Sydney, Australia. One of the most culturally diverse cities in the world and home to 4.6 million people, it is most famously known for the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. With it being a huge tourist hub you’re never short of something to do, whether it be winter or summer. After spending three months there, we really made the most of Sydney’s tourist offerings, so let’s make like a kangaroo and jump straight in.
Obviously it’s quite hard to beat an August day on Bridlington sea front, but Sydney’s beaches come pretty close.
Arguably the most recognised beach is Bondi. Four miles of golden sands and unbelievably blue ocean, Bondi takes your breath away as soon as you see it. A horseshoe shaped shore with residential houses at either side (yes, we were jealous of these homeowners), the huge beach is always bustling, even in Winter. You’ll be sure to find locals there surfing, sunbathing, or making use of the dedicated BBQ areas.
My top recommendation whilst at Bondi is to grab a surf lesson on the beach. We were in a group of five people which was perfect for getting the help you need. The instructor was super friendly and always helped you catch a wave after the last one wiped you out (you can guess how good my surfing ability was).
Aside from surfing and sunbathing, Sydney is a great place for coastal walks. See the beaches along the east coast on the Bondi to Coogee walk. At just under 10km this walk will take you across six of Sydney’s beaches, with some pretty spectacular scenery to accompany you.
One of the most popular walks is Spit Bridge to Manly Beach. Jump on a bus to Spit Bridge from the city (via the Harbour Bridge which is an added bonus), and head to Manly. The walk is well sign-posted throughout so there’s no chance of getting lost, and gives you stunning views out to sea. To finish your day, hop on the long ferry back to the city just as the sun is setting and you’ll be treated to the sunset behind Sydney Harbour Bridge, you won’t regret it.
Hang out around Sydney Harbour
Circular Quay is an area of Sydney where you’ll find the ferry wharf, the Opera House and within walking distance of the Harbour Bridge.
Whilst you’re there, walk over to an area called The Rocks, you’ll find plenty of great places to eat and drink. The ‘Australian Heritage Hotel’ has a pizza aptly named ‘The Coat of Arms’, topped with emu and kangaroo meat, after, you guessed it, the Aussie Coat of Arms. The Rocks also has a market which runs over the weekends, where you can find everything from bespoke artwork to independently made fudge.
Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a tour around the Opera House. Impressive inside and out, if you’re lucky enough to visit on a sunny day then the Opera House really lights up inside. The tour guide gives you ample knowledge as you’re taken around the common areas and iconic performance halls.
Overlooking the water is the Harbour Bridge. A definite bucket list experience is to complete the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. You can choose whether to climb in the day, night, sunrise or sunset, but whatever time you go you’ll experience views like no other.
Travel secret: The Vivid Light Festival runs from May – June annually, if you complete the climb during this time, there’s an 80’s dance floor at the top for you to throw some shapes on. Funky.
Cross over the bridge and you’ll find Luna Park. Built as a thank you to citizens of Sydney for causing disruption during the construction of the bridge, Luna Park is full of hair-raising rides with some retro favourites too. Never underestimate how much fun, and equally terrifying, going down a vertical slide in a sack is.
Venture Further Afield
Sydney has great travel links so it’s easy to visit other destinations while you’re travelling. Only a few hours away by train are the Blue Mountains. Unfortunately, the mountains themselves aren’t actually blue, but are surrounded by a blue haze. Covering 11,000km2 there is plenty to see and do whilst you’re there. One of the most notable areas in the Blue Mountains is Katoomba. A tourist hot-spot, Katoomba is witness to the Three Sisters rock formation and ‘Scenic World’. Scenic World features a cableway, railway, walkway and skyway so you’re spoilt for choice on how to see the sights.
Only a 20-30 minute drive away from the city, Sydney airport offers both domestic and international flights. You can easily fly to Cairns, Brisbane or Melbourne in only a few hours with each city offering a new perspective on how you see Australia.
Multiple ferry wharfs mean you can easily take a trip out on a boat. A day-trip like no other is whale watching. The best time to see them is between June and July, right in the middle of their migration. If something more relaxed is your style, there are plenty of companies that offer dinner or drinks cruises during the day or in the evening.
Pick up an Opal travel card. Opal cards are free to get, and work similarly to Oyster cards in London. They can be used on buses, trains and ferries, on a tap on/tap off basis. Link the card to the app to top-up with ease and plan routes around Sydney.
Take advantage of happy hours! Sydney is an expensive place, but it doesn’t always have to be. More often than not bars will have a happy hour, and there’s nothing better than watching the sunset with an Aperol Spritz.
The city isn’t all Sydney has to offer. It’s easy to spend your time around Circular Quay and Darling Harbour, but Paddington, Newtown, Surry Hills and Potts Point are all great places to explore too.