What is the best way to see Sydney in one day?

Shitika Anand

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 GardensAdmire 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. 

  • On July 31, 2013
    Shitika Anand answered the question: Shitika Anand

    What are the best food gifts to buy in Sydney?

    There's so much multiculturalism in the country, you almost forget what the true Aussie food is like in the country. While there isn't really a defined true Aussie food, there are snacks that you can take back to your country, as a souvenier. 

    Vegemite - A dark brown coloured paste made from yeast extract, this Aussie staple is one to get used to. It's an acquired taste that might take longer than anticipated to like. Kids in Australia grow up with vegemite on toast. Just how Americans feel about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Aussies feel that and a little bit more about vegemite on white bread. It's extremely high in salt and packed with preservatives; it'll last long in your pantry. P.s. Brad Pitt tried this, and loved it; there's a story there. 

    Tim Tams - Another Aussie superstar, this chocolate covered biscuits are a local pride. They come in over 15 flavours now, but if you want the real stuff, go for the original. As they say, 'you wouldn't be able to stop at one'. So buy a few packs for family back home. 
  • On July 31, 2013
    Quinn Connors answered the question: Quinn Connors

    What are the five best Sydney food experiences?

    Pavlova Topped with Raspberries and Chocolate During your stay in Sydney make sure you really dig into some true Australian food experiences and eat like a local. Most of us know about the infamous Vegemite yeast spread, but there are a few more Aussie classics that you should try (and you may find them a bit tastier). Don’t miss out on these top five.

    Tim Tam
    Made of chocolate cream sandwiched between two malted chocolate cookies and smothered in a layer of chocolate, the Tim Tam is considered “Australia’s Favorite Cookie”. This chocolaty treat is delicious on its own, but even better when dipped into some tea or an Aussie made flat white, in what’s called a “Time Tam Slam”.

    Meat Pie
    Australians love these hand-sized pies filled with minced meat, gravy and sometimes onions, mushrooms, cheese or tomatoes. Pies are found almost everywhere and are perfect for a quick lunch. Some bakeries in Sydney have taken the pie even further and created gourmet fillings like Bourke Street Bakery and The Pie Tin – where you can grab a sweet pie for dessert too.

    This favorite cake was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova in honor of her tour through Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Popular during the Australian summer and often served for Christmas, the cake is meringue based and often garnished with fruits and whipped cream. Yum!

    Taste test Australia’s coat of arms and find yourself some ‘roo meat. This lean, entirely free-range meat is available in most supermarkets in the form of steaks and sausages. You can also find kangaroo featured on some restaurant menus throughout the city. Try the Pepper Kangaroo pizza at the Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks or the highly acclaimed Kangaroo Steak prepared at The Meat and Wine Co.

    This list wouldn’t be complete without the Lamington. With sponge cake coated in chocolate and coconut flakes, this cake has been dubbed ‘The National Cake of Australia’. Bite into this popular cake at Single Origin Roasters in Surry Hills, which offers quite possible the best lamington in Sydney.
  • On July 31, 2013
    Shitika Anand answered the question: Shitika Anand

    What is the weather like right now in Sydney?

    Sydney is one of the lucky few cities in the country where the weather isn't bi-polar. Unlike Melbourne, where you can experience all four seasons within 24 hours, Sydney is more constant. 

    Temperature in Sydney from May - September is cool. You'd get a high of 17-18C (65F) and a beautiful sunny winter day and by sundown it would go down to a minimum of 7C (44F).

    November - March is summer time in Sydney which tend to get really hot. Expect the temperature soar up to 35-38C (100F) around Christmas time, but the nights are breezy and cool with a low of 16-18C (65F). 

    My personal favourite months to be in Sydney are April (Autumn) and October (Spring) - the temperature is just perfect for a light jumper, the days are beautiful and crisp and the nights are balmy. These are outside the peak season periods for travelling as well. 
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    Shitika Anand
  • On July 31, 2013
    Quinn Connors answered the question: Quinn Connors

    What is the one must-do activity when visiting Sydney?

    It’s hard to choose just one thing to do in Sydney. That being said though, one thing you must do is, take a ferry ride from Sydney to the Taronga Zoo in Mosman, and back. Absorb Sydney’s sites from the water, to the blue skies to the lush vegetation as you make your way to see some Aussie animals. On your way back, prepare to see an unbelievably breathtaking view of all of Sydney Harbour as you head to Circular Quay. If you time it right, you could catch the sun setting behind the Harbour Bridge, making the gorgeous view even more remarkable, and if you're lucky, you could possibly spot a whale or two during your ride.

    Sydney is so beautiful. No matter how you choose to do it, make sure you spend time enjoying the stunning panoramas.
  • On July 31, 2013
    Quinn Connors answered the question: Quinn Connors

    What is the best way to see Sydney in one day?

    Bondi Beach 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.
  • On July 31, 2013
    Quinn Connors answered the question: Quinn Connors

    What are the best museums in Sydney?

    Sydney has a large array of museums on offer. While visiting the city, you’ll have many options to choose from including a great selection of art, history and science.

    The Art Gallery of NSW
    Located just behind the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in the Domain is home to a huge variety of art from Australian and Aboriginal, to European and Asian. Admission is free to its permanent collections and most of its exhibitions. Every year during the Australian autumn, the prestigious Archibald portraiture contest is held at the museum. The works by finalists and the winners are shown for a few months after – a definite must see.

