Sydney Opera House

Top Things to do in Sydney

One of my life goals has been to visit all seven continents—before I turned 30. WELP, it took some convincing, a LOT of planning and, not one, but TWO hellish plane rides, but I made it happen! The Significant Other and I spent four days in Sydney. You can definitely do it in two, but we wanted to go slow, take it all in and spend some time recovering from jet lag before we continued on our journey. Here are our recommendations. Enjoy your time Down Under!

  • Watch the sunset “over the Sydney skyline. Ah, that famous Sydney skyline. There is nothing quite like watching the sunset over the harbour bridge. Head over to Darling Point for the best views over the city during golden hour.”
    • You can also hike to the top of the bridge! We didn’t opt for hiking because it’s pretty expensive, and we wanted to save up for a diving trip at our next stop. But, if you do it, let us know how dizzyingly terrifying it was in the comments!
  • Take the Ferry to Manly: “No trip to Sydney would be complete without taking the ferry over to the beach town of Manly. A return ticket costs around $13.20 and the ferry departs from Sydney Harbour, taking around 30 minutes each way.” 
    • Manly is a really cute little beach town. We went when it was windy and rainy so the only people on the beach were surfers. It was still a LOT of fun to take the ferry—sit on the upper deck at the front of the boat, and prepare to be splashed by the waves! Plus, we got some great photos of the Sydney Opera House. Walking around Manly was relaxing in the drizzle. I’m sure it’s a packed tourist trap in sunny weather! If you do make it over there, check out their aboriginal art store. It’s right on the main path from the ferry to the beach, on the right-hand side. You can’t miss it!
  • Art After Hours (Wednesdays) 
    • Rub elbows with the locals and enjoy cool art! We were way too jet lagged to do this when we first got in, but we’ll definitely attend on a future trip.
  • Free walking tour
    • 2.5-3 hrs
    • 10:30am and 2:30pm Every Day from Town Hall Square.
    • “No need to book. You’ll find your guide wearing a bright green ‘I’m Free’ T-shirt on George St between Sydney Town Hall and St Andrew’s Cathedral.”
    • If you’re well-traveled, this might be a bit of a bore. Everything in Sydney is so new that there’s not too much in the way of history. I’m glad we took the tour because I enjoyed learning about the culture and history that does exist, but I could’ve skipped it if we’d been crunched for time.
  • The Hayden Orpheum: Cinema in operation since 1935
    • It’s a trek to get out to the theater, but I’m glad we did it. We got to see neighborhoods we wouldn’t have otherwise explored. Plus, the theater really is a lot of fun to check out, and you can’t beat an action movie on a rainy afternoon!
  • Paddy’s Markets
    • This is where you go to get all your souvenirs. The prices are over-the-top for clothing so head to a thrift store instead. Paddy’s Markets is really all about the boomerangs (made in Indonesia) and cute koala keychains. It’s a tourist trap, but it’s been in operation forever and, well, you are a tourist, aren’t you?
  • Sydney observatory
  • Museum of human disease
  • Wendy’s secret garden
  • Lawn bowling
  • Ground of Alexandria

    Day Trips