Sydney, Australia’s largest city, was my home for almost two years. It’s a place of which I keep very fond memories and I do recommend everyone visit the city at least once in a lifetime. On this post, Samantha Lorenz, who blogs at Have Seat Will Travel, shows us her tips on top things to do in Sydney, Australia.
When our plane landed in the majestic Land of Oz, I knew I had arrived in a very extraordinary city. Australia had been my fantasy destination from a very young age and seeing the Harbour for the first time was a dream come true. There’s so much to see and do in Sydney so check out my top 10 you won’t want to miss!
1- OPERA HOUSE
Sydney’s Opera House needs no introduction, it’s iconic! It’s the first thing people think of when they think of Sydney, so of course, it has to be number one. They run multiple tours throughout the day but snag your tickets ahead of time if you can as they are in high demand. You can also explore all around the outside for free.
2- CLIMB THE HARBOUR BRIDGE
This was one of my “must do” favorite activities! With tickets starting at $158AU, it is definitely a splurge. But, it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences you can’t get anywhere else! If you’re not afraid of heights (and a heck of a lot of steps) then throw on a harness and climb that bridge!
3- THE ROCKS
Not far from the Harbour Bridge lies this hip neighborhood called The Rocks. Stumble into a local pub (like The Heritage Hotel) and order up a craft brew and a kangaroo pizza! When your belly is full you’ll find lots of souvenir shops and local galleries. If you enjoy gorgeous architecture you might just spend all your time wandering the streets and looking up. That’s okay too!
4- MANLY BEACH
As the boat pulls into Manly Wharf feast your eyes on… a very small and disappointing beach. Don’t worry! The beach next to the wharf isn’t Manly Beach. Follow the crowds of people carrying beach towels past souvenir shops and ice cream parlors. After a few minutes, you’ll find yourself on a great big gorgeous beach! Catch some waves or rays, this is a great place to spend a beach day!
5- TARONGA ZOO
Sydney’s city zoo is so close to the water, it’s reachable by ferry boat! Taronga zoo features all of the classic Australian critters you’d expect to see along with a multitude of other exotic animals. The zoo also gives visitors an amazing view of Sydney Harbour, the bridge and the opera house! Please note that you cannot hold a koala bear here- it’s not legal in the state of New South Wales.
6- RIDE THE FERRY
The easiest way to get from the Opera House to Manly Beach and Taronga Zoo is by boat. If you have an Opal card for the subway system, you can use it for the ferry too! There are a variety of boats you can take to Manly beach but the ferry is the most economical. Any boat you choose will give you great views of Sydney along the way!
7- ENJOY THE SUN IN BONDI BEACH
Reachable by bus, this famous beach is known for attracting surfers from all over the world. Bondi Beach is the epicenter of local events from holding skateboarding and surfing competitions to hosting markets and cinema nights. With tons of shops, cafes and an active bar scene, it somehow still manages to boast a laid back vibe.
8- COOGEE WALK
This coastal walk along the cliff tops offer gorgeous views! You’ll find beaches and rock pools with tons of great beachfront cafes sprinkled in. At just over 6km long, this walk will take you about 2 hours to complete. Leave yourself plenty of time to take in the views and enjoy the shops along the way!
9- EXPLORE THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN
Adjacent to the Opera House you’ll find the gorgeous grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden. It is completely free to explore! Take a picnic lunch or go for a jog along the waterfront trails. The garden is also home to the Government House. It is home to the governor where business is conducted during the week and free tours are held on the weekend.
10- HAVE FUN AT LUNA PARK
Across the bridge and on the other side of Sydney Harbour lies a whimsical amusement park called Luna Park. The entrance to the park is through the mouth of a giant smiling face. Much like Coney Island in America, this park is small and features carnival style rides and games. But you can’t beat the waterfront ambience.
Whether you’re looking to relax or you’re searching for adventure, Sydney has something to offer everyone. Have you been to Sydney? What would you add as absolute must see places?
Samantha is a part time traveller and a full-time program director for a non-profit. She’s married to a pilot and together they adventure to at least two new foreign countries every year. After whirlwind adventures, she always loves returning home to her corgi in Seattle, Washington. Follow her adventures on her blog Have Seat Will Travel.
*All photos by Samantha Lorenz.