I have a confession to make. The first two times I visited Sydney I wasn’t a huge fan. I pretty much just saw all the touristy things like the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour. I ended up living in Sydney for two and a half years and I fell in love with the place! There was so much more to Sydney then the few tourist attractions I had seen on my first two visits. For starters there are so many amazing beaches close by! Let me share with you some of my favourite places to visit in Sydney:
1. The Bondi to Coogee Costal Walk is definitely worth doing, the views are stunning. Make sure you make the time for a decent stop at Bronte Beach, one of my favourites.
2. Have brunch at one of the many lovely cafes in Milsons Point, walk over the Harbour Bridge and check out the Rocks Markets on the other side.
3. Try Messina ice cream, my go to flavour was salted caramel and white chocolate chip!
4. Take the ferry to Watson Bay, its a lovely ferry trip. Once you’re there check out the view at The Gap and enjoy some fish and chips with an ocean view
5. Underground prohibition themed bars like the Baxter Inn are fun for a drink to start the night.
6. Soda factory is the hidden bar behind a Coke machine. Enjoy some interesting food on the menu and delicious shakes as well as alcoholic drinks, if you’re in the mood.
7. I know Darling Harbour is touristy but its still worth a visit, especially if you include a trip to the Lindt Chocolate Cafe with its delicious hot chocolates (you can mix the milk and melted chocolate to your personal preference).
8. Go out for a BYO Thai dinner! You will find affordable Thai restaurants all over Sydney and what’s even better is that many of them offer a BYO option. Bring your own bottle of wine and only pay a couple dollars to drink it with your delicious Thai meal. This is a great way to start a night out, especially if you are on a budget.
9. It’s only on twice a year but if you are lucky enough to be in Sydney when the Finders Keepers Markets are on, then make sure you pay it a visit. It’s like a market version of the online Etsy store.
10. Workshop is a funky wee place where you can take a range of creative workshops.
11. Brunch! Sydney knows how to do brunch. A few suburbs such as Surry hills and Potts Point are great for cute wee cafes with delicious brunch menus.
12. Newtown has lots of interesting shops, cafes and bars. Spend an afternoon wondering the streets and in pretty sure you’ll find something you like. The Diner does amazing waffles! Or Mary’s Burgers are to die for. Newtown is also the place to try a cronut (cross between a doughnut and a croissant).
13. Take a Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tour! You will have to set aside a whole day for this. About an hours drive from Sydney, Hunter Valley has many wineries to choose from. You can take a day tour from Sydney or drive there yourself, you can also hire bikes once your in the Hunter and cycle to the wineries. Don’t miss the cheese shop at Tempus Two! If you have children (or not…) you could also visit The Hunter Zoo. Pat a koala and feed some wallabies!
14. The Blue Mountains also requires a whole day. You can catch the train straight there from central station. There are plenty of lovely walks with amazing views and waterfalls.
15. Get a Museum Pass and it includes the Hyde Park Barracks (my personal favourite, see how the convicts lived), Police & Justice Museum, Susannah Place and Sydney Museum.
16. If you plan to be in Sydney in late May/Early June it won’t be great beach weather but the Vivid Light Festival will make it worth while! The Customs House always has the most amazing lights projected on it. The lighting on the Contemporary Art Museum and Opera House are also worth seeing. I’d recommend going to Luna Park and riding the ferris wheel one night while the lights are on.
17. Manly and Shelly Beach are also definitely worth a visit. Manly has a real surfers vibe to it and if you walk a little further to Shelley beach you find a beautiful and relaxing bay where you can swim, snorkel or even paddle board.
18. Go up Shangri-La at night for a drink and see the amazing view. The bar at the top of the Sydney Eye also has a great view, but it may have a minimum spend.
Sydney can be an expensive place for the long term traveller, but there are still plenty of free and affordable things to do. I hope you fall in love with Sydney as much as I did.