Whew! How can a week fly by so fast!?!
Don’t get down though there is still so much to see, and to do, and to eat, so let’s get started…here we go Week 2!
All photography by Studioist
Looking for the Sydney Itinerary part 1, days 1-7?
We've got you've covered, check out 14 Days in Sydney, Australia Pt. 1.
The central business district (CBD for short) is the commercial and business center of a city, which geographically often coincides with the “city centre.” In America, we call this area “downtown.”
Culturally, the city centre is the hub of Sydney’s nightlife and entertainment districts, and home to most of the city’s architecturally significant buildings.
9 A.M. — No rush this morning. Grab a sit-down breakfast or take your time sipping coffee at a nearby cafe.
10:15 A.M. — Make your way to St. James, Town Hall, or Martin Place Station and then into the north end of Hyde Park.
10:30 A.M. — Hyde Park is the oldest public parkland in Australia and with its proximity to the CBD, this 40-acre urban park is the perfect place to enjoy the weather, take a stroll or simply enjoy the views.
At the north end, the centerpiece of the park is Archibald Fountain, just across College Street lies St Mary’s Cathedral - a gorgeous Gothic Revival Catholic cathedral, and adjacent to College Street and the Australian Museum is Sandringham Garden - opened and dedicated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a memorial to Kings George V and George VI.
The park is a perfect place to take in the city. Snag a bench and enjoy some coffee. In a bite as you stroll through Hyde Park keep an eye out for several statues and works of art scattered throughout the space.
At the southern end is the ANZAC War Memorial & Museum and its reflecting pool dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) forces of World War I, and in honor of the service and sacrifice all servicemen, servicewomen, and their families have made.
The Art Deco monument was unveiled in 1934 and now its collection contains more than 6,000 significant historical objects including medals, badges, uniforms, photographs, documents, and works of art. The museum is by donation and definitely worth some of your time!
If shopping’s not your thing, hop on a tour of the Hyde Park Barracks Museum (Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000) and learn about this heritage-listed former barracks, hospital, convict accommodation, mint and courthouse and now museum and cafe. It’s very interesting!
12 P.M. — When you’ve finished in Hyde Park, let’s head in for some retail therapy.
In Sydney most stores are open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. with shorter weekend hours. Thursday night is “late night shopping” night with stores remaining open till 9 p.m. Australia encourages a good work-life balance and therefore storekeepers and workers stick close to traditional daytime business hours. How nice is that!
Sydney is a mecca for fashionistas and the city’s shopping centers are full of the latest trends, designer stores, and major international retailers.
Where to Shop:
- Queen Victoria Building (QVB - 455 George St, Sydney NSW 2000) - One of Sydney’s most beautiful buildings, the QVB has been trading since 1898 and is filled with several high fashion brands like Rodd & Gun, Gorman, and Camilla, as well as more affordable store such as Lush, Lorna Jane, Kikki K. Retailers sell everything from fashion, accessories, giftwares, stationary, paintings, and more in it’s three-stories.
Don't miss the “Royal Clock” on the upper level of the QVB. Created by Thwaites & Reed of Hastings in England, the clock on the hour from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. displays scenes of English royalty. Miniature trumpeters emerge from the clock’s turrets and signal the start of each performance. The six scenes with mechanical animation are viewed - one at a time - through windows on both sides of the clock faces.
Pitt Street Mall (182 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000) - In addition to international retail stores like H&M, Topshop & Zara, you’ll find different stores like Zimmerman, Country Road, Witchery, and Citizens of Humanity.
Westfield Sydney (Pitt St Mall and, Market St, Sydney NSW 2000) - With 250+ stores, Westfield Sydney is home to popular Australian department stores David Jones & Myer, as well as a variety of upscale designer shops like miu miu, Prada, and Fendi, a large food court, and 100 Squared—an emerging designer market with selections from the best up and coming independent designers.
Strand Arcade (412-414 George St, Sydney NSW 2000) - This Victorian-style building is just off Pitt Street Mall and houses high end retailers as well a few eateries. Stop by Haigh’s
World Square (644 George St, Sydney NSW 2000) - This percent is the go-to destination for more affordable, day-to-day shopping like General Pants Co, Cue, Nine West, and Forever New, in addition to a handful of eateries.
