Exploring Sydney Australia in One Day

If you’re only spending a day in a city, you will likely have to make some tough choices about what to see. Thus, planning ahead is incredibly important. It will allow you to maximize your time and streamline your day. My advice is to make a list of everything that you want to see and then break it down into a must-see site list and a secondary site list (ones you wouldn’t regret not having seen if you miss it). Once you’ve broken down your list, plot out how to fit everything in the time that you have. Mapping out the sites and bringing it along will help you stay organized and be of use to guide you for the day. Don’t forget to plan in meal stops and have some must-eat spots on your list, as that is usually one of the best ways to experience a city…at least in my opinion!


Our original plan was to be in Sydney for 2 full days and spend 1 day visiting the Blue Mountains. Then food poisoning struck…both of us, whomp, whomp. This certainly cut down our time to explore Sydney, as we spent the first day holed up in the room of our hostel. This also meant missing out on the Blue Mountains, which I was very bummed about.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right? We rallied for our last day in Sydney, and tried to cover the majority of what we wanted to see in the city in a day. One caveat about what we saw is that we were not our usual self, and were certainly not able to see as much as we normally would in a day.


So, if you’re planning on visiting Sydney and are short on time, here are some ideas to make the most of your visit to the city!

Our first order of business was to find a tasty but agreeable breakfast to fuel our exploration of the city. We wondered around the historic lane ways of the Rock, where we were staying. We found a cute little delicious French cafe with tasty almond croissants and good coffee.



We knew we wanted to see one of the famous beaches, but since Bondi was a 45 minute bus ride and would have taken up most of our day. We opted to take arguably the most beautiful ferry ride in Sydney over to Manly to checkout the town and the beaches. I’ve heard amazing things about the Bondi to Coogee walk, but we just didn’t have the time or energy for it for the day.



We walked over to Circular Quay after breakfast to head to Manly. We were pleasantly surprised with the ferry ride and our visit to Manly. The views were incredible from the ferry. I would actually recommend taking the slow ferry one or both ways if you have the time and want to relax and enjoy the views more.







Once we arrived, we walked around Manly to check out views of the harbor and then through the town and over to the famous Manly beach.




I wish we could have enjoyed the beach and beautiful water more!


We took the Ferry back to Circular Quay and then took a train over to Hyde Park so we could walk to Chinatown. We tried dumplings at Din Tai Fong, but weren’t really that impressed with their dim sum. I think you can do better in Chinatown, but our stomachs weren’t up for much 🙂


We walked back over to Hyde Park to see the ANZAC Memorial. We enjoyed the views from the memorial as well as the small, but interesting museum on the bottom floor. It was a great look into Australian history, and particularly their involvement in the World Wars.



From the monument, we took the train back to the Circular Quay area and walked along the harbor to the Opera House and then on to the botanical gardens next door. We leisurely walked the gardens, mostly around the edge along the water to Mrs. Macquerie’s famous chair. The views of the harbor, Opera House, and the city were great from this part of the gardens. The gardens are very pretty themselves! Definitely worth a visit.



We walked back to the Opera House, explored the inside, and checked out the famous bar/views from there. I would have loved nothing more to enjoy the lively atmosphere and a drink with the views of the ferries and Harbor Bridge in the background, but our energy levels and sensitive stomachs led us back to the hostel via a stop at the Rocks Market (this happens on the weekends and is a great stop for various delicious food and quality artwork/souvenirs). It’s worth a stop if it’s happening when you are there!

Unfortunately, we were exhausted and decided to stay in for the rest of the evening to recuperate. I wish we could have taken more time to explore Sydney, especially so we could taste more of the food the city has to offer because there are so many amazing choices. Looks like we will be returning for a visit!

Evening view from the top of our Hostel - YHA Sydney Harbor

Evening view from the top of our hostel – YHA Sydney Harbour

If we were to return to Sydney, what would you suggest that we see or where would you eat? Comment below!

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Seven Day Road Trip up the East Coast of Australia: Sydney to Airlie Beach | Fit To Wander

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