The ultimate day in sydney australia

How to Experience the Best of Sydney in One Day

As much as I love relaxing on beaches or taking it easy in sleepy, little towns, I love big, busy cities. Of all the cities I've been to (and I've been to quite a few), my favourite one in the world without any shadow of a doubt is Sydney.

If you’re making your way to Australia’s most famous city and your time is limited, this dawn (well, almost) until dusk guide should help you get the most out of one day.

9am – Begin your day with breakfast in The Rocks

Begin your day in a lovely little café in Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood called La Renaissance (47 Argyle St, The Rocks). The pastries here are to die for, while they do great coffee too. Afterward, explore Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood.

10.15am – Photo time!

Sydney Harbour Bridge Sydney-Harbour-Bridge

Photo courtesy of Hans Zinsli

Circular Quay is where you’ll find two of Australia’s most instantly recognisable landmarks – the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Get snap happy and these two iconic attractions.

11am – Take the ferry to Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour Darling-Harbour-Sydney

Photo courtesy of Carlos Silvestre

From Circular Quay take the ferry to another of Sydney’s famous waterside areas, Darling Harbour. Home to the IMAX and Sydney Aquarium, it’s extremely touristy here, but at least you get to travel under the harbour bridge to reach your destination.

12noon – Explore Chinatown and (depending on the day) go shopping in Paddy’s Markets


Beside Darling Harbour is Chinatown, a busy part of the city that’s known for its shopping and eating. Explore the neighbourhood before lunch. If you’re there any day between Wednesday and Sunday, pop into Paddy’s Markets. You might pick up a bargain there.

1pm – Grab lunch in Chinatown

Chinatown Chinatown-Sydney

Photo courtesy of Alessandro Casagrande

Chinatown is full of food courts with good (and cheap) food. It’s the perfect place to see one aspect of Sydney life go by while grabbing a bite to eat at the same time.

2pm – Walk into Sydney’s CBD (Central Business District)

Sydney's CBD Queen-Victoria-Building-Sydney

Photo courtesy of Trey Ratcliff

While Chinatown is part of Sydney’s CBD, the epicentre is around the Pitt St Mall area. Take a leisurely stroll to this part of the city, exploring buildings like the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) and The Strand Arcade. End your mini-exploration at Martin Place.

3.30pm – Visit Bondi Beach


Jump on a train at Martin Place subway station bound for Bondi Junction. From there jump on a bus to Bondi to visit Australia’s most famous beach and the suburb beside it. See the surfers, grab a coffee along Campbell Parade and maybe even go for a quick dip.

5pm – Enjoy a drink overlooking the waves

Situated on the corner of Campbell Parade and Curlewis St, Hotel Bondi is a landmark in this ‘village’. Grab the drink of your choice, take a seat on the balcony and take a moment to relax in this iconic part of Sydney.

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6.30pm – Jump on the 380 and go back into the city

Sydney-Oxford-Street-Taylor-Square Middle photo courtesy of RubyGoes Right photo courtesy of Neal Jennings

Cross the road to the beach side and jump on a bus going back into the city (such as the 380). Take it as far as Taylor Square on Oxford St. This is the Darlinghurst part of the city.

7pm – Grab something to eat in a BYO on Oxford St

Stroll south to a BYO (bring your own) restaurant called Thai Nesia (243 Oxford St) for something to eat, making sure to grab a bottle of wine from the bottle shop next door.

8.30pm – Stroll down to Hyde Park, through the park and down to Pitt St


Head back towards the city, going north up Oxford St, passing Hyde Park on your right. Keep going until you reach Pitt St, then turn right, heading east back towards Circular Quay.

9pm – Finish the day off in the Opera Bar

End the ultimate day with a drink with the ultimate view in The Opera Bar. Sip on a glass of bubbly, a cocktail or an ice cold beer while being in awe at the sight of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge at night.


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