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If you have just one day to take in Sydney, Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you watch the morning hubbub around the Opera House and Harbour Bridge at Circular Quay, while enjoying an English-style breakfast or coffee. Take a ferry across the harbor to Mosman, and spend a few hours at Taronga Zoo. Upon your return to downtown, spend some time walking through the Royal Botanic Gardens, then continue down Macquarie Street to see the state Parliament, original Hyde Park Barracks, St. Mary's Cathedral and other historic buildings on your way to the Australian Museum. Explore Hyde Park near the Archibald Fountain, then go west into the business district to do some shopping. Go up Sydney Tower to get a view of the city. At night, return to Circular Quay to watch the sun set. See a show at the Opera House if there's something of interest in town, or else grab dinner in The Rocks before finishing the evening at a bar or club in one of the trendier neighborhoods.
Sydney is the biggest city in the country, so it certainly cannot be seen in one day. However, if you do have only 24-hours to see the city, get out of bed and follow this itinerary for the day.
- Check the sunrise hour, take a bus to Bondi Beach, settle on the rocks there and watch the sun emerge from the horizon.
- Have a Bondi-special breakfast at an organic cafe, About Life, while watching the locals (and a few celebrities) do their morning Pilates and boot camp sessions.
- Go back to the city and walk through the Botanical Gardens. Admire Australia's native flora, and get your space of tranquility in the middle of the city.
- Take a ferry across the harbour to Mosman and spend a few hours at Taronga Zoo.
- Then head to Manly for some downtime, at the beach, have a traditionally-Australian seafood lunch at Garfish with the view of the ocean.
- Spend a few hours at Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary to experience Australia's underwater life - from Grey Nurse Sharks to Nemo! And if you're game, do the Xtreme Shark Dive with seven sharks, four sting rays and two turtles - yes, that's a thing!
- Come twilight hour, take the ferry back to Circular Quay and watch the spectacular candy-floss coloured sky overwhelm you.
- Have dinner by the harbour at one of Sydney's award-winning restaurant, Quay, with the well-lit view of the Opera House.
You will definitely want to spend more than just a day in Sydney, but if it happens that you only have 24 hours or less, here is a quick tour of how to spend your day seeing the top attractions in Sydney...
Starting in The Rocks, make your way around Sydney’s historical district to find a spot to enjoy a true Aussie breakfast with eggs, bacon, sourdough toast, roasted tomatoes and avocado. There are plenty of places offering their own take on Australian breakfast, including the famous Pancakes on The Rocks.
Continue your way through the historical streets until you hit Circular Quay where you’ll find the most iconic view of Sydney with the Harbour Bridge connecting the city to the North Shore and the Opera House with its white sails, resting on the water.
Hop on a train at Circular Quay direction Bondi Junction to dive deeper into the ultimate Sydney experience. Once in Bondi, explore the trendy, tightly packed bars, restaurants and shops, and of course, when you need a rest, set up on Bondi Beach to enjoy some sun and surf.
End your day overlooking one of the world’s most famous beaches, as you dine at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar set above the legendary Bondi Icebergs Club.