Top 10 ‘Must-Go’ Places to See in Sydney

Sydney doesn’t need any introduction; it is world famous for the majestic Opera House sitting at the waterfront and almost a century old Harbour Bridge which serves as one of the most important means of commutation in the city even today (it has got tracks for all of them; vehicles, rail, cycles, and pedestrian). The city has got lots and lots of attractions inside as well as there are some located on the outskirts too. The internet is loaded with all the details about them. The whole point of my post is to impart first-hand information about the places that one should visit or not visit based on our experience and preferences.

I was very keen to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge which I visited thrice :p. After revisiting our itinerary for Sydney we were not left with much choices you see (you’ll come to know why we revisited it after going through the ‘Others’ section). Let me share the places which I think one should keep in their itinerary if they already have been to similar places as stated in the ‘Others’ para:

Opera House

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This is THE icon Australia is famous for. I was so excited to see it, it really is grand and magisterial. Without any doubt a must see place.
Opening Times: Always (if you just want to visit and see from outside)
How to get here: Walk, Public Transport (Train/ Ferry)
Ticket costs: Free (If you want to take a tour inside, check out this link for more details)

Harbour Bridge

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One of the major landmarks that sit right in front of the amazing Opera House. You can have a look at it while standing right beside the Opera House but if you want to explore the whole bridge and climb it then you may need to pre-book a session. For more insights about the bridge climb experience, click here.
Interesting Fact about the bridge: It is the world’s largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 meters above the harbour… Woah! 😀
Opening Times: Always (unless you want to climb)
How to get here: Walk, Public Transport (Train/ Ferry)
Ticket costs: Free

The Rocks

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This was a part of the main square – Harbour bridge was just around the corner.

A neighborhood located near Circular Quay enriched with historical houses, lanes and walking tracks. It is home to markets from where you can shop for many handmade items and souvenirs. You can go for Bridgeclimb from here about which I have talked in the previous para. However, If you can’t climb the bridge due to any reason you should not miss ‘Pylon Lookout‘- situated right next to Harbour Bridge. It offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the whole scenery and is pretty cheap as well.
Opening Times: Always; Pylon Lookout: 7 days a week (10am to 5pm)(last entry 4:45pm).
(Closed Christmas Day)
How to get here: Walk, Public Transport (Train / Ferry)
Ticket costs: N/A;
For Pylon Lookout: General Admission (13 years and over)$15.00
Concession (Seniors & Student)$10.00
Children (5 to 12 years, inclusive)$8.50
Children (4 years and under)FREE

Darling Harbour

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View from bridge

A groovy and recreational area with charged atmosphere, lots of restaurants and a mall exclusively for wayfarers. Something is always happening here. You can find ‘Star of the Show’ Ferris Wheel here too.
Opening Times: Always (the restaurants close by 9 mostly)
How to get here: Walk, Public Transport (Bus/ Ferry)
Ticket costs: N/A

Queen Victoria Building & CBD

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Queen Victoria Building

As you all know that I can be the ambassador of exploring the city on foot :p. It’s pretty likely that you bump into this late 19th-century building while doing so. They say that it is a great place to shop; So, you can consider shopping from here too if that is in your plans.
Opening Times: Weekdays 9am-6pm
Saturday 10am-4pm
Sunday 11am-4pm
How to get here: Walk, Public Transport(Train, Bus)
Ticket costs: N/A

BEACHES

Bondi Beach – Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

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Bondi Beach

The most hyped beach of the city with white sands and clear blue water! It definitely is a must visit place but the beach stretch itself is small as compared to many other beaches hence it can be very much crowded on a typical sunny day. You can also witness iceberg ocean pools at the far end on the right side of the beach (must see).
Also, there is a 6 km long scenic trail called ‘Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk‘ which starts precisely from the left corner of the beach and goes all the way to Coogee beach – highly recommended if you have the energy to walk that long. its super dramatic and amazing!
Opening Times: 7 days a week – 6:00 AM – 8:30 PM (I believe these are summer timings)
How to get here: Walk, Public Transport (Bus)
Ticket costs: N/A

Wollongong

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It is a coastal city about 1.5-hour drive away from Sydney. A serene place, breathtaking beach stretches with rock pools spread across the shore, a harbour ahead and numerous play areas for kids. You can also catch sights of pelicans there. Perfect place to hang out for a day! Personally, I liked this beach more than the Bondi beach.
Opening Times: 7 days a week
How to get here: Car, Bus
Ticket costs: N/A

PARKS

If you are interested in exploring the Green areas of the city then this section caters to your interest very well.

