Travelers often mistake Sydney as just a stopover city, thinking they only need a couple of days to see it all, but there’s much more to Sydney than just Bondi Beach and the iconic Opera House. A weekend in Sydney certainly won’t be enough to do this city justice, but if you need help narrowing down your itinerary, this list of things to see and do in Sydney should point you in the right direction.
Sydney frequently ranks in the top ten most liveable cities in the world. It’s a cosmopolitan hub of activity that boasts gorgeous beaches, fantastic weather and some of the best restaurants on earth. Sydney has over 5.3 million residents (who are known as Sydneysiders), making it Australia’s largest city. It’s also the most touristed destination in the country, attracting more than 4 million visitors per year—and for good reason!
Travellers often mistake Sydney as just a stopover city, thinking they only need a couple of days to see it all, but there’s much more to Sydney than just Bondi Beach and the iconic Opera House. A weekend in Sydney certainly won’t be enough to do this city justice, but if you need help narrowing down your itinerary, this list of things to see and do in Sydney should point you in the right direction.
Take in a Show at the Opera House
The Opera House is probably be the first thing to come to mind when you think about Sydney, or even Australia. The world-heritage listed building is stunning in person, and it is illuminated beautifully at night.
There’s always plenty of events and shows going on in the Opera House (approximately 40 per week!), or you can opt for a tour that will take you behind the scenes and grant you access to areas of this architectural wonder that are usually off-limits to the public, including the dressing rooms of the Concert Hall, Opera and Drama Theatres, Playhouse and the Studio. There’s even a virtual reality experience that lets you see what it’s like to be on stage with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra!
Those who are looking for a bit of excitement can opt to take the Opera House’s House After Dark tour, which puts a somewhat spooky spin on the iconic landmark.
For an elegant meal before your show or tour, book a table at Bennelong, which serves modern Australian cuisine in a cathedral-like setting.
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
While we’re covering iconic locations in Sydney, now seems as good a time as any to mention the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the grand centerpiece of Sydney Harbour and one of Australia’s most photographed landmarks. This historic structure was built in 1932 and is the world’s largest steel arch bridge. It’s another of the most well-known symbols of Sydney, and is one of the world’s few climbable bridges.
The view during the climb is exceptional, and it’s a truly different way of experiencing the world-famous ‘Coathanger’.
BridgeClimb offers a variety of different climbs and ticket options.
Drink in the Scenery at the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1816, making them the oldest botanic gardens in Australia. Various guided and self-guided tours are available, and the Choo Choo express offers a quick, scenic way to get around the gardens.
You’ll learn many interesting facts about Australian botanical history, as well as being able to enjoy plenty of gorgeous plant-life! The Royal Botanic Gardens are only a few minutes’ walk from the Sydney CBD and the Opera House, and are one of Sydney’s most touristed attractions with over 5 million visitors per year
Bathe in the Beauty of Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is one of Australia’s most famous beaches and is on the Australian Heritage List. It’s well worth going for the day and doing the famous Bondi to Coogee Walk.
Along the way, you’ll hit the Bronte Baths, one of the most photographed seaside rock pools in the state. Set on a rocky cliff at the edge of Bronte Beach, this large saltwater pool is a stunning spot to go for a dip and take in spectacular sunrise and sunset views.
Enjoy the View From the Top of the Sydney Tower
The Sydney Tower Eye is the highest point in Sydney, from which you can see 360-degree panoramic views.
It’s lovely both during the day and in the evening; it’s particularly worth coming shortly before sunset so that you can enjoy the daytime and the night-time views, but there’s never really a time when it’s not a wonderful sight.
The Tower is open every day of the year, and you can also sign up for a SKYWALK tour of the outer perimeter.
Shop ‘Till You Drop
Sydney has a great range of places to shop, but two Victorian-era shopping centres add a dash of regal beauty to the experience. Find a mix of luxury and affordable fashion brands at Queen Victoria Building, which has been revived to its 1890s splendour with intricate stain-glass windows and its original staircase. Go for an elegant break from shopping with high tea in the QVB Tea Room.
The Strand Arcade is a historic glass-domed landmark just a few blocks away, where Australian designer brands like Aje and Dion Lee are among its mix of high-end boutique stores, cafes and restaurants.
Visit the Iconic Paddy’s Markets
These markets have been a Sydney institution for over 150 years. Paddy’s is the biggest market in Sydney, with over 1,000 stalls between the Haymarket and Flemington locations.
Here you’ll find reasonably priced souvenirs and miscellaneous items, as well as a great atmosphere, tasty food and fresh produce.
For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.