Located on Australia’s east coast, Sydney is the largest and most popular city Down Under, visited by millions of international travellers each year.
What sets Sydney apart from other international cities are the unique landmarks such as the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, the world-famous Sydney Harbour, a great climate, a stunning coastline with countless beaches, various beautiful lookout points with great views, and also a thriving arts, culture and dining scene.
This article outlines a top 10 things to do in Sydney, followed by list of great resources that will help you plan your stay in Sydney, Australia.
Things to do in Sydney:
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY
With so many things to do and places to visit in and around Sydney, it’s not an easy task to pick the best 10.
But we’ve tried our best and the following list covers most of the goodness that this beautiful city has to offer.
Here is our top 10 things to do in Sydney!
1. Do the Bondi to Coogee Walk
Perhaps the most famous walking track in Sydney and New South Wales brings hikers from iconic Bondi Beach to trendy Coogee Beach, showcasing the sheer beauty of Sydney’s coastline.
Tourists from all over the world and local Sydney-siders alike come to Sydney’s east coast every day to enjoy Australia’s best beaches, stunning ocean views and lots of parks, cafe’s and restaurants on the way from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach.
The track can be divided into two sections, each with their own unique highlights, with Bronte Beach located at the halfway mark. Depending on stops, the walk can easily be completed within 3 hours. You can then either walk back the same way or catch a bus to return to your starting point.
If you do have the energy, walking back is actually a good idea because the views are always different and you will discover new things to see and experience.
2. Visit Opera House and Royal Botanic Garden
Considered by many as one of the most famous and distinctive buildings constructed in the 20th century, the Opera House should be on top of your list of things to do in Sydney.
Opened in 1973, the Opera House now functions as a multi-venue performing arts centre, with several theatres, rehearsal studios, two main halls, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops under its roof.
Next door to the Opera House, and facing Sydney’s impressive skyline, is the Royal Botanic Garden, home to an enormous collection of exotic plants from all around the world.
Established in 1816 and 30 hectares in size, the Royal Botanic Garden is Australia’s oldest botanic garden and scientific institution. Strolling through this green oasis is an absolute delight.
3. Explore the Blue Mountains
One of the most popular weekend-getaway destinations in greater Sydney is the Blue Mountains region, only 90 minutes away from the Sydney CBD.
This natural treasure is home to beautiful lookout points, exciting walking tracks, dramatic sandstone cliffs, deep canyons, waterfalls and so much more. And of course, the famous Three Sisters also live in the Blue Mountains.
The area is very easily accessible, via car, train or organised tour. Have a look at our comprehensive Blue Mountains guide for top things to do in the area and other practical information to help you plan your visit.
Or check out our list of Blue Mountains day trips, with great suggestions for day trip itineraries by car as well as by train.
4. Spend a Day in Taronga Zoo
Against the backdrop of the Sydney CBD skyline, Taronga Zoo in Mosman is a fantastic day out for young and old. There are various ways to get to Taronga Zoo, but the ferry trip from Circular Quay is by far the best way!
If visiting the zoo isn’t exciting enough, it’s also the starting point of one of the most enjoyable Sydney Harbour walking tracks.
The Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach walk is a 6.5km trail that swirls its way past secluded beaches, picturesque bays, impressive lookouts and historical sights.
5. Catch a Ferry to Manly
The scenic ferry trip from Circular Quay to Manly is the perfect way to experience the true beauty of Sydney’s famous Harbour.
Once in Manly, enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes and pubs, go for a swim, and don’t forget to do the picturesque walking trail to Shelly Beach.
If you’re feeling active, manly can also be used as the starting point of two popular Sydney walking tracks. Both the Spit to Manly walk and the Manly North Head circuit can be commenced from the Manly ferry wharf.
These two walks combined form the Manly Scenic Walkway, a stunning 19.5km long coastal walking adventure.
6. Visit The Rocks and Sydney Harbour Bridge
One of Sydney’s oldest neighbourhoods, the Rocks, used to be a notorious convict settlement but is now a popular tourist destination with friendly pubs, cobbled lane-ways, historic buildings and lots of great events happening throughout the year.
The Rocks is also the perfect place to see Sydney’s second iconic landmark, the Harbour Bridge, from close by. Walk across, go into one of its pylons, or climb to the top!
Opened in 1932, the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge not only has the best looks, it’s also an incredible piece of superb engineering.
Also known as the Coathanger because of its arch-based design, the 134m high Sydney Harbour Bridge connects the Sydney CBD with the North Shore.
