When I think of Sydney, I think of another home. It was a place that I spent almost two years of my life. I worked, volunteered and studied (got my Masters! woot-woot), and met my lovely partner (who moved to Canada with me). This city is always filled with excitement and intrigue. There is always something to do, places to go, people to meet and an abundance of events. This is a city that never sleeps and an amazing destination for anyone heading to Sydney.
A Little Bit About Sydney
Sydney, Australia is not a cheap city but it is big, grand and full of rich history. From the coastal suburbs and surf culture to the quirky streets of Newtown, you can find so much in such a short distance. You can immerse yourself in Sydney for months and never see or experience everything the thriving city has to offer.
Sydney’s “modern” history began in 1788 when the first British fleet arrived. As you explore the city, you will see signs and monuments about the convicts and British citizens who first made this place their home.
Getting To and Around Sydney
Sydney is one of the biggest airports in Australia, with international flights from Asia, Canada, the US and many more! You can easily catch a 16-hour flight and arrive at this three-terminal airport! It is great for shopping, food and set up perfectly!
Once in Sydney, getting around is simple! There are a plethora of buses, trains and tram options in Sydney that help you get around.
Worried about finding your way? Did you know that, Google maps will give you instructions on how to get anywhere via public transit! This is a lifesaver!
You can also cab or Uber around the city too, which is an easy and fast option!
As I just mentioned Sydney is expensive. Though there is an accommodation option for every single budget.
Hostels are by far the cheapest option available from $50-$80 per night for a double room or $35 for a dorm room bed. If you’re looking for a hostel in the middle of the hustle and bustle, and with close proximity to Central Station for all your transportation needs then look no further than the Central YHA. Though if you’re looking for proximity to the beach then definitely pick something in Bondi such as the Bondi Beach YHA. I haven’t personally stayed in either of these hostels in Australia but I made a habit of staying at the YHA in every other Australian town and only didn’t like the Townsville one.
There are a lot of options for hotels in the moderate price point of $100-$350 per night. Hotel Bondi is personally one of my favourites. From $260/night it is basically right on Bondi Beach. The café is awesome and the rooms are spacious, clean and updated!
LIFE OF LUXURY:
If Money is no option then you can enjoy some of the best 5-star hotels in the world such as the Park Hyatt Sydney, I’ve only seen it from the outside but for over $1000/ night it seems like it would be the absolute luxury. It is right on Circular Quay and will give you breathtaking views of the Bridge and Opera House.
There aren’t a lot of options for eco-friendly hotels in Sydney. That being said, almost every single luxury hotel has a “green policy”. But unless you head out to the Blue Mountains your options are limited for real eco-friendly. Rated as one of the best in Sydney though is the luxurious Langham.
Day 1: The Breathtaking Beaches of Sydney
No matter where you are staying get up early and grab a bus (we’re eco-friendly here) out to Bondi Beach, one of the must-sees of Australia. If you get there early you will enjoy the sun with the locals and the beach will be a little less busy, so it leads to great photos.
Breakfast- Head up into Bondi to Bill’s for an amazing breakfast. They have local produce and there are vegan and vegetarian options. The ricotta pancakes are to die for. Though be prepared for a bit of a wait, since it’s always busy. But great service.
After breakfast head down to Bondi Beach to enjoy the morning sun for a while, or depending on the weather head straight to the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk.
Take your time, enjoy the water and beaches along the way to Coogee Beach where you can grab lunch at one of the many cafes.
Then I recommend taking the walk back since it’s a different experience and do some sunbathing, shopping and wandering around Bondi. Grab an afternoon ice cream at Messina’s, or a drink along Bondi or at Bondi Icebergs.
In the evening head into the CBD (Circular Quay) to watch the sunset over the bridge and opera house. Grab a drink on one of the (albeit overpriced) bars and enjoy watching the sun.
Dinner– Though it might be a little tacky and overrated head to Jamie Oliver’s for dinner. The atmosphere and food are spot-on.
Day 2: The City with a side of Culture
Head into the heart of Sydney and start at Circular Quay, where you can get a coffee to start your day off right. From there wander up to the Opera House and enjoy the view.
Then walk to the Royal Botanic Gardens to frolic through the amazing flowers and shrubs with a great view of Sydney Harbour. There are quite a few museums and exhibits scattered throughout the CBD and the Rocks and it is a great chance to get acquainted with the history of Sydney.
In the early afternoon head to Newtown (take the train) and spend the afternoon exploring the shops, art and culture of Sydney’s arts sector. I’m an ice cream fan and am always down to eat N2 or Hakiki.
As the sun sets head to The Dumpling Hut for dinner, where you can order an array of great food, including but not limited to dumplings.
Alternative: Did you get enough of the city the night before? Feel you want more Newtown. If you’re looking for a great brunch spot head to the famed Foodcraft Espresso.
Day 3: From the Grounds to the Beach
Breakfast– The Grounds of Alexandria seem to be isolated away from most tourist destinations and accommodation but your trek out here is well worth it, and the probably hour and a half wait. The coffee is perfect. The food is great. But even better, the atmosphere is what keeps people coming back.
From The Grounds, it’s easiest to head in the CBD and wander through the Queen Victoria Building to do some shopping.
Then take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly.
Enjoy your last afternoon on the beach at Manly, watching the waves crash in and grab a bite at one of the acclaimed restaurants.