    The Australian Museum
    The oldest museum in Australia, the Australian Museum holds over 10 million artifacts from history. Take a tour through Indigenous Australia on the ground level, and then head up to the second floor where you will learn about “Surviving Australia”. While you’re on the second level, be sure to check out the dinosaurs. This museum is one to add to the list if you’re traveling with kids.

    The Powerhouse Museum
    Dedicated to showcasing Australian innovation, the Powerhouse Museum presents permanent and temporary collections featuring technologies from science and creative industries. Here you can learn about a huge variety of subjects including fashion, engineering, furniture design, medicinal developments, technological revolutions, space, and much more. The museum is a great space for adults and children to explore, discover and play.

    Read more about Sydney museums and what’s on, now on the Forbes Travel Guide blog.
  • On July 31, 2013
    Quinn Connors answered the question: Quinn Connors

    What is the tipping etiquette in Sydney?

    Tipping in Sydney isn’t expected, as there is a 10% Goods and Services Tax included in your bill. Also, basic wages are relatively decent in the Australian service industry, so, servers don't necessarily depend on their tips as they do in other countries. However, tipping is always appreciated. If the service and experience at a restaurant or bar has been enjoyable, a standard 10% tip is often given. At cafés, it’s also nice to leave some change when paying a bill, or add it to the café’s tip jar if they have one. The 10% tip is also the standard accepted at hotels, but again, it is not required.
    When taking a taxi, a tip is not expected, though people often tell the driver to keep the change.
  • On June 30, 2013
    Quinn Connors answered the question: Quinn Connors

    What are the best places for opera in Sydney?

    The Force of Destiny by Verdi, now showing at the Sydney Opera House Look no further than the iconic Sydney Opera House set on the water for spectacular opera performances. The opera house sails, conceived and designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, are not only a national symbol, but they also hold a world-class performing arts center, home to Opera Australia and three other performance companies. Running eight months of the year, shows at the Sydney Opera House are split into summer and winter seasons.
    During the summer season, you can also catch outdoor opera performances held by Opera Australia and the Sydney Opera House. Enjoy free opera at The Domain, or see the waterside Handa Opera on a floating stage in Sydney Harbour. For the 2013 season, Handa Opera presented a critically acclaimed, knockout performance of Carmen, complete with amazing dance numbers and a fireworks finale.

    What’s on for Winter 2013 at the Sydney Opera House?
    • The Force of Destiny by Verdi – June 29 to July 23
    • Tosca by Puccini – July 6 to August 31
    • Don Pasquale by Donizetti – July 18 to August 15
    • La traviata by Verdi – July 30 to August 31
    • Albert Herring by Britten – August 16 to August 30
  • On June 30, 2013
    Quinn Connors answered the question: Quinn Connors

    What are some day trips worth taking from Sydney?

    During your time in Sydney, you should plan a day and travel outside of the city. From the mountains to the bush to the beach, New South Wales has an abundance of striking landscapes for you to visit.

    The Blue Mountains
    Named for its blue eucalyptus haze, the Blue Mountains are great for a family-friendly day trip. Head to the area by car to enjoy scenic drives, tour the region and explore the national park home to the Three Sisters rock formation and old steam Zig Zag Railway. The largest town in the area, Katoomba, holds quaint boutiques and antique stores, and is in close proximity to some of the region’s biggest attractions including the temperate Leura rainforest and Scenic Railway – the world’s steepest railroad.

    Bowral in the Southern Headlands
    Bowral is to Sydneysiders as Deauville is to Parisians: a rustic escape from city life. This charming town full of historic manors and estates sits south of Sydney and is easily accessible by train or car. It’s recommended you rent a car though to fully enjoy your trip from the picturesque ride down, to traveling to the local Mount Gibraltar for a must-do bushwalk. This small mountain rises over the town and holds many picnic areas and look out points, as well as a nature reserve at its peak. Head down for a day or a weekend to wander the town and its antique and artisanal shops, explore the landscape and discover some local vineyards on your way.

    Palm Beach
    At the northern most point of Sydney you’ll find the beautiful Palm Beach. Grab a bus or a train and make your way to this northern beachside suburb. Here you’ll find the beaches that Australia is known for, featuring white sand, deep blue water and surfers catching a wave. “Palmy” as some locals call it, has the ultimate beach town vibe. Spend the day in the sand, then head to a café where everyone’s barefoot, footloose and fancy free.
  • On June 30, 2013
    Quinn Connors answered the question: Quinn Connors

    What should I pack for a trip to Sydney?

    Sydney is a seaside city, so pack your beach essentials including a bathing suit, flip-flops and towel. Also, while you spend your days in the sun, make sure you packed proper skin protection in the form of sunscreen, hats, beach covers and sunglasses, because the sun in Australia is very strong. You don’t want to ruin your trip with a painful sunburn. Lastly, during the summer months, don’t forget mosquito repellant. These little pests quickly become a nuisance, and no one wants to be itching for an entire vacation.

    In contrast to what people wear during the day when they’re on the beach or at the local café, Sydneysiders really dress up when they go out. So, besides beachwear, you will want to have something nice for wining and dining at night.

    On a final note, don’t leave your camera at home. Sydney is so beautiful from its water views to lush greenery; you will want to have these images as a souvenir!