While you hear mostly good things about Melbourne, you hear different things about Sydney: Some hate the city, some love it. Fact is, everyone has to make their own picture of Sydney! In fact, the weather is definitely better than in Melbourne, it doesn’t change that much and it’s much warmer.
Another fact is that Sydney is a bit more than just the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. For hours you can walk through the city center. These are the things we definitely recommend!
While the skyline is comparable to many other cities, in the area of the Darling Harbour you definitely feel like on vacation (for those of you who think backpacking is actually vacation – which is not!).
There you can find street artists, the famous Sydney Aquarium, the Wildlife Park and ferries start here in all directions (e.g. to Shark Island, Taronga Zoo, Manly Beach).
Public buses stop at Circular Quay, right next to the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. From there you can walk to Darling Harbor.
Nearby is the Paddy’s Market. This is absolutely worth seeing for souvenirs, food, and other bargains. Another short walk leads to the famous fish market.
A stay in Sydney inevitably leads to the world-famous Bondi Beach. Especially if you want to surf, this is the place for you! Otherwise, the beach can be very crowded, as seen in the photos. We’ll tell you how to get there.
To Bondi by Bus
Going to Bondi Beach is easy by bus: You need to change at Oxford Street or hop on there (this stop is not far from Moore Park if you’re camping there in your car). From there number 333 takes you directly to Bondi. Here is the stop.
To Bondi by Car
Even by the car, it is not a problem to get to Bondi. There are many parking lots that are free for 2 hours. Time is barely controlled here. Many backpackers leave the car there and are not likely to pay in case they get a fine.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Speaking of punishment: If you want to cross the Harbor Bridge by car, you should know that this is a toll road. However, you have to pay the fee via eToll (a separate system). If you don’t have the eToll, you will get a fine by post.
Anyways, the Sydney Harbor Bridge is right beside the Opera House at Darling Harbor. You cannot miss it.
Manly Beach is similar to Bondi Beach, but not as crowded (especially on weekends and holidays). Here you can easily chill, grill and surf for one or more days.
On Bronte Beach, near Bondi Beach, there are BBQs with toilets and public showers. At the parking lot on Clovelly Beach (Victory Street, Clovelly, south of Bondi Beach), there are also public toilets with showers, as well as BBQs.
Watson’s Bay is absolutely recommended. A short boat trip (it’s included in a weekly ticket) brings you there. From here you have a wonderful view of the skyline of Sydney. At Camp Cove you can also camp in your car overnight. A walk leads along the steep cliffs at the entrance to Sydney Harbor. In the background you can see the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. Stunning! It’s not so crowded either. You should definitely go if you have the time.
When in Sydney, do not miss out on the Blue Mountains. We find that in Europe, e.g. in the Alps, are a lot more impressive mountains, but the waterfalls in the Blue Mountains are very cool to experience. It is advisable to take a hike there in any case.
Theoretically, you could get to the Blue Mountains by public transport, but it is anything but practical. The best way to drive is by car. If you do not have one yourself, then you can borrow one with other travelers or ask for a ride with others.
If you’re in the Blue Mountains, you’ll need to visit the Three Sisters.
Where did the Blue Mountains get their name from?
The Blue Mountains owe their name to the bluish glow that rises above the treetops. Depending on the lighting conditions, this can be observed quite clearly.
If you want to visit a few attractions in Sydney, you can get a special price for several attractions. There are discounts on if you want to visit for example the Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife, Red Eye Tower and Ocean World in Manly. Just ask at the tourist agencies.
UPDATE: Watch the video above to find some useful tips.