7. Discover Cockatoo Island
Often overlooked by tourists, Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO World-Heritage and National Heritage Listed island, situated right in the middle of beautiful Sydney Harbour.
Cockatoo Island has a surprisingly rich history as a shipbuilding yard and Commonwealth naval base, and also as a convict island.
You can experience all of this first-hand by wandering around on the island and absorbing its well-preserved history.
Catch a ferry from Circular Quay, score a free map from the visitor centre and enjoy a wonderful day out. Or book a luxury tent on the camping site and enjoy two days on this unique island.
8. Visit Darling Harbour
Sydney’s largest recreational and pedestrian precinct, Darling Harbour, is home to a great variety of attractions for the whole family.
From waterfront dining and regular fireworks displays to exciting museums and huge playgrounds, Darling Harbour has something for everyone.
Nearby Darling Quarter and the Barangaroo Foreshore are within walking distance and also very much worth a visit.
Both of these locations have been undergoing major upgrades and are now popular lunch and dinner hot spots, for tourists as well as for local office workers and residents.
9. Relax in Watsons Bay and South Head
Starting and ending at picturesque Watsons Bay, the popular circuit walk around South Head offers some of the best panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, the city skyline, the Pacific Ocean, North Head and the historic Hornby Lighthouse.
The best way to travel to Watsons Bay is by ferry departing from Circular Quay. This is a great opportunity to see even more of Sydney Harbour, the sailing ships, and not to mention the prestigious waterfront mansions.
Once you arrive in Watsons Bay, it’s time to explore this picturesque and historic fisherman’s village. Go see the Vaucluse Yacht Club, Robertson Park and The Gap before having lunch at one of the cafes or restaurants.
10. Go up to Sydney Tower Eye
If you want to see Sydney and its surrounding suburbs from high above, a visit to the Sydney Tower Eye is an absolute must.
This is where you get to enjoy the best views, from the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere including an exciting 4D cinema experience.
Visitors to Sydney Tower can choose from a range of unique experiences, such as dining or drinking at the rotating restaurant, and walking on the observation deck at 820 feet above street level.
SYDNEY TOURISM GUIDE
If you’ve never been to Sydney before, you will no doubt be overwhelmed by the huge number of tourist attractions this amazing city has to offer.
Our extensive Sydney tourism guide will make it easier for you to create your own personal itinerary so you can make the most of your stay in Australia’s prettiest city.
Our tourist guide covers pretty much everything that Sydney has to offer, from hiking and sightseeing, to shopping and dining.
>> Check out our Sydney tourism guide!
ROMANTIC THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY
Sydney is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Harbour, the iconic tourist attractions, the many beaches, the numerous walking tracks, Sydney has a lot of fun and exciting stuff to offer.
Not just for the everyday tourist, but also for the local Sydney-siders. And all these awesome attractions make Sydney also the perfect city to get your romance on and execute the perfect date.
Is your girlfriend’s birthday or some anniversary coming up and you’re not sure what to do? Or maybe you need some inspiration for romantic couple things to do in Sydney on Valentine’s Day?
Or perhaps you’d like to reignite that flame by doing something fun, exciting and different on any random day of the year?
>> Check out our list of romantic things to do in Sydney!
FREE THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY
As attractive as Sydney may be, it is also one of the most expensive places to live or to spend your holiday.
However, with a near perfect climate and a great variety of natural and man-made landmarks and sights on offer, there are also lots of free things to do in Sydney.
To help you save some of your hard-earned dollars, we have compiled a list of our favorite things to do in Sydney without having to spend a single dollar.
>> Check out our list of free things to do in Sydney!
THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY ON A RAINY DAY
Believe it or not, Sydney actually experiences on average 100 rainy days per year, with an average yearly rainfall of more than 1200 mm. Compared to other Australian cities, those statistics aren’t too bad, but for some of us they may still come as a surprise.
So what do the outdoor-loving locals do on those rainy days in Sydney when we can’t go outside without getting soaked?
>> Check out our list of things to do in Sydney when it rains!
WHERE TO STAY IN SYDNEY
Choosing where to stay in Sydney for your upcoming holiday can be challenging task. Your hotel and also the area you’re staying in can make or break a holiday.
This is particularly true for Sydney since the layout of the city is rather complicated.
We’ve made the process of deciding where to stay in Sydney a bit easier by identifying the five best places and areas in and close to the city.
In addition, we have also picked some of the best hotels in these areas. Hotels in different price categories, catering for all types of travellers.
>> Check out our guide to where to stay in Sydney!