach you. The lessons start at around $98 per person so they aren’t cheap but they are so worth it! That gets you a 3-hour group surfing lesson with 2 instructors and all the gear hire like a board, wetsuit and suncream! 

These classes are perfect if you’ve never touched a surfboard before. I personally don’t really like deep water and my co-ordination? Well, let’s just leave that one to the imagination. So let’s just say I was terrified and even though this was one of the top things I wanted to do on Bondi Beach, I was shitting my pants. Luckily, the guys at Let’s Go Surfing were so good at what they do I instantly went from being scared to having the time of my life! 

The surfing classes aren’t about who’s the better surfer and there not even about making it to standing. You get taught the basic surfing technique and then head into the water to test out the theory. There’s a lot of laughing and falling straight in the water in fact, be prepared to spend more time on your arse in the water than on the surfboard! For more information on surf lessons on Bondi Beach then take a look at here. 

3. Walk from Bondi-Coogee 

Walking from Bondi to Coogee is another really famous thing to do in Bondi. It’s probably the most popular coastal walk in Sydney and honestly, it’s so worthy of that tittle. I’m not really a huge fan of tourist traps but here’s the thing about tourist traps and one of the reasons I always visit them. They became tourist traps for a reason, usually because these places are freaking insane! So, if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll along the Sydney coastline with no tourists taking photographs and being all giddy then this walk isn’t for you. But please don’t let that deter you from at least walking part of it. 

Bronte ocean baths
Bronte Ocean Baths!

The Bondi to Coogee walk starts at the Bondi Icebergs and follows the coastline for 6 km eventually finishing at Coogee beach and pavilion. The walk weaves through the stunning eastern suburbs, Tamarama,  Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. If we didn’t live in Bondi then we’d have lived in Bronte which is my second favourite eastern suburb.

The walk includes getting sandy on all the beaches and weaving in and out of sea cliffs with picture-perfect views of the ocean and beaches behind. One of my favourite points of the walk is just after Bronte when you reach the top of the hill to the right of the beach. Here you can choose to climb to onto of the ledge that runs across the sea cliff (don’t worry this bit is safe) and you’re greeted with an epic view of Bondi in the distance, it’s simply beautiful. 

Coogee beach from the end of the bondi to coogee coastal walk
Coogee Beach where the walk ends!

The views just keep coming as you keep walking along with some beautiful houses that you and I could probably only ever dream of living in! I recommend taking as long as possible to tackle this coastal walk. If you have a full day then pack your swimmers and swim in every ocean pool you pass on the way! Clovelly has some great snorkelling so pack a snorkel too! 

If you don’t have long in Bondi then the full walk will take about 3 hours or you can just walk part of it like Bondi to Bronte. It might be a tourist and local trap (yep, the locals love this walk too) but it’s one of the best things to do in Bondi and should be on your list! Sydney has hundreds of coastal walks that are worth checking out, I wrote about some more of my favourites in this post!

4. Swim in the Free Bondi Ocean Pool

We’ve all seen the gorgeous photographs of the Bondi Icebergs, haven’t we? They are special indeed but even though I do recommend getting in those they are a little pricey which I’ve talked about right below! What a lot of people don’t realise is that there is a free ocean pool at the opposite end of Bondi Beach. 

One of the things that I loved about Australia is that every single beach has it’s own ocean baths. Basically a swimming pool that’s filled with ocean water but has all the safety aspects of a swimming pool. No current, no getting whisked out to sea but still enjoying being outside and on the beach! They are perfect for those who are a little daunted by the deep blue water but still want to enjoy a swim on the beach! 

People often miss this pool out because the attention is on the icebergs but if you’re on a budget and want a safe free swim then head to the other side of the beach for the free Bondi ocean baths. They’re only small and often full of families but still worth checking out.  

5. Swim at the Bondi Icebergs 

Bondi Beach wouldn’t be complete without these aqua blue swimming pools making up so much of the landscape. The Bondi Icebergs are ocean water swimming pools that overlook both the beach and the ocean. There are three swimming pools in total, a shallow pool, children’s pool and lane swimming pool. To swim it’s $7 per adult for a swim and sauna. There’s also a bar and restaurant inside. Again, this is another Bondi tourist trap so expect lots of people taking photographs both from above and in the pools! 

Always check the website before you go for a swim because Sydney swimming clubs often train at the Icebergs. 

Bondi icebergs from above
The famous Bondi Icebergs!

6. Watch the Sunrise 

Bondi does sunrises like no other place in Sydney. The sun does rise early in the summertime but it’s so worth it. Set that early alarm, get a breakfast picnic ready and head to the beach! Watch the sunrise behind the ocean creating a twinkling blue sheet below. On a good day the sunrise at Bondi Beach is perfect and so is the sunset! 

Bondi Beach at sunrise number 6 of my 19 things to do in Bondi

7. And Watch the Sunset too! 

The sun sets in Bondi to the right near Bronte and Tamarama so it fills the sky in Bondi with a pink hue that’s just incredible. Watching the sunset in Bondi is a perfect way to end the day. Sit up high on the grassy hill that overlooks the beach or get round to the sea cliffs near Bronte and watch from there. There’s always a tonne of surfers in the water at sunset too which are great to watch! 

Okay, so that’s enough for beach and swimming themed things to do in Bondi! Here are some more of the must-dos around Bondi that don’t involve getting sandy feet or wet! 

 8. Hit the Shops!

Bondi is shopping heaven. If you enjoy getting lost amongst cute indy boutique shops then you’re in for a real treat. Bondi is the queen of boutique gift shops and you can find some wonderful souvenirs. Head to Gould Street and check out all the shops. There are also rows of shops lining the beachfront –  These tend to be a little more mainstream for gifts but still great to browse! 

One of my favourite activewear shops EVER is found in Bondi too! If you’re a yoga lover or gym-bunny then make sure you check out Bondi Active. Dave and I bought our fair share of leggings, hoodies and shorts during our time in Australia and they are amazing. The material they use is so soft and durable – Definitely worth investing in! They remind me of a ‘Bondi Branded’ Lululemon type shop. 

9. Gertrude and Alice 

Gertrude and Alice is 100% one of the must-enjoy spots in Bondi! This place is a bookstore come cafe, a gorgeous little slice of heaven in other words! If you love reading and drinking coffee then this is your spot. My Saturdays were spent regulating trying to find my next read whilst blogging and enjoying a coffee from the tables afterwards. They sell second-hand books and is a favourite among the locals. If you plan on hitting the beach in Bondi then you’re going to need a great book right?! 

Gertrude and Alice are located on Hall Street and open 7 days a week 7:30 am – 8:30 pm. 

10. Things to Do in Bondi Sydney – Enjoy the Street Art!

The beach is actually lined with incredible street art murals. Walk from one end of the beach to the other and take in the amazing artwork.  The artwork changes from time to time so it’s fun to head down again and again if you have an extended stay in Australia. Don’t worry there’s a concrete walkway that lines the beach so you don’t have to get sandy enjoying the artwork! The artists often leave their social media handles on the paintings too so be sure to go them a little love if you enjoyed a particular piece! 

bondi beach street art
Some of the art on Bondi!

11. Take a Yoga Lesson on the Beach 

I think I completely failed when it came to keeping this section away from the beach didn’t I?! The truth is that Bondi revolves around the beach so you just have to embrace it! Yoga is also a way of life down on Bondi Beach. There’s a yoga studio on every corner but the best way to practice is on that stunning beach with the sound of the ocean in the background – there’s honestly nothing more relaxing in my opinion! 

There are a few ways to enjoy Yoga on the beach in Bondi. You can book an experience through Air BnB or check out the company Yoga By the Sea. They run yoga classes outside all year round at reasonable prices. Take a look at the schedule on their website here, they also practice at Bronte and Tamarama too! 

Tamarama beach next to Bondi Beach
Tamarama beach next door to Bondi – a beautiful beach with fewer people!

12. Or Take a Yoga Class Inside

If you prefer the comfort and safety of a studio then don’t worry Bondi is full of them! All you need to do is Google yoga in Bondi and you’ll be overwhelmed by options. My favourite studios are BodyMindLife and Power Living. Australia also has an app called Class Pass where you can find heaps of fitness classes around the country and you can do a free trial for 2 weeks. 

13. Eat at all the Cafes!

Bondi is full of gorgeous cafes. Honestly, I don’t even think I could pick a favourite because they are so good! The only thing I noticed about the cafes in Bondi is that they are all pretty similar. If you want eggs Benedict or smash ago on toast then you won’t have to go far in Bondi trust me. Explore the cafes along the main street on Gould Street. Breakfast and brunch is a social activity on Bondi. Everyone is up early and enjoying the sunshine with a morning coffee in hand. 

14. Weekend Markets 

Every Sunday Bondi is home to the farmer’s markets where you can grab your local produce at a cheaper price. Food in Australia is expensive there’s no getting around it. Shopping at the markets if the cheapest place and it’s also the most organic so its a win-win for everybody! If you’re into health foods then make sure you find the Yellow Deli stall! You can find out more about the Yellow Deli here but they produce the best healthy green bars I’ve ever tasted! You can find them at the Bondi and Bondi Junction Markets!

15. Go Golfing (even just visit the Golf Course for the views)

There’s a huge golf course in Bondi for those golf lovers amongst us. I must admit I’m not a golfer but Dave is. What I will say about the Bondi golf course is that the views are amazing. Head towards the course even if just to daydream at the awe-inspiring views of the beach. 

16. Explore the Parks

As well as the beach Bondi also has some wonderful parks which are a great spot for a BBQ. It’s worth noting that there are no BBQ pits on the grassland or beach in Bondi. There are BBQ areas on Tamarama beach which is just around the corner from Bondi but Marks Park and Hunter Park are both great spots to enjoy a BBQ and gathering with friends. 

17. Bondi Events and Festivals 

Before you go to Bondi make sure you check the dates you’re going for any events and festivals down at Bondi. The main events that run at Bondi throughout the year are:

  • Sculpture by the Sea – October to November. 
  • Carols by the Sea – December. 
  • Bowl-A-Rama –  Skateboarding Competition usually February. 
  • Festival of the Winds – Usually September time. 

18. Get Fit in the North Bondi Outdoor Exercise Area

Not having time or being able to afford a gym membership is a thing of the past these days. Bondi has an outdoor exercise area which is free to use for everyone. There’s your usual gym crowd that hang out there but if you need a workout then do not let them stop you! I admit I never went but if you need a workout to feel a little more human after eating out on vacation so much – we all do it, then head on down! The views overlooking the beach are pretty great! 

