Top 5 things to do in Sydney.
Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is one of Australia’s largest and most popular cities. Best known for the iconic Opera House that sits on the water’s edge of the world’s largest natural harbour, there is no end of choice for places to explore and adventure to be had! The city itself is surrounded by over 100 beaches and vibrant suburbs! So, where to start?! Sydney is the ultimate place to start or finish an East Coast roadtrip. The city has so much to offer for all kinds of people ; the adventurers, the museum-goers, the thrift shoppers, the beach bums, the surfers and the hikers. BUT it can be a little overwhelming when deciding how to see the best of Sydney in just a few days. See below my top 5 must-dos for backpackers when visiting Sydney for the first time! You’re sure to tick off a few on your bucketlist here!
1) Take a walking tour of circular quay
The Sydney Opera House is by far the most iconic landmark that comes to mind when thinking of Sydney and almost every backpacker is guilty of grabbing the perfect selfie overlooking the harbour. With good transport links from around the city, make your way via bus or train towards circular quay and from here take the day to explore the area. Head towards Port McQuaries chair where you can capture the best instagram shot of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. To the left of circular quay is the home to The Rocks, the oldest area in Sydney. Take a step back in time ; walk around the cobbled streets, chip around the local markets and visit some of the oldest pubs and cafes in the city! To finish of the day, take the 200steps (if you dare!) to the top of the Sydney bridge pylon to see the view from 80metres above sea level! This is an alternative to the Sydney Bridge Climb, for the budget concious!
The Rocks Market – Every Sat/Sun 10am-5pm
2) Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
Sydney is one of the only cities in the world to have access to so many beautiful beaches within such a short distance from the city centre. These beaches, with their torquoise blue waters and dramatic white waves are one of the biggest reasons why this city is my favourite in the world. The best place to start the 6km hike is in Coogee Beach, following the path to the left and passing by beautiful cliffs, bays and famous beaches before finishing off overlooking Bondi Beach. If you’re up for it, finish the day with a sunset swim and sauna at Bondi Icebergs pool ($7 extrance) or head over to North Bondi Rocks (free!). If you’re lucky, you might even see the crew filming the most recent footage for Bondi Rescue!
3) Catch the local ferry across the harbour to Manly Beach
The ferry ride across the Sydney habour offers sweeping views of the world famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The 30 minute ferry ride will offer the very best views of the city passing by Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo and finally leading you to the most cosmopolitan beach suburb of the city, Manly Beach. Manly is home to the best snorkelling spot in Sydney, Shelley Beach and has a great vibe for late afternoon beach bar hopping. Make sure to finish the day at the Bavarian Beer Haus for Happy Hour! Top backpacker tip ; It costs $2 maximum to travel on all public transport (including ferries) in Sydney on a SUNDAY! What a deal! If you are looking for a more active day, check out the 13KM Manly to Spit walk. One of the best hikes in Sydney!
4) Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains
Take a day trip to the word heritage Blue Mountains National Park. Although it’s technically not within Sydney, it’s only a short distance away and with its dramatic scenery it is a perfect day trip for keen explorers and hikers hoping to escape the city for a day of adventure and fresh air. But remember your hiking shoes, it can be a big day! The mountains are densely populated by Eucalyptus trees which fill the air with finely dispersed droplets of oil. This oil, combined with water vapour, scatter rays of light which give off the blue haze over the mountains! To see the best of the blue mountains in one day i recommend ticking off the Three Sisters (the most famous viewpoint in the park) and doing the Wentworth Falls hike (a very steep trek to the bottom of a 867metres waterfall with views over the whole national park). Travel with Stray and get a free beer in the park for sunset!
5. Chillax in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Before catching your flight or setting off on your East Coast trip, take a wander around the beautiful royal botanic gardens (free entrance). They’re open daily from 8am – 6pm and have great views from the city, too. Take a seat in the park and take it all in for sunset.