A day in Sydney, Australia

When traveling from Bali to New Zealand, I realized the only way to get there was with a layover in Sydney. Instead of a few hours, I extended this to an entire day and had an absolute blast exploring this city for a day! The heart of Sydney has tons of amazing sights to see, restaurants to dine in, and bars to grab a cocktail and it’s ALL walkable! I summed up some of the top things to do and where to eat & drink if you find yourself in Sydney for a day!

What not to miss

  • Sydney Opera House: no trip to Sydney is complete without a trip to the opera house! Whether you just go to take pictures, sign up for a tour or even get tickets to a show- this iconic building is truly spectacular! The inside of the opera house isn’t as stunning as you’d expect but the outside is enough to wow anyone. We planned our whole trip around seeing an opera since I studied opera in college and it was such an incredible experience and one I highly recommend if it’s something you’re in to!
  • Sydney Tower Eye: the city of Sydney is such an interesting shape and there are so many waterfront venues. The tower eye is iconic and gives you some of the best views of the city on their observation deck!
  • Royal Botanic Gardens: The royal botanic gardens are an awesome way to kill an hour or two. They are free to enter and have a few cafes that are reasonably priced with beautiful views. The view of the opera house from here is also a stunning one!
  • Darling Harbor: Darling harbor is an awesome area to spend some time grabbing a drink or just strolling along the water. It’s directly west of the CBD (Central Business District) and a super quick walk from the center. The area is filled with bars, restaurants, and shops.
  • Queen Victoria building: The outside of this building is stunning and the inside is filled with posh shops and some really unique architecture!
  • Museum of Sydney: I honestly didn’t know much about Sydney when we went and was interested in learning about the indigenous people and the history of this gorgeous city. The museum is about a 5 minute walk from the circular quay and is an awesome way to learn about the city you’re exploring!

Where to eat & drink

  • O Bar and Dining: literally described as a “journey through Australian cuisine” this one is for foodies who are ok to splurge for a meal that is more of an experience!
  • Frankie’s pizza: this rock & roll bar comes alive at night with live music and some of the nicest bartenders you’ll come across. They also have killer pizza that you can enjoy by the slice or to go (which is how we event ended up stumbling upon this hidden gem!)
  • Chophouse Sydney: if you love steak and you want a fancy dinner- the chophouse is the way to go!
  • Sydney Opera House: there are a few restaurants in the opera house. Bennelong is the more expensive one but the ambiance is killer and the Australian cuisine looks epic. Looking for a cheaper alternative but still want a fun vibe? check out Portside for a delicious meal on the water.
  • Celsius Coffee Co: love fancy coffee and have some time to kill? Head across the water from the opera house for gorgeous views and a delicious cappuccino.

Pro tips

  • Walk everywhere! Sydney is absolutely stunning and feels incredibly safe. Pop into a cafe or shop to cool off if it’s a hot summer day, but definitely take advantage of how “walkable” the city center is!
  • Stay in the CBD: The CBD (Central Business District) is the heart of everything. It’s bustling with shops and incredible restaurants and a 5-15 minute walk from the main sights like the opera house, botanic gardens, and darling harbor! We opted for the QT Sydney which had an AMAZING bar and restaurant and some of the coolest vibes (and most comfy bed) of all of the hotels we stayed at in Oceania!
  • Make reservations: If you’re looking for a nicer dinner, the restaurants do tend to fill quickly so make sure to snag a reservation!

There are so many places we didn’t get to see and I wish we had more than a day. I wanted to give a quick overview based on personal experience so if anyone is heading for a day and looking for tips- this blog is for you!

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