19. Go Shopping at Westfield in Bondi Junction

Just a short bus ride away from Bond is Bondi junction which is at the shopping hub of the eastern suburbs. You’ll find a huge Westfield with everything you could possibly need for your shopping needs! It’s also air-conditioned and. Perfect on a. Sweltering day! If you do visit make sure you go to the ground floor and find the pet shop – baby puppies everywhere! We would go just to look at the puppies every week! 

So, there you have it! 19 great things to do in Bondi, you could spend weeks in Bondi just laying on the beach and enjoying the cafes. Living here was one of our greatest life experiences and Bondi will always have a special spot in my heart. I know it’s a place we’ll visit time and time again as the years go on. I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you love Bondi as much as we did! If you did enjoy this post I would be so thankful if you could share it with your friends!

If you’re spending three days in Sydney why not check out my itinerary and make sure you don’t miss anything out in this amazing city!

Happy Travels!

Alicia

How to Use the Sydney Opal Card and How to Get Around on Public Transport!

How to Use the Sydney Opal Card and How to Get Around on Public Transport!

Sydney is one vast city. Its boundaries appear limitless and I’ll be honest getting around Sydney can feel like trying to navigate a giant labyrinth maze! After living in Sydney for 6 months with no car it’s safe to say I’ve experienced more than my fair share of public transport getting around Sydney.

Luckily, there a few systems in place, like the Opal Card, to make your commute from A to B run smoothly. In this post, I’ll be going into detail about how to use the Sydney Opal Card and how to get the best out of it, including rewards! I’ll also be going over all the important things to know about Sydney’s public transport system! If you’re planning on visiting this vibrant city in Australia then I suggest getting to know a little about the transport first. I can tell you that if you don’t it will be very confusing when you land in one of the worlds most popular cities. 

How to use the Sydney Opal Card - Image of train station
A very quiet central station

How to Use the Sydney Opal Card 

Before going into the public transport systems in Sydney lets talk about the Opal Card.

I decided to write this post because I found the whole Opal Card thing quite overwhelming when I first arrived in Sydney. Roll your eyes and call me old fashioned but pre Australia I lived in the countryside where we paid on board for buses and still bought paper tickets for trains. And I’ve also been driving for many years and unfortunately once you stop using public transport you become useless at figuring it out – I can’t be the only one?! 

So if like me you can be a little clueless to the systems then I hope you find this guide before you’re in the city and using the Opal Card for real!

What is the Opal Card?

Basically, the Opal Card is a pre-paid travel card that you top-up and then use to pay for public transport. If you’ve been to London and had an Oyster card then it’s exactly the same thing. 

Wynyard station in Sydney Australia
Wynyard Station is pretty special!

How to Use the Sydney Opal Card – Technical Aspect

Topping Up

The Opal Card is super easy to use. To top up your card simply go to any newsagents, shop, or station that has the Opal sign. You can honestly top-up anywhere in Sydney there are so many places that do it including the big supermarkets like Coles. The other option which I found so helpful is to top-up via the free opal app!

Download from the App Store or Google Play store, register the card and then top-up by using a master or debit card. 

Tapping On and Off 

The Sydney transport system works on a tap-on tap-off system. To get on and off public transport tap the opal card on the sensors at the train/ferry stations and on the reader as you hop on the bus. It really is that simple. When the balance is running low the reader will let you know that you need to top-up. If you run into a negative balance then the amount will be deducted the next time you top-up the Opal card. 

Now you know how to use the Sydney Opal card on a technical level there are few other things to keep in mind when getting around public transport using an Opal card. 

Initial Cost of Opal Card

The Opal card doesn’t cost but there is a $10 minimum requirement when you top-up for the first time. Honestly, you won’t get far on $10 in Sydney so top-up at least $20 to begin with!

It’s also worth noting that if you purchase an Opal Card from the airport the minimum top-up is $35! This is a total tourist trap if you ask me so don’t purchase until you get to the city! The train from the airport to city is a standard $20 so just buy a ticket from the airport! 

how to use the sydney opal card

Using a Contactless Card instead of an Opal Card as a Tourist 

Again, if you’re familiar with the London Oyster card then you’ll know you can now use a debit/master card on the underground instead of an Oyster.

There is that option in Sydney too. This is for sure an easier way to travel around in Sydney opposed to topping up the Opal card all the time. However, if you’re a tourist just get the card! Using an International card will occur international transaction fees. Sydney transport is already expensive enough without that extra cost on top! 

Alternatives to Using the Opal Card in Sydney 

If you really don’t want to buy an Opal card then you can buy a single ticket on buses and in stations. But these will be more expensive so I honestly recommend just getting a card on your first day and make it cheaper for yourself! 

The downside to the Sydney Opal Cards for travellers is that you can’t get the money that’s on the card back unless you have an Australian address/bank account. Keep an eye on your travel costs throughout the day so that you don’t top-up too much! But if you are on a working holiday visa make sure you claim any unused balances back from your opal card before you leave!

Fare Capping on Sundays in Sydney! 

Sundays are an important day in Sydney for public transport as all transport costs are capped at $2.70! This does mean that Sundays in Sydney are extra busy but worth it for the cheap travel! No matter if you use the Opal card or contactless the fare will be capped at $2.70. 

Other Budget caps on the Opal Card 

As well as capping the public transport fare at $2.70 on a Sunday the fares are also capped daily and weekly. The daily amount is $16.10 and weekly is $50 for your standard adult. Also if you make more than 8 journeys in one week the rest of the week is half price using the Opal card. 

Guide to the Public Transport in Service

Now you know how to use the Sydney Opal Card and everything else that comes with it, here’s an overview of the types of public transport available and the easiest ways to get around! 

Available Public Transport in Sydney 

Like most big cities in the world, Sydney has a fairly decent public transport system. I personally think it could be a lot better but that’s a matter of opinion. If Sydney had a tube system like London then I think it would make so many commuters very happy indeed! In Sydney, you’ll find the usual public transport options, trains, buses, ferries and the light rail (just another word they use for the tram – don’t ask me why!).

Sydney spent the last year rebuilding the tram system in the city centre. The first tram ran on the 14th of October 2019 so I’m sure it would be wise to expect some teething issues over the next few months!

The Sydney Train System 

a train in sydney
All Sydney trains are double-decker inside!

Sydney has a decent train system and I would say it’s the most efficient way to travel whilst visiting or living in Sydney.

The trains run very frequently throughout the city centre and to the suburbs daily so it’s easy to hop on the train to your destination. You’ll need an opal card to travel on the train in Sydney and once you know how to use the Sydney opal card getting on and off the trains is easy!  

The only downside to the trains in Sydney is that I don’t think they go far enough! For example, if you want to get to Bondi Beach you’ll have to get a train to Bondi Junction and then switch to the 333 bus to Bondi Beach which is a little bit of a pain! On the other hand, there has been talk about building a train station on Bondi Beach which has attracted a lot of backlash from the locals. I can understand why because Bondi and the area surrounding it is just beautiful but I do think it would help in the long run. Standing in line for the bus at Bondi is not fun and definitely not quick. 

The trains and most of the public transport in Sydney run all night which is brilliant for those out exploring until late at night or having a few gins down at the chic Bondi bars! 

Buses in Sydney 

The bus network in Sydney is actually very good. The only reasons I hated travelling on Sydneys buses wasn’t because of the service but the sheer volume of traffic. Honestly, Sydneys traffic is ridiculous to say that a lot of people don’t actually drive in the city centre! I get terrible motion sickness and there is so much stopping and starting on these Sydney buses. The other reason why I don’t favour the bus is that it does take a long time to get from one end of the city to the other, again because of traffic. But don’t let deter you from using them!

The Sydney bus service is very reliable and in my experience, the buses are always on time! The fare for the buses and trains is similar so it doesn’t matter too much which one you choose! The best thing to do is use some of the planning apps on your smartphone to help plan your transport routes! Keep reading for information on which Apps you’ll need in Sydney to get around easily!  

Tram 

Back in the 60’s the tram system in Sydney was halted and ripped out. That was perhaps one of the worst decisions the city made because now in 2019 it’s back up and running once again! The tram system or ‘light rail’ as they call it in Sydney now runs between the CBD and Kensington. The light rail was still under construction when we lived there so I can’t comment on it really but take a look at the official light rail website here for more information.

Ferries in Sydney

the commuter/public transport ferry in Sydney
This is the ferry you want to pay less!

As well as buses trains and trams Sydney also has ferries! The ferries are brilliant and offer some of the best views of the city so I highly recommend getting one at some point! The ferries are expensive which is the only downside. If you’re in Sydney for a Sunday then this is a great time to take a ferry ride when the fare is capped! Otherwise, fares on the ferries are usually about $7 upwards. The most popular and my favourite ferry journey in Sydney is the Sydney – Manly. The views are amazing and Manly should definitely be on your Sydney itinerary!

Fast Ferries: There are fast ferries available in Sydney and it depends on the company as to whether or not you can use the Opal card so check beforehand. The fast ferries are good because they get you from A to B faster but they are more expensive. You can easily tell the difference between the fast ferries and normal ones. The normal ferries are the huge yellow and green ones as photographed above!

Helpful Apps to Download in Sydney for the Public Transport 

Opal Card App – Download the Opal Card app if you’re in Sydney for an extended period. It’s easy to top-up via the app and you can keep a track of your weekly rewards. 

Google Maps – You can use Google Maps to get all the public transport information in Sydney.

NSW Trip Planner – This app is also helpful when planning your trips in Sydney and sometimes has a little more information than Google Maps if there are delays. 

Handy Sydney Transport Tips: 

  • For Bondi Beach the bus you’ll need is the 333
  • You cannot get the train to Manly or Bondi – you have to switch to the bus
  • The 333 also runs an all night service which is handy to know 
  • Sydney public transport runs on Christmas Day (crazy I know)! 
  • The ferry to Manly takes 45 minutes 
  • For the best views of the city take the ferry to either Manly, Watsons Bay or Rose Bay and sit at the rear of the boat outside 
  • The Sydney Harbour is choppy as! So if you get seasick be warned! 
  • If you sit at the front of the ferries you’ll probably get wet on a choppy day!
  • Your journey will take longer than it says because of crazy traffic 
  • Opal Card fares do not apply when travelling to the airport 
  • Kids under 5 go free! 
  • Students, Children/Youths and Seniors get discounted travel 

I really hope you found this post helpful and it makes your journeys in Sydney a little easier! Once you get used it and know how to use the Sydney Opal card then the system is really handy! If you’re on a Working Holiday Visa and have an Australian bank account then use contactless making it even easier to get around on the public transport! My biggest takeaway on getting around Sydney is to schedule enough time for traffic and always set off early!

