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How to See Sydney Australia in 3 Days

Updated on October 1, 2014

A 3 Day Itinerary For Your Visit To Sydney

While it would be nice to have a week to spend visiting all of Sydney's great attractions reality is most people only have 3 days in this beautiful harbour city.

This goal of this page is to help you plan the best use of that time so you can see as much as possible without too much stress.

I live in Sydney and have spent almost 20 years working with visitors and helping them make the most of their time.

All of the images on this page are my own. Please email if you would like permission to reuse any of them.

Day One

The Harbour and the Sydney Opera House - Our 2 main attractions

Sydney from the Cahill Expressway Walk
Sydney from the Cahill Expressway Walk

Sydney is all about the Harbour and to get that pinch yourself moment you are going to have to get down to the Opera House and the Bridge and take in the view. After what was probably a long flight it will make it all seem worthwhile.

I would begin with a walk along the Harbour foreshore, where you begin really depends on how tired you are after your trip here and where you are staying.

If energy is lacking you can just stick to the area around Circular Quay and the Opera House and then finish up by jumping on a ferry for a ride on Sydney Harbour.

If you are beginning your first day well rested and refreshed a walk to Mrs Macquarie's Chair at the edge of the Botanic Gardens is a must. I also suggest spending a couple of hours walking around the Rocks, Sydney's historic heart.

Great little guide that will save you money

Frommer's Sydney Free and Dirt Cheap (Frommer's Free & Dirt Cheap)
Frommer's Sydney Free and Dirt Cheap (Frommer's Free & Dirt Cheap)

I live in Sydney and still bought this book. Lots of great ideas and really helpful tips on saving money on your visit to Sydney.


Day Two

Today is Beach Day - Your choice Manly or Bondi

Manly Beach
Manly Beach

Sydney has so many great beaches but Manly and Bondi are the closest to the City. Bondi is our best known beach but actually not my favourite. If time permits I think you should see them both but if you are really short of time then Manly is a good option as it allows you to combine a trip on a Sydney ferry with your visit to the beach.

To get to Manly you take a ferry or fast cat from Circular Quay. The trip across the harbour takes about half an hour.

If you would rather see Bondi then take the express bus from Alfred Street - the street facing the wharf - straight to Bondi Beach. The journey will take about 35 minutes but you get to see some interesting parts of the city along the way.

These 2 posts on my Sydney Blog will help you plan your beach day.

Sydney Beaches by Public Transport

Using Sydney public transport: a guide for budget travellers

Day Three

Exploring the Rocks and Darling Harbour - Sydney's Old and New in one day

George Street The Rocks Sydney
George Street The Rocks Sydney

The Rocks is my favourite part of Sydney. It's our old quarter and there is plenty here to keep you busy for a couple of hours. It's also a photographer's paradise with old sandstone buildings and harbour glimpses around every corner.

Visit The Rocks Discovery Museum - it's free and will give you an idea of life in Old Sydney Town. Right upstairs from the museum you will find the Sydney Visitors Centre, well worth a visit for maps, guides and helpful staff as well as a great souvenir shop. If you are here on the weekend The Rocks Market is also worth a look.

After you have explored the Rocks either on a self-guided tour or a guided walking tour it's time to head to Darling Harbour, Sydney's newest tourist area. Built in 1988 to celebrate our Bicentenary is has been added to and modified over the years and there is plenty here to see and do.

Highlights for visitors are the museums and animal attractions. You can choose from Wildlife World, Sealife Sydney, Madame Tussauds, The Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum. None of these are free but check out the maps and guidebooks at the visitors centre or your hotel for discount coupons.

Have you visited Sydney yet?

Milson's Point Sydney Harbour
Milson's Point Sydney Harbour

Have you been to Sydney?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great place to visit but I try to stay out of the cities wherever I go in Australia.

      (a West ozzie here)

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      Sydney is one of the place to visit in my traveling list. I am sure I will be there one day.

    • profile image

      manishrocks 5 years ago

      Hey great lens, Sydney is the best destination for travelers and its my dream that once in life, I should go Sydney to enjoy best holidays time.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We had been to Sydney and enjoyed it. A really beautiful place to visit.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      This place is quite high on my list of places to visit in my lifetime!

    • treehousebrando1 profile image

      treehousebrando1 5 years ago

      I've always wanted to go to Sydney! Maybe one day...

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 5 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Thanks for the info - would like to visit soon !

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      I didn't visit Sydney but I love to do it. Thanks for a great lens and a info.

      Angel Blessing

    • profile image

      window-well-cover 5 years ago

      great tips about visiting sydney, had never been there and want to visit as soon as i have time. Would see all these places :)

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      One of the few places in the world I would like to visit.

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      Cannot say that I do seeing as I've never been there! Thanks for sharing, excellent lens. :D

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 5 years ago from Australia

      For an international visitor, I would also recommend one of our Australian wildlife parks.