Planning a trip to Sydney? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
Australia’s largest city, Sydney is also undoubtedly the country’s most culturally interesting city. The famous opera house, gorgeous beaches, numerous parks and wild countryside mean that Sydney is a destination that offers a myriad of diverse experiences.
On your first day in the city, you will follow the footsteps of the colonial settlers who landed here in January 1788. Set out for the Rocks, the oldest district in the city, which lies south of the bay. As you walk around this area, you will see the sandstone buildings dating from 1788 which the district was named after.
Directly opposite the Rocks, across a small harbour, you will of course have spotted a truly amazing and instantly recognisable building. Sydney Opera House is to be your next stop. Follow the Circular Quay to get to it.
Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous buildings in the world, whose shape reminds some people of shells, and others of a sailing ship. From the forecourt of the opera house, turn and admire the stunning view of Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge, another emblem of the city.
Take advantage of your proximity to the sea and indulge in some fish and chips which you can eat beside the harbour or in the Royal Botanic Garden: one of the city’s most beautiful parks, it is located right next to the opera. The park boasts 75 acres of parkland, with lawns that you are free to walk on and enjoy. With a little luck, you may make friends with one of the residents of the garden - it contains giant bats, cockatoos, ibis and many other species.
Once you have recharged your batteries with a little nature, its time to soak up some culture. Turn back towards the Rocks and visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, or MCA. Here, you will discover a fine collection of over 4,000 contemporary works from around the world.
After leaving the museum, head back into the vibrant energy of the City, heading south towards Sydney Tower, a slender tower with an observation deck at the top. Ideally, wait until sunset before heading up to the top where you will be rewarded with a breath-taking view of the city.
The next morning, take the monorail to Darling Harbour, a little west of the city centre. This huge amusement park offers activities for the whole family all day long, and has plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can stop for a nice meal.
Here you will also find the Sydney Aquarium, which is home to more than 11,000 species, including several rare types of coral reef. There is also a glass tunnel that allows visitors to feel as if they are walking on the bottom of the ocean, surrounded by sharks and manta rays.
Also on Darling Harbour, you can visit both the Sydney Wildlife World, a mini-zoo dedicated to wildlife, and the Outback Centre, which is a great place to learn more about Aboriginal culture and hear free didgeridoo concerts.
In the evening, it's time to leave the centre of town and discover one of the most famous beaches in the world. Located less than ten kilometres from the centre, easily accessible by public transport, Bondi Beach is famous for its fine sand and rolling waves which have made it the holy grail of surfing.
Your last day will be the chance to discover a little more about the great diversity of the wild natural setting around Sydney. You’ll also discover the beaches at Manly which are truly worth a visit.
Start by taking the ferry north of Sydney, to Manly. The ferry ride in itself is interesting as it allows you to see Sydney Harbour from a different perspective and offers great views of the City, the Opera House and the harbour.
Arriving at Manly, follow the coast starting from Sydney Harbour National Park, just south of Manly, and then continue east along the coast of Balgowlah Heights. You will pass several beautiful and relatively crowd-free beaches, such as Reef Beach and Castel Rock. Savour the beauty of the landscape and take a picnic to enjoy either in the countryside or one of the beaches along the way.
After a pleasant afternoon, take the ferry back to the city centre, ready for your final evening. If you enjoyed Bondi Beach, you may want to go back and spend your last evening there, as it is truly one of the city’s highlights. But perhaps you’ll opt to glam up and go to Home Sydney, a gigantic nightclub – the city’s largest – which is located on Darling Harbour. Or maybe you will prefer the Chinese Laundry with its top electro and drum’n’bass DJs.
Just three days in a city of such global scope will seem very short. You will be able to see the essential sights, but if you have the opportunity to spend a little more time in Sydney, take the opportunity to leave the bustling centre and discover the beautiful landscapes surrounding the city, such as the Blue Mountains, Palm Beach and Hunter Valley.