Find more of my Sydney posts here!

If you did enjoy this post or find it useful then I would so grateful if you could share it! Thank you! 

Happy Travels, 

Alicia

Things to Do Indoors in Sydney, When The Weather isn’t On Your Side!

Things to Do Indoors in Sydney, When The Weather isn’t On Your Side!

Australia is renowned for its exceptional sunny weather and its true Australia has some of the best weather in the world. But much like everywhere else, contrary to belief, it does still rain and when it rains in Sydney, it pours. When it does pour you’re going to need to find things to do indoors in Sydney! Don’t get me wrong, Sydney in the summertime is magical. The beaches are some of the beautiful in the world. In fact, a lot of my favourite beaches in Australia were in Sydney. But when the heavens open it’s safe to say that beach days are off-limits in Sydney. In fact, the first day we arrived in Sydney, it chucked it down.

We’d just come from Queensland and experienced glorious sunshine for 3 months. Much to my dismay my first glimpse of the Sydney Opera House was through a condensated bus window. Chances are the weather when you visit Sydney will be perfect. But if you find yourself to be one of the extremely unlucky ones then here are some of the best things to do enjoy inside in Sydney! 

Quick side note: I naturally associate bad weather with ‘rain and storms’ in Sydney but let’s not forget about the days it’s too hot to go outside! We experienced some corkers during our year in Australia. 42 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 80? No thanks! When the sun is scorching take some respite and find things to do indoors in Sydney! Honestly, the Australian sun will burn you a lot quicker than you think!

Indoor Museums in Sydney 

Things to Do Indoors in Sydney – Go Inside the Opera House 

Sydney’s most famous and iconic building has to be the Opera House. It first opened its doors back in 1973 after 14 years of hard construction. The Opera House has been a staple landmark in the city of Sydney ever since. Even though the Opera House can be enjoyed for free from the outside and, believe me when I say you could literally just look at it all day, you can go in and enjoy the inside too. There are shows on every night on the stage, take a look at the timetable here. But seeing a show can be expensive. If you want to explore the inside for cheaper, enjoy a guided tour instead.

sydney opera house
I do LOVE the outside but the inside is pretty nice too!

There are actually so many different tours to choose from when exploring inside the Opera House. From the basic guided tour to a ‘tour and dine’ package or a ‘tour and tasting plate’. For most people visiting the Opera House, the standard tour will be exactly what you’re looking for. Learn all about the rich history behind the magic of this iconic build and how exactly it came to be. The views across the harbour are stunning from every single angle so bring your camera even on a rainy day.

If you do find yourself in Sydney on a perfectly sunny day the Opera House Tour is still awesome to enjoy. The standard tour only takes an hour and you’re bound to learn some facts about Sydney that you didn’t already know! The cost of the tour is $42 per person for a standard ticket so I admit, it isn’t cheap. But worth it if you’re looking for things to do indoors in Sydney and don’t worry I’ve got plenty of other free options in the rest of this post.

OR a complete guide of Free Things to Do in Sydney here!

You can take photographs inside the Opera House and in the auditorium but never when a show is taking place. If you a take backstage tour photography is not permitted there either. 

National Art Gallery of New South Wales 

Another great spot to check out, whether you’re into art or not, is the National Art Gallery of New South Wales. If you are into art I recommend finding at least a whole afternoon in your Sydney itinerary to fully enjoy the gallery, it’s huge! Located in The Domain in central Sydney it’s super easy to find from the Botanical Gardens, it’s actually signposted all the way through! The art gallery is magnificent from the outside in, the architectural aspect of the building is inspiring:

one of the best things to do indoors in sydney is to visit the new south wales art gallery as photographed here.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales – Image Unplash

The museum was established back in 1871 and showcases both 19th-century Australian art as well as modern and contemporary. It’s completely free to enter and enjoy the many exhibitions. There are some exhibitions that you need to pay for but you can have a glance at the website here to find out what’s on and what you might like to see. The one thing I’ll say about this Gallery is don’t expect to be able to do everything in one visit. Unless you’ve got a whole day to spend at there, which if you’re looking for things to do indoors in Sydney then you might, it near impossible to get around it all and enjoy it.

You can’t eat and drink inside the gallery but there is a cafe you can enjoy. All large bags have to be checked into storage beforehand, which is free. Cameras can be used but no flash allowed. 

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Located on the harbour front at Circular Quay this museum hosts the finest of Modern and Contemporary art in Australia. I must admit I’m not always a huge fan of the Contemporary arts but it’s a great place to have a wander around nonetheless and it’s indoors so you’ll be away from any bad weather! The museum only showcases the artwork of those that are still living, sounds morbid doesn’t it, but I actually think it makes it pretty unique. The museum holds over 4000 pieces of work so you certainly won’t get bored during your time inside! 

the contemporary arts museum of Sydney
The Contemporary Arts Museum of Sydney

If you’ve got a good imagination and enjoy edgy, colourful art then this might just be your place! You also get great views of the harbour through the long glass window panels too! If there’s one thing you should try do in a Sydney storm it’s watching it – those lightning bolts are incredible!!! 

The museum is free to enter which makes it even better!

The Museum of Sydney

If you want to learn about the city your visiting then have a look at the Museum of Sydney! This building is actually one of the oldest in the city! It was the first Government House in the city. Today you can learn about the history of Sydney and the European settlement inside the museum. The Museum of Sydney is located right in the middle of the city on Corner Phillip and Bridge Street so it’s super convenient. There is an entrance fee of $15 per person so really think about how much you want to learn. I would recommend the on of the Art Galleries over this spot! 

Hide Indoors in Cafes and Bars!

The cafe culture in Sydney is amazing. There are gorgeous little cafes popping up everywhere and it’s darn impossible to get around them all! Every time I walked through the city or a suburb I’d add a new cafe to visit on the list in my notebook. The reality of the matter is that even coffee is expensive in Sydney so cafe trips were kept to minimal during our working weeks whilst living in this vibrant city! Anyway, that said there are some cafes that you just have to visit in Sydney.

The Grounds of Alexandria 

Hands down everybody’s favourite cafe in Sydney. Honestly, if you don’t believe me then just go and do an Instagram poll or something! It’s the most beautiful cafe I’ve ever been to and before I went I honestly didn’t know if I’d like it. Unfortunately, like a lot of places, it was Instagram that brought my attention to this spot. I use unfortunately loosely because I do think Instagram does contribute to over-tourism in some places but that story is for another day! I’d seen so many photographs of people roaming around the gardens enjoying and photographing all it has to offer. But when you get there it’s so much more than a bunch of people posing for the gram. 

Cute decor in Easter 2019 at The Grounds!

The Grounds of Alexandria is more like a playground than a cafe. It honestly reminds me of something that belongs in Alice in Wonderland. The grounds first opened in 2012 with the idea of creating unique experiences that everyone can enjoy. It sends the imagination wild as it conjures up different themes throughout the year. For example, they’ll be a Christmas theme, summer theme, there was an Aladdin theme when the film came out etc. The Grounds create an experience for everybody to enjoy. When we visited it was Easter time so colourful easter eggs were everywhere.

But its defiantly not just about the decor there’s also 2 cafes and a flower shop inside. The cafes themselves are an experience with cakes to die for! Good to note: it’s definitely not just a place that looks good, the food tastes good too! I recommend going with a completely empty stomach as there’s often a doughnut trailer and other treats hanging around too! 

I wouldn’t recommend a trip to The Grounds in full on Sydney storm but it’s definitely good for when its a little drizzly and grey. 

Enjoy a Pint in the Oldest Pub in Sydney

Filled with character and those who love a good pint or schooner is the Oldest Pub in Sydney otherwise known as, The Fortune of the War. Located in The Rocks why not take a book and ignore the foul weather outside. It’s a great spot to get refreshed and enjoy some well-brewed beer. The Rocks, in general, is full of wonderful pubs you can hop between! 

The oldest pub in Sydney
The Oldest Pub in Sydney!

Try some ‘Middle Eastern’ Inspired Dishes at Shuk

Located on Mitchell Street in the heart of Bondi is Shuk. A cafe infused with tastes from the Middle East. What I love about this place is, it’s different. If you’re looking for a decent Avo on toast or Eggs Benedict then anywhere you turn in Bondi is almost guaranteed to have it on offer. Shuk is different which I love! Their food is also delicious and with space to sit both inside and out you can hopefully find a spot indoors on a rainy day. It is popular so don’t be surprised if you do turn up to a full cafe. But don’t sweat it, embrace the Aussie way of life and just relax elsewhere until a table turns up free.

Enjoy a Beverage at Opera Bar

Underneath The Opera House, you’ll find Opera Bar. The same kind of speaks for itself. It’s probably one of the most touristy bars in the whole of Sydney but it offers a drink with those incredible harbour views. You’ll find undercover seating and an inside area where you don’t get the views but you can keep dry or cool!

Things to Do Indoors in Sydney – Explore Bookstores! 

Sydney has some amazing bookstores and one or two double up as cafes making it even more worth it! Though I’m only going to share my two favourites there are heaps of bookstores to explore in Sydney come rain or shine! 

Gertrude and Alice 

An avid reader’s little slice of heaven on Bondi Beach. If you’re like me and easily get bored on the beach, unless I’m reading of course, then head up to Gertrude and Alice’s bookstore come cafe. The shelves are lined with every genre you can imagine, and the cafe does an excellent coffee and the tea is decent too – hard to come by in Australia, sorry. 

Either sit and enjoy a book with your hot drink or rummage the shelves for something to take away. Honestly, books cost a small fortune in Australia and if you look hard enough here you might find one that’s reasonably priced. In the UK we pay 7 GBP for a new paperback realise here on the other side of the world? You’re talking $30-40 15-20 GBP, to me it’s steep! 

Sappho Books and Wine Bar 

This is another little gem and a great thing to do indoors in Sydney. After checking out what titles they’ve got on the shelves, everything! Head into the cafe for coffee or wine and either read the afternoon away or play a board game! It was in this very cafe that Dave taught me how to play chess. And whilst I still have no idea what I’m doing it’s a very memorable afternoon that I treasure. The weather was crappy and it was just a blessing to spend time with each other away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

If you only have 3 days or similar in Sydney you’re probably going to want to stick to the more ‘touristy’ areas of the city to make sure you see all it has to offer but if you have longer to stay definitely check this little space out in the suburb of Glebe! 

