Sydney is a place I’ve always wanted to visit but never thought I’d actually get to. This past week, that dream came true and majorly exceeded my expectations. If you’re looking for some unforgettable experiences to add to and then cross off your bucket list, Sydney has you covered.
We spent one week in Sydney, but I could have stayed forever. Viewing the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge was enough to make me instantly fall in love and never want to leave. Apart from those beautiful views, we did a lot of other things that I never imagined I would. We did everything we had planned and still had time for smaller, filler activities.
Here are my favorite things we did each day.
Day 1: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Harbour Dinner with a View
We were feeling jet lag a little bit on this day but managed to power through it, having a lovely dinner on the Harbour after a peaceful walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Walking through the gardens will bring you on a nice path along the water, taking you right to the Sydney Opera House. Down some steps near the Opera House you can find plenty of restaurants with a great view. If you eat outside, beware of the seagulls!
Day 2: Australian Museum, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
The Australian Museum is great if you want to learn more about the history of the people who lived in Australia pre-colonization who still share the land today. It’s pretty remarkable and also contains different sections in different levels with native animals, fossils, minerals, and more. It is really close to the St. James subway stop. If you walk towards St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Australian Museum is on the right.
After spending a couple hours at the museum, we checked out St. Mary’s Cathedral. It’s beautiful, both inside and out! The day we visited, there were two weddings there, a truly stunning wedding venue.
We completed our evening with the Bridge Climb. This is a must do, even if you are afraid of heights. Trust me, it’s worth it. You go through quite a bit of training and are attached to a harness, no worries!
Day 3: Beach Day – Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
To be honest, the day we went to the beach was really hot, and we all got pretty toasted considering we spend most of our time in Shanghai, “protected” from the Sun by the pollution. Because of this, we didn’t make it all the way to Coogee. We only made it to Bronte, but we stopped and did some swimming and photoshoots along the way! This walk is definitely a great place to get some amazing photos. If you get a chance, there are some aboriginal rock engravings nearby and a cemetery as well – just a couple extra things to spice up your walk. We were too warm and spent too much time swimming to have time to do anything extra. If you’re located in central Sydney, you can take a few different buses to Bondi which only costs $0.10 AUD – SO CHEAP!
Day 4: Darling Harbour, View from the Pylons
If you enjoy dining at The Hard Rock Café in different countries (or just want souvenirs), you can find one at Darling Harbour. We ate there for lunch and completed all of our souvenir shopping in this area. It’s also a nice place to walk around and just enjoy the weather (the Maritime Museum is located here if you’re interested).
After hanging out at Darling Harbour for a little while, we went to the Pylons for another spectacular view of Sydney. The Pylons are the stone structures on the Harbour Bridge. If you did the Bridge Climb, you can access the Pylons for free as long as you bring the right documents that they gave you; on the other hand, if you didn’t do the Bridge Climb, you can still get in for $15 AUD.
Day 5: Sydney Opera House Tour, Shark Dive Xtreme
The Sydney Opera House Tour is about an hour long, and I highly recommend doing it. You learn so much about the construction and history of the Opera House. You, of course, get to walk around and see the interior. It’s pretty fascinating, and the thought put into this amazing specimen of architecture is impressive. I can’t even imagine seeing a show there. Can you imagine what it would be like to perform there?
The next big thing we did was swim with nurse sharks over at the Sea Life Sanctuary on Manly Beach (you’ll need to take a 30 minute ferry from the Harbour). It’s not as scary as it sounds and was incredibly cool. The great thing about this is that it’s meant so that someone with zero scuba experience can handle it. They teach you the basics through a thorough training process and guide you the whole way. The stingrays in the tank scared me most, but it was definitely worth it! Not to mention the adorable Myrtle the Turtle who came to hang out with us while we were under!
Day 6: Taronga Zoo
The Taronga Zoo is only a short ferry ride from the Harbour and has all the typical zoo animals, plus the ones specific to Australia. My favorite parts were the Koala Encounter and the Kangaroo Walkabout. For about $30 AUD, you can take a picture with a koala. You are not allowed to touch them though, as it is illegal in New South Wales.
The Kangaroo Walkabout was awesome because the animals just roam free with you in their designated area. You have to follow the path, but the kangaroos, wallabies, and emus wander around as they please. I had a kangaroo jump across my path, less than a foot away! It was pretty cool!
We flew out on day 7, so nothing exciting that day… mostly just tears. We were so sad to leave, but we were lucky that we picked a hostel with a great location. Bounce Sydney is located just outside of the Central train stop, so access anywhere was easy, especially the airport – only 10 minutes away!!!! It made leaving slightly less dreadful. I recommend choosing a hostel with location to the metro in mind. Taxis are quite expensive and the bus can be a little confusing if you’re not entirely sure where you’re going. Get an Opal card and take the metro everywhere. Most things are pretty accessible from a train.
My favorite vantage point of Sydney – Mrs. MacQuaries Point
One week in Sydney is enough time to do some pretty amazing things, but it will definitely leave you longing for more. The trip went by way too quickly, and I already want to go back. Sydney is now being added to the list of places that I would love to live long-term.
Have you ever been to Sydney? What are your favorite things to do there?