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Top 5 Things to See in Sydney, Australia

Updated on June 19, 2013

Top 5 Things To Do & See in Sydney, Australia

Bondi Beach and the Eastern Beaches
Bondi Beach and the Eastern Beaches
The Bondi to Coogee Hike
The Bondi to Coogee Hike
Surfing at Bondia
Surfing at Bondia
Circular Quay: Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge
Circular Quay: Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge
Watson's Bay Lighthouse and Hiking Paths
Watson's Bay Lighthouse and Hiking Paths

Teresa's Top Sydney Picks

Sydney, Australia is known most for it's beautiful harbour, known as Circular Quay, but those that stop there are truly missing out on some of Sydney's most beautiful sights. You may not realize, but Sydney - in and around - has over 100 different hiking trails and paths of all expertise levels, along with lighthouses, beaches, and a paradise for outdoor lovers.

I had the privilege of living in Sydney for 9 months, and stayed at a flat on Bondi Beach. While there are many sights to see in Sydney, I've narrowed it down to the top 5 that you can't miss. No matter how much time you have to stay, these are all doable - even on a short weekend.

1) Start your trip off with a visit to Bondi Beach, where you can see the beach, surf, and start your hike - and do all 3 in one day. Bondi Beach is the surfer mecca of Australia, and is famous for its huge crescent shaped beach that is over 1k long. In the summer, this is packed with people from all over the world catching some waves and rays. There are cafes and bakeries all around this area, and especially on the main road (Parade) that runs along the beach: Campbell Parade.

2) The Bondi to Coogee Hike. As I mentioned, Sydney is home to more than 100 hiking trails and paths all around the city, and the most famous is probably the Bondi walk, which runs all the way from Bondi to Coogee along the cliffs and right by the ocean. The views here are incredible, but be weary that during the heat of the day, this is packed with people. The best time to do the walk is either in the early morning or later in the evening. Make sure you stop in Bronte and get a coffee (flat white) at Cafe Salina. Also, if you're there during the Spring months, you may see some whales off the coast!

I also recommend the Spit to Manly (Manly is also a famous beach on the opposite side of the harbour). That hike takes between 4-6 hours, and is a much more difficult hike, but well worth it for the beautiful views. Once you arrive at Manly, make sure to check out the beach on the opposite side of the town, and enjoy a glass of wine and fresh seafood. Catch a ferry back from Manly to Circular Quay for only $7 USD - the ferry is also an experience that's worth it.

3) Surfing in Bondi (or Manly). No matter your skill level of surfing, everyone needs to try surfing. There are many different surf locations, but for beginners, I highly recommend Bondi Surf School, which meets at the North End of Bondi Beach. This surf school keeps a small group - no more than 8 at a time - which means you have ample time with the instructor. This is important as surfing isn't nearly as easy as it looks - it takes timing, coordination, and probably a good push by the instructor until you get the hang of it. I recommend a 2-hour session - you'll probably be exhausted at the end of it. Also, beginner tips: make sure to use zinc sunscreen (super waterproof) as well as get a wetsuit, even in the summer months. This will protect you from algae and scrapes.

4) The Circular Quay: Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge. Possibly the most famous sight for all of Sydney is the Circular Quay. This is a very busy area with tourists and restaurants, but is well worth the trip. Try to time your visit in the evening so you can watch the sunset behind the Opera House - it's absolutely breathtaking. If you're brave, I recommend taking the Harbour Bridge Climb, where you take a guided tour to the top. Also, Opera Bar is a great spot to grab a drink and watch the sunset in front of the Opera House. If you're keen to see a performance, tickets in the nosebleeds sections are usually available and reasonably priced at around $30-$50 USD. It's well worth it!

5) Last but not least, take a bus from Bondi Beach or Circular Quay to Watson's Bay. Unlike the other 4 items, this is where the locals hang out. Watson's Bay is a peninsula of sorts that's home to many of the best faraway views of the harbour, as well as mansions on the water. There are private beaches here, seafood restaurants, hiking trails, and a beautiful lighthouse. It's worth the trip, and not far from the city (40 minutes), and you'll feel like a local.

When you go to Sydney, make sure you see these top 5 sights! I'd love to hear what your favorite things are to see in and around the beautiful beach city.


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