Travel Guide Sydney – What to Do, Costs & Tips
Sydney is a vibrant city with a rich culture and warm people that has been attracting tourists for years. Many tourists visit Sydney due to its sandy beaches, picturesque harbours, and excellent entertainment. Whether you like backpacking, relaxing on weekends or shopping to your heart’s content, this city has something for everyone. Running along a lot of coasts has earned this city nicknames such as “The Harbour City” and “The Emerald City.”
The classics, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Tower Eye, and the city’s various museums and art galleries have earned great esteem and liking from people all over the world. No matter if you are here alone or with your family, this is a city with a lot to see and do. With modern architecture, a love of art, delectable seafood, countryside artisanal wines and cheese, blooming wildlife, gracious hospitality, and rich culture, it is hard to not want to party every day.
But to be able to enjoy this celebration of a city, you must know the right places, the right people, and the effective route, all of which, a local or maybe a tour guide can help you with. To help you plan your trip better, Check out our Sydney travel guide that summarizes everything from places to visit, food to eat, places to stay, day trips, planning your budget, and cultural advice to assist you in experiencing the best holiday.
Plan Your Sydney Trip
Get your family and friends along, tag a company and start planning your trip to the city of harbours and beautiful skylines. The first step towards planning your Sydney trip is choosing when to visit. Sydney has travel-worthy weather all year round however, every season has a different view to offer and it is better to know what to expect.
Spring– It is comfortable and slightly on the warmer end of temperature. However, this is when you can be a part of many celebrations and festivals that happen across the city and get a hang of the local spirit.
Summer– This is not the best season to visit Sydney but if you want to experience Christmas in Australia, this can be your choice. Load yourself with sunscreens, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself against the sun.
Autumn- If you wish to take walking tours and day trips in Harbour city, this is the right time. You can visit the most popular landmarks while it is neither too hot nor too cold.
Winter- Syndey winters are pleasant. You can always find activities and events to participate in during this time, including the annual light and music festival.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Sydney
There are plenty of things to see and do in Syndey that you can choose at your convenience because all of them are worth it.
- Walk around the beaches:
From the North to the South, there is a beach of every kind in the city. All of the beaches are also filled with cafes serving delicious food and are well linked with public transport. The most popular ones include Bondi Beach, Palm Beach, and Bronte Beach.
- Learn about the Opera house:
Take a guided walking tour of the Sydney Opera House which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architectural masterpiece of the twentieth century. Guides will give you great insight into the history and the design of the spectacle.
- Trek in the Blue Mountains:
The Blue Mountains are full of hiking routes, waterfalls, and sandstone gorges. It offers a beautiful hike with views and rock formations like the Three Sisters. Come here with a tour guide to not get lost in the woods.
- Take the Sydney Harbour Cruise:
You can take the Sydney Harbour Cruise that sails past the Syndey Harbour Bridge, the world’s tallest steel arch bridge that stretches 1149 meters over the water.
- Visit the Sydney Tower Eye:
Giving a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the city, the Sydney Tower Eye’s observation deck stands 250 meters tall as the tallest building in Syndey.
Other Places to Visit in Sydney
- Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley is the oldest wine region of Australia, home to the best boutiques and cellar doors. It is a countryside getaway for day trips or weekends. You can indulge in wine tasting and food made from the seasonal produce from the village.
- Museums and art galleries
A rather inexpensive activity since public museums are free in Sydney, you can visit the Australian national maritime museum and the Hyde Park Barracks. Other, very interesting museums are the art gallery at NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, situated at The Rocks.
- The Rocks
Being the oldest part of the city, this place has colonial buildings, art museums, oldest pubs, and sandstone churches. You can check out their weekend markets or watch the street entertainers perform.
- Town Hall
The Town hall is actually a Victorian building built between 1869 and 1889. This place does not offer guided tours but there are codes on the building, which, if scanned, will give you detailed information about the history and construction of the place.
- Cultural events
Sydney hosts a number of festivals, events, concerts, and cultural nights at multiple locations, and entry to most of these is free. Make the most of your time in Sydney by visiting such events.
The Best Places to Eat & Drink in Sydney
Apart from the dining experience at 360-Bar for a panoramic view of the city, and the local restaurants, here are some options you can try:
- Quay Restaurant at The Rocks gives a wonderful harbour view and their chef is an advocate for native produce.
- Saint Peter Restaurant at Paddington Market will leave you loving seafood like never before.
- The Doss house is an interesting place of historic significance which is now a pub with whiskeys.
- Hot Star at CBD is a cheap meal Taiwanese takeaway joint that serves juicy fried chicken steak.
- Marrickville Pork Roll is another cheap option for a Vietnamese lunch go-to if you walk around Circular Quay.
Sydney Travel Costs
Accommodation: Expect to pay 30-40 AUD per night for dorms or hostels in cities like Sydney. Hotel private rooms will start at 100 AUD per night but can easily go up to 180 AUD per night. Usually, breakfast is not complimentary but wifi is free.
Food:A cheap but nice meal at a local restaurant can cost you 20-25 AUD. McDonald’s is also costlier with 14-18 AUD per value meal. Meals at expensive restaurants can charge you up to 60 AUD or more. With regards to drinks, a latte can be for about 5 AUD, while alcoholic beverages could be around 7-9 AUD per drink.
Transportation:If you try hard enough, you can find affordable transportation and travel deals in Sydney. If you run on local transportation, it will cost around 14-18 AUD per day per person. Adult bus fares start at 2.25 AUD. you can also rent cars that start from 60 AUD per day.
