Australia has so much to see and do that it can be hard to know where to even begin. The same is true for it's most populous city. Sydney, is the crown jewel of New South Wales, and is the centerpiece of the territory's tourism, culture, and adventure.
WHAT TO DO
There's no shortage of things to do in Sydney. Between the beach and the city, you'll have more than enough to keep you occupied for days. Nevertheless, there are a few 'must-do' things you won't want to miss!
1. WALK ACROSS THE SYDNEY HARBOR BRIDGE
Locals use the bridge for their daily commute and as a part of their exercise route. With breathtaking views of the Sydney Harbor and the Sydney Opera House, you'll the perfect vantage point for watching the ferries and small boats dance across the water. Here's how to get to the pedestrian path from Circular Quay.
2. LAY OUT AT BONDI BEACH
It's where Sydney's young, bronze and beautiful congregate in an intimidating display of bodies and bikinis. Whether you relax on the sand and watch the herds of surfers catching waves or wade in the beautifully blue water, a day at Bondi Beach is a can't miss Sydney experience.
3. DO THE BONDI TO COOGEE WALK
When you make the short trek out to Bondi (bus is the easiest way to get there), don't forget to make time to do the beautiful coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach. The full walk is 6km in distance along a cliff-top footpath which starts just past the famous Bondi Icebergs Club. It has stunning ocean views and cuts through several beautiful beaches and secluded coves. If you can't do the full 6km, try smaller sections instead, like the stretch from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach, which is about 2km.
4. WANDER CIRCULAR QUAY AND THE ROCKS
If your looking to enjoy some amazing views, scattered with small shops and good restaurants, the neighborhoods just west of the Sydney Opera House offer some relaxing views away from the immediate tourist rush.
5. RIDE THE FERRY TO MANLY
The best way to experience the Sydney Harbor is to take a ferry ride across to the beautiful Manly Beach. The ride is relaxing, complete with unbeatable, up-close views of the Sydney Opera House. The ferries to Manly are part of the city's public transport system so all you need to hop on is your Opal Card. Ferries shuttle to and from Manly frequently and take ~30 minutes.
WHERE TO EAT
Sydney is home to some of the best international fare and decadent treats in NSW; all of which are more than Instagram-worthy! Just see for yourself...
For mouth-watering Xiao Long Boa: Din Tai Fung
For beautiful (and delicious) desserts and treats: Brewristas
For extra decadent donuts: Doughnut Time
For the perfect beach-y brunch: Speedos Cafe
For Insta-famous ice cream: Aqua S
For breakfast/lunch/brunch in the perfect setting: The Grounds of Alexandria
Sydney has a reliable public transport system. It's not the most extensive but it is easy to navigate, timely, and will get you to all the major spots. Public transportation (i.e. the train) also conveniently connects central Sydney/CBD to the airport (both the domestic and international terminal).
Sydney's public transport system is operated by Transport NSW and includes a network of trains, buses, a light rail (or 'tram'), and ferries. The network operates on a pay-as-you-go system which riders access using a plastic 'ticket' called an Opal Card. In order to use the public transport system, you will first need to purchase and Opal Card and load it up with money. Then, each time you board train, bus, tram or ferry, you will 'tap' your Opal Card on the card reader at the door/entrance of the vehicle. Then when you arrive at your stop or destination, you will 'tap' your Opal Card on the reader again as you exit the vehicle. The system will then deduct the correct fare for your journey. Fares are calculated based on how fare you travel, whether you are traveling during Peak or Off-Peak hours, whether you are an Adult/Senior/or Child rider, and which mode of transport you are using. For example, the fare for an adult traveling on the train for less than 10km during peak hours is AUD$3.38 vs. the fare for a senior riding on the bus for up to 3km during peak hours is AUD$1.05.
For more detailed instruction on riding Sydney's public transport system, the wonderful couple behind the blog The Trusted Traveller have put together a comprehensive guide - including how to use the system's Opal Card, fares, navigating your way, and useful tips.