If you’re looking to grab a quick bite in between stores, swing by Westfield Sydney’s food court and try Din Tai Fung, specializing in xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings) and Huaiyang cuisine. Enjoy this Michelin Star eatery for an affordable price. Note: I’m partial to their soup.
Otherwise give Thr1ve a go! It’s located just around the corner from Din Tai Fung and serves health-conscious meals that are gooood!
4:30 P.M. — Make your way back to your residence, freshen up and change for the evening. Perhaps wear something new you found while shopping today. :)
5:30 P.M. — Grab dinner before the show. I prefer to be close to the venue in case dinner runs over. If you’re the same way make reservations at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar (Lot 1, Circular Quay East, Sydney, NSW 2000). Their modern seafood menu is just as good as the view!
7:10 P.M. — Arrive a little early at the Sydney Opera House so you can take in the evening view.
For most shows there are several ticket packages to choose from, some of which include pre-show dining and drinks. Depending on which package you purchase, please adjust the time according to your ticket.
7:30 P.M. — Show at the world-famous Sydney Opera House.
10:30 P.M. — Don’t stay out too late tonight as tomorrow is another early morning.
KANGAROOS, ECHIDNAS & KOALAS, OH MY!
7:45 A.M. — Grab some breakfast, and don’t forget your camera!
Top up your Opal card and make your way to Central Station.
8:30 A.M. — Train from Central Station to Blacktown Station (it’s about an hour and a half ride) then hop on a 10-ish minute bus to Featherdale Wildlife Park. There’s a sign on the stand for the park if you’re not sure which one it is.
10 A.M. — Explore Featherdale Wildlife Park. This is one of the greatest places ever!!! Definitely one of our favorite places in Australia.
When you get your ticket, there will be signage with Keeper Talks and Feeding times. Don’t miss these! They allow you to get up close and learn about some unique Australian species.
My personal faves: Echidnas and Flying Foxes.
You can pay for private animal encounters and photos, but the Keeper Talks are free!
Note: Bring some cash and coins. There are “cones,” literally ice cream cones filled with animal feed, that you can purchase throughout the park. If you have one kangaroos and other critters will literally eat out of your hand!!!!
At some point grab some lunch at their food stand. It’s nothing fancy and don’t eat too much because dinner’s going to be goooood. Eat quick because you’re definitely going to want to spend as much time as possible at the park. If I could live at Featherdale I would!
Then take about a ZILLION more photos before the park closes at 5 p.m. Then catch the bus and train back to Central Station.
7 P.M. — When you arrive at Central, tap off and hop a 5 minute bus or walk 15 minutes down Broadway to Papa Rich (shop 5/185 Broadway, Ultimo NSW 2007). Papa Rich is a Malaysian restaurant with amazing food and huge portion sizes! Seriously this Papa Rich was a 7 minute walk from one of our apartments and we were obsessed.
Order the Kaya Toast (toast with pandan coconut jam), vegetable Curry Laksa, Roti Canai with Curry Chicken, and your milk tea of choice. Then if you have any room left at all order the ABC (Ice Kacang).
8:30 P.M. — I’d recommend walking back to the station, ya no walk off that big ole, delicious meal, and catch a train back to your hotel. If you’re not ready to head back quite yet—walk back the way we came and head to Central Park Mall instead. This mixed-use urban renewal development contains several restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries. If you have room for dessert, stop by Anita La Mama del Gelato, Gelatissimo, or Chatime.
The suburb, Chippendale, is hip, close to everything, and bustling with university students. The lawn outside Central Park Mall hosts everything from live music, outdoor movies, and markets.
Just around the corner you’ll find Kensington Street’s Spice Alley, six hawker-style eateries in a a lantern-strung laneway.
Whenever you’re ready, head back and call it a night. That was a long one!
In the heart of Sydney’s Inner West you’ll find the city’s hipster capital—Newtown.
This trendy neighborhood is brimming with street art, boutique stores, cafes, entertainment venues, and historic architecture.
9 A.M. — Sleep in a bit this morning, you deserve it!
10 A.M. — Hop on the T2 train from Museum, St. James, or Central Station and take it to Newtown Station.
10:30 A.M. — Spend the day exploring this creative, eclectic and alternative sub-culture neighborhood.