Tours: On most days, excursion costs including ticketing, guides, and tours, can be between 50 and 300 AUD. You might have to take the ferry at several locations and the tickets can start from 6.45 AUD.
Sydney Gear and Packing Guide
Here is a guide to what and how much to pack when backpacking for Sydney:
Clothes: Carry your travel basics. 5 t-shirts and tops, 2 pairs of shorts or other lower, 1 pair of jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a swimsuit/bathing suit, 6 pairs of socks, 2 footwear(preferably one pair of flip-flops and a pair of shoes)
Toiletries: Your dental kit, shower kit, deodorant, talc powder, moisturizing cream, hair products, feminine hygiene products, make-up
Medical Kit: Band-aids, antiseptic creams, and lotions, antibacterial cream, pain killers, paracetamol, maybe even mosquito repellant creams for the days of wildlife explorations, earplugs, and hand sanitisers.
Miscellaneous: Key and lock for keeping your things safe, zip lock bags to seal any products that can leak, plastic bags for your laundry, chargers, adaptors for your devices, water bottles, and other essentials.
How to spend a weekend in Sydney
Sydney is very happening on the weekends, most beaches are crowded, and people are having fun. If you plan to spend your long weekend in Sydney, here are things you can do and enjoy:
Go surfing: While you can find surfers and surf shops on most Australian beaches, go surfing at Freshwater Beach which is said to have been the birthplace of Australian surfing. You can get private sessions by experts to teach you how to ride the waves.
Snorkelling with the sealife: If you travel a little ahead, you should be able to find the best snorkelling spots around Shelly Beach. Swim with beautiful corals in this marine reserve and capture the underwater world.
Lunch at the beachside: While you are around, these beaches are filled with cafes and restaurants that serve delicious fresh seafood, tacos, and drinks. Try woodfired Morten Bay bugs, market freshwater fish and crustaceans, and tea-smoked rainbow trout.
Walk past the Harbour Bridge: Take a walk past the Harbour Bridge which also covers the Opera House. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, travel down to Circular Quay and dine at Opera Bar for a lavish feast with a stunning waterfront background.
Stroll the streets of The Rocks: Take an easy and long walk through the cobblestone streets of The Rocks with a fascinating history. Visit the popular bars like Henry Deane that offer an undoubled view of the city. If you find time, visit the Doss House, a hospital-turned bar with historic significance.
Go for a hike to the Blue Mountains: Offering not just trails, views, and waterfalls, this World Heritage Site of eucalyptus vegetation has thrilling activities for its visitors. You can take a ropeway across the ridge at Scenic world or board the world’s steepest railway.
Take a tour to the Hunter Valley: The place of wineries and vineyards, the Hunter Valley is a good destination for a weekend trip especially if you want to be in the quieter areas and explore the mouthwatering food and vibrant festivals.
Sydney Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Australia is generally a costly place to live in. while you are touring around the city of Sydney, try to stay on budget with the following tips:
- Stay with a local or hostel
You will be spending money on a lot many things and accommodation can be pricey. Try to find a local host who will be happy to host you for free or stay in a hostel that charges you cheaper prices.
- Purchase the Opal Card
This is a free metro card that you can recharge. It provides cheaper tickets as well as fare limits, allowing you to save money when travelling.
- Attend free events and visit museums
You should attend local events to get a taste of the local culture. You will be able to search for such events around you. Additionally, if you are interested in learning about the history of Sydney, the public museums are free of cost.
- Free walking tours
This is a major attraction because you can explore the nooks and corners of the city and the Rocks on foot with these free walking tours. You can also search for booking yourself a walking tour.
- Bring your water bottle
The average cost of a water bottle in Sydney is 3 AUD. it would be a waste of money to spend so much on buying water bottles. Get your reusable bottles and keep refilling them.
- Visit the markets
If you haven’t visited the markets, you haven’t experienced the city. It is easy to spend your time there and shop with the locals. Check out the flower market, farmers market, fish market, and more.
How many days do you need to explore Sydney?
Sydney has a huge checklist of things to do and places to visit. If you want to be fair to your visit to the city and cover most locations without being in a rush, 5-7 days are enough. You can plan your itinerary and stick to your schedule while having a blast. During this time, you will also be able to cover places on the outskirts of Sydney and not just in the main city, and might even find time to attend a festival or event.
What to know about travelling to Sydney?
Be safe: Sydney is generally a very safe city. Crimes and even minor thefts are rare. However, as visitors, you should be more mindful and keep yourself and your luggage safe. The usual rules apply here. If you ever need emergency assistance, call 000.
Tipping culture: you are not liable to give a heavy tip. There are no rules. Give as much as your budget allows or 10% of your bill.
Wear a lot of sunscreens: The Sydney sun is harsh at times and you will need to apply a generous amount of sunscreen to prevent yourself from burning your skin.
There is more than Bondi Beach: Do not stick to Bondi Beach since there are more beautiful and less crowded beaches to explore. To begin with, Coogee and Bronte beaches are popular sites.
Be prepared for the traffic: If you are staying away from the road and only cruising across the city, the traffic might not affect you much. But if you are going to take the road during peak times, you might need time in hand.
Do not drink if underage: the rules are strict and even as a tourist, you are required to follow them. The legal drinking age in Australia is 18. If you plan to drink, smoke or visit pubs, keep your children away. If you look underage, carry your ID for being on the safe side.