Royal Botanic Gardens

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Not me but the gardens are 200 years old

Sydney’s 200 year old garden is the place to be if you want to spend some relaxed time with the family. You can either take free guided tours between 10.30 am – 12 pm daily and Weekdays 1 pm – 2 pm or stroll down the gardens on your own. Apart from the walks, there are several other activities and events that usually take place in the gardens. For more details, visit this site.
Opening Times: 7 days a week – 9am to 5:30pm
How to get here: Walk, Public Transport(Train, Bus)
Ticket costs: N/A

Hyde Park

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Don’t know what those bullets symbolize

It is Australia’s oldest park which is conveniently situated in the CBD area. Just 3 km away from city centre. You can roam around it while going between to and fro city centre and your accommodation (if it is in CBD).
Opening Times: Always
How to get here: Walk, Public Transport(Train, Bus)
Ticket costs: N/A

ADVENTURE – Sky Diving

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If you are an adrenaline junkie then Sydney may attract you more than any other destination. The average per head charge for Skydiving is relatively cheaper as compared to Dubai. Head to one of the many stalls at Circular Quay from different tour operators for the details.

Others:

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Apart from the signature places, Sydney has multiple attractions that can be found in other countries as well; which of course are worth visiting but they won’t excite you if you already have visited their counterparts. However, you can also consider visiting the below-mentioned places.

Blue Mountains

Known for it’s beautiful scenery. Ideal for a day trip, you can find various tour operators at Circular Quay.

Luna Parks

It is a pretty decent amusement park located at Milsons Point.

Sea Life Aquarium

Located at Darling Harbour, you can find a large number of Australian aquatic life animals in there.

Madame Tussauds

The museum doesn’t need any introduction, highly recommended if you haven’t been to any other franchise of it. It is also located at Darling Harbour.

As for us, we did not visit these because:

  • We were coming from New Zealand and already had seen the Best views. So, did not go to Blue mountains. We were planning to but our half-hearted plan was completely washed away by rain :p
  • Being UAE residents, we were least interested in shopping or the sea life aquarium  nor did the amusement parks excite us (Dubai is a shopper’s paradise, also has larger aquarium and truckload of amusement parks)
  • We already had explored the Madame Tussauds in Malaysia

Accommodation

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In CBD, a typical 3 star hotel would cost around 200-250 AUD per night for a couple depending upon the type of room.


Food

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You won’t find any difficulty in searching for halal food especially in Sydney. There are lots of restaurants/ eateries which serve halal food within the CBD. Turkish Kebab Shops are your safest bet, some kebab shops are open till early hours as well. Also, most Indian restaurants/takeaways are halal and can be easily found at various locations.

You can also enjoy Nando’s and burgers from Oporto without any fear guys, they are all halal.

And if you are up for a fancy meal then you should head towards Rashay’s – I guess it is now opened at Darling Harbour. Their steaks – too delicious; their serving too generous. Highly recommended!


Weather

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The Lighthouse at Wollongong

The city enjoys mild winters, warm summers and is mostly sunny. Typically December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring. The average temperature ranges between 8 – 26 degrees all year round (that is a rough average of all 4 seasons though :p).

Check out the link to get more insights and FAQs about particular months you are planning to travel.


What to Wear

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This is such a hilarious one 😛

Wear anything you feel comfortable in. I have seen people walking barefoot there. So, it’s totally your choice.

Keep sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses handy in your travel bag especially for summer days. As for winters, you will require a warm layer to fight the light cold.


Recommended Mode Of Transportation

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I kinda liked the Sydney trains

We rented a car as we did throughout the whole trip. But if your accommodation is in CBD then hiring a car is something I would not suggest. There are parking issues, CBD is too crowded and many attractions are located too close or at walking distance from each other. We seldom used the car we rented and opted to travel through public transport almost all the time.

Grab an ‘Opal’ card and make the most of Public Transport; the bus and train system of the city is quite good. Also, the ferries fall under the same mode of transportation. So, you can ride a bus, train and a ferry using the same ‘Opal’ card.

Top Tip: Plan your CBD excursion on a weekend and you can ride on all 3 modes (bus, train, and ferry) as many times as you like for just 2.6 AUD for the whole day. Isn’t that great! 😀


Proposed 5- Day Itinerary

Day 1
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Circular Quay
  • The Rocks – Harbour Bridge
  • Darling Harbour

yes, you can cover this much just in one day if you are up for so much walk.

Day 2
  • Sydney CBD/ QVB – shopping
  • Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Hyde Park/ Anything that is left from Day 1
Day 3
  • Bondi Beach (Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk)
  • Madame Tussaud/ Luna Park
Day 4
  • Wollongong/ Blue Mountains
Day 5
  • Skydiving/ Sea Life Aquarium
  • Anything else that is left

To get more interesting information, suggestions and insights about my experiences of Sydney; please visit the following posts. I have compiled the best information I could based on my personal experience.

Day one – Darling Harbour

Day Two – Opera House, Bondi Beach, Royal Botanical Gardens

Day Three – The Rocks, Harbour Bridge

Day Four – Skydiving, Wollongong

And here is a short video containing some of the above-mentioned places we visited. (Watch in 4K or HD)

Let me know If you have any questions/ queries in the comments below.
Have fun loadsss! 😉

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