Sydney is a great city to explore if you’ve only got a few days, as it’s so easy to get around. Once you’ve seen the main sights, you can head off on a mountain adventure or spend the day at the beach. After all, that’s what the Aussies would do.
Here’s a sample 3-day Sydney itinerary to help you plan your trip…
Your first port of call in Sydney should be Circular Quay where you’ll see two of Australia’s most famous sights – the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Take as many photos as your smartphone can handle and then enjoy a scenic breakfast at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the area.
If you fancy a thrilling start to your Sydney adventure (and you’re not afraid of heights) take on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb and brave the fully-harnessed walk up the 1,332 steps to the top.
City Tour – Red Route
Fancy seeing Sydney harbour from a different perspective? Treat yourself to a boat cruise and enjoy the harbour views from the water. Captain Cook Cruises are a popular option for getting a good introduction to the whole area. The two-hour trip includes live commentary and complementary refreshments, so you can relax, enjoy the ride, and learn all about the famous sights. The trips run at 10am and 2.15pm every day, giving you the option of a morning sea venture or mid-afternoon trip to break up the day.
Sydney’s historic precinct, The Rocks, gets lively in the evening, and there are loads of restaurants and bars to dine at. There’s Saké Restaurant & Bar for lovers of Japanese cuisine, The Cut Bar & Grill for succulent steaks, and Blue Dining which offers fine dining on a budget, with dishes prepared by trainee chefs.
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You’ve spent your first day landmark spotting, and now it’s time to get to know the history and culture of the city. Don’t miss the Australian Museum where you’ll learn all about the country’s aboriginal history and see some original artefacts like boomerangs and didgeridoos. Ocean-lovers will rate the Australian National Maritime Museum, which is full of sea-themed and naval exhibits. And, families will have fun at the Powerhouse Museum which lines up technology-themed interactive exhibits to play around with.
If museums aren’t your thing or you’d prefer to spend more time soaking up the sun, head to the Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s the oldest botanic garden in the country and free to enter. There’s an Oriental Garden, a Rainforest Walk, a huge wildlife-filled pond, and Victorian architecture to enjoy.
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Once you’ve had your culture fix, it’s time to have some fun and get a sky high view of the city. Make a beeline for the Sydney Tower, which is the tallest building in the city, and the best place to get 360-degree view of the surrounding area. You’ll see all the famous city landmarks from up above and get some amazing ocean views. There are even binoculars dotted around the observation deck so you can see out even further.
Head to the Darling Harbour once the sun goes down, and take your pick from a range of waterside bars and eateries. Hurricanes Bar And Grill is a great crowd pleaser, with delicious fare for the fussiest of eaters, and The Bristol Arms rooftop bar is the perfect place for a scenic nightcap.
If you’re travelling with kids, they’ll love the Darling Harbour Children’s Playground which is lit up in neon colours in the evening. Every Saturday at 8.30pm you can also enjoy a year-round free fireworks show over the harbour. The perfect way to end a packed day of sightseeing.
Are you a beach lover or do you prefer to spend your time in the mountains? Life in Australia is all about being outdoorsy, so use your third day in Sydney to explore the coast or go hiking in the mountains.
Hit Bondi Beach
Bondi is one of Australia’s best beaches, and you’ll want to dedicate as much time as you can to this powder-soft stretch of sand. Spend a relaxed day topping up your tan, or do a coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte to get amazing views of the ocean. You’ll even spot dolphins and whales along the way if you’re lucky.
There are plenty of beachside cafes and restaurants in Bondi where you can enjoy lunch with a sea view, and little boutiques where you can pick up handmade gifts and souvenirs. If you’re feeling active, you can even hit the waves and try your hand at surfing.
Bondi Tour – Blue Route
Explore the Blue Mountains
The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains are just a 50-minute drive from Sydney. If you’ve only got a short amount of time to see this natural wonder, take a hop-on hop-off bus tour so you can make the most of your trip and experience as much of this vast space as possible. There are ancient Aboriginal rock carvings to discover, sparkling waterfalls and deep valleys to explore, and local wildlife to spot. Your live guide will share facts and stories about the area and offer tips on how to make the most of your trip.
3 days might not seem like enough time to explore Sydney, but plan your trip well and you can cram in the city’s best bits. Tick off the iconic landmarks in the city centre, get your culture fix at the museums, and then unwind on the beach or in the fresh mountain air. Bliss. The easiest way to get around and tick off all the sights is with a Big Bus tour, click here and let the adventure begin.