Australia is a beautiful country with a huge amount of attractions for visitors on a holiday. While the flight might seem long, it is definitely worth the travel time if you plan your time wisely. There are lots of areas and cities to choose from, but I want to focus on what many feel is the gem of this gorgeous country – Sydney.
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales and is the most populated city in Australia. Even though Sydney can be expensive, if you budget your time and money right, it can be fantastic value. Millions of tourists visit annually, so the city is obviously doing something right! If you are planning a trip to Sydney in the near future, check out the following must hit attractions, you’ll thank me later.
Sydney Opera House
A visit to Sydney would not be complete without planning a visit to one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the Sydney Opera House. If you have read a book or article, have seen a show based in Australia, and/or saw a postcard, chances are the image of this beautiful building is front and center.
The Sydney Opera House was opened in 1973 and plays host to a variety of performing arts events. The building sits on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove. And in 2007 the building became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so the preservation will continue for years to come. But don’t wait too long, get there soon and get a glimpse for yourself. There is a reason this is the #1 tourist attraction in Sydney.
Any Harbour is beautiful, but the Sydney Harbour is really a sight to behold. With the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House, this is really a picturesque scene. On a bright sunny day (and those are plentiful!) with boats on the water and a cold drink in your hand, this is a spot to come relax and simply enjoy your day. You can even get a boat rental and enjoy the area on the water, so be ready for some amazing views.
Speaking of Sydney Harbour – Hello Lodging!
If you’re visiting Sydney, you are obviously going to be needing a place to stay. And with Sydney Harbour being a top attraction, this is a prime location for finding one of the best Sydney hotels on your trip. Accommodations in Sydney can vary, but using a local hotel chain is definitely a good move, the closer to the harbour the better. Staying in the heart of Sydney Harbour will allow you to focus on food, attractions, and fun, without the hassle of traveling a distance.
Walk the Bondi to Coogee Beach Trail
Hiking and walking is something we love to do when travelling, you might remember our time in Santorini hiking from Fira to Oia. The trail is not difficult to navigate and the 6km walk takes roughly two hours to complete. The views are unreal and you will literally be walking on a coastal cliff line. You will see beaches, cliffs, parks, and even rock pools throughout the walk.
If two hours is too much in one go, there are places to rest, swim, and eat along the way. You can make it a full day adventure if you’d like, just do a little advance planning and pick out what cafe and beach you want to stop at before setting out for your day.
Another hot spot to hit when visiting Sydney, which also provides you more opportunities for lodging in Manly Beach. Lets face it, some people love sightseeing and some people just want to hit the beach on vacation. Manly Beach is definitely a spot for the latter. This beach is great for surfing, swimming, and has a ton of restaurants and bars as well. Manly beach is just 30 minutes from the CBD, so it is a wonderful spot to settle no matter what you are interested in.
Eating, this is always on our must-do list when visiting new cities. Trying the favorite cuisines and restaurants in a new city is usually what we remember most about our travels.
Doing some prep work before arriving is always at the top of my list, and Sydney has a lot to offer. This is not only fine dining, but bar food and sushi alike. Checking out local travel blogs and best-of lists is smart, just know what you are looking for and have a plan in place. Some people like to figure it out as they go, but I prefer to trust people that have already been there.
Check out Mjolner, which is a cocktail lair or the Sneaky Possum, which you might describe as a gastropub. You’ll be happy you did. 🙂
Royal Botanic Gardens
We have seen some amazing gardens in Asia and parts of Europe, but this is definitely one not to miss. Founded in 1816 the garden is located near the Sydney Opera House and The Domain Public green space in the city. It has thousands of species of plants and is a very zen area for those wanting to get in touch with nature and out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a day. Come here with a relaxed mind set and enjoy.
Bonus! There is NO entrance fee for the garden, so for those looking to visit Sydney on a budget it really is a MUST.
Check out The Rocks
Local areas are awesome places to visit on vacations and we try to never miss one that stands out. The Rocks neighborhood in Sydney is exactly that, so be sure to include it in your itinerary. We’ve seen some cool neighborhoods in Cape Town, Amsterdam, and Berlin, but The Rocks is right up there.
This was the first permanent European settlement area and where the convict history in the country began. If you aren’t aware of the convict part of Australia’s past, read up on it as it really is fascinating. The Rocks went from thriving, to a ghetto of sorts, and now it is the hip and trendy place to be. There are too many bars to count and a range of restaurant cuisines for everyone’s tastes.
Be sure to keep these must hit spots when visiting Sydney in mind when planning your next Australian vacation, and make sure Sydney is your first stop. Cheers!