Walk along King Street and Enmore Road…
…Sipping coffee at Brewtown (6-8 O'Connell St, Newtown NSW 2042). Make sure to try their infamous cronuts!
…Shopping at the area’s unique boutiques, secondhand, and record stores. Some of my faves include:
- Collective Ensemble (curated pre-loved clothing) - 500 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
- Monster Threads (giftwares) - 251 King St, Newtown NSW 204
- Pentimento (stationary & books) - 249 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
- Egg Records (vintage vinyl) - 3 Wilson St, Newtown NSW 2042
- Cream On King (vintage/upcycled clothing)— 317 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
…Admiring the amazing street art! Some of the most popular are:
- It’s A Jungle Sometimes - on the corner of Enmore Road and Bailey Street
- I Have A Dream - on King Street between Eliza and Mary streets
…Taking note of the historic facades, many of which are the original from the late 1800s.
…Eating at all the local hot spots, like:
- Lentil As Anything (vegetarian restaurant with pay-as-you-feel prices) - 391 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
- Great Aunty Three (Vietnamese) - 115 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042
- The Tin Pie (Aussie meat & sweet pies) - 1a Brown St, Newtown NSW 2042
- Thai Pothong Restaurant (Thai) - 294 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
…Walking among the remaining tombstones of Sydney’s oldest cemetery, Camperdown Cemetery, founded in 1848.
…Enjoying happy hour at The Courty, aka The Courthouse Hotel (202 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042) Beer garden, pinball machines—it’s a Newtown institution. Or checking out the craft beer scene at Newtown’s microbrewery, Young Henrys (76 Wilford St, Newtown NSW 2042).
Really soak up the vibes in this neighborhood. It’s a fantastic place to take it easy and simply enjoying local life.
6:45 P.M. — Catch the train from Newtown Station to Town Hall Station and walk to the Sydney Tower Eye (100 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000). The entrance is located on the level 5 of the Westfield Shopping Centre, through the food court. Just follow the signs.
Sunset is their busiest time so try and arrive at least 45-minutes before sunset. Note: Adjust the timing as needed for the sunset time appropriate to the time of year you’re visiting.
7:10 P.M. — Enjoy unparalleled 360 degree views of Sydney and its surrounds during sunset from The Sydney Tower Eye, the tallest building in Sydney.
Last entry is 8 p.m. with the attraction closing at 9 p.m. Check their website of up-to-date opening hours, tickets, and general information.
DISCOVER WHY THE ROCKS, ROCKS!
The Rocks was established shortly after European colony formation in 1788. The area quickly earned a reputation as a slum, but you’ll more about that on the tour later this evening.
The area has been revamped and now it’s cobblestone streets, old sandstone buildings, and unusual stories surrounding then area are strewn amongst historic pubs and a lively music scene. Not to mention incredible views to boot!
10 A.M. — Make your way back to Circular Quay and towards The Rocks.
10:15 A.M. — Head to the Museum of Contemporary Art (140 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000). The museum is completely free so wander around the galleries and learn about some Australian artists, a perfect activity for if it’s hot outside.
If contemporary arts is not for you, check out The Rocks Discovery Museum (Kendall Ln, The Rocks NSW 2000). It’s also free and features three floors about the history of the area and the stories of those who lived there during the early years of European Australia.
12 P.M. — Grab lunch at The Fine Food Store (Kendall Lane, The Rocks Centre, Sydney, NSW 2000). Their theme is “reinvented family recipes,” the staff is friendly, and the space is cozy and inviting.
1:30 P.M. — If you didn’t finish the museums, head back and spend some more time exploring them. Otherwise stroll the cobblestone streets and discover the amazing views The Rocks have to offer.
I’d recommend stopping for a drink at The Fortune of War (137 George St, The Rocks NSW 200) The opening hours of the pub depends on the day of the week.
The Fortune of War is full of character. It was built by a former convict in 1828 and the pub was the last stop for sailors heading oversees.
There is no better way to explore while walking than with an I’m Free Walking Tour. No need to book ahead, just show up and meet your guide (the person in a bright green T-shirt). The tours run rain or shine.*
*Please check website for most up-to-date information regarding tour times, meeting places, and more.
FAQ 1: How is the tour free?