Green Square Library 

Green Square Library is a brand new state of the art library that’s opened up in Sydney, paired perfectly with a day at The Grounds of Alexandria as it’s just down the road! The architecture of the library is stunning and the reading room offers wonderful views. There’s also a very popular colourful backdrop that does make for great photo-taking too! The library is free to explore making it a great place to relax indoors in busy Sydney!

Scout out the Best Views of Sydney from Inside! 

Go up the Sydney Tower Eye 

Head up to the top of the Sydney Tower Eye for amazing views of the city below. There is plenty to do inside the tower from shopping and dining but the star of the attraction is seeing the city below! I recommend going up at night time if you do decide to because the city looks so much more magical when the lights are glistening! The observation deck is 250 metres above the city offering views for miles and miles! 

Tickets are cheaper online starting at $23.90 per adult. 

sydney tower eye
The views from up there will blow your mind!

Other Unique Things to Do Indoors in Sydney

Cork and Chroma in Surrey Hills

Honestly, I wish we had experienced this in Sydney! This is something I’ve come across very recently in Wellington, more on that after we’ve been to our class. Basically, grab a bottle of wine and some friends and let’s paint! These art classes are for anyone wanting to get a little creative on their next night out. Book online depending on which painting you’d like to have a go at and go along to the class. The company was created by husband and wife and has expanded all over Australia! 

Prices start at $30 depending on which painting you choose but that includes all of your supplies and canvas painting to take home at the end of the night!

Book your tickets here!

It’s a great way to get your creative juices flowing and I can’t wait for Dave and I to give a similar event a try in Wellington. I’m no painter but it’s all part of the fun, right? 

Indulge in the Shops in the Queen Victoria Building (QVB)

If you don’t like shopping then do not worry the Queen Victoria Building is somewhere everyone can appreciate. The QVB is my favourite building in Sydney by day and night. It was first built way back in the 1890s as a Municipal Market on a whopping scale. It was restored in 86 and to such a beautiful standard indeed. It’s one of Sydney’s most sought after shopping centres attracting people from all different walks of life. 

The Royal Clock in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney
The Royal Clock in the QVB is certainly impressive and opens on the hour for all to enjoy!

Expect the designers, architectural buffs and tourists looking to watch the famous Royal Clock which opens and puts on a show every hour – A must-see inside the building. If you get the chance go back to see the QVB at night too as it’s lit up brilliantly and if you’re anywhere near Sydney at Christmas then you’ll want to go in and see the Christmas tree! 

Go Indoor Rock Climbing 

Okay, this list wouldn’t be complete with adding our true passion on the end! If you’ve followed me on Instagram or just here at Alicia Overseas then you may have noticed we rock climb, a lot. We’ve tried out all the climbing gyms in Sydney and we love Nomads Bouldering Gym in Glebe! Probably because its the exact style of climbing we love but there are plenty of others to choose from and the 9 Degree’s Gyms are very popular – they also have air conditioning which is exactly what the gyms need in the summertime! 

Explore the Indoor Things to Do in Darling Harbour 

Darling Harbour is a fun spot in Sydney with heaps to do but it can be very touristy, which why I’ve left it until last. There are plenty of indoor activities on the harbour like Madamme Tussauds and the Sealife Aquarium but I kind of think you can do those anywhere. But if you are looking to hide away from bad weather and aren’t too bothered about museums, books or anything else I mentioned above then go check the harbour out! Here are some of the best indoor things to do in Darling Harbour Sydney: 

  • Madamme Tussauds 
  • Sydney Sea Life Aquarium 
  • Australian National Maritime Museum 
  • Wild Life Sydney Zoo 
  • Powerhouse Museum 

Round-Up of Things to Do Indoors in Sydney

I hope that this post has given you a few ideas on how you can enjoy Sydney even when the weather may not be on your side. I have to admit Sydney is its best self when the sun is shining. There’s no better feeling than experiencing the beaches, Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the sunshine! But that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to have! I highly recommend the Opera House Tour, Cafe/Bookstore Hopping, Rock Climbing and the Sydney Tower Eye! If you want to avoid the Sydney tourist traps then stay away from the Darling Harbour indoor actives I mentioned above – My opinion only!

If you did enjoy this post then I would really appreciate it if you could share it with your friends! I hope you enjoy Sydney and if you know of any other great things to do indoors in Sydney let me know! 

For more of my Sydney content take a look here!

Happy Travels, 

Alicia

Perfect Blue Mountains Day Trip From Sydney

Perfect Blue Mountains Day Trip From Sydney

A trip to New South Wales wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of its most unique UNESCO National Parks. Spreading over 1 million hectares, the Blue Mountains is an incredible place for lovers of the great outdoors. Though not my favourite National Park in Australia a Blue Mountains day trip is certainly worth doing! Whether you love hiking, photography or just want to drive around hunting for those incredible views, there is something for everyone to enjoy in The Blue Mountains Sydney.

We spent one night and two days in the Blue Mountains but for a lot of travellers, a day trip from Sydney is all they have time to squeeze in. Luckily you can see a lot in the Blue Mountains with just one day but to do so you will need to hire a car or go on a group tour of the Blue Mountains. But more of that as you read on! 

I’ve decided to split this post into three sections: 

  • One Day Itinerary in the Blue Mountains – my recommendations of exactly what to see and how to plan your day! 
  • Best Photography Spots in the Blue Mountains – If you love photography but only have one day in the Blue Mountains then you might want to hunt down the best spots to get that perfect shot. 
  • Unique Places to Visit in the Blue Mountains – If you like to wander off the beaten track then you might want to visit these unique places in the Blue Mountains. 

But before we get into these travel guides for a Blue Mountains day trip let’s get the logistics out of the way first! But before we start a quick disclosure; 

Some of the photographs you’ll find in this post will be stock images and all photographers will be credited in the caption. We spent a lot of time during our two days in the Blue Mountains taking epic photographs. Then my very old very sad laptop completely died and took all my photographs beyond the grave with it! It was honestly a tragic moment and I have since invested in a lot of back-ups for my photos! 

Where are The Blue Mountains? 

The Blue Mountains National Park is located 1 hour North West of Sydney. Even though it might mean getting up early it’s easy to drive up to the Blue Mountains for a day trip. If you’re on a road trip of the East Australian coast then I recommend stopping at the Blue Mountains either on your way in or out of Sydney depending on where you started the road trip. When we travelled the East coast for a month in 2018 we actually left visiting the Blue Mountains out. We knew we’d be staying in Sydney for 6 months so we had plenty of time to visit. In the end, it would’ve been so much better to have visited when we had our campervan – just some food for thought! 

Getting to The Blue Mountains for a Day Trip

For a Blue Mountains day trip the easiest way to get there is by car. We hired a car from the company Car Next Door in Sydney for a good price. The drive is only a couple of hours and it’s pretty straight forward. The Blue Mountains are very spread out and especially for those photographers out there if you want to find all the great spots in just one day then driving around is the best way. 

Car Next Door – a little more info 

Car Next Door is a really easy app to use. Basically, everyday people put their cars up on the website to rent when they don’t need it. You pay a total for the car and then like 19 cent per km for afterwards, it’s pretty cheap and you can have a membership for just $19 a month. There’s no talking to anyone required as the keys are placed in a lockbox by the owner which fits onto the car window. The instructions on where to pick the car up and drop back off are really simple! I highly recommend this app for renting cars in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. A quick word of warning you do pay a deposit for your first hire but get this back 7 days later. 

Public Transport 

If hiring a car for your Blue Mountains day trip isn’t possible then don’t worry you can take public transport. There are a couple of ways to reach the Blue Mountains via public trains. There are a few different routes possible so make sure you check on Google Maps or Sydney Transport Website before you go which route will be best for your situation. The only thing you’ll be sacrificing on the trains is time. It’ll take just over 2 hours to reach the Blue Mountains by train but once you arrive it is quite easy to explore the different areas of the Blue Mountains by train. 

Day Tours to the Blue Mountains from Sydney

Planning a day trip to the Blue Mountains can be tricky. There is so much to see and when you’ve only got limited time to see it, it can be hard deciding which places are worth. This is one of the reasons why I decided to write this post! But if you really don’t want to mess around planning the day yourself or catching a train then why not take a day tour?

There are so many tour companies in Australia and a few tours running day trips to the Blue Mountains from Sydney. Obviously these tours come at a price but are a great way to this unique national park. There aren’t many places in the world where a blue haze fills the horizon! I’ve linked some of the most popular guides according to Trip Advisor right below! If you do decide to a day tour to the Blue Mountains from Sydney then I would recommend planning in advance especially in summer!

One Day Itinerary to the Blue Mountains Sydney

In this section of the post, I’m going to give you all the spots I recommend seeing during a day trip in the Blue Mountains. This itinerary is going from sunrise to sunset to make the most the only day you may ever spend in this gorgeous hinterland.

One Day Itinerary to the Blue Mountains – The Highlights: 

  • Echo Point 
  • Honey Moon Bridge 
  • Katoomba Falls 
  • The Yellow Deli 
  • Wentworth Falls
  • Evans Lookout 

Morning 

Set off from Sydney early in the morning. Get the car packed up the night before and rise before the sun comes up. That could be 5 am in Australian summertime but it’s worth the early rise to get to the Blue Mountains just after or as the sun is rising. We arrived at Echo Point our first stop in the Blue Mountains for about 8:30 and it was perfect. There were hardly any other people around and honestly an hour later the lookout at Echo Point was packed full of people! 

First Stop – Echo Point

Echo Point is probably one of the most popular lookouts in the Blue Mountains so I recommend getting there early. It’s located in the Katoomba area of the national park and offers panoramic views of the famous Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is a famous sandstone formation in the Blue Mountains and an important part of Aboriginal Culture in Australia. 

Legend tells the story of the three sisters as three women who were sisters that lived in the Katoomba Tribe. The sisters fell in love with three men from another tribe nearby but marriage between these tribes was forbidden. Them and the men refused to abide by this rule so the men captured the sisters. The sisters were then turned into stone. Of course, you’ll read many different variations of this tale but it’s certainly interesting.

three sisters lookout from above
One of the photographs I managed to salvage – I love how much you can see the blue haze over the landscape here!

Echo Point is also the gateway to Honeymoon Bridge and some great walks including the Prince Henry Cliff walk and Giant Staircase. We managed to get about halfway down the Giant Staircase during our visit but we figured what goes down must then come up so we decided against the rest of the walk as we didn’t have loads of time! I do recommend enjoying The Three Sisters Walk to Honeymoon Bridge though, the views are fantastic and the walk will take around 20 minutes! 

