Australia trip is not complete without visiting Sydney, a cosmopolitan city that will never disappoint you. There are so many things to do here in the stunning harbor city, such as world-famous beaches, great restaurants, excellent shopping, visiting opera house, Sydney harbor, harbor bridge, world heritage sites, exciting nightlife, and most of all comfortable year-round weather.

Sydney Skyline
A Beautiful View of Sydney Skyline from the Royal Botanical Garden

Helpful Information

Before planning a trip to Sydney, you need to consider climate and school vacations. Also, know that Australian summer is typically from December to February and winter is from June to August. But the good thing is they are milder than most of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Australians travel a lot during December and January, so a good idea to avoid not only for the crowd but also for higher hotel rates.

I visited Sydney at the end of December and found it perfectly beautiful and comfortable weather there. But you can plan your trip based on your likings, here are a few options.

The best time, in my opinion:
Spring – October, November less rain and low humidity, perfect for sightseeing and hiking.

Autumn – February to March for beautiful clear sky, Idean for hiking, the daytime temperate is mild, and less rainfall makes it comfortable for travelers. Hotels rates are relatively low.

Summer – December to February is peak season because schools are closed for the summer holidays. It’s hot and humid, so a little difficult for hiking during the midday. During this season, it rains a lot so that outdoor activities could be impacted.

By Air

From the US East Coast, there are flights to Sydney with a stop in Los Angeles / San Francisco / Vancouver. Or there are flights from JFK/EWR to Sydney with a stop in Asia by Asiana (Seoul), Singapore Airlines (Singapore). Once I took a direct overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney by Air Asia. It was the most affordable option for me as a side trip from Asia. There are various options based on your origin, so check out the airlines’ web site for the best that fits your plan.

Getting around Sydney is easiest with public transportation. The city has a great train and bus system, making travel convenient. Renting a car or taking a taxi can be expensive, and parking in the city center or tourist attractions can be difficult. However, driving a car yourself can be the best choice for a more enjoyable trip if you want to explore places outside the city.

The Central Business District (CBD) is easy to explore on foot and a fantastic way to discover the city. You can visit famous places like the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay Port, Darling Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Royal Botanic Garden, and The Rocks District. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the sights and attractions the city offers.

From The Airpot to The City

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) is located only 8 km from the city center. The commute to and from the airport is easy.

Airport Taxi

A taxi is a convenient way to get to the city hotels; it takes about 20 minutes, depending on the time of the day. The cost could run between AUD 45 and $55

Uber / Lyft

Uber and Lyft are available and possibly the most reasonably priced alternative to Taxis. You can buy a SIM card at the airport to access the internet to book an Uber/Lyft ride or access the airport’s free Wi-Fi.

By Train

The most comfortable and affordable option is taking a train from the airport to the Central. The train runs every 10 minutes and takes about 13 minutes. Once in Central, you can get connecting buses or trains to your specific destinations.

By rental car

If you are comfortable driving on the left side of the street, then renting a car from the airport is another option. 

Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and there are so many things to do and see, so it’s difficult to say precisely how many days you actually need to cover all the bases. I was there for five nights and was able to visit a lot of the attractions but not limited to what mentioned in my blog. I know people who visited there time and time again but still, they want to go back there once again to discover something new.

What you need to know:

Overall I found Australia is a little expensive so expect to budget accordingly.

There are plenty of ATM available all around the city.

You can buy SIM Card at the airport that will let you use smart phone data service for directions and booking Uber rides.

Tipping your taxi driver or leaving a tip at a restaurant is not common, neither it is anticipated. Australian minimum wage is comparatively high, meaning they do not have to rely on tips like some other countries.

Circular Quay, Sydney
A view of Circular Quay on a Sunny day!

Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens

Undoubtedly, the Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the best places to start your sightseeing trip in Sydney. The Scenic waterfront park is very popular among the visitors because of the location that enables spectacular views of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge in the far distance and beautiful view of the Sydney skyline and definitely the stunning flowers, trees, and wonderful lawns. This a place you can spend the entire day if you have a little more time to spare.

Royal Botanical Garden
A view of Sydney Harbor and the Sydney Harbor Bridge from Royal Botanical Garden.

Next Stop The World Famous Opera House

The Opera House is the most visited iconic attractions, you don’t want to leave Sydney without paying a visit. From the Royal Botanic Garden, a few minutes of scenic walk will get you to the Opera House that was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Besides, it’s exceptional architecture it is also renowned for plenty of activities such as a broad spectrum of Broadway shows, concerts, symphonies and much more. Therefore I would recommend not just see the opera house from the distance but try to enjoy what is has to offer.

Iconic Opera House in Sydney
Iconic Opera House in Sydney

Spend an Evening in Darling Harbor

You need to swing by to experience the stunning Darling Harbor has to offer. One of the most frequently visited places by the locals and tourists alike. It is not only well known for the convention center but also for great harborside restaurants, bars, recreational activities, shops, nightlife, and beautiful views. 

In the evening Darling Harbor becomes a very charming place, the entire area is pedestrian-friendly so its great to walk around the water, explore, relax, sip a glass of beer, and enjoy the view.

Sydney Skyline at night
A view of Sydney Skyline at night

A Trip to Cockatto Island

Cockatoo Island a UNESCO World Heritage Site is easily accessible by ferry from Circular Quay. Another popular scenic route is from Darling harbor the entire 20 munites ferry ride is interesting. once on the island, you will be fascinated with magnificent views fo Sydney Harbor, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, The Opera House, and the city skyline.

Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island Ferry Wharf, Sydney

Day Trip To Blue Mountains National Park

The Blue Mountains is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Eastern Australia, it is well known for its breathtaking scenery, forest, waterfalls, cascades, beautiful lookouts, canyons, valleys, and amazing hiking trails. One of the most popular day trip locations from Sydney.

A road trip to The Blue Mountains is fun, with the freedom to stop anywhere and to see places along the way. The driving distance is about 63 miles (102 km) takes about 90 minutes if you are not stopping on your way. But you will have the opportunity to stop at beautiful places such as Penrith, Springwood, Woodford, Wentworth Falls, Leura on your way to Katoomba.

Wentworth Falls
Wentworth Falls from the lookouts


Guided Tour

There are guided tours available from Sydney, they usually combine sightseeing, lunch and a few sightseeing stops on the way. Get Your Guide is the one I recommend.

Visit Bondi Beach

Very relaxing, a great place to unwind only about 30 minutes bus ride from Sydney. The best way to get there is by public bus from Circular Quay (downtown Sydney) or get on to Hop-on Hop-off bus. White golden sands, turquoise water, and perfect waves make it an iconic Sydney attraction. 

There is plenty to do beyond the surf. Fine dining, shopping markets, gorgeous coastal walks, and a buzzing nightlife can all be experienced in Bondi. 

Bondi Beach, Sydney - Australia
Bondi Beach, Sydney - Australia

Take a Ferry to Parramatta (Sydney Olympic Park)

Just take the Parramatta Rivercat Ferry service from Circular Quay to Sydney Olympic Park Ferry Wharf. A great day trip away from Sydney. The scenic cruise will give you a great view of Sydney Harbor Bridge, Walsh Bay, Luna Park and beautiful Goat Island. There are a couple of stops on the way such as Barangaroo (Darling Harbor) and Cockatoo island pier and a few more.

Once you arrive at Parramatta Wharf get a connecting bus to the Olympic Park located about 3kms. There are also a few nice restaurants and cafes at the pier so great idea to try some fish and chips before heading to the village.

Parramatta Rivercat Ferry service from Circular Quay
Take the Parramatta Rivercat Ferry service from Circular Quay

Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge

I have climbed many world-famous bridges around the world and Sydney Harbor Bridge was one of the greatest once in a lifetime experiences. The view from the top is breathtaking. It’s expensive though if you are interested then visit 

Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb
Thrilling Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb

Crossing Sydney Harbor Bridge On Foot

If you are in a time crunch or don’t like to spend that much money then this an alternate option is to just walk across the bridge and you will definitely get the same breathtaking panoramic view from a lower level (free). or you can take the 200 steps of the Pylon Lookout that will take you to the very top where you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the city of Sydney. General admission fee $19.00 Student and Seniors $12.50

Sydney Harbor Bridge
Crossing the Sydney Harbor Bridge On Foot

Walking Through Hyde Park

Hyde Park is right across the street from my hotel where I was staying in Sydney. It’s one of the oldest parks in the city with a huge water fountain in the middle of the park, a few monuments, and statues inside this beautiful greenery. The Gothic-style St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral is right around the corner. 

Hyde Park, Sydney
A view of St Mary's Catholic Cathedral from The Hyde Park.

Visit The Rocks

The Rocks neighborhood is located inside the oldest part of Sydney, this is where Sydney established when the British first landed. Narrow cobblestone streets, historic pubs, restaurants, beautiful view of the harbor, opera house, weekend markets, street-side entertainment makes it one of the coolest places in the city.

Don’t miss the Sydney observatory Hill Park for a great view of the city from the top.

The Rocks Neighborhood
Street Scene in The Rocks Neighborhood, Sydney

Visit the Historic Paddy’s Markets

Paddy’s market is famous among locals and tourists alike. It is the biggest market in Chinatown. There are 100s of stalls, and there is something for everyone from Suvenior, fashion accessories farm-fresh vegetables, fruits, and more. Not a bad idea to visit this market on a Sunday morning

The iconic Peddy’s Market in Sydney

Where Did I Stay in Sydney, Australia

Late afternoon, just arrived here at the hotel after two hours of driving from Pristina, so I have the enter afternoon on my disposal. The Hotel is on the main street, and the hotel staff parked my car at a nearby parking garage.

Song Hotel Sydney, 5-11 Wentworth Ave, Sydney

I loved the location of this hotel and definitely the clean and spacious rooms with 2 single bed for a solo traveler.

Sydney Central YHA, 11-23 Rawson Place, Sydney

Sydney Central YHA offers shared dormitory accommodations as well as private rooms. It is located opposite Central Station in Sydney CBD (Central Business District). 

Have Local Food in Sydney

6 Head, Bay 10 – 11, Campbells Stores, Circular Quay West, The Rocks

An uncommon steakhouse experience in beautiful Campbell’s Cove. One of Sydney’s most famous dining spots, 6 HEAD has been described as a magical stop in time. Have your food at the same time, you’ll view out over the water at charming views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the historic Opera House.

My Opinion and Last Word

Have you been to Sydney, Australia? Any cool tips to share?

I loved being to this country down under and want to go back again. Hope my story have motivated you to visit. 

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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