Excerpt pulled from their website: “We want everyone whatever their budget to enjoy Melbourne as much as we do. For this reason we don’t charge up front, instead we leave it to you to decide what you thought the tour was worth at the end.”
FAQ 2: How much should I give our guide?
Factor in the length of the tour, how many people in your group were on it, and if you enjoyed it. It’s coming to gift $10-$20 per person to the guide for the tour.
Overall if you consider the cost of paying for a group, private tour, or standard tour, even though “free” tours aren't totally free, you're still saving money.
5:45 P.M. — Meet your tour guide on the front side/water side of Cadman’s Cottage (110 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000).
6 P.M. — Enjoy your 1 1/2 hour exploration of The Rocks, the site of Australia’s first European settlement, which includes mysteries, murders, and convicts.
7:30 P.M. — Grab a schooner The Orient (89 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000), The Glenmore Hotel (96 Cumberland St, The Rocks NSW 2000), or at a pub that interested you during the tour. If you’re hungry and haven’t been yet, go to The Australian Heritage Hotel (100 Cumberland St, The Rocks, NSW 2000) and order their Coat of Arms pizza a try! It’s topped with kangaroos and emu meat.
8:45 P.M. — Head back to the Sydney Observatory (1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point NSW 2000)
9 P.M. — Enjoy your 1 1/2 hour pre-booked night tour at the Sydney Observatory where you’ll use their telescopes to explore the highlights of the southern sky including the moon, a nebula, other planets, and millions of stars (note: weather permitting). If viewing through the telescopes is not possible due to sky conditions, other activities will be arranged.
Tickets ($15 per adult, family discounts available) also include the Planetarium and a dome tour of Sydney’s oldest observatory.
10:30 P.M. — The Rocks is one of the liveliest areas in the city so if you want to hotel hop or catch some live music, stay out and check the scene!
If you’re in the mood for some late night reliable grub, Pancakes On The Rocks (4 Hickson Rd, The Rocks, Sydney, New South Wales 2000). It’s open 24/7 and it’s like the Aussie version of Waffle House or IHOP. Nothing satisfies those late night cravings like a big ole plate of pancakes, hash browns, bacon and eggs!
There are well over 100 beaches in Sydney so it's safe to say that beach culture is definitely apart of the culture of the city. And well Bondi may be the most famous, there are several noteworthy alternatives, like the northern beachside suburb of Manly.
It’s proximity to the CBD makes it a perfect day trip and its lively atmosphere makes it a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Please note that it can be quite crowded in the summers and on weekends, especially when the weather is good. I'd recommend a weekday visit if at all possible.
And by now you should know to always be reapplying sunscreen, but particularly on beach days make sure to pack extra sunscreen and actually reapply it during the day.
9:30 A.M. — Make your way to Circular Quay.
10 A.M. — To easiest (and quickest) way to get to Manly is by boat. There are two ferry options: 1) The Manly Fast Ferry which takes about 20-minutes and costs roughly $18AUD per person roundtrip, or 2) The regular ferry which takes about 40-minutes and costs roughly $7.50AUD. The ferry departs every half an hour. Personally I’m not great on boats so we paid extra to ride the fast ferry.
Enjoy the views off both sides of the ferry as you cruise past Mosman, Vancluse, and Watsons Bay, among others, as well as views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bidge on your trip north-east. It’s nice having a different perspective of Sydney’s suburbs.
10:20 A.M. — Welcome to Manly! Stroll along The Corso, a pedestrian prescient filled with eateries, surf shops, galleries, and boutiques, stopping to shop as you feel like it. Walking through The Corso is also the quickest way to the main beach.
11:30 A.M. — Swing by Belgrave Central (5a Raglan St, Manly, New South Wales 2095) for coffee and a pastry. Their bread is the best in the area!
11:45 A.M. — It’s time to hit the beach. Set up on Manly Beach, relax, and enjoy the beautiful views.
Or if you want to practice surfing again, rent a board from one of the board shops along the promenade and head out. Manly Beach is a great place for beginner surfers as the swells are consistent with breaks. And no worries you’re in good hands, the Manly Life Saving Club is over 100 years old!
