5 Things To Do In & Around Sydney
It took me all of 5 minutes to fall in love with Sydney. The moment I stepped outside our Airbnb apartment in Coogee and saw the ocean literally a few steps away, I knew it was a special place. We started our very first day in Sydney with the famous Coastal walk from Coogee all the way to Bondi. It was the perfect first impression! Sunshine, waves crashing, surfers in the water, acai bowls at every corner and the stunning coastal landscape. But of course Sydney also has a lot more to offer. There is downtown, the botanical gardens, the iconic opera building and much more.
Our first week in Australia could not have been more perfect and since I loved every single second of the time spent in Sydney (and everywhere else, to be frank), I wanted to share some of my personal highlights of things to do in & around Sydney with you today.
I know Australia is a long way from home and not the most casual destination for a vacation, but if you have ever thought about making the trip out here – do it! It has been one of the most amazing holidays of my life so far and I wish I had come here earlier…
5 Things To Do In & Around Sydney
Getting around: We had a rental car, which was great for the day-trips out of the city. Within the city, we usually rode with Uber or the bus/ferry, for which you can grab an opal card at most convenience stores and simply top it up with credit. Uber is ok in price (similar to Vienna, possibly a bit cheaper) and taxis are also fairly present around town.
- The Coastal Walk: With the luxury of actually living down by the beach during our stay in Sydney, we made this a daily ritual. We didn’t walk all the way to Bondi from Coogee every time (just short of 7km) but not a day passed without at least 30 minutes spent walking along the ocean. The beaches are beautiful (Tamarama is the best), you can grab a coffee to-go at Coogee Pavilion or make a pitstop in Bronte for incredible acai bowls at Bare Naked Bowls, get some fresh air or even make it a workout by running the stairs and hills.
- The Opera: Obviously, this is a given when you visit Sydney. Even though I have seen countless pictures of the architecturally impressive building, it is worth the visit. I would recommend starting the tour in the Royal Botanical Gardens by the State Library of New South Wales and walking down towards the harbor. And if you want an even better view of the Opera + Harbor Bridge, grab the ferry to Manly (7$) – which brings me to my next point…
- Visit Manly by ferry: Manly is across the bay from Sydney and just a 30-minute ride by ferry. The second you arrive, it feels like a little vacation village. We walked down the main street (not too interesting, lots of cheap shops) and made our way towards Shelly Beach where we had lunch at The Boathouse (my favorite!!) and then soaked up some sun during a little digestive nap (I blame the jet lag) on the sand. Pure bliss! Plus, you are almost guaranteed to spot some cool water dragons along the walk to Shelly Beach. Just don’t try to touch them, it will cut you back 10.000$ or send you to jail for 6 months. Pictures will do just fine.
- Palm Beach + “hike” to the Lighthouse: One of the most stunning views of the trip so far (and the photo with the most likes I have ever received on Instagram) was at the Lighthouse in Palm Beach. Just a short 25-minute hike (not sure if walk would maybe be the better term) to the top will give way to an unparalleled view. Plus, the lunch at The Boathouse (again!) afterwards is so good. Don’t miss the grain salad or tuna crackers.
Editor’s Tip: If you don’t want to drive up to Palm Beach, you can also hike to Watson’s Bay from Bondi, which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful coastal hikes and you’ll pass a lighthouse along the way. Pick the Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel as a destination, which is where we had brunch on my sister’s birthday. Alternatively, you can also reach Watson’s Bay (and Palm Beach) by bus.
- Blue Mountains: Last but not least, the Blue Mountains, located approximately 2 hours inland form the coast, are definitely worth a visit and hike. As mentioned, we had a rental car for the entire week, so obviously day-trips out to Palm Beach and the Blue Mountains were a bit easier. If you get the chance, I can only recommend it. We did the Golden Stairs + Ruined Castle hike (takes approx. 3 hours, grade 4 of 5) and stopped at Evan’s Lookout on the way back. The landscape is absolutely breath-taking (reminded me a bit of the Grand Canyon) and it is so crazy to think that Sydney is a place where you can grab morning coffee by the beach and spend the afternoon in the mountains, stopping downtown for drinks between high-rises on the way back.