Sydney, Australia is an iconic city, and for good reason. Whether you’re looking for a beach getaway, international culture and cuisine or amazing scenery, all is within arm’s reach in Sydney. One set back while traveling down under are the high prices – expect to pay $20 for a burger and a beer. While eating and drinking can cost you an arm and leg, a lot of the charm that Sydney has to offer is free. With the exception of #1, all of the suggestions below are FREE to do!
Here’s our list of the 7 must-do activities in Sydney.
1. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
The bridge climb is a great way for even the risk-adverse traveller to get a thrill. If you can walk up a flight of stairs, you will have no problem making it to the top of this iconic landmark.
The views atop the Harbour Bridge are incredible. This can be a great start to your visit to Sydney as you can get a bird’s eye view of the city. The climb can be a bit costly, but is definitely a one-time experience you will not forget. Slap on the mandatory camouflage gray jumpsuit and get climbing.
2. Sydney Opera House
We’ve all seen pictures of the iconic Sydney Opera House so we were sure we knew what to expect. But wow! It really is architecturally impressive and there is a powerful feeling that overtakes you when you see it. When you arrive, hang out on the boardwalk and watch tourists scramble to get the perfect picture as you soak up that Aussie atmosphere.
3. Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk
This is a 6 km walk atop the cliffs where you can watch the waves crash into the coast. The walk will take roughly 3 hours and passes through 5 beaches, an impressive cemetery and a coastal bocce club. The views are outstanding and not to be missed.
We recommend starting at Coogee and working your way north to Bondi. This way you can end your hike watching the surfers and playing in the sand. There’s also a great bar on the beach called The Bucket List. It’s a great place to reward yourself with a cold one after the coastal walk.
4. Exploring Sydney’s Various Neighborhoods
Sydney is made up of a diverse collection of neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a distinct personality and a little research beforehand can help you decide where to look for a place to stay.
Darling Harbour is a great place to grab an ice cream and take a stroll along the waterfront promenade. There is a Maritime Museum located here as well as other tourist attractions. Take a ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour where you’ll pass under the Harbour Bridge and get great views of the Opera House from the water.
Potts Point & Kings Cross
This is the city’s red-light district. Grab a kebab and take in the great people watching. There are plenty of bars and tacky nightclubs, but there are also some trendy cafes sprinkled throughout the area. It is worth a walk-through during the day if the evening crowd intimidates you.
Further from the CBD is a vibrant and eclectic area called Newtown. Take a walk down King Street and check out the various shops selling anything from guitars to buttons.
Newtown is also a great place to grab a bite to eat. There are numerous pubs and restaurants of various cultures at affordable prices. If you like Thai food, do not miss a meal at Thai Pothong.
5. Wander Through the Markets in The Rocks District
Wandering around The Rocks District is an easy way to spend an afternoon. This area lies between the Harbour Bridge and the harbour. On Saturdays and Sundays, there is a market full of hundreds of charming vendors selling impressive homemade crafts. You can pick up a truly unique souvenir. There are also a number of restaurants in this area so head over for lunch with stunning views from a rooftop.
6. Stroll Through the Royal Botanical Gardens
Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens are absolutely gorgeous and free to wander! With nearly 75 acres of green space, you can spend an entire afternoon wandering. Pack a picnic lunch or enjoy a morning jog through these breathtaking gardens. This is truly a great place to escape the bustling city for some peace and relaxation.
7. Visit the Three Sisters at the Blue Mountains
Do yourself a favor and allocate a day of your trip to the Blue Mountains. There are many organized tours that go from Sydney, but you can also rent a car and make the drive yourself. (Yes, they drive on the other side of the road down under, but it’s not as hard as it looks.)
Stick around for sunset, if you can. The Three Sisters are truly breathtaking at this time of day. If you are feeling active you can take a hike to the forest floor, which is a steep 800 steps to the bottom.
What are your favorite activities in and around Sydney? Let us know in the comments below!