Updated: May 11, 2019
A top destination in Australia, Sydney is where colorful beaches meets the largest cosmopolitan city. The sun rises over the shores that lead out to the Pacific Ocean and sets over the Sydney's skyline shedding light on the thousands of activities the city has to offer. It's surfing culture, unique history and diverse wildlife keeps its tourists busy for weeks on end.
We stayed right on the shore of Coogee beach which was about a 10-15 minute drive to the CBD. The greatest part about Sydney is that all of the diverse geographical landscapes are only a quick car ride away; whether you want to spend the day relaxing in the sun and surfing the waves or exploring the city life, all you need to do is catch a ride.
We stayed at the Mad Monkey Hostel on a Coogee Beach. This was the first of many mad monkey hostels in Australia and if you're looking for a place just steps away from the ocean, this is your place. With free breakfast and a cool lounge area, it was easy for us to meet people and plan out our days in Sydney.
COOGEE TO BONDI COASTAL WALK
As Australia is across the world from the United States, their seasons are different. The idea that Australia can get to be quite cold during their winter isn't a concept that people often grasp, however, if visiting some of Australia's iconic beaches are on your travel list, you'll want to be sure that you are in Sydney from November to March.
We had such a nice time doing the Coogee to Bondi Beach coastal walk! You can start this infamous walk from either start point, but if you want to see the sun setting over the coast, make sure you start at the right beach! There are also many different ocean pools to stop by at and take a dip. If you wanted to make the most of the five beaches, use the whole day to complete this walk!
We began our cliff top coastal walk in Coogee and saw the stunning views, beaches, parks, cliffs, bays and rock pools all along the six kilometer walk along Sydney's suburbs. The medium grade urban walk runs through five beaches; Coogee, Clovelly, Bronte, Tamarama, and of course Bondi. The walk takes about two hours to complete but the time can vary due to the steep gradient paths, several staircases, and coastal views to take in.
Bondi Beach is Sydney’s most famous beach. The stunning water glistens and it's impressive waves provide surfers with the perfect tides back to shore. As the sun sets, the golden sand turns a beautiful pink and the sandstone cliffs and coves stand out along the coast. Once you have completed your long journey, head over to Bondi's many beach bars to enjoy a drink.
If the weather is permitting, head to Bondi's Icebergs Club. The food is amazing and you can take a dip in their infinity pool that overlooks all of Bondi Beach. The Icebergs Club is an international landmark and no trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to their pool and clubhouse.
Located at the southern end of Bondi Beach, Bondi Icebergs Club is an international landmark, and no trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to our pool and clubhouse which is open to members and visitors alike.
Cross the harbor to Manly to head to Shelly Beach for the best spots for snorkeling and seafood.
Manly is one of Sydney’s most bustling sea-side neighborhoods and there are plenty of relaxing bars and restaurants to enjoy at your leisure.
Similar to the Bondi coastal walk, the northern beaches is every bit as beautiful. The 10km track links the Spit Bridge with Manly Beach and goes through Fisher Bay, Forty Baskets and Sandy Beach. Collins Flat Beach has the infamous Manly Jump Rich which is a fun rock jumping spot if you're into an adrenaline rush.
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
When people think of Sydney, the famous opera house often comes to mind. Once you take in the beautiful architecture of the magnificent structure, one can easily understand why it is a signature landmark in Australia. If it is the right season you may be able to reserve tickets to an opera. Being to several operas back in the day (my mom is a professional dancer for the NY performing arts which includes performances at the Lincoln Square Metropolitan Opera House), I can confidently say that going to an opera is a magical experience. You can dress up for an evening and hear beautiful music being performed.
SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is another magnificent Sydney landmark which connects the city to Sydney's lower north shore. People often climb the Sydney bridge, especially since the Australia episode of Modern Family, to enjoy panoramic views across the whole Harbour in every direction.
This activity, however, is weather dependent and if the winds are too high or the rain too strong, your reservation will be cancelled. Unfortunately when we went to Sydney, a cyclone was passing through which meant that climbing the bridge was out of the question. Luckily for us, a friend had told us about walking the bridge and heading into the Pylon tower to see the panoramic views of Sydney. This only cost us a fraction of the price (about 10 AUD) and brought us through the history of the bridge and how it was built before we walked up to the viewpoint.
The Sydney Harbour is one of the most beautiful in the world. Many of the city’s suburbs make the most of the incredible views with plenty of restaurants located on or near it, including the oldest pub in Australia! They have amazing happy hour deals all around the city so be sure you secure a place from 4-6 to enjoy next to free beers and wings!
There are a number of museums throughout the city center by the harbour, including Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sydney Museum, the Powerhouse Museum and Australian National Maritime Museum. The harbor is also home to Sydney’s IMAX Theatre, Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife Sydney Zoo and Madam Tussads.
You can see and experience the Sydney Harbour through a walking tour or embark on one of the numerous cruises available for sightseeing during the day or a romantic dinner in the evening.
The Rocks precinct has huge historical significance for Sydney as it was the place Europeans first colonized during the 18th Century. The historic district has been transformed into a vibrant place to enjoy some of Sydney’s best restaurants, bars, galleries and markets.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS
Nestled on the water's edge, the Royal Botanic Gardens are right behind the famous Sydney Opera House. Pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful gardens on a nice Spring day.
SYDNEY TOWER EYE
Spend your day taking in breathtaking views of the city. Head to the summit of ‘Sydney Tower Eye’ which offers views across the city to the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Blue Mountains in the west. At the top of the tower, the Sydney Skywalk experience is a moving, glass-floored viewing platform giving you panoramic views of the area.
We only got to spend four days in Sydney, but it was one of our favorite cities to visit on our world trip! The cosmopolitan city is relatively small and just a lengthy walking distance from the beaches so even though we have suggested a hefty itinerary, it is definitely possible to do everything within three days!