I left Sydney on cloud nine after a weekend of exploring and gorging on delicious food. Sydney is a big and complex city and I feel that the only way to enjoy the city is to do know some key aspects before your trip. Which is why I have collated the following items below. Make sure to have a read before your trip.
1. Best areas to stay in
I would highly recommend that you do not stay in the Sydney’s CBD. Sydney is very sprawled and as such the CBD is not necessarily the most central point. But the most important aspects, is that the CBD can feel quite desolate after business hours and on the weekend.
The suburbs of Sydney on the other hand are much livelier and nicer to stay in. The two suburbs I would recommend to base yourself would be Surry Hills or Manly. They are both easily accessible by public transport and have a really great culture.
Manly is a seaside suburb and the ferry will be the best way to go to and from the city. This however might add to your transport cost. If you are looking at staying near a beach, then I would definitely recommend Manly over Bondi.
Sydney can be quite expensive; from the cost of accommodation, to the sights, to public transport. So, it is important that you take that into account and budget appropriately. For two days in Sydney, you should budget approximately $800 for two. This obviously depends on taste and what you want to do. You could spend that much on a hotel room alone!
3. Public Transport and Getting Around
Grab yourself an Opal card when you reach the airport. It is free and the most economical way of using the transport system in Sydney.
Sydney has a network of trains, buses and ferries. The train network is very good, however given the sprawling nature of the city, getting around can be quite tricky.
On my recent trip, I used Google Maps to determine the best options and I had no problems even when using the bus system (to get to Bondi). Google Maps even has real-time public transport times now.
You can also use the NSW transport website to learn more about the transport system.
From the Airport
Sydney has an excellent train system connecting the Airport (Melbourne, please pay attention). The T2 train will get you to the city in less than half hour and will cost approximately $17 (yikes).
If there are more than two of you, it might be more economical to get an Uber (around $30 depending on traffic).
I am not the biggest fan of buses but the bus system in Sydney is quite good and definitely the cheapest if not the fastest way to get around Sydney. I used Google maps to determine the routes to take.
TIP: The driver does not announce the stops, so you might have to tack your location on Google maps to determine where to get off. The Opal app also has stop notifications.
Some buses will only let you on if you have an Opal card, so make sure to preload your card.
I would always advise for an Uber over a taxi. It is cheaper and safer. We used the service a couple of times on our trip and were quite happy with the cost and service.
This would have been my 6th visit to Sydney and only the second time that I used the ferry system (such a shame).
The Ferry system is great and one of the best way to see the sights.
The best line is from Circular Quay to Manly whereby you get to see the Opera house and the Harbour Bridge from the water. You also get to view some other famous sights such as Kirribilli House and The HMS.
Beach life is big in Sydney, much bigger than I realised. I feel that you do not get a proper taste of Sydney until you spend some time at the beach, if only just to see the surfers and the ridiculously toned bodies.
While Bondi might be the most popular and well known beach, I would recommend that you head towards some of the lesser known ones such as Bronte or Coogee. You might actually have a chance at getting your own patch on the sand.
In Winter, the water can be quite cold but the beach can still be very nice.
5. Make Sure to Book
Sydney can be very busy, especially in summer, so make sure to pre-book the activities and sights and popular restaurants. There were some long queues at some of the more popular sights such as the zoo and the aquarium. You should also try to go early to beat the queues.
I hope that you have an amazing time in this beautiful city. What are the activities that you plan to do?
And if you have been, what will be some of your tips for fellow travellers?