When I told people I was headed to Sydney earlier this year, nearly everyone asked me where else in Australia I was going. I was confused by the reaction; after all, wasn’t Sydney a huge international city that you could explore for weeks and never get bored?! After sticking to my intentions and spending a full week in the capital of New South Wales, I can confidently say that 7 days in Sydney is the perfect amount of time to get a great taste of the city—and that you won’t even come close to running out of things to do. Read on for my 7 days itinerary: Sydney Australia!
7 DAYS ITINERARY: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
TAKE IT EASY
Welcome to Sydney! If you’re arriving from outside Australia, chances are it’s been a long voyage. Use your first morning to wind down after your travels—preferably at a pool to enjoy the sunny weather. I highly recommend the Park Hyatt Sydney‘s rooftop pool if you can snag a room there!
If you’re staying at a hotel in Sydney as opposed to an Airbnb, it’s not unlikely that you’re in striking distance of The Rocks, a neighborhood by Sydney Harbour with killer views of the harbor and opera house. On the weekends, this area is home to food and craft markets, but even if it’s not a weekend, there’s plenty to explore. Wander a bit away from the water and you’ll find historic historic architecture, cobblestone streets and classic pubs. Of course, if you want to stay close to the water and enjoy the scenery, there’s an abundance of places to grab food or drinks around there, too!
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is more than just a landmark in the city. It’s also a climbable attraction for those who have the guts to try BridgeClimb Sydney! I’m going to tell you right now that I did not even consider climbing the bridge for a single second. However, I’ve heard from plenty of people that it’s not nearly as scary as it looks. If you choose not to climb the bridge, take a walk around the promenade to admire it from afar.
DINNER AND DRINKS
If you haven’t already found a place to dine along the waterfront, grab a quick Uber over to Chin Chin, an ultra-hip restaurant on the edge of Surry Hills that describes its cuisine as a “quintessentially Australian take on Asian food.” After dinner, hop over to poly across the street for some great wine and cocktail options.
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
There’s still so much to explore down by the harbor, including the world-famous Sydney Opera House. While views of the building from afar are spectacular, it’s a whole different experience getting up close and taking in the details, like its chevron-shaped tiles. You can also take a tour of the opera house’s interior, which I recommend. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance, as they do sell out! The Opera Bar has amazing views if you need food or a drink while in the vicinity.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS
From the opera house, you can walk over to the Royal Botanic Gardens and enjoy magnificent waterfront views the entire way. Stroll all the way to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for a photo op and then wander away from the water to see more of the stunning flowers and plant life.
If you’re up for it, head back toward Circular Quay, the city’s main ferry terminal, and hop a ferry (it’s super easy!) to Watsons Bay. Take a cliff walk, see the Hornby Lighthouse or stay close to the ferry landing at the Beach Club at Watsons Bay Hotel. It’s a fun, relaxed place to grab dinner or a drink as the sun goes down. Their Valrhona chocolate cake is epic. If a trip to Watsons Bay sounds like a lot, try checking out a museum—the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales both make great choices—and grabbing dinner closer to home.
Hit the beach! While Bondi Beach itself is gorgeous, you’d be remiss not to check out some of the area’s cafe options before you hit the water. Try breakfast at Israeli eatery Shuk (I dare you not to come back a second time on your trip) or go for more classic Australian options at Porch & Parlour or Bondi Hardware. Afterward, you’ll want to browse the boutiques in this area if shopping is your thing!
Make your way to the water and take in the iconic Bondi Icebergs, a pool that juts into the ocean in the most picture-perfect of ways. You can go for a swim there for $8 AUD, but keep in mind that if you’re going to do the Bondi to Coogee beach walk, you’ll also pass Bronte Baths, a similar concept without the fee. After you admire the Icebergs, indulge your inner beach bum and spend some time on the sand. No matter how many photos you’ve seen on Instagram, this beach’s beautiful blues will blow you away!
BONDI TO COOGEE BEACH WALK
As the sun starts to sink lower in the sky and quits beating overhead, embark on the Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk and enjoy some unbeatable cliffside scenery. The walk usually takes between one and two hours, but you can do it as fast or as slowly as you want, taking time to pause for photos or stop at the Bronte Baths. At the end of the walk, the Coogee Pavilion is a great place to chill for a bit and have a drink.
Today is for exploring more of Sydney’s neighborhoods, starting with the artsy Surry Hills. Here you’ll find a plethora of coffee shops, cafes, boutiques, decor shops and so much more. You’ll find leafy streets and beautiful historic houses. Stroll down Crown Street to browse the businesses and then take a detour to immerse yourself in the area’s charm. And definitely eat as much as you can while you’re in the area, which is a top culinary neighborhood in the city! Single O and Reuben Hills are great options for coffee and/or brunch.
From Surry Hills, you won’t have to walk far to reach Paddington. It’s considered one of the city’s best areas for shopping. Whether or not you want to do any damage, visit William Street to see its rainbow-colored buildings and boutiques. You also can’t miss the Paddington Reservoir, which now serves as a public park (and—let’s be real—perfect Instagram fodder, with its brick arches and columns ). If it’s a Saturday, you can check out the Paddington Markets, too.
For dinner, make a reservation at 10WilliamSt, a cozy wine bar and restaurant with some of the best food I had in Australia.
You can’t come to Australia without seeing its unique wildlife, so a trip to Taronga Zoo is in order. Don’t think you like zoos? Trust me: This one’s not just for kids, and the trip there is worth it for the city skyline views alone. The bird show is highly impressive, and the koala encounter is a must (despite its additional cost). Seeing a koala in person was one of the highlights of my trip!
Continue by ferry to Manly Beach, another gorgeous place for—you guessed it—beachgoing. Even if you don’t plan to sun or swim, there’s plenty to hit in the area in the way of shops and restaurants. And for nature and exercise, the Spit to Manly coastal walk boasts some excellent scenery.
Day trip time! Sydney isn’t far from Blue Mountains National Park, home of the Three Sisters in Katoomba, an iconic rock formation. You’ll find plenty of hiking opportunities if that’s your thing. And if it isn’t, you can do some easy walks or simply admire the view. Plenty of tour operators will take you out here for the day, some making other stops along the way. If you’d rather DIY it, rent a car and drive the roughly 62 kilometers to the park entrance.
Disclaimer: I didn’t have time to leave the city during my trip because I was working while traveling, so I haven’t seen the park in person. It’s high on my list for my next visit, though!
If you’re reading about Sydney online, you’ll likely come across recommendations for The Grounds of Alexandria. Even after having visited, I’m not sure how exactly to describe it; it’s a combination of gardens, places to eat and drink, and outdoor decorations. It’s nice to stroll for about an hour. Although, I wouldn’t say it’s a must-do if you don’t feel like making the trek.
Mecca Alexandria, on the other hand, I would definitely trek for. Brunch here was incredible!
Sydney’s Central Business District is the city’s financial hub, sure, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see in the area. Check out the Queen Victoria Building or Hyde Park, and then make your way toward Darling Harbour to the Chinese Garden of Friendship or the SEALIFE Sydney Aquarium.
BONDI/WATSONS BAY/CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
With extra time, head to Watsons Bay if you haven’t yet. And maybe, revisit Bondi if there are more cafes you want to try. Or, maybe you just want to go to Shuk one more time. I won’t judge. Whatever you do, make sure to cap off a successful trip with gelato at one of Gelato Messina‘s many Sydney locations.
Hope you enjoyed this 7 days itinerary for Sydney, Australia! Have you been to Sydney? How long did you stay? Let me know in the comments! >>
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