3 P.M. — By now you're probably worked up an appetite from all that surfing (and/or relaxing) you were doing so head to Fika Swedish Kitchen (5b Market Lane, Manly, NSW 2095) or The Pantry Manly (Ocean Promenade, North Steyne, Manly, NSW 2095) for a late lunch.
Note: If you’ve had enough beach time for the day, check out the Manly Aquarium instead of walking to Shelly Beach. If you have time after the Aquarium consider walking to Fairlight Pool. The harbour walk boasts incredible views and stars at the Aquarium.
4:15 P.M. — Take a walk from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach. The walk is lovely and Shelly Beach’s cove is much more peaceful than the main beach.
Along the walk you’ll come across a salt water man-made rock pool. Feel free to take a dip in if you so desire.
Relax and enjoy the calmness of Shelly Beach for awhile, or if you want to keep walking, follow the Shelly Beach Walking Track around to Shelly Head Lookout and back for more spectacular views.
Head back towards The Corso whenever you’re ready.
7:30 P.M. — If you want you can stay in Manly for dinner. If you do, friends have recommend Garfish (1/39 E Esplanade, Manly NSW 2095) for a seafood focused seasonal menu! Just remember the last ferry departs for Circular Quay at 9:15 p.m. If you’d rather head back to Circular Quay, catch a ferry from Manly Wharf and watch the sunset over the harbour from the ferry on your trip back.
The rest of the evening is your’s!
Do whatever else you want to make sure to do or see while in Sydney.
Personally I would spend another day at Bondi, especially if you are visiting during the summer season. There is something so special about this beach and it’s definitely worth another day of relaxing on the sand, cooling off in the Pacific Ocean
10 A.M. — Breakfast at Trio Cafe (56 Campbell Pde, Bondi, NSW 2026).
Post up on the beach, relax, and enjoy the Australian sunshine.
2 P.M. — Lunch at Bondi Hardware (39 Hall St, Bondi Beach NSW 2026)
Enjoy more beach time or walk around Bondi and check out the beachy boutiques, restaurants, bars, and stores.
6 P.M. — Head back to your hotel.
8 P.M. — Reservation at The Butler Potts Point (123 Victoria St, Sydney, NSW 2011) for your last Aussie meal.
Last morning in Sydney! Grab a good breakfast, check out of hotel, hop the train or hail a taxi, and make sure to arrive at the airport at least three hours before your international flight.
1 P.M. — Depart Sydney
By now you’re in love with Australia and you’ll be sad to leave, but I hope you made unforgettable memories!
If you’re not leaving Australia yet, hop a flight or drive on to your next destination. Happy travels! :)
OPTIONAL EVENING ACTIVITIES
Attend a show at the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is a worldwide icon of Sydney and it’s unique design makes it easily recognizable; however, instead of just admiring the design, go see a musical or theatrical performance inside one of its six venues. Check The Sydney Opera House website for its event calendar.
Catch a free performance at the Domain
These 84-acres belong to the Royal Botanic Garden of Sydney, but venue hosts heaps of events year round like outdoor concerts, open-air festivals, political rallies, cultural events (like Oktoberfest), and most of the time the events are free.
Check the local event calendar
Sydney hosts thousands of events every year from food and film festivals to markets and sporting events. Check the event calendar for your trip dates and make plans to get out and do as the locals do—enjoy their fabulous city!
During summer months, several venues around the city host musical and theatrical performances, parades, cultural celebrations, concerts, outdoor movie nights and more!
Ride the rides at Luna Park This heritage-listed amusement park just across (and slightly under) the Sydney Harbor Bridge is a cheap was to spend an evening. Ride The Wild Mouse coaster, snack on some fairy floss (that’s cotton candy for you Americans out there), and enjoy the views back towards the CBD. The parks has a weird schedule so check it online before you make the trip.
Take a harbor dinner cruise
Cruise past landmarks and watch the sunset over Sydney, all while enjoying a sit-down multi-course meal and live entertainment.
Fireworks at Darling Harbor
Watch fireworks light up the sky at 9 p.m. on Saturday nights over Darling Harbour.
A hotel isn’t just somewhere with accommodation for travelers, in Australia its another word for pub. Yes, some hotels are just hotels in the traditional sense, but many are establishments with licenses to serve in addition to entertainment venues. Grab your mates and check out a few different hotel scenes during the evening.