Katoomba Falls 

After spending some time at Echo Point take a quick drive around to Katoomba Falls. You can park for free next to the playground and then follow the short track to the lookout point. Katoomba Falls is a wonderful waterfall that cascades 150 metres down the cliffs of the Blue Mountains into the Jamison Valley. You can also watch the cable car that runs from Scenic World across the top of the national park. We didn’t do it but I can imagine that it’s a lot of fo fun with some incredible views! There are various other walks you can enjoy at Katoomba Falls but the Katoomba Falls Round Walk is perfect when spending just one day in the Blue Mountains. 

Katoomba Falls Round Walk

The walk will take about two hours so will bring you up to lunchtime.  The walk is a 4 km circuit so it depends how good at walking you are, you may be able to conquer it a little quicker. I think the walk took us about an hour and a half but we were taking photographs for a while at the smaller waterfall you can enjoy on the walk! If its summer you can also take a paddle. 

Lunch at the Yellow Deli 

The Yellow Deli is one of the most unique places we found in the Blue Mountains. It was actually a friend of mine who recommended this spot to us and I’m so glad we went! The food is great and the atmosphere of the cafe is incredible. The Yellow Deli is actually a chain ran any a family who started out in America. Their mission is to provide love and a network of people through the art and spirit of great food. You can read a little more about the history behind the Yellow Deli here! They also do AMAZING green bars too which you just have to try honestly you’ll be craving this healthy snack – if you do like it you can find the green bars at a few of these markets around Sydney: (yes, I became obsessed)!

  • Bondi Junction Markets (weekends)
  • Frenches Forest Farmers Market (Sundays) 

Afternoon 

Wentworth Falls 

Next stop is Wentworth Falls. Fletcher’s lookout provides an amazing view of these epic waterfalls (my favourite in the Blue Mountains). The Wentworth Falls track is another easy track I recommend enjoying during your Blue Mountains Day Trip. The walk is just 1.4 km so will probably take an hour depending on how fast you walk. The walk shows off incredible views and leads to the top of the great Wentworth Falls!

Evans Lookout 

Evans lookout was quite a surprise during our time in the Blue Mountains. Located in Blackheath this lookout was so vast and the scenery below so incredible! As we arrived at Evans lookout the sun has disappeared behind the clouds and the clouds were low. The thing about this was that the blue haze that fills the horizon was even more evident from Evans lookout! The national park isn’t called ‘The Blue Mountains’ for the fun of it after all. 

After spending some time at Evans lookout it’ll be getting close to sunset. The sunset in the Blue Mountains is wonderful and I highly recommend it if you don’t have to rush back to the city. Of course the weather in the Blue Mountains is highly unpredictable but hopefully, you get a beautiful day with an incredible sunset! Some of the best points for sunset are:

  • Lincolns Rock – Wentworth Falls 
  • Three Sisters
  • Hanging Rock 
  • Evans Lookout 
  • Grovetts Leap 

Choose a spot or just take a look at the #bluemountains tag on Instagram – I LOVE doing this to find great lookouts in places I’ll be visiting!

Getting Back to Sydney

Of course, if you’re driving it doesn’t matter too much about what time you set off back to the city. Just watch out for those kangaroos once it’s dark! If you take the train then you might not be able to stay for the sunset! 

The Best Photography Spots in the Blue Mountains 

Photo by Si Thu Aung on Unsplash
Photo by Si Thu Aung on Unsplash

The Blue Mountains is every photographer’s dream especially if you enjoy photography landscapes. The sunrises and sunsets on a clear day are spectacular and even in the middle of the day the Blue Mountains a great spot to photograph. A Blue Mountains day trip dedicated solely to photography would be amazing. In this section of the post, I’ve compiled some of the best photography spots in the Blue Mountains. 

  • Three Sisters – it may be one of the most popular spots but there is no denying the beauty of the Three Sisters. The way these rock formations tower over the valley is so impressive! 
  • Grovetts Leap – Watch the sunset over the valley and create beautiful images using the suns rays as they dip low. 
  • Hanging Rock – An Instagram favourite for sunrise! 
  • Lincoln’s Rock – Any time of the day would be amazing to photograph this spot but especially at sunset!
  • Mt Portal Lookout – Not only is Mt Portal a great place for photography especially the lookout but it’s also great for those who love climbing or abseiling! 
  • Scenic Skyway – Scenic world offers the cable car 270 metres above the landscape that is the blue mountains. Though most photographers won’t want to photograph through glass you could definitely capture some awesome shots from up there if you wanted to! 

5 of the Most Unique Places to Visit on a Blue Mountains Day Trip 

If visiting the busy Three Sisters and famous waterfalls don’t take your fancy then step off the beaten track. The Blue Mountains National Park is huge. There are so many small villages, bushwalking tracks, places to try adventure sports and other things that are a little more unique to explore. When we travel I like to do a little bit of both. 

wentworth falls in the blue mountains
The top of Wentworth Falls – Photo by Bee Balogun on Unsplash

I love seeing the landmarks that gave that destination their place in the world. I would never visit New York and not go and see the Statue of Liberty! But I also like to spend some time exploring different places too. It’s a great way to give back to the locals and just enjoy somewhere a little different and hopefully quieter! 

Visit Jenolan CavesThe Jenolan Caves are millions of years old and most travellers visiting the Blue Mountains don’t even know they exist! There are tours running in the caves which you can attend all year round. These caves not only some of the oldest in Australia but in the world! Take a look at the website here to look at booking a tour of the Jenolan Caves!

Explore Mount Portal – If you’re an adventure junkie then why not try rock climbing or abseiling in Mount Portal rather than hiking or taking photos all day?

Katoomba Street Art – Explore the town of Katoomba and you’ll find plenty of very artistic street art! 

Visit the Yellow Deli – As the only ‘Yellow Deli’ in Australia this place may be popular but it’s certainly unique to Katoomba!  

Take a Horse Riding tour across the Blue Mountains – There are so many farms out in the Mountains and many of them offer Horse Riding tours around the Blue Mountains which I think is pretty cool! 


    
        Booking.com

Best Time of Year to Visit the Blue Mountains?

I’d say anytime during the Australian spring is perfect! Spring in Australia is anytime from early September to November. Don’t get me wrong, the views in the Blue Mountains will be epic in summer with those clear skies. The photographs I’ve seen of summer are perfect, especially at sunrise and sunset. But summertime in Sydney is extremely hot and my idea of hiking in Australia isn’t in summer. Honestly, you spend more time sweating than enjoying yourself. Summer is also the busiest time for tourism in Australia!

In spring the temperature is perfect for hiking and there are fewer crowds. If you really want to avoid the crowds then visit the Blue Mountains in winter but it will be cold and they do get snow up there so just do your research and be prepared! 

Check out the Australian Tourism website for information about the best times to visit Sydney in terms of weather!

Sharing is Caring!

The Blue Mountains day trip is one of the best you can do from Sydney. After living in the big city for 6 months it’s so nice to have these beautiful places so close by. Sydney is busy and tourist-heavy it can be so overwhelming sometimes! But with the likes of the Blue Mountains not too far away, it’s easy and so refreshing to get out of the city even for just a day. 

I hope you enjoyed this post about taking a Blue Mountains day trip! If you did enjoy it then I would so grateful if you could share this post with your friends. 

Heading to Australia? Well, you might like some of my other posts on Australia which you can find here! Its the most beautiful country I’ve visited so far and will always hold a very special place in my heart! Make sure you sign up to my monthly newsletter (sidebar) to keep updated on where I’m heading next, life updates and the occasional travel freebie!

Happy Travels,

Alicia

The Backpackers Guide to the Best Walks in Sydney!

The Backpackers Guide to the Best Walks in Sydney!

 

Australia, the home of the great outdoors. Exploring places by walking and taking epic hikes has always been close to my heart. Growing up in the Yorkshire countryside, surrounded by hills for miles, Sunday walks were a family favourite. Since walking has always been something I loved to do, it’s no surprise that over the years I’ve discovered that the best way to explore is with your own two feet. Some of the Best Walks in Sydney I discovered by accident, just from walking around!

The scenery that captivates you during walks in Australia may be somewhat different to the UK but it’s just as special. Taking walks along beaches with nothing to see but the dancing ocean is magical. Combined with perfect weather most of the year Sydney is a fantastic place for walking along the coast. In this guide to the best walks in Sydney, I’m sharing some of the walks and hikes that you can’t miss when visiting Australia’s most vibrant city. I’ve also included some great walks beyond the city at the end of the post!

The Best Walks in Sydney: The City

The city centre in Sydney is where most travellers make their first stop. A trip to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens. Though Sydney is a big city and it can take a little navigating to find your way around the best way to do so is to walk! There are numerous walks you can enjoy around the city to capture all of the sights and inner city beauty.

Harbour Bridge to Mrs Macqauries Chair

To capture all of the tourist sights in Sydney why not talk a walk from the Harbour Bridge, past The Sydney Opera House and finish in the Botanical Gardens. This walk is really nice to enjoy in the hour before sunset so that you can finish at Mrs Macqauries Chair ready to watch the spectacular sun disappearing for the day.

Start: Overseas Passenger Terminal

Finish: Mrs Macqauries Chair

Distance: 1.7 miles or 2.7 km

Difficulty: Easy

Start this city walk at the Overseas Passenger Terminal (where the cruise ships dock) at Circular Quay. This gives some gorgeous views of the Harbour Bridge where you’ll get some fantastic photographs. If you’re lucky enough for a cruise ship not to be docked then the views of the Opera House are also perfect. To get a little closer to the Harbour Bridge follow the walkway to the left and just follow it around adding about 20 minutes onto the total walk. From the overseas passenger terminal follow the crowds around the harbour passing the ferry terminals as you go. Circular Quay is lined with shops, restaurants and cafes for travellers to enjoy on the way if they wish.

As you follow the pavement around take in the beauty of circular quay. Filled with travellers mesmerised with the views, locals enjoying their lunch break or rushing to the ferry docks eager to get home and out of the city (a great place for people watching!). It’ll only take a mere 10 minutes depending on your walking pace to reach the world-famous Opera House.

From the Opera House, you’ll clearly see the Botanical Gardens to your right. Follow the walkway around the edge of the water and keep going until you reach Mrs Macqauries Chair – which is signposted throughout the gardens.

Get that Postcard Shot!

