Where to Explore in Australia
Australia touches both ends of the spectrum and everything in between – it is remote yet highly developed. It has many natural wonders, incredible beaches, unique wildlife, arid outback, lush jungles, and metropolitan cities. No matter your age, interests, budget, or taste, there is a destination in Australia for you. Australia is very large and spread out, I highly recommend at least 10 days in the country so you can explore a few different cities.
Throughout my entire trip, Sydney was my favorite city. I recommend spending at least four days in the city so you don’t miss anything fun. For those who love the city life, check out the downtown central business district for the hustle and bustle feel and Darlington Harbour. Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House, and the iconic Harbor Bridge are all in the heart of downtown as well. Be sure to grab a drink at the Opera Bar at sunset to enjoy the views of the bridge and bay. I recommend staying in the Central Business District where it is close to most attractions and public transportation options. When arriving in Sydney, purchase an Opal Card for quick and convenient rides on public transportation and ferries.
For history buffs, The Rocks are known as Australia’s first European settlement. I highly recommend the I’m Free Walking Tour to learn more about the history of Sydney. The Rocks feature colonial-style architecture with cobblestone streets and hidden laneways. Rent a bike from Bonza Bike Tours, the rental includes a map with recommended routes over the Harbor Bridge. Once you arrive at the north side of the bay, take a photo at the Sydney Opera House and check out Luna Park. Then spend the afternoon relaxing in Wendy Whiteley’s secret garden, a hidden oasis in the middle of the city.
Hike Blue Mountains
If you enjoy outdoor adventures, take a day trip to the Blue Mountains. You can rent a car to explore the area yourself, or join a tour to see the highlights. I highly recommend the Grand Canyon Track. This track takes you down into a canyon with waterfalls and caves so you can truly connect with nature. The hike lasts about 3-4 hours and has seemingly endless stairs (up and down!) so don’t forget your comfortable shoes. After the hike, be sure to stop at Echo Point to see the famous Three Sisters rock formation and enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes in Katoomba, Leura, or Wentworth Falls.
Explore the Coast
If you are trying to stay closer to Sydney, there are leisurely Coast Walks with amazing ocean views. The famous Bondi Beach to Coogee is a very popular option. Insider’s tip: I recommend walking the opposite way, Coogee to Bondi Beach. You will be walking in the opposite direction from the traffic, and when you turn the corner to see Bondi Beach the view is incredible. Start your walk around 9 AM to avoid the crowds. Spend the day at Bondi or enjoy a well-deserved lunch and head back into downtown Sydney. Don’t forget your swimsuit for a dip in one of the many ocean pools or swimming beaches along the route. Both Bondi and Coogee are easily accessible by public transportation so don’t forget your Opal card.
Another highlight is riding the ferry to Manly beach and walking the Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk, it’s about 10k one way. We cheated and took a Lyft to the halfway point and started the trail from there. Manly Beach is a fabulous little beach town. There are a lot of restaurants, shops, and the beach is perfect for a surf lesson. If you prefer calmer waters, you can stay on the bay side of Manly for kayaking, paddle boarding, or a relaxing swim.
A few other activities I recommend are exploring the Royal Botanical Gardens, splurging for a dinner with a view at Café Sydney, learning about Australia’s unique wildlife at the Taronga Zoo, and wine tasting in the Hunter Valley just outside the city.
Don’t forget to pack your walking shoes. Sydney has so much to do and see, you will be sure to surpass your daily quota of steps. So many steps, you can afford to splurge on a crepe from Four Frogs Creperia or gelato from Messina!
I hope this guide helps you plan your next trip to Sydney!