A Beginners Guide to Sydney, Australia

Learn everything you need to know about Sydney from somebody who decided to move there while knowing very little about it, explored it all with eyes wide open, and absolutely fell in love with all aspects of it.

‘So Good’ Things About Sydney

Are you debating whether or not a trip to Sydney is worth the travel? Learn 8 quick reasons why it most definitely is.

  1. It’s a city filled with nature. Whether you’re running to the wharf to catch the next ferry to travel to the nearest beach town or picnicking in the botanical gardens, there is a lot more to Sydney than concrete and you will be able to get whatever fix you need on any given day.
  2. The main language is English. English connects us all, as it is the second most common language in the world. As an English-speaker, you won’t have to worry about navigating the city or connecting with those around you. Although Sydney has no explicit official language (because it is cool like that), it is spoken by most of the population. That means making mates will be a breeze.
  3. Home of the most amazing accents and slang. There is no doubt you will gush over how much better normal words sound in this beautiful accent and go home with much more fun abbreviations of ordinary words (why ask a friend if they are a free for a drink this afternoon when you could ask your mate for a bevvy this arvo?)
  4. You can party. There is no shortage of nightlife in Sydney, whether you’re seeking out a laid back margarita to 80s music at a place like El Camino in The Rocks or a multi-story club with a pool like Ivy.
  5. You can relax. Looking to wind down during this trip, or recover from your night at Ivy? Spend time lounging on one of Sydney’s many beautiful beaches.
  6. Great public transportation. If you don’t want to experience driving in the left side of the road, no problem. Sydney has expansive public transporation, assuring that you will be able to get anywhere you want to go via the light rail, buses, and ferries.
  7. Endless driveable trips. Looking for a day trip or a weekend to camp? There are many driveable options for you to take a round trip to or camp within just a couple of hours whether you are seeking national park vibes and the dramatic beauty of the Blue Mountains or want to find a secret surf spot amongst sand dunes at Seal Rocks.
  8. Sunrises over the Ocean. One of the most unique and beautiful sites to see in Sydney are the sunrises over the ocean. Start your early-bird day with a coffee in hand, watching the sun rise over the Bondi Icebergs. You won’t regret it.

Best Things To Do in Sydney (For Free)

1. Take the Bondi To Coogee Coastal Walk

With absolutely breathtaking views of several of the most beautiful beaches in Sydney, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is a must-do.

Because you will want to stop and take in the views, you should allot 2 hours to partake on this walk from Bondi to Coogee. If you’re looking for a shorter route, have no fear! There are many rest and swim areas as well as restaurants that you will see along the route that may call your name louder than walking further ever will.

2. Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens

If you like long walks through nature, the Royal Botanical Gardens is the place for you. While strolling through the gardens, you will be able to experience blooms that you have likely never seen before, while learning about their origins.

It’s your choice whether you want to actively make a straight shot through or post up with a picnic. This area is a lovely spot for a silent break from the city and some snacks.

3. Explore Surry Hills

Surry hills is a hip neighborhood where you can bounce around to stylish cultural cafes and coffee shops in between shopping for vintage goods and strolling through art galleries.

4. Sightsee in The Rocks

This is the part of the city that you visit to indulge in history. Snack on delicious street food while strolling through open air markets or dive into some of Sydney’s oldest pubs and upscale restaurants with views of the harbor. Visit this part of town when you’re feeling bougie and nostalgic for a faraway time.

5. Beach It

You’re in luck, because Sydney is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

From Bondi to Manly, Coogee to Whale Beach, your choices are endless.

For all you need to know about the best beaches in Sydney to visit, see below (I wasn’t able to make this one short).

6. Go to a Free Festival

The artistic city of Sydney hosts some of the most amazing free festivals year-round, such as Vivid.

7. Spend Time In Darling Harbour

Darling harbour offers a wide range of water front restaurants, so you are sure to find the one no matter what type of food you are in the mood for.

8. Have a Picnic On the Opera House Steps

The Opera House is absolutely stunning from the outside, and can be enjoyed by purely lounging on the steps. Bring your favorite friends and best snacks, but be sure to leave the open containers at home or you may be approached by a security guard asking you in disbelief “Are you really drinking wine on the steps of the opera house?”

Best Beaches in Sydney

1. Manly Beach

If you are looking for beachtown that is less saturated by tourists, laid back, and offers decent surf, this one is for you. If you are in the city, you can hop on a ferry to Manly and the beaches will be the first place you hit. Not to mention, it has Chica Bonita, which is an absolute gem of a restaurant to visit with salt in your hair for veggie fries (1000% recommend) and happy hour drinks as well as the Manly Wharf Hotel with outdoor seating on the jetty and a closeby grass area where you can hang for pre-drinks with the locals.

2. Tamarama Beach

This is a smaller beach, with usual smaller crowds as it is tucked in a small crevice of the Bondi to Coogee walk. If you’re looking for a low-key beach day with minimal random humans, this beach is the one you should visit.

3. Bondi Beach

Okay, I know I knocked this spot for being touristy, but there is a reason that everyone and their brother visits. This beach will give you views of local surfers, almost-white sands, a huge grass area above to lounge and take in the views from a higher angle, the Bondi Icebergs bar and pools to visit, and plenty of local restaurants and shops nearby.

4. Bronte Beach

Bronte is another spot that is less touristy, and so beautiful. You will get lost on the path down as you enter a mini rain forest, and arrive at a beach with plenty of local surfers, friendly lifeguards, and less of a crowd taking up the sand.

5. Shelly Beach

Something about this beach and its vibes make you feel like you are on a private island. Chill on the beach or climb through the rocks to get an aerial view of the ocean. Make sure to stop by the pool filled with the oceans blue blue water on your way over.

7. Long Reef Beach

This is a must-visit. The natural beauty of the largest reef you will likely ever see is fascinating as you walk to the sounds of the waves and check out the sea creatures that are lucky enough to live there.

Best Things to Do in Sydney in the Rain

When it rains in Sydney, it pours. Luckily, there are plenty of adventures to take in the rain (or if you are sunburnt from Oz’s unforgiving o-zone).

  • Visit the Taronga Zoo. Visit the local Zoo to see the best of Australia’s local animals (from koala’s to Kangaroos). In an effort not to crush your dreams, but to expectation set, it is worth letting you know that it is illegal to hold Koala’s in the entire state New South Whales, and if you want to get up close and personal with Kangaroos (and feed them!), you should travel a bit further to visit the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo.
  • Visit the Madame Tussauds Wax Musem. If you want to ‘hang out’ with your favorite celeberities, snag pictures to trick your friends into believing you met Rihanna, or just want to marvel over the insanely real wax statues created of so many famous people, you will not regret a visit here.
  • See the entire city from the Sydney Tower Eye. Visit the tallest building in Sydney to get unmatched views of the city that lives on the water.

Tip: Look for promotions or packs that include all 3 of these attractions. When we went, there was a deal to gain access to all 3 of these for the price of 1.

I hope you have an amazing adventure in Sydney and can’t wait to hear all about it.