I migrated to Australia last 2018 with my husband and since then we started searching for interesting local and touristy places to visit within the vicinity. Australia’s a very big, isolated chunk of land down under, so if you live here, you ought to figure out how to explore its hidden jewels. After several months, we decided to settle down in Sydney mainly for work reasons. Fortunately, we found an apartment near the city so a lot of the places are within arm’s reach. Whether you’re here as a new migrant, local, or traveller, you need to do these top 10 best activities. Rest assured that all are tried, tested, and ‘Instagrammed’.
1. Enjoy the beauty of Sydney’s Great Coastal Walk: Bondi to Coogee
This is one of the most scenic walks for travellers – starting from Bondi beach and ending in Coogee. Spanning a total of 6km, this easygoing trail is perfect for locals and tourists alike. It will take you roughly 2-3 hours to finish the whole trail with photo stops included. The good thing is that it is very accessible to the city. Just take the train-bus route to Bondi beach and start walking to your right along the coast. You will pass by the famous spots such as Bondi beach, Mackenzie’s point, Tamarama and Bronte beach, Waverley cemetery, and Coogee Bay.
Astounding view of Bronte beach via the great coastal walk path
2. Get mesmerized with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge
Of course, a trip to Australia is not complete without seeing it’s two iconic structures- the Sydney Opera house and Harbour Bridge. If you want a great photo with both of it, then head over to the Sydney Botanical Garden. The easy entrance is just right behind the Opera house, walk straight and you’ll see the entrance gate. Make sure to visit twice- in the morning and night time and have a drink in the famous hangout nearby- the Opera bar.
Harbour Bridge, Opera house, and lovely Spring flowers
3. Take the ferry to Manly Beach
One of the must things to do when you travel to Sydney is to take the 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay to the small beach town of Manly. A round trip fare will barely cost you 20 bucks. You can get stunning views of Sydney’s waters along with the iconic structures around it. Be prepared as well for a bumpy ride! once you arrive in Manly, you can either swim at the beach or enjoy good food as there are tons of restaurants to choose from. Our personal favourite is to eat takeaway order of Fish and Chips along the beach front (while being careful of the sneaky seagulls ready to grab our food anytime.)
The Manly ferry starts from Circular Quay
4. Explore the hipster culture in Newtown
Newtown is a 10-minute train ride away from the CBD. Once you step outside the station, you’ll immediately feel the hipster aura in the town. Live music, tons of coffee shops, tasty restaurants, and graffiti painted everywhere- you’ll definitely know that you are in Newtown. This place is actually close to our hearts since we previously lived in Melbourne for some time and this place is like a super mini version of it. Vegans out there, celebrate as there are also lots of nice restaurants to choose from.
Structures in Newtown have the Victorian building vibes
5. Chill in Watson’s Bay
This is yet another ferry trip, but a shorter 15-minute ride. Once you arrive in this enclave, you’ll feel the chill, calm vibes around. You can simply walk over straight to the South Head Lookout to have a view of Hornsby Lighthouse. If you feel like eating, a must try is Doyle’s. They serve one of Sydney’s best fish and chips! This local shop also offers other grilled and fresh seafood options that you need to try.
One of the view points in Watson’s Bay
6. Hike in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is around an hour and a half trip from the city. Its blue tint is due to the densely populated forest full of Eucalyptus trees- of which the oil are believed to scatter short-wave blue rays. The default option for day trip travellers is to visit the Echo Point Lookout where you ’ll have stunning views of the Three Sisters and the Jamison valley. If you’re energetic enough, you can also opt to try the various hiking routes around the valley either on your own or with local tour guides.
The Three Sisters
7. Eat super fresh seafood in Sydney Fish Market
Travelling to Australia won’t be complete without trying its mouthwatering seafood! I swear that I’ve tasted some of the world’s sweetest and freshest seafood in Sydney. A nearby place that you can visit is Sydney’s Fish Market, where you can buy seafood and have it cooked your own style! It’s better if you’re going to visit the market in a small group so you can buy mixed types and have it for sharing. Some of my favourites include the Scallop Aburi and Chili Garlic Prawns.
Lobsters, Oysters, Shrimps, and a lot more
8. Go library and museum hopping
Sydney has several library and museum that are open to the public for free. This is usually what my husband and I do every other weekend whenever we don’t have any big travel plans. The good thing is that these libraries and museums are all very big, clean, and amazing. A local favourite is The Art Gallery and State Library of NSW. Our personal preference is the modern structures and designs of Green Square Library and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
The main reading room of State Library of NSW
9. Experience a street full of purple Jacaranda trees
If you’re a fan of Cherry Blossoms aka Sakura, you’ll love the Jacaranda trees. It is a tree known for its vibrant purple flowers during Spring. It originally came from Argentina and was brought to Brisbane by trading ships. While Grafton has a bigger population of these trees and even has a Jacaranda festival, you can see a street full of these lovely flowers in Milson’s Point, just past by the Harbour Bridge. We’re lucky enough to live a walking distance away from it and so, we made sure to experience it for our first Spring in Sydney.
This street full of Jacaranda trees is near Milson’s point
10. Shop souvenirs in Paddy’s market
A trip will never be complete without buying souvenirs. If you’re hunting for cheap but good stuff to bring home to your friends, make sure to drop by at Paddy’s market near Central station. There you can buy heaps of 6 dollar Australia shirts, magnets, keychains, and a lot more. If you get hungry, simply drop by in Chinatown where you can try various types of tasty Asian food. Oh, and if it’s a Friday, then you can devour a lot of streetfood from the Night Market nearby.
The Friday Night Market in Chinatown, near Paddy’s.
So, this summarises the best things to do in Sydney- and most of it is free. What are you waiting for, go and buy a ticket to travel here and have a blast!