I spent 7 amazing days in Sydney before heading to Bali. I just love beach cities- They have a combination of cosmopolitan and laid-back that makes for a very exciting trip. Here are my top 4 favorite activities in Sydney.
*Food/drinks and shopping suggestions in my next post.
I’m sure most of you know the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, but did you know that you can climb it? How amazing is that! There is only one company that arranges the climbs (link above). There are many different types of climb options, but basically you have two decisions to make that impact the price of the climb:
- When do you want to climb?
- Dawn, Day, Dusk or Twilight
- Weekend vs. weekday also has a price difference
- How fast & how far do you want to climb?
- Bridgeclimb (3.5 hrs)
- Express (goes to the top at a quicker pace with fewer stops- 2.25 hrs)
- Sampler (only goes halfway- 1.5 hrs)
I was debating between the Sampler and the regular Bridgeclimb. They described one as being more athletic than the other, but I realized that’s really not the focus of the activity. Enjoying the experience and especially the views are. Another difference between the two is also the route. In the regular climb you go up one side of the bridge, walk across the top of the arch and then descend down the other side of the bridge. In the express, you go up & down the same side of the bridge. I ended up opting for the regular climb. If you’re short on time or want to save some money, I would go with the express.
🗝 Tip: You can’t take pictures while doing the climb for obvious reasons (bummer), but if you want to take some cool shots of the bridge like my photo above, use your Bridgeclimb ticket to go to the Pylon Lookout (normally $15 admission).
Seeing koalas & kangaroos was a must on my list while in Sydney. Unfortunately I knew that the state of New South Wales (where Sydney is) does not allow you to hold koalas. It is only allowed in Queensland (most ideal spot), Southern or Western Australia, which are all a plane ride away from Sydney. Although I debated for a while, I just didn’t think it was worth all the hassle with the amount of time that I had.
You can pet koalas and kangaroos in NSW, so I researched the best place to go. I was looking for a place that is least like a zoo and had a good variety of things to see. Featherdale was the winner, and I had a great experience. Many animals were behind an open air enclosure, but there were tons of kangaroos roaming freely that you can pet/feed. The koalas are in an enclosed area, but they bring one koala on to an artificial perch that you can stand next to for a photo. You are allowed to pet it (only on the lower body) but not hold it. It’s free to take your own photo. There is usually a line for the koala, so go early in the morning and head straight there when you get into the park.
Featherdale is more than an hour away from Sydney so the best way to get there is to book a tour. I booked Activity Tours Australia. They picked me up from my hotel, and I was able to see Featherdale, the Blue Mountains & a couple other nature sites, Sydney Olympic Park and a river cruise at the end. Featherdale and the river cruise were the highlights. I’m not always a fan of booking tours, but this was an easy way to see all the major sites in one day that are otherwise hard to get to on your own.
Sydney Opera House
Seeing the Sydney Opera House in person was a dream. I recommend you do just the regular tour as the add ons are unnecessary. You need to book a tour to see the inside unless you see a show. Tours are from 9am-5pm. I reccommend joining the last tour at 5pm and then doing happy hour at the Opera Bar afterwards. Sitting outside at the Opera Bar was hands down the best part of my trip. The view and atmosphere was unforgettable. There’s nothing special about the food or drinks, so I would just do drinks before you head somewhere else with better food for dinner. Sydney is not really a sparkly skyline city so the daylight views are best or sunset is just magical.
🗝 Tip: Book your tour online and save 10%
This beautiful walk came highly recommended by friends who travelled to Sydney and locals that I know. Bondi to Coogee is the full hike. I think if you walked at an athletic pace, without stopping, it would take you an hour. With plenty of breaks for photos, maybe 2 hours. I did minimal/short breaks, and it took me 1.5 hours. I have seen so many different time estimates for this walk, but that’s my personal experience. The inclines make it a great workout!
There are a couple of popular beaches along the way like Bronte and Tamarama. The highlight on this walk is the famous Icebergs. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of their stunning cliffside pool. I recommend you start your walk in Coogee and end in Bondi at Icebergs. Icebergs consists of casual dining in the Clubhouse, a pool and sauna open to the pubic for a small fee and the formal Dining Room. Ideally you would pack a backpack for your walk so you can enjoy the pool afterwards and some casual lunch or drinks in the Clubhouse. You’ll want to come back after freshening up for dinner in the Dining Room, because it’s pretty formal. (Be sure to make a reservation for the Dining Room).
🗝 Tip: I took a bus one way to Coogee and an Uber from Bondi back to the hotel. Both options are easy.