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As an Australian, it always seemed a bit weird to write about Sydney. I grew up taking family trips to Sydney (it’s only a 1 hr flight from my home city of Melbourne), so it always seemed so normal to visit.
Now, as a travel blogger, I’m constantly hearing how people want to visit Australia, and Sydney in particular. From endless blue skies (don’t get me started on the weather) to the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney is filled with pinch-me moments you’ll remember for years to come.
I’ve put together a guide to spending 4 days in Sydney, so if you’re planning on visiting Sydney, read on my friends!
Day 1 – Iconic Sydney
There are endless things to see in Sydney, but you can’t go past the iconic parts of Sydney. From the Sydney Opera House to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, these are the iconic parts of Sydney that anyone would recognize, regardless of where they’re from.
You should spend some time during your 4 days in Sydney in the area known as Circular Quay. This harbor is a must, especially on a sunny day and is where you’ll see incredible views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
I’d recommend walking across the Sydney Harbor Bridge (this is free!) where you’ll get the best views of the Opera House and the surrounding harbour. Once you’re across on the other side, you can walk back, take a train back or take a ferry!
Things to do:
- Go for a stroll around Circular Quay, soaking in the views
- Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge (I did this once, and while it was $$, it was so much fun!)
- Take a Ferry across Sydney Harbour
- Go for a tour of the Sydney Opera House
- Take in views from Pylon viewpoint (note: there is an admission fee)
- Have a drink at the Opera Bar, located right outside the Opera House and enjoy the incredible harbour views.
Day 2 – Explore more of Sydney
Look, there are so many things to do in Sydney, it would be remiss of me not to mention that you couldn’t possibly fit it all into a few days.
What you do on your second day depends on your interests.
Do you love food? Here are some suggestions for your 4 days in Sydney…
- Brunch at the Grounds of Alexandria: on sunny days and weekends, this place is packed with people enjoying a drink or chillin’ out. The Grounds of Alexandria is filled with brunch options and is a beautiful place to relax.
- Enjoy a delicious meal at Sydney’s Chinatown: if you’re new to Australia, Australia has some of the best Chinese food outside of China!
- Brunch or late-night drinks in the inner-city suburb of Newtown (this is also where Sydney’s nightlife is at)
Or, are you after more iconic views or beautiful architecture?
- Taronga Zoo: hear me out, guys! Taronga Zoo’s location means it has beautiful views of Sydney. The giraffes, in particular, have the best views of the Harbour Bridge.
- The Strand Arcade: the Strand Arcade is a Victorian-style arcade in the heart of Sydney. The building is heritage listed and is like something out of an old British movie. The arcade is still fully functional and is now home to many boutique and designer shops.
- Royal Botanic Gardens: Spread across 30-hectares, you could spend hours here. Located next to Circular Quay, you’ll get incredible views of Sydney Harbour from here too. A particularly photogenic spot at sunset is Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair.
Day 3 – Bondi to Coogee Walk
Bondi Beach is iconic around the world, all thanks to the TV show, Bondi Rescue. And while to most Australians this is not the most beautiful beach Sydney has to offer, it’s still worth a visit.
Psst: unless you hate beaches. Then maybe don’t visit Bondi 😉
The best way to experience Bondi Beach is via the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. This walk hugs the coastline and involves stopping at various beaches and small seaside towns. While the walk is called the “Bondi to Coogee” walk, you can do it in either direction.
On a hot day, I’d recommend starting in Bondi and walking towards Coogee (as the sun will be “behind” you as the day progresses) If you don’t mind the heat or if it’s not a hot day, I’d recommend starting at Coogee. Bondi is a far bigger beach, and it’s fun to “build” up to it.
Both Bondi and Coogee are accessible via public transport (bus), and it takes approximately 45min – 1hr from Sydney city. At the end of your walk, you can just take the bus back to your hotel!
Make sure you bring water and swimwear, as you’ll want to cool off on the many beaches that make up this part of the coast.
Things to do:
- Enjoy food at the Coogee Pavillion (their fish and chips are to die for)
- Relax at Coogee Beach, a smaller but still pretty beach
- Have a relaxing dip at Bronte Baths (a saltwater rock pool that has free entry!)
- Visit the iconic Bondi Icebergs Pool (note: closed for cleaning on Thursdays)
Day 4 – Blue Mountains day trip
The Blue Mountains is only a 1hr drive from Sydney, but the views here will make you feel like you’re much further from the city. This region is known for dramatic cliff views and forests.
The region is named “The Blue Mountains” after the blue-like fog that appears as a result of the eucalyptus oil which is released from the eucalyptus (or gum) trees.
For most visitors, I’d recommend a day trip here, unless you have extra time or enjoy hiking (then definitely spend another day here)
Driving from Sydney takes 1hr, or if you’re on a budget or don’t like driving you can take the train here which takes approximately 1.5 – 2hrs.
Psst: Driving can be stressful, and parking here can be hard to find, especially on weekends or during busy holiday periods.
I’d suggest choosing from one of the many day hikes available. When visiting, I chose the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. This 6 km walk was short enough not to feel rushed but also long enough to enjoy Blue Mountain’s incredible views.
You can start at Katoomba Scenic World (take a bus) and walk along the cliff walk, stopping at the most popular lookout to see the Three Sisters (and you can even walk into it). The walk ends at Leura with the waterfalls (which at the moment are small because of the current drought).
You can take a bus to Leura Station, or if you’re still feeling like walking, you can walk to Leura station (which takes about 20-30 min from the end of the hike).
Are you spending more than 4 days in Sydney?
If you enjoy hiking, I’d add an extra day in the Blue Mountains and stay in Katoomba.
Another alternative is visiting Jervis Bay, which is a 4hr drive from Sydney. Jervis Bay is home to one of Australia’s most beautiful beach (Hyams Beach) which has white sand and turquoise water. This is a must if you love beaches. If you want to read more about Jervis Bay, make sure you check out my guide on things to do in Jervis Bay!
Are you spending less than 4 days in Sydney?
If you’re running short on time, I’d skip the Bondi to Coogee walk – unless it’s a lifelong dream of yours to see Bondi. While Bondi is a beautiful beach, it’s not the best beach Sydney has to offer.
Where to stay in Sydney
Where to stay on a budget: Veriu Broadway
This boutique-style hotel is located in Sydney’s business district. And even though I’ve listed this as a budget-friendly place, this hotel is beautifully decorated and a great option for those who love designer experiences on a budget.
For those on a medium-range budget: Ovolo Woolloomooloo
This boutique hotel is located along the harbour, giving incredible views of Sydney Harbour. Similar to the budget-friendly option above, this boutique hotel is stylishly decorated and great value for the price.
Where to stay if you want to treat yo’ self: The Langham
The Langham Sydney is really something. This hotel is in the top 100 hotels in the world and even features a Sotheby’s artwork collection. You can also get incredible views of Sydney Harbour too (who can say no to that?!)
I hope my guide to spending 4 days in Sydney was helpful!
Regardless of where you choose to visit in Sydney, you’re guaranteed a fun time. I’ve visited this city many times in the past, and it never ceases to amaze me.
Are you visiting Sydney? Have any questions? Leave ’em for me below, and I’ll answer them!
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