Let’s face it, you’re going to be busy. You’ll be so spoilt for choice in Sydney that it might seem daunting knowing where to begin. So we’ve put together our top 10. If you’re wondering what to do in Sydney, just follow our guide.
1) Climb the coathanger
The locals call Sydney Harbour Bridge the coathanger, and you’re free to stroll across it for some great views of the harbour. But why not go one better and book a climb up into the structure itself? It’s all designed to protect you from accidental injury, and you don’t need to be an expert climber to be able to get up there. With the ultimate tour you’ll get to stand 134 metres (439 feet) above the water, and enjoy fantastic 360-degree views of Sydney.
2) Go for a beach walk
Everybody’s heard of Bondi Beach, but do you know about Coogee? Or Tamarama? There are plenty of beaches along this golden coast that are just as perfect and sublime as Bondi – and the Bondi to Coogee walk is the perfect way to see them all. It’s a 6-kilometre (3.7 miles) long trail, and there are a few steep gradients. But the views and beaches are stunning, making the exercise totally worth it.
3) Learn how to sail
If you’re going to test your sea legs we can’t think of a better place to do it. Sydney Harbour is bustling with boats, yachts and ferries, and you can sign up for a sailing lesson to learn the (sea) ropes with an instructor while you’re here. And if you’ve sailed before, you can charter a yacht for a full or half day and just get out there.
4) Camp out for the night
Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO world-heritage-listed site smack bang in the middle of Sydney Harbour. It’s great for a little daytime exploration, but they also supply tents that are all ready and waiting for your arrival. So if you’d like to stay overnight and wake up with one of the best views in the world on your doorstep, this one’s for you.
5) Do some whale watching
This should be top on everyone’s list. If you’re here between April and October you’re in the perfect place to see whales as they migrate from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef. You can sometimes catch them from the coastline, but the best way to see them is by getting out on the water. Take a whale-watching cruise from the harbour and keep your eyes peeled for Humpback and Southern Right whales.
6) Go up, up and away
Any visitor to Sydney can see that this is a city in a dream location, with that vast glittering harbour skirting the city coastline. Extend your vistas out of the city towards the Blue Mountains, a magnificent range to the west of Sydney's city limits. Appreciate the scenery, go for a 'bushwalk' amidst the distinctive Australian flora and fauna, or really live it up and secure a place on a hot air balloon flight - a truly magical experience that will really leave you speechless. Be prepared to get up before dawn for the chance to watch the sunrise from your balloon.
7) See Australia’s unique wildlife
Sydney Zoo really focuses on what Australia is good at – after all, if you’ve got species like koalas, kangaroos and duck-billed platypus, why import any others? This is just about as Australian as you can get, with great views of the Sydney Opera House in the distance. Sydney Sea Life Aquarium is also well worth a visit. Make sure to catch the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, and look out for the sharks while you’re here – they’re some of the biggest in any aquarium in the world.
8) Hit the surf
If you’re going to learn how to surf, the waves don’t get much better than at Bondi Beach. If you’re a complete beginner, you can book a 2-hour lesson as part of a group. Alternatively you might want to sign up for individual tuition with your own instructor. If you’re here with family or friends why not hire a personal instructor so all of you can make a splash together?
9) Come to the market
Glebe Market is a browser’s dream, with plenty of bric-a-brac, second-hand clothes, records, books, artisan goods and jewellery, all available at knock-down prices. Held every Saturday from 10:00am till 4:00pm, the market is a great place just to come and chill. Relax on the lawn and listen to the live music. There are plenty of food and drink stalls for refreshments too.
10) Have a barbecue
With its European heritage and Asian influences, Sydney offers a vast range of eating experiences and tastes for the hungry traveller. But there’s no getting away from the fact that with a climate like this, you can’t beat dining al fresco. Do as the Sydneysiders do, and pitch your barbie in Centennial Park. This is where the locals come to work out and just relax at the weekend, and it's a fantastically authentic place to enjoy Australia's famous culinary tradition.