The postcard shot of Sydney found at Mrs Macquaries Chair after one of the best walks in Sydney

The ‘Postcard’ Shot from Mrs Macquaries Chair

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is where you’ll find the famous ‘postcard shot’ of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge! This short walk is wheelchair accessible and good for any level of fitness, with no hills just flat ground that’s paved the whole way. In total it will take around an hour once you’ve accounted for how many times you’ll be stopping to enjoy along the way. I think this is one of the best walks in Sydney to capture all of the main city sights.

Best Walks in Sydney: Milsons Point to Lavender Bay

Milsons Point to Lavender bay is another, like Bondi-Coogee, famous walk in Sydney but it’s definitely worth exploring to enjoy scenic city views!

Transport to Milsons Point

Milsons Point is located in North Sydney and easily accessible by public transport or by taking a walk over the Harbour Bridge. If you’re travelling from Circular Quay then the train will be the quickest way of getting across the water. There is a ferry that goes from Circular Quay to Milsons Point but it’s expensive. The journey lasts only 5 minutes and will cost a whopping $6! The train will only cost a couple of bucks if that so the train is 100% more budget friendly. To enjoy amazing views from the ferry then save it for visiting Manly which is the same price for a journey that’s 40 minutes rather than 5.

Milsons Point to Lavender Bay: The Circuit

Starts: Milsons Point

Finishes: Lavender Bay

Distance: 1 km or 0.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

The walk from Milsons Point to Lavender Bay doesn’t take long at all. In fact, if you don’t stop on the way you could easily do it in 10 or 15 minutes!

The view of the Sydney Opera House from Milsons Point- A couple looking out to the city

The epic views from Milsons Point!

The trail is paved the whole way so accessible for everyone. Start at Bradfield Park and walk under the Harbour Bridge enjoying views of the Opera House from a different angle! The view of the Opera House from the back is actually my favourite angle! I love how the glass panes reflect on the water and the architecture is so phenomenal. Continue under the bridge and past Sydney’s Olympic pool wandering onto the Luna Park. Fun for everyone the Luna Park is great to explore. Entry is free just for a nosey around or enjoy the fairground rides if you fancy! As you follow the path around the Luna Park you’ll find yourself in Lavender Bay. A small bay where boats are bobbing on the water and the views of the city remain sublime.

The view from the end of the walk from Milsons Point to Lavender Bay

Lavender Bay

The Best Walks in Sydney: Coastal Walks!

Sydney is renowned for its picture-perfect coastal walks. If you’re planning a short trip to Sydney then I recommend doing at least one coastal walk but I have no idea how you’ll choose one! Bondi-Coogee is glorious but it can be pretty touristy especially in the summer. I love that walk but I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite. I think that title goes to the Hermitage Foreshore Walk over in Rose Bay, imagine weaving in and out of secluded beaches with views of the harbour in the distance. One thing is for certain if you tackle any of these coastal walks that I’ll be mentioning – pack your swimmers!

Coast Walks in Sydney: Hermitage Foreshore Walk – Rose Bay

Starts: Bayview Hill Road

Finish: Neilsen Park

Distance: 1.6 km or 1 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Starting at just outside of Rose Bay on Bayview Hill Road the Hermitage Foreshore Walk is a tranquil trail that weaves along the edges of the Sydney Harbour National Park. You’ll find an array of beauty on this walk from tiny beaches, still waters perfect for swimming and panoramic views of Sydney. Pack a picnic and your swimmers because the beaches you’ll pass will be screaming your name. The beaches are carved like bays so the ocean is still which is my favourite kind of ocean! Crashing waves are fun but I love when you can just relax and bob up and down on the water.

My favourite beach on this walk is Milk Beach but there’s so many to choose from. The beaches before you reach Milk Beach will be the quietest. Shark beach which is just before Neilsen Park will be a little busier with tourists and locals alike but still a far cry from anything like Bondi, Bronte or Coogee Beach.

Transport to Rose Bay

Getting to the start of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk is quite straight forward if you’re coming from the city. Simply catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Rosey Bay and follow Google Maps for Bayview Hill Road. The walk to the start of this walk from the ferry terminal is about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can catch the 325 bus from Town Hall all the way to Bayview Hill itself.

Coastal Walks in Sydney: Bondi to Coogee

Starts: Bondi Beach

Ends: Coogee Beach

Distance: 6 km or 3 miles

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Tip: Route includes some steep steps and hills. Not accessible for wheels or prams.

The Bondi-Coogee walk in Sydney is a popular activity for both travellers and locals. It’s one of the favourites for runners with its gorgeous views and many beaches to stop at along the way. If you only have a short time in Sydney then most people do this walk because it’s central and you’re probably going to Bondi Beach anyway. This walk can be split up into sections, Bondi-Tamarama, Tamarama-Bronte, Bronte-Clovelly and Clovelly-Coogee racking up 6 km or 3.7 miles. The walk can take anything from one hour to three depending on your ability but I urge you to spend as much time on this walk as possible.

Views of Bondi Beach from Bronte Beach

Can you spot Bondi Beach in the corner?

The walk winds around the coastline stopping at five of Sydney’s best beaches along the way. You’ll find a separate ocean pool at each beach too so if you have little ones who would love a swim then they can so safely. The awesome thing about the Bondi to Coogee walk is that it can be split up. You don’t have to do it all if you wish. Simply conquer the part of the walk you want to see, but it is beautiful the whole way around. 

Best Coastal Walks in Sydney: Watsons Bay

Starts: Camp Cove Watsons Bay

Ends: Hornby Lighthouse

Distance: 1.6 km or 1 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Tip: Route includes some stairs

This short walk may only take around 20 minutes but its definitely worth exploring if you’re in Watsons Bay. Watsons Bay is one of the cutest coastal towns in Sydney. It oozes character, relaxation and beauty. The beaches are small and locals friendly. As you hop off the ferry at Watsons Bay you can explore the esplanade filled with restaurants and bars. The walk to Camp Cover is only short taking about 10 minutes.

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Arriving at Camp Cove, a pristine beach complete with a smoothie shack, makes you feel like you’ve transported to a tropical island. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we stumbled upon it late on during our time in Sydney. From Camp Cove, you can follow the broad walk all the way to Hornby Lighthouse. Be warned that there is a nudist beach on the way around – it’s hidden away very discreetly so it gave us a little surprise when we saw people down on the beach! What baffled me was the viewing platform that looks directly onto Lady Bay Beach – weird!

Transport to Watsons Bay

The Ferry from Circular Quay is the easiest way to reach Watsons Bay from the city. Keep on an eye on the ferry times at this website because they are less frequent to Watsons Bay than to other areas of the city.

My Final Coastal Walk in Sydney: Fairfax Track North Head

Starts: North Head

Ends: Fair Fax Lookout

Distance: 1 km or 1 hour (see alternative walk in the description)

Difficulty: Easy

Another short walk in Sydney offering some incredible views of the city. The Fair Fax track itself is perfect for families or people who don’t enjoy walking. Pull up in the car park and walk the easy 1 km to Fair Fax lookout offering ocean views with the city skyline in the distance. Unfortunately, we did get rubbish weather and the city was all hazy but on a clear day, this view will be stunning.

There is also another option for this walk. Park or get off the bus at the bus stop and walk all through the bushland. You can also walk the Australian Memorial Walk dedicated to those who fought in the wars. We added this onto our walk during our time at North Head and It was worth it taking the walking time to 1 hour. 

View of Sydney from Fair Fax Lookout North Head

You can see the haze over the city on this day but I bet it’s wonderful on a clear day!

Transport to North Head

North head is located in Manly north of the city. You can get the 135 bus from stand B at the bus stops directly outside from the Ferry Terminal. To get to Manly from Sydney catch the Ferry from circular quay. The slow passenger ferry is the cheapest and takes 40 minutes but there is also a fast ferry option. Fast Ferry takes 20 minutes and costs around $11 opposed to $6 so it depends on your time and budget.

Walks Beyond the City: Walks Around Sydney

If walking is your thing then as you can tell there are plenty in Sydney to choose from. These few are my favourites but there are hundreds of walks around Sydney. The great thing about Sydney is its prime location on the coast. Just a few hours west of Sydney you’ve got the Blue Mountains and a couple of hours north is Palm Beach. Both the Blue Mountains and Palm Beach are well worth visiting during a trip to Sydney or New South Wales if your itinerary allows it. To finish this post I’m sharing two more walks, one from the Blue Mountains and one from Palm Beach.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk Palm Beach

Starts: Pittwater Beach

Ends: Barrenjoey Lighthouse

Distance: Access Track 800 metres or Smugglers Track 400 metres

Difficulty: Medium

Tip: Steep slopes or lots of steps! The Access Track is steep slopes up to the top or Smugglers Track consists of steep steps direct to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

Palm Beach aka Summer Bay! If you’re a soap fan then you might know what I’m talking about! If not then you’ve probably got better things to do with your time than the rest of us! Home and Away is an Aussie soap set in Palm Beach. After seeing the famous peninsula so many times on the TV it’s quite awesome to be there in person! During a visit to Palm Beach, a hike up to Barrenjoey lighthouse is a must so that you get that epic view. The walk up to the lighthouse is short but steep. The walk gives you two options as outlined above, the Access Track is easier than the stairs it’s still steep. We walked up to the Access Track and back down Smugglers Track.

The view of the peninsula at Palm Beach at the top of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse

The gorgeous peninsula at Palm Beach!

Walks in the Blue Mountains

The Wentworth Pass adjoining to Overcliff Undercliff Track

Starts: Wentworth Falls

Ends: Wentworth Falls carpark/picnic area

Distance: 5km

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

The Blue Mountains is inundated with glorious walks for all abilities. We spent two days in the Blue Mountains and I’ll admit I wish we’d had more time! We did tackle a few walks over our two-day visit but the Wentworth Pass was one I enjoyed the most. This track is hard with a large distance to cover with some steep hills. The views are incredible and totally worth any sweat along the way! I’d share some of the epic views with you but my old laptop died last year and of course, I hadn’t backed up properly (you live and learn) so we pretty much lost ALL of our Blue Mountains photographs! But take my word for it you want to do this hike! The National Pass hike, also located at Wentworth Falls, also looks stunning but the track was closed during our visit.

More information on walks at Wentworth Falls 

Whether you’re staying in the city or venturing up into the mountains, there are plenty of walks to keep you busy. These are definitely not all of the walks you take on in Sydney but just some of the best ones!

For more information on some epic Sydney walks you can take a look at the NSW website for walks here.

