Most of us travelling Australia will plan on spending at least a few days in Sydney. After all, it is the unofficial capital of Australia and for many of us, tends to be the first point of arrival. Sydney's inner city is oozing with cool suburbs, historical buildings and attractions that will spark your inner wanderlust. Sydney's beaches including Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach and Manly Beach are absolute paradise and upon arriving, it really is hard to believe that a city has so many amazing beaches so close to the towering city centre. Make the most of your Sydney visit and check out our Top 10 favourite things to do in Sydney.
1. Take a scenic ferry ride
Sydney's public transport system consists of a ferry service that offers affordable day tickets. There are ferry terminals at most major tourist points in the city and of course, Manly Beach. From Darling Harbour take a ferry to Circular Quay. The ferry will guide you past the big smiley face of Luna Park and under the Sydney Harbour Bridge towards the Opera House at Circular Quay.
TOP TIP: from Circular Quay you can then take the short ferry ride over to Manly Beach!
2. Venture down to Circular Quay
Circular Quay is home to the iconic Sydney Opera House and a great place to get some photos of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Located within Sydney's CBD, Circular Quay tends to be the first port of call for many travellers arriving into Sydney. Around the harbour you will spot loads of buskers and street performers, great cafes and restaurants, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the World Heritage Listed Customs House building. It is also the major transport hub of Sydney and a great place to catch a ferry to Manly Beach.
TOP TIP: as the sun sets over the Harbour Bridge grab a drink and enjoy the free music at the Opera Bar.
3. Get some photos from Sydney Tower Eye
For 360 degree views of Sydney and its surrounds, a trip to Sydney's Tower Eye is a must! Tickets are really cheap (around $19) and they also offer a Skywalk experience for those seeking a little adrenaline rush for a bit extra. We suggest heading up there just before sunset to see Sydney at both day and night.
TOP TIP: Look into purchasing a Sydney Big Ticket for savings on up to 4 of Sydneys most popular attractions.
4. Explore Manly Beach's hidden beaches
Upon arriving into Manly Beach you will fall in love with the chilled out surfy vibe. It's hard to believe that within just a short ferry ride you are transported from the bustling city streets to the beach side town of Manly. If you are arriving on the weekend, be sure to check out the markets in the centre of town. When you arrive, walk down the main street to the eastern side of Manly. Here you will find the Main Beach. Follow the walking track south and you will stumble upon Shelly Beach - a local's secret!
TOP TIP: Pop into Dive Centre Manly (10 Belgrave St) and hire some snorkels for $25. Shelly Beach is actually a pretty epic snorkel spot!
5. Do the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
This is actually one of our favourite walking trails in Australia (and trust us - there are many to choose from)! From Sydney's CBD you can either catch a train to Bondi Junction and then take a connection bus to Bondi Beach, or take the 380 or 333 bus direct to the beach. Obviously you will want some time to check out the shops and cafes on the strip and obviously schedule in a sneaky beach swim. Afterwards, walk to the southern end of Bondi Beach (near the sea baths) and follow the coastal walking trail south. Don't worry - you can't get lost! The trail will guide you along the coast to Coogee Beach. On the way, stop for a swim at Tamarama Beach. After taking a dip on Coogee Beach, you can take the 373 bus back to the city.
TOP TIP: Grab a beer at the beach front bar in Bondi Beach "The Bucket List" and in Coogee - the Coogee Bay Hotel
6. Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains
The best thing about Australia is that every city has an abundance of natural beauty just a short drive away. The Blue Mountains are a World Heritage Listed National Park and are well worth a visit. There are loads of walking trails, breath taking lookouts, lots of wildlife, the world's steepest scenic railway and of course, the Three Sisters.
TOP TIP: If you do have time, you can turn your day tour into an overnight trip. This way you will have some free time to check out the Jenolan Caves, take a scenic Cable Car or check out one of the walking trails.
7. Meet the locals
There are loads of different ways to get up close and personal with Australia's native animals. In Darling Harbour (just a 5 minute walk from Base) you will find both the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo. Tickets to Wild Life Sydney Zoo are only around $42 and the zoo is home to Kangaroos, Koalas, Tassie Devils, Crocodiles and many more animals. Tickets to Sydney Sea Life Aquarium are also only around $42 and the no visit to Australia is complete without at least once visit to an Aquarium. Here you will find all sorts of marine creatures including Sharks, Dugongs, Nemos and many more! Taronga Zoo has got be one of the most picturesque zoos in the world. Entry is around $45 and is located on the other side of the harbour overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
TOP TIP: Purchase a "Big Ticket" and you can save loads of cash by combining, 2, 3 or 4 attractions. (Sealife Sydney Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds and Sydney Tower Eye).
8. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
If your budget allows, this is a must! After all, you only live once! The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is not for the faint hearted but the views from the top are absolutely worth while!
TOP TIP: Take the Twilight Tour so that you get to see Sydney in both daylight and sunset
9. Head on down to The Rocks
Adjacent to Circular Quay you will find the historical precinct, The Rocks. Not only is this a great spot to get a photo of Sydney's Harbour Bridge, but the area is buzzing with cafes, shops and cool bars. If visiting on the weekend make sure you check out the markets every Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.
TOP TIP: Take a short walk to Millers Point for great views of Sydney and the Observatory
10. Check out the FREE Fireworks at Darling Harbour
Just a short walk from Base you will find Darling Harbour. This is a popular tourist area and is home to a Mall, many street performers and festivals, bars, waterfront views, cafes and the IMAX theater. Ask the staff at your hostel about what Sydney events are on as many involve Darling Harbour in some way.
TOP TIP: Take a walk to Wild Life Sydney Zoo and say hello to the real Koala in his outside conservatory