24 Hours In Sydney

So you’ve finally made it to Sydney and you only have a day to see the town.

First question I have is …. how’s that possible?  You don’t fly half way around the world and only spend a day in this incredible town.

Ignoring the circumstance that’s forced you to limit your time to 24 hours,  the second question to answer is where should you go and what to see?

The good news, a day is enough time to see the top tourist destinations and get a taste of Sydney’s culture. The bad news, you still haven’t seen everything.

Times a wasting  …..  lets start our tour of Sydney.

 

Morning

8 AM: A great starting point to explore the city is Circular Quay. This will give you access to Opera House, Sydney Harbour, Harbour Bridge, The Royal Botanical Garden and the ferries. First, grab a cup of coffee and quick bite to eat to energize you for the morning sprint. Start by visiting the Opera House and walking down the Harbour path (towards the Royal Botanical Gardens). This will give you plenty of opportunities to take pictures (from different angles) of the Opera House, the Harbour and its bridge.

When you make it towards the Royal Botanical Garden take a quick tour of the grounds (it’s spread over 30 hectares so you won’t be able to see it all in the time that you have) check out some of specialty spaces like the Oriental or Succulent gardens. Slowly make your way up to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. Overlooking the Harbour, it has my favorite views of the Opera House.

 

There's lots of lawns and chairs spread across the botanical gardens to sit and take in the views.
There’s lots of lawns and chairs spread across the botanical gardens to sit and take in the views.
While in the Botanical Garden make sure to walk through some of the special gardens like the beautiful Succulent Garden
While in the Botanical Garden make sure to walk through special gardens like the beautiful Succulent Garden
Tourist sitting on Mrs. MacQuarie's Chair
Tourist sitting on Mrs. MacQuarie’s Chair


 

10 AM: Return back to Circualr Quay and catch a ferry to Darling Harbour. Riding a ferry through the Harbour is a must, this short ferry ride will give you a great views of the surrounding area and other attractions that you won’t be able to visit in single day like Luna Park, North Sydney, and some of the near by islands.

While Darling Harbour feels a little bit like a tourist trap, it’s an interesting spot to visit. It has a number of attractions including the National Maritime Museum, an aquarium, a Chinese garden of friendship, World’s largest IMAX Screen, Madam Tussauds Wax Museum, lots of restaurants and bars and more.

Map Of Darling Harbour
Map Of Darling Harbour
A submarine parked next to the Maritime Museum
A submarine parked next to the Maritime Museum
The Chinese Friendship is an oasis of zen near Darling Harbour
The Chinese Friendship Garden is an oasis of zen near Darling Harbour
The Harbour's true beauty shines at night
Darling Harbour’s true beauty shines at night

 

Now head down to Dixon Street to visit Sydney’s Chinatown.  By this time you should be getting peckish and Chinatown is a great place to grab a cheap (for Sydney) bite to eat. The interesting thing is you won’t be limited to Chinese food you’ll be able to find other cuisines like Japanese, Korean, Indonesian and Vietnamese.

Before you leave, make sure to check out Paddy’s Outdoor Market ( located on the southwestern corner of Hay and Thomas Streets ).

 

Afternoon

1 PM To 5 PM: Next up is Bondi Beach. There was no way I could leave it off this itinerary. This is probably the second most famous destination in Sydney after the Opera House, and to some more important.

I’m not saying this is the best beach that Sydney has to offer, but it’s the one that everyone wants to see and experience. So grab your swimsuit, a towel and sunscreen. Be prepared to fight the crowds and lets head down to the beach. Spend the next couple of hours enjoying the water and sunbathe.

Afterwards head off to the Bondi to Cogee Coastal Walk. This is most famous and accessible coastal walk most tourists do. It takes you past beaches, rockpools, parks and spectacular coastal views. It’s a 6 km walk that will normally takes between 1 – 2 hours to complete at a leisurely pace. If you’re running low on time then you can walk up to Bronte only.

Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach


Evening

7 pm: Return back to your hotel room, grab a shower and change. We’re gonna hit the town. First order of business is to get some dinner.

Sydney, like any other respectable big city, has a wide range of hip upscale or hole-in-the-wall-but-the-foods-so-good restaurants. I won’t be giving a recommendation, given the constantly evolving food culture here, it would be outdated before I’m finished typing about it.

Instead use the following local guides to find the restaurant that suits your taste and budget: Time Out Sydney, The Urban List and Broadsheet.

After dinner its time to get your groove on. Sydney has lots places to get a drink and listen to live bands. Throughout Darling Harbour, Kings Cross, Oxford Street and The Rock you’ll find a huge selection of bars and clubs to choose from.

For tonight lets head over to Kings Cross, yes it can be seedy with its strip joints and sex shops, but it’s also one of the main clubbing areas in town with plenty of trendy clubs and bars.

For the younger crowd check out “The World Bar” attracting indie kids and uni students. If you’re looking something geared to the more established crowds then check out “The Crane” which offers solid cocktails, friendly staff and great food.

Outside of The Crane
Outside of The Crane
The Crane Bar
The Crane Bar