Which is your favourite Sydney walk? Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t forget sharing is caring!

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If you enjoyed this post or know someone who might please share it! If you’re heading to Sydney then why not take a look at my 3 Day Guide to Sydney – the only travel guide you need for a weekend in the city!

Wishing You Happy and Healthy Adventures!

Alicia

A Complete 3 Day Itinerary to Sydney: Free Download!

A Complete 3 Day Itinerary to Sydney: Free Download!

Sydney, Australias most famous city without a doubt. Home to the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge landmarks that are well known all over the world. Travellers flock in every day to catch a glimpse of these sights for themselves. I can assure you that they don’t disappoint. After living in Sydney for six months I can tell you confidently that three days just won’t be enough to experience all this city has to offer. That said with a well planned out 3-day itinerary to Sydney you can explore a lot of this bright and wondrous city. To jump to any section of this guide just click through the links below!

DOWNLOAD PDF FREE HERE!

The History of Sydney

Before I dive into this perfect 3-day itinerary to Sydney. Let me share some history into this city built on the harbour. We call those who live in Sydney a ‘Sydney Sider’ but the first real Sydney Siders were the Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal people who lived in Sydney were the Gadigal people who still lived and hunted in Sydney long after the Europeans came in 1788. There are still Aboriginal people living in Sydney today. Australia was put on the map by a British Explorer name James Cook the first European to explore Australia and it’s East Coast on one of his three Voyages. He also explored New Zealand mapping out his every move along the way. It is Captain who first came into contact with the Aboriginal people here in Australia in 1770.

It was James Cook who claimed the Eastern Coastline for Britain and then some years later in 1788 Sydney Captain Arthur Phillip led the first British Fleet to Port Jackson in Sydney. With 11 vessels they used Sydney as a prison settlement for British convicts. But over the years as more people learnt about Sydney the more they came. Settlers came and the British convicts stopped arriving in 1840. Over the years the population of the Sydney as did the popularity of the harbour, remaining one of the most famous in the world today. To learn more about the history of Sydney follow this link or make sure you visit one of the many museums on your visit!

3 Day Itinerary to Sydney – What’s Inside 

This 3 Day Itinerary to Sydney is perfect for first timers visits to Sydney! When I visited Sydney on my first trip to Australia in 2018 I too was a first timer. After six months I can call myself a slight Sydney expert! Sydney is a city that keeps on giving to all that visit. If you’re a foodie on the hunt for culinary delights, a history buff or a tourist after a glimpse of the famous sights, you can do it all here in Sydney.

My mission is to make travel easy for first timers and share my advice so you can make the most out of the places you travel to! I’ve been disappointed by many a trip I’ve taken usually down to bad advice and untruthful tips! Hint: overly edited Instagram photographs that look nothing like the real deal!

Getting to Sydney from the Airport

Distance: 8 km, 8.4 miles

Time: 25 minutes

There are multiple options available when getting into the city from the Airport. With only 3 days in Sydney, you don’t want to be wasting time so no dilly-dallying in the airport! Get yourself straight to baggage collection and on your way into the city! The main transportation options to get into Sydney from the airport are, train, bus, taxi and shuttle. Each comes with a different price so it depends on your budget!

Bus – Getting the bus will be the cheapest option by far but equally the most difficult. There isn’t a public bus running straight from the city centre to the Airport. So you’ll need to research which buses you need to reach your accommodation. Use the New South Wales Travel Planner instead of Google Maps. It keeps all its times updated so you can see when your bus is running late.

Download the App or Take a look at the website here.

Train: When getting into Sydney I would always opt for the train. It’s easy and goes straight to the city centre just follow the signs and most other people! It isn’t cheap but you’ll come to learn that not much in Sydney is (sorry to break it to you) a one way trip to the city and back to the Airport will cost you $17-20.

Be warned: the transport service in NSW will advertise that the train takes 15 minutes to the CBD, it doesn’t. It will take at least 25 minutes.

Taxi: Taxis are available from each terminal with a taxi rank located out the front. Taxi is the most expensive way to get into the city setting you back at least $40-60. It should only take 20 minutes but traffic is often against you here in Sydney so it will more often than not take a lot longer, especially as you get closer to the city.

Shuttle: The other option is to get to the city via shuttle bus. The two companies the airport use are Ready2Go and Mozio both have information desks in both terminals inside the airport. The cost of the shuttle bus varies depending on how what time you land and where your accommodation is based. Follow the links above which will take you to the websites required for a price estimation.

Opal Cards: To travel on public transport in Sydney you’ll need an Opal Card. Opal Cards are the equivalent of a GoCard in Brisbane or Oyster Card in London. Top them up via a pay station or via the Opal App and tap on and off on each journey. You’ll be able to use these cards on all transport in Sydney. You can still pay on some buses and trains but the expectation is that you have an Opal card – your fare will be cheaper with one too! You can purchase from the airport, newsagents, supermarkets so you won’t have trouble getting hold of one! It’s $10 to buy one which you can get back if you return it at the end of your trip!

Sydney Travel Tip: On Sundays, public transport is capped at $2.70! Perfect for those expensive ferry journeys! #Sydney Click To Tweet

Be Savy: Weigh your options up wisely when it comes to transport into the city. What is going to be the cheapest and fastest option? It’s more than likely going to be the train which is the mode of transport I always suggest and opt for myself! But if your travelling in a large group a shuttle or taxi split between you all may be cheaper so make sure you think outside the box! Do you have a friend, relative in Sydney with a car? Could they pick you up!

For more Information on public transport from the airport in Sydney go here!

Getting Around Sydney

Sydney is a big city and with only a 3-day itinerary there’s going to be some walking and public transport involved. Get your Opal Card as mentioned above, a robust pair of shoes and your phone fully charged, you will need Google Maps!

The easiest way to navigate the city circle is via walking or the trains.

The Ferry’s to the bay’s surrounding the city, basically, if you cross water you can catch a ferry there BUT they are expensive!

Buses are very regular and go to most places in Sydney.

Where to Stay in Sydney – 3-Day Itinerary to Sydney

In Sydney when it comes to finding some accommodation you’ll be overwhelmed with choice. From backpackers hostels to swanky hotels boasting spectacular views of the Harbour. It all really depends if you’re in town to save or splurge! 

No matter where in the world I am I usually book my accommodation through either booking.com or Air BnB! We are budget travellers so always looking for the best offer! With booking.com you almost always have to the option to cancel up to 48 hours before. So top tip? Book through booking.com and keep searching if you find a cheaper deal you can always cancel and rebook other accommodation on booking.com or elsewhere. I did this for my trip to New York as the prices were constantly fluctuating and I stumbled on a corker of a deal giving me an upgraded room for a quarter of the price!

Location of Accommodation

Sydney is one huge place that can be overwhelming. There’s Air BnB’s and hostels everywhere you turn so it can be tricky to know where to base yourself. For the purpose of this 3-Day Itinerary to Sydney, I’m going to be sharing places to stay in the city centre. Over these 3-days you’ll be exploring the city, some beaches and some areas North of the Harbour Bridge so being in the city places you right in the middle. This means you’ll have easy transport links throughout your stay in Sydney.

If you do want to stay on the beach then I’d recommend staying in either Bondi or Manly.

To save money on your accommodation in Sydney then I would recommend either staying in a hostel or an Air BnB. With only a 3-day itinerary to Sydney, a hostel in a shared room or room in an Air BnB will be perfect. You’re not there for long and you’ll be saving a lot of dollars to spend elsewhere! Like the bar?

Hostels in Sydney

YHA Sydney Harbour: One of the most popular Hostels in Sydney make sure you book in advance. The Sydney Harbour Hostel is a great place to stay during your visit. It’s got all the facilities you need and gorgeous views of the harbour for cheap prices! Travel Blogger Mollie Bylett recently hosted one of her Where’s Mollie Global Travellers Tours here which you can check out on her blog here! Dorm rooms start from AUD 35 per night = GBP 16.80 Per Person Per Night.

The YHA even has a rooftop terrace!

The POD Pitt Street: The Pod Hostel on Pitt Street is another great city centre option. Hot with backpackers as one of the coolest hostels in Sydney you’ll be close to everything you need in the city. With multiple dorm options available its a great choice for those not bothered about sharing rooms. A night at The POD again starts at approx 40 AUD = 21 GBP

Air BnB Air BnB is by far my favourite way to find great places to stay for a great price! We’ve stayed in loads of rooms found on Air BnB since arriving in Australia and haven’t been disappointed with any of them! The hosts have all been great and often given us tips and tricks that go beyond the guidebook! I love being able to chat with the locals and get their take on the city!

If you’d like any recommendations on which suburbs to stay in on your trip to Sydney then please email me at [email protected], leave a comment below or send me a direct message over on Instagram and I would love to help you out!

Hotels in Sydney – Splurge!

Okay if you’ve got the cash to spare then I’m going to recommend a hotel that I’ve heard some really great things about. The Shang Ri La Hotel located on Circular Quay towers over the city offering some magnificent views of both, The Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. It’s an extremely popular choice with holidaymakers, businessmen/women and Instagrammers! The famous shot of people looking through the window out onto the harbour? You can find that here!

But all that luxury is going to cost and prices start at 200 AUD Per night = 100 GBP

Take a look at available accommodation in Sydney below using the interactive map!

For more information on how to book the best accommodation for your stay in Sydney then head over to this guide by AllTheRooms.com This guide travel guide to Australia goes into the best places to stay in the land down under. It also goes into the price/availability of accommodation over the year, which I know will be helpful to some of your budget travellers! Check it out here!

Now we’ve got all the logistics out of the way lets get onto the good stuff, how to spend 3 days in Sydney!

3 Day Itinerary to Sydney – Day one

Visit Circular Quay 

sydney opera house circular quay

Circular Quay is the Sydney tourism hub, you may love or hate that fact. But it’s true. Circular Quay is filled with busy tourists from all over the world all with one mission. To visit The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s the busiest place in the city and probably the most extraordinary. Once stood before these famous landmarks you’ll have to pinch yourself that you’re really living that moment.

Spend some time taking in the views, enjoying the scenes of both the Bridge and Opera House. You can see both the famous sights for free. If you want to go inside the Opera House but don’t have time to watch a show, which with just 3 short days you won’t, you can take a tour inside for just 40 AUD/20 GBP. Tours run daily lasting around one hour. Always book in advance for an extra discount. The tours are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean.

