My recommendation would be: take a “Free walking tour” in Sydney to get a first impression on what to see around the city.
I heard about these guys on my Indian Pacific train trip. Two Architecture graduates who love their city started up these free walking tours in Sydney & Melbourne. You basically show up at the meeting point and look for your guide in a bright green “I`m free” t-shirt. (No need for booking!) They work on a tips only basis.
Every day (rain or shine): Sydney Sights (3 hours) at 10.30 am & 2.30 pm and the Sydney Rocks (1,5 hours) at 6pm. For more info, check out: www.imfree.com.au
I`ve taken the Sydney Sights tour myself and it was one of the best city tours I`ve had. Even though it was 3 hours, I didn`t get bored or distracted like I usually do during city tours. You get to see so much more from the city because of a local guiding you. I also enjoyed the ‘free in Sydney map’ with tips on things to do for free by day & night as well as useful tips from the guide along the way.
A few of the highlights we saw
St Mary`s Cathedral
The General Post Office
At Sydney’s Angel Place you’ll find a public art installation for you to see and hear. In 2009, artist Michael Thomas Hill created Forgotten Songs, an installation of 110 empty birdcages suspended high in the air that play the songs of fifty birds that used to live in the city before urbanization.
The Waiting Man
And of course you can`t visit Sydney without seeing the two most iconic attractions of the city.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts center, designed by a Danish architect named Jørn Utzon. He received the Pritzker Price – architecture`s highest honor – in 2003.
and Sydney Harbour Bridge
More interesting sights:
Above are just a few of the sights in Sydney, taking the free walking tour will give you a good impression of where everything is if you want to visit certain places for a longer time.
Free to enter: Sydney Rum Hospital, Art Gallery of NSW, The Mint, Museum of Contemporary Art (late opening on Thursday), Customs House (open till midnight except Sundays and offers FREE wifi!), Botanical Garden, …
A few tips from our guide
Views over the city
- 360 Bar and Dining at the Sydney Tower where you get a nice view over the city as the bar rotates 360 degrees. There`s a $ 20 AUD minimum spending, but you can enjoy a few drinks (drinks start from $ 7 AUD). Dress code is smart casual.
- O Bar and Dining at Australian Square offers views over the city, with a minimum of $ 8 AUD to be spent at the bar.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Instead of doing the Bridge climb, which starts at $ 198 AUD, you can climb the 200 steps of the Pylon Lookout for $ 11 AUD. You can also walk across the bridge which is 1.3 km and takes about 30 minutes.
I didn`t have time to test these out, but they sound like good tips, so I thought I`d share them with you.
Places to Eat
This place came recommended through social media channels: the Australian Hotel at the Rocks, because of their special pizzas. You can order a pizza here with kangaroo, crocodile,…
The following recommendations came from Y Travel Blog. Make sure to check out their 33 Tips for Sydney:
- El Loco in Surry Hills, a lovely Mexican place with delicious tacos for only $ 5 AUD!
- Bourke Street Bakery. I loved this place! I`m addicted to bread and always have a hard time abroad finding what I like, but this place knows what they`re doing. Btw you won`t be the only one here, I went twice and there was always a queue.
I loved the neighborhood of Surry Hills very much, there`s a nice vibe and great little boutiques as well. Of course you have more shops together at the Westfield shopping centers at the central business district and Bondi Junction. For another shopping experience you can visit the Queen Victoria Building which houses many shops from chocolate shops to jewelry to clothing, you can find it all here. (Shops are open until 9 pm on Thursdays)
Don`t forget to check out the Rocks Markets at the Rocks on Saturdays and Sundays.
Great Transportation Tip
There`s a FREE bus, number 555, that runs from Circular Quay to Central Station from Monday till Friday from 9 am till 3.30 pm (until 9 pm on Thursdays). Saturday and Sunday from 9.30 am till 6 pm. Both directions every 10-15 minutes.
Had enough of the city?
Take a ferry to Manly (at wharf 3). Not only does it have a beach where you can relax and shops you can browse, the boat trip will give you the opportunity to see the city skyline from the water. (We paid $ 14.40 AUD/person for a return ticket)
Or take a bus to famous Bondi Beach. We took the number 333, you can buy a bus ticket at a convenience store or at newsagencies.
What`s your favorite thing to do in Sydney?
*Prices were accurate at time of publishing