I’ve compiled a list of 5 must do things when you’re in Sydney. This is based on what I did and was recommended to do. The great thing about this list is that it won’t break the bank. Unlike some activities, these will not cost you a lot and you’ll still get to experience the best of Sydney.
1. Free walking tour- I’ve done various ones now across the world and I can’t recommend them enough. This was one of the first things I did when I arrived in Sydney and this tour was one of the best I’ve been on. It was really informative and I saw so much more than I’d have been able to had I just been wandering around by myself with a map. The tour lasted just over 3 hours and in that time I got to see the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, Pitt St Shopping Mall, Town Hall, Hyde Park, Martin Place and Circular Quay to name just a few of the sights… The tour really helped me get acquainted with Sydney, its transport, history, culture and you even get to learn the best restaurants and bars. So how come its free? The way all free walking tours work is you don’t get charged upfront, instead you tip your guide at the end with what you think the tour was worth.
I’d recommend doing the walking tour on your first day so you can quickly get a feel for the place. It’s particularly great to do if you aren’t staying somewhere for very long as you can learn and see a lot in a short space of time.
2. Bondi to Coogee walk– a clifftop coastal walk, the Bondi to Coogee walk extends for about six km and takes 1.5-2 hours to complete. I met up with Amber, a friend of mine from uni and for me it is a must do when you’re in the area. It features stunning views, beaches, parks, cliffs and bays. You can easily break the walk up with a stop at a beach or at one of the cafes en route. We were lucky enough to do it when ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ was on (we did it end of October), which is the largest annual sculpture exhibition. There were some really interesting pieces on display and it really added to the whole clifftop walk experience.
When we reached Coogee we stopped for a well deserved drink at Coogee Pavilion. We sipped on prosecco taking in the view. I’d definitely recommend getting a drink and sitting on their rooftop. It was so relaxing and the perfect place for a catch up.
3. Climb up the Pylon on the Harbour Bridge– this is as good as climbing the Harbour Bridge. If you’ve got the money (around £200) and you’re desperate to climb the bridge then go ahead but you really don’t need to fork out all that cash when there’s a great alternative. I climbed the pylon on the bridge which cost me £8 and it gives you the same views. There are 200 steps up to the top of the Pylon and it provides you with history of the bridge along the way which I really enjoyed. What’s more, I could actually take my own photos. You aren’t allowed any cameras if you do the bridge climb, instead the guide takes a photo of you at the top and they charge you extra money for that photo. Rip off, right? I climbed the pylon one morning and there were barely any people around. I climbed up at my own pace reading the information boards as I went. I could then enjoy the fantastic views at the top for as long as I liked, nobody was telling me time was up and we had to climb down. This was a definite highlight of my time in Sydney. It gives you great views of the city and it’s worth every penny.
4. Catch the ferry to Manly- after climbing the pylon I made my way to Circular Quay and I caught the 30 minute ferry to Manly. The boat trip itself is relaxing and you get great views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as you enter and leave the Quay. Make sure you sit on the right hand side of ferry on the way out for better views of the Opera House. A return trip to Manly costs $15 which works out as £9.80. To travel on Sydney’s transport you need an Opal card (like London’s Oyster card) which you can buy from lots of shops. On the Opal card there is a daily spend of $15, so if you want to go Manly, top up by $15 and you can then travel on any other transport for free for the rest of the day (good tip hey?!). There are lots of good souvenirs shops in Manly where I bought a few bits and bobs. I went on a Sunday and there was a market on which had a good range of stalls. There are plenty of cafes and ice cream places. I saw lots of people eating fish and chips which I was very tempted by! I walked along Manly beach to Shelly beach which is good for a stroll as it’s all on the flat. You can do it in 10/15 mins and make sure you enjoy the views on the way. Whilst I was walking, the shark alarm went off which was very surreal. Everyone had to evacuate the water and the lifeguards were poised with their binoculars.
I had a full afternoon in Manly and I easily filled the time. I’d recommend having a full day there and you can spend time browsing the shops and chilling on the beach. It’s a great thing to do with friends or family as there’s something for everyone.
5. Glebe Market– Glebe Market is one of Sydney’s most well known Saturday markets. It’s open every Saturday from 10am-4pm. I was recommended this by Amber and I’m really glad she made me aware of it. It’s a decent sized market with a range of stalls mostly selling jewellery and clothes but also things like artwork. I think it’s definitely one of the best places in Sydney if you’re after jewellery at a good price. There’s also a great range of food stalls. I had some nachos but there is everything from raw vegan cakes and granola to burgers and curry. What is particularly lovely about Glebe Market is the free music on the lawn from 12-3pm. Each week there are different performers or groups. We chilled on the lawn in the sun whilst we had our lunch and listened to a male artist showcase his music. Glebe Market is only a short bus ride away from the centre of Sydney and it may just provide you with your most loved souvenirs. That’s certainly been the case for me!
So those are my 5 must do activities whilst you’re in Sydney. If you follow these you can see some fantastic sights at a low cost. A win-win situation I think!
Are you thinking of visiting Sydney? Do you like the sound of these?