If the views enough for you then make sure you grab a drink at Opera Bar and enjoy it even more! A beer with views like this, who can complain? Alcohol starts off at AUD 10/6 GBP upwards per drink in Sydney. Beer is cheapest then wine and then cocktails. I wouldn’t order a cocktail at Opera Bar as they take an age to be made! – Just being honest.

Visit the Botanical Gardens  

As you walk past the Sydney Opera House you’ll see the Royal Botanical Gardens. A scenic haven filled with lush green lawns, beautiful flowers and far cry from the madness of the city. Take a picnic and a stroll around the gardens. My favourite place to enjoy life in the gardens is at Busbys Bar, a little bar that sits in a shipping container. Grab a deck chair and watch the world go by. There’s also usually exhibits on in the gardens if sitting around isn’t your thing!

As you walk past Busbys at the far side of the Botanical Gardens keep walking to Mrs Maquiries Chair. Here you’ll find the epic postcard view of the harbour! This is also a brilliant place to watch the sunset over the city, I haven’t included it in this 3-day Itinerary to Sydney but if you’d prefer it over Darling Harbour then head back here! The gardens lock the gates at 8 pm November-February during the summer but it does vary at other times of the year. Keep updated here. But you can still access Mrs Maquiraires Chair via the road.

Visit The Art Gallery of New South Wales

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is located at the other side of the Botanical Gardens to Mrs Maquiraires chair and is completely free to enjoy. If you enjoy art then you’ll love the four levels of art located at the gallery with different exhibitions from all over the world! You can keep up to date on what’s going to be on when you visit through their website.

Sydney Tower Eye

For 360 degree views of the city beneath you, it’s time to head to the Sydney Tower Eye! The Sydney Tower Eye is located inside the famous sphere building you see in the photographs. It’s a view you don’t want to miss! Buy tickets online for the cheapest option starting at 23 AUD per person/12.50 GBP.

Dine at Darling Harbour

Check what time sunset is during your visit and head to Darling Harbour for an evening of great food, drinks and an amazing sunset. The weather is usually uncredible in Sydney so the chances of you getting a good sunset are high! Darling Harbour is filled with over 100 places to dine and drink making you spoilt for choice! If you are watching the cash then get there early as everywhere has an early bird option!

Top Tip: if you’re visiting on a Saturday then you can enjoy free fireworks every Saturday from 9 pm at Darling Harbour Sydney.

Day Two – 3 Day Itinerary to Sydney

Bondi – Coogee Coastal Walk

Coastal Walks are Sydney’s thing! I can think of six straight of the bat without even thinking about it. So trying to decide which one to include in this guide was so hard! I’ve gone for the Bondi-Coogee coastal walk because it’s one of the most famous and also one of the most beautiful. On my first trip to Sydney, we tackled this walk on one of our first days and it took my breath away. The views of the coast are epic along with great beaches and snorkelling spots throughout. You’re going to want your swimmers for this one! 

The Bondi-Coogee walk stretches along beaches, cliff tops and amazing footpaths winding along the coast. The walk itself is 6 km, just over 3 miles. It takes around two hours but I’d spend the majority of the day exploring the walk, lounging on the beaches and swimming in the ocean and various free swimming pools Sydney has to offer! I’d say the walk is easy-medium in difficulty. There are a few steep hills and stairs to climb on the way. It isn’t really wheelchair friendly and taking a pram/stroller would be difficult.

For more in-depth information about the trail then head to this website!

Start at Bondi Beach

To get to Bondi Beach from the city you need to get the train to Bondi Junction and then the 333 bus to Bondi Beach. Don’t be alarmed if the bus doesn’t stop. The 333 is full to brim with eager beach goes every day and won’t stop when it’s full just be patient and wait for the next one. They run every 6 minutes so you’re never waiting for long.

Get off the bus where everybody else does or as soon as you see the beach. I have a feeling you’ll be surprised by how beautiful Bondi is. I expected it to be trashy and full of tourists, whilst the latter is true everybody is there to have a great time. Spend some time on the beach and taking in the cool street art that lines the broad walk just above the sand. Pick up some snacks from the shops and then walk towards the iconic Bondi Icebergs which is where the coastal walk begins. There are signs throughout on which way to go but if in doubt follow the crowds! You can swim at the Bondi Icebergs but you do have to pay and there’s a tonne of other swimming holes on this walk so I’d sit tight on that one!

View from above of the Bondi Icebergs

Bondi – Tamarama 

As walk past Australias most famous beach, past the Icebergs and onto the footpath that weaves around the coastline. The distance to Tamarama is 1.2km taking half an hour. There’s an aboriginal rock engraving on the way around and great spots to get that beautiful photo! The beach at Tamarama is one of the smallest on this walk and though not as popular as Bondi or Bronte it’s one my person favourites. We have plenty of memories here including Christmas Day 2018! The beach is good and surf even better!

Tamarama – Bronte 

This is the shortest distance during the walk taking only minutes from one beach onto the next! Bronte is one of a kind. The beach is golden in colour and has some special swimming spots! Where the ocean meets the shore on the right-hand side of the beach is the Rock Pool where you can swim in if you don’t fancy taking a dip in the open water! A little further on you’ll find the Bogey hole which is a free public swimming pool and my favourite one in Sydney. Sydney is full of free swimming holes like this you’ll find at most of the beaches so make sure you have a little look around!

Bronte is a great place to grab some lunch if you didn’t pack a picnic. There’s a short strip of cafes and restaurants as you walk away from the beach on the left. We ate at Jenny’s Cafe the first time we took on this walk filling up with Eggs Benedict to get us around the rest of it!

Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.

Bronte – Clovelly 

Okay, since meeting a Welsh girl out here in Australia I can't say the word 'Clovelly' without putting a Welsh accent, anyone else? PS DO IT RIGHT NOW! Click To Tweet

Clovelly is a popular place to snorkel in Sydney so if you’ve got on then bring it along! The walk to Clovelly is fairly easy and takes 40 minutes to about an hour at 2.2 km or 1.3 miles, depending on how fast you walk. You’ll enjoy the scenic views of the ocean and can look back on Bondi Beach from a distance! Walk past the historic Waverley Cemetary and down onto Clovelly beach before embarking on the final leg of the walk.

Clovelly – Coogee 

The final few miles! Again taking up to an hour at 1.8 km or 1.1 miles this stretch is the most difficult. Your walking on steep cliff tops, up some very steep slopes and up a lot of stairs! They save the best til last right? But that soft white sand and ocean waves crashing against the Coogee are well worth it! When you arrive in Coogee you can pull out your towel and head to the beach, giving yourself a well-deserved rest. There’s plenty of bars and ice cream stands nearby so treat yourself after all that walking! If you’re looking for more swimming then head to Wylie Baths, another free swimming pool!

You can see from these photographs how beautiful this walk really is and it’s better in person. Coastal walks are around every corner in Sydney but this is one of if not the best! The only one that I think comes in close is the Watsons Bay lighthouse walk because there you get amazing views of the city from afar, but only one beach! It’s definitely swings and roundabouts with most things in Sydney.

Dine at The Rocks

After all that walking it’s time to explore historic Sydney and chill out at The Rocks. The Rocks are what I like to call a slice of England in Sydney. It reminds of The Shambles in York, I think because of it’s cobbled streets! The Rocks are amazing to see at night because it’s all strung together by fairy lights looking all pretty and magical!

If your budget is tight then go back to your accommodation to cook a meal if you have the option but The Rocks have some fantastic options for food! For you pub lovers out there this is where you’ll find your traditional pubs in Sydney rather than bars. Visit Sydney’s oldest pub The Fortune of War in The Rocks! I’d also recommend visiting the Glenmore Hotel for an awesome view of the city with your drink in hand!

The oldest pub in Sydney

For a full list of other places to eat and drink take a look at what’s on at The Rocks here. 

Final Day – 3 Day Itinerary to Sydney

Queen Victoria Building

With so much fun to be had in and amongst this city, it was hard trying to narrow it down for the final day but I managed it! The final day of this itinerary is all about taking in the heart and culture of the city. And of course, catching more views of that all impressive Sydney Harbour. On your last day make sure you’re up bright and early to start the day in the city. Head over to the Queen Victoria Building which is impressive from head to toe, inside and out.

The architecture of the outside is phenomenal and the detail inside is just as inspiring. You’ve got to visit the top floor and to experience The Royal Clock which you can see photographed below, it is really quite something! The QVB building is now a shopping centre where you can find more upmarket buys if you wish – personally I just love looking around the building.

The Royal Clock in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney

Walk the Harbour Bridge

It’s not really possible to visit Sydney and not get close to the Harbour Bridge! There are few options when it comes to this grand piece of Sydney from climbing, walking and cycling. Hire a cycle and cycle over the Harbour Bridge taking in the views whilst having a laugh at the same time.

The second most popular option is to tackle the bridge climb! You’ll be guaranteed picture-perfect views of this majestic city when you reach the top but it isn’t for the faint-hearted! It’s also expensive around 200 AUD that’s around 100 GBP to climb the bridge! If your heart is set on conquering this climb then you can find out more here. For a cheaper option and one with less adrenaline, you can go up Pylon lookout for just 50 AUD or 25 GBP which might be more up your street.

But if you prefer to have two feet firmly on the ground at all times simply walk the bridge. You’ll get the same views just a little lower down. The bridge takes around 30-60 minutes to walk across depending on how fast you are and how many times you stop for photographs on the way!

Milsons Point

The best views of Sydney are from Milsons point. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I adore the views from Milsons point. You get the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and City Skyline all in one! There are lovely little walking tracks that go along the front of the water down here. It’s a wonderful spot for a picnic and home to Sydney Harbours Olympic swimming pool. If you’ve got little ones or are still a big kid yourself you’ll find the Luna Park here too even if just for a photograph. It’s free entry but you do have to pay to go on the rides.

Once you’ve finished exploring Milsons Point jump on the ferry back to Circular Quay. It does cost $7 but the views from the water are worth it, especially on the final day of this 3 day itinerary to Sydney.

Sydney Opera House

I hope you enjoyed this 3 Day Itinerary to Sydney! If you want to print out this guide and take it on your travels you can download the PDF here! (It would make me so freaking happy so if you do be sure to take a picture with it and tag me!) This is definitely not the only way to spend 3 days in Sydney but for first-timers, it’s a great way to get all the major sights in. Of course, there are heaps more things to do like, going to Manly, Taronga Zoo, Manly to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk, Watsons Bay and not to mention all the suburbs there are to explore! I can’t wait to dive into some more guides and help make your travel time in Sydney easier!

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Happy and Healthy Travels

Alicia

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