Sydney is one of the best cities in the world. Fact.
You can tour the Opera House, take up surfing on Bondi Beach, or just relax sailing the Sydney Harbor shores. People living in and around Sydney, or Australia in general, enjoy a largely outdoorsy lifestyle and that’s visible across every inch of the city.
Here’s a short list of what to expect as you plan for your trip to Sydney. If you’re going, lucky you, enjoy every second! If you’re not going, this is your chance to remedy that…
As Australia’s busiest airport, you have a huge number of options when it comes to traveling to Sydney. You can fly with top airlines including the likes of American Airlines, Virgin, Qantas, Emirates, U.S. Airways and Air China giving you a wealth of stopover options on the way there too.
Building in a stopover on your way to Australia is an awesome way to take a trip within a trip, as delaying your onward flight a few days (or even weeks if you have the time to spare) often costs very little, or nothing at all! Spend a few days in Dubai, Singapore, Thailand, India, Malaysia, China to name just a few, and really maximize your time abroad.
Sydney has a great transport system, so getting around is easy. Take the bus, monorail, ferry, taxi, water taxi, train, cycle or use your own two feet, either way, getting to where you want to go won’t be a hassle.
A lot of the buses in Sydney only accept prepaid tickets at certain times, so find out if that’s the case before you try and board – good thing is ticket vendors are never far away. Sydney buses website has cabs aren’t horrendously expensive, and there are plenty of taxi ranks round the city. You’ll be looking at approximately $2.80 to start, then $1.62 per km (plus an additional 20% from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.).
Things to do on the cheap…
If you’re on a strict budget, no worries, you can experience Australian living on the cheap.
Take the ferry to Taronga Zoo, learn to surf on Bondi Beach, climb the Harbor Bridge, enjoy a paddle board lesson and take a thrilling Thunder Jet Boat ride around the harbor.
View from the Harbor Bridge
The coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee serves as the perfect backdrop for picture taking.
Pack up a picnic and head to the Royal Botanic Gardens, while taking in a view of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, carved out of sandstone in the early 1800s, is a hidden gem positioned in the gardens.
Many museums and cultural exhibitions require entry fees, but we know how you get see some collections for free. The Nicholson Museum, on the campus of the University of Sydney, has the largest antique collection in the Southern Hemisphere. Take in some culture and head to the Samurai Japanese Dining Bar after for a bit to eat.
Visit the Chinese Gardens of Friendship at Darling Harbor for some cultural satisfaction.
Chinese Friendship Gardens
When it comes to Sydney seasons, think about weather being flip flopped compared to U.S. temps. If it’s summer in the U.S., then it will be winter in Australia. Take a look at our little cheat sheet…
- Winter is June to August
- Spring is September to November
- Autumn is March to May
- Summer is December to February
Obviously, the hottest time to be in Sydney is from December through February where temperatures, on average, hover at about 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, although heatwaves are common.
In the winter, temperatures can fall to around 46 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit and rain regularly. It never reaches the same frostbite stricken temps as a winter in Chicago, for example, but it definitely gets cold around June, July and August.
Where do we start with the beaches of Sydney….there are loads! Golden sandy, gloriously sun kissed, beautiful beaches – each one different to the next.
Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach
Coogee Beach is considered the new Bondi Beach and shows it as crowds flock to it and bask in its landscape. This South Eastern suburb has long been a favorite of young Aussies and is fast becoming the place to be for expats and backpackers, too.
Talking of Bondi, while Coogee is coming forward as the new place to be in Sydney, there’s no denying at, that the moment, it’s all still all about Bondi.
This long stretch of beach is as much of an iconic part of Sydney as the Opera House or Harbor Bridge, it’s a big traveler hub if you want to mingle with other backpackers and meet new friends, this is a great place to be during the day and to party at night.
Catch the ferry to busy Manly to visit a host of shops and cafes along the length of the sand or Bronte Beach a couple of kms down south of Bondi for a quieter, but still beautiful, beach experience.
Where to stay…
Some of our favorite hostels include Wake Up Hostel central Sydney, Base Sydney and Bondi YHA.
If you are passing through and have a campervan Lane Cove River National Park is a great place to park up. It’s a good value and only short train ride from the city center.
Where to shop…
Sydney is one of the best cities in the world for shopping and has an enormous selection of stores and outlets to choose from as well as local markets and independent and vintage stores.
For souvenirs, check out Paddy’s Markets, more a cheaper alternative Bondi Market is open on Sunday with lots of choices. There’s also the ornate Strand Arcad and Westfield shopping center in town.
Where to eat and drink…
It’s no coincidence that thousands of young travelers flock to Sydney every year. You can pretty much guarantee yourself a perfect lifestyle here and that includes an almost unlimited number of places to eat and drink.
Iceberg bar, Bondi has amazing views over Bondi beach, enjoy a drink with a view at the Australia Hotel bar near Harbor Bridge, and you need to order a cocktail in the legendary Opera Bar. Nuzzled neatly just below the Opera House, this bar boasts what is quite possibly one of the best, if not the best, bar views in the world.
Head to The Spot in Randwick for the best Thai food you’ll eat outside of Bangkok at Blue Monkey Thai or to Beach Burrito in Coogee for amazing Mexican.
What to see outside of New South Wales…
The fun doesn’t stop once you leave Sydney! New South Wales is full of diverse activities and sites that will help make a day trip from the city unforgettable.
Blue Mountains National Park
It would be almost unthinkable to miss out on the views and treks in the Blue Mountains National Park. Take a ride to the Hunter Valley and sample some Aussie Wine or hire a car and go the distance with a few days in hippy hotspot Byron Bay.