“TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE” – HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
Looking at travelling to Sydney and not sure where to start? What to see? Where to eat? Don’t stress! I’ve included the best spots that show off this spectacular city I call home.
Home of the two world renowned iconic structures – the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It will take you all of 10 minutes to see them and will cost you nothing!
You can climb the Harbour Bridge and tour the Opera House if you have the money to spend, but for those on a budget, Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout offers spectacular panoramic views over the bridge and harbour and only costs $15! You can also opt for a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens behind the Opera House, which will be a memorable experience without spending all the extra cash!
If you’re looking for great food, venture up to The Rocks. It’s not far from Circular Quay, but it has a character and holds great history with it’s cobblestone streets and classic style buildings. The restaurant variety is vast and prices vary from casual dining to fine dining depending on what you’re after. On weekends they have The Rocks Markets from 10AM-5PM selling locally designed gifts and one-off pieces.
Photo by Stacey Fenton, Sunsets and Suitcases
A great little harbour side hub in the city with a great range of restaurants and bars to choose from. During the week there are some good value breakfast and lunch deals and you don’t need to book. Some popular restaurants in the area include Crinitis’ Italian, Hurricane’s Grill, Pancakes on the Rocks, and my favourite – Blackbird Cafe.
If you are looking for somewhere to go on a Friday or Saturday night for some drinking and dancing, there are some great options down King Street Wharf including Cargo Bar, The Loft and Bungalow 8. The famous Star Casino is only a short walk from Darling Harbour where a further variety of restaurants, eateries, bars and clubs are available.
Activities in Darling Harbour include (but are certainly not limited to) Madame Tussaud’s, Sydney Aquarium & the Sydney Tower Eye is only a 10 minute walk. If you’re interested in doing all, or some of these when visiting, it might be worth getting a pass here.
THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
The Blue Mountains are my favourite! I’m fortunate enough to live quite close by and I usually venture up there on the weekends for trail running, hiking or camping. It’s about a 90 minute drive from Sydney and probably closer to 2 hour journey by train.
The most popular lookout is Echo Point in Katoomba. This offers stunning panoramic views over the Blue Mountains including the famous Three Sisters and Mount Solitary. Visitors can also experience the famous Scenic World, home to the steepest passenger railway in the world – The Scenic Railway
Wentworth Falls and Leura Cascades are two other very popular options as well, though whichever you decide to go with (or if you do them all), you will not be disappointed. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular! For more information, be sure to check out the National Park website.
Both Katoomba and Leura have quaint little towns with a wide variety of boutique stores, cafes and restaurants to enjoy. The Wayzgoose Café in Leura has delightful ‘homey’ meals and is known for it’s adorable Flower Pot Scones. For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to check out The Gingerbread House in Katoomba.
BONDI, COOGEE OR MANLY BEACH
Australia is known for its beautiful beaches and you have many options to choose from in Sydney.
Bondi Beach is the most popular for travelers and has some great beach side restaurants and offers the scenic coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte. Bondi Pizza, Bondi Icebergs, and The Bucket List are a some popular choices for food and drinks.
Coogee beach is an equally beautiful beach, not far from Bondi, but smaller – lots of great restaurants and bars so take your pick!
Manly Beach is another popular spot with more great restaurants and bars on offer however the journey to Manly Beach is a bit more scenic as you’ll normally have to get a ferry across from Circular Quay which is much more exciting than the train! The Pantry Manly is a beautiful spot to eat right on the beach, but you will need to book! Manly Wharf Bar is more low key, but still a gorgeous spot right on the water.
ROYAL NATIONAL PARK
Another popular hiking spot in Sydney, The Royal National Park is a beautiful coastal park just south of Sydney offering stunning bush-walks and trails along Sydney’s famous east coast.
The entire coastal trek stretches about 30KM from Bundeena to Otford. It is commonly done as a multi-day hike as you are allowed to camp there (though you will need to book and fees do apply). However, it is possible to do the entire trek in one day. It is physically challenging, so you will need to be fairly active if you plan to knock it out all at once.
If you drive into the National Park, it’s $12 per car per day, but you have the option to get a train to Otford or a ferry across to Bundeena from Sutherland, it just depends what part of the park you are hoping to explore. The area around Otford is known for the insta-famous Figure 8 Pools & Garie Beach, whereas Bundeena is closer to Wedding Cake Rock & Wattamolla.
For more information, check out the National Park website