Exploring the land Down Under is a dream that many travelers and adventure seekers put on their bucket list. And if they actually get the chance to go, most backpackers start their Australian adventure in one of the greatest cities in the world and for very good reason — Sydney is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s also backpacker central. Sydney can be easily explored by foot and on a small budget. Apart from checking out must-see landmarks like the Opera House, Sydney is an excellent place to prepare yourself for trips to the “real Australia.” Stay tuned for an introduction to Sydney.
Sydney enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate with a mild winter. The average minimum temperatures in the winter months of June through to August is around 9 degrees Celsius. The summer is from December through to February and can get hot if you are inland a bit but rarely goes much above 30 degrees Celsius by the ocean.
Getting around central Sydney is pretty easy. It is possible to walk to most places, but the fastest way is using the City Circle rail loop. To go to Manly, you will need to take a ferry which departs from Circular Quay. For Bondi, go to the train station called Bondi Junction and jump on a bus or get a bus direct from Kings Cross or Circular Quay or pick it up along the route. To get beyond the city, Central Station is the main connector station for buses and trains.
Everybody needs to stay connected, so Internet access is always a major concern. The great thing about Sydney is that you can find free Wi-Fi in backpacker hostels, pubs, and cafes. Many of the chain coffee shops and McDonalds also have free Wi-Fi. You’ll have plenty of options to connect your devices and stay connected with your friends and family.
Sydney is jam-packed with great activities for backpackers. From lazing on Bondi Beach to browsing the Paddington markets to whale-watching off North Head, you will never ever be bored, guaranteed! Before you get to Sydney, have a list of the things you’d like to do. That way you don’t spend too much time trying to look for attractions to enjoy.
1. Visit the iconic Sydney Opera House
Visit this iconic Aussie landmark. Beautiful by day and night. 24/7. Take a bus or train to Circular Quay and voila! You’ll appreciate being able to see this grand landmark in person.
2. Do the Bondi to Coogee Coastal walk
The Bondi to Coogee walk features six beaches and a number of coves and bays. The walk winds its way along 6 km of picturesque coastal paths at the edge of Sydney’s eastern suburbs. It’s a breathtaking and highly enjoyable sight to take in.
3.Take the ferry to Manly
Sydney Harbour is best experienced from the iconic Manly Ferry. The ferry departs from Circular Quay, Wharf 3, to Manly Cove. It’s best to take a journey in the late afternoon, when you can take in the gorgeous sunset over the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the back of the ferry before turning into serenely beautiful Manly Cove.
4. Visit the Blue Mountains (a day trip from Sydney)
The Blue Mountains is a special place of ancient landscapes, towering golden-hued stone escarpments, crashing waterfalls, and magnificent eucalyptus all set amongst inspiring panoramas. This is a World Heritage area that you do not want to miss.
5. Snorkel at Shelly Beach
Shelly Beach is a short walk from the ferry wharf and Manly Corso along the beach pathway.
With nice views of the coastline, Shelly Beach makes for an effortless snorkel. During the winter months, Shelly Beach is home to a school of Dusky Whaler Sharks. They can be seen patrolling the gutter in the middle of the beach.
6. Eat gelato at Sydney’s most popular ice cream shop Messina
Best. Ice Cream. Ever. Seriously. If you haven’t given it a go, give it a go. It will change your life. Pro Tip: Get the panna cotta and the pear and rhubarb. The skies will open and angels will start to sing. Yeah, it’s that good.
7. Visit Newtown
Newtown is one of Sydney’s most fascinating suburbs. The shopping is varied and interesting. Newtown is all about colour and culture. This Bohemian area features markets, street festivals, an amazing range of global dining options. Bookshops, exotic clothing boutiques, artworks, and curios. There’s so many things to see and do, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
8. Visit the Royal National Park
The Royal National Park is a great coastal national park with some delightful beaches and nice walks. Highlights include visits to Bald Hill Headland Reserve and Wattamolla Beach, guided nature walks, a spear-throwing lesson and optional canoeing, biking, or swimming.
9. Climb the Harbour Bridge
Nothing screams Sydney more than the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Grab the chance to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the ultimate Sydney experience — see panoramic views from the top of an Australian icon. It would be an experience that you would never forget.
10. Visit Chinatown
The food in Chinatown is some of the best you will see outside of Asia. You will be able to sit down and rest your feet after a long day of walking in one of the relaxed restaurants. Just 2 minutes off Pitt St. in the city centre you will find the heart of Sydney’s Asian Community, Chinatown is a bustling spot for handmade Chinese noodles and dumplings amid kitsch grapevines and tapestries.
Read our previous blog posts about Sydney:
Sydney on the cheap: how to explore sydney when you are broke
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If you want to read more of our Sydney adventures, come and explore our dedicated Sydney Road Trip section. Happy Exploring!