Whether you’ve visited Sydney, plan to go in the coming future, or simply like reading travel guides as I do, this is the post for you! Last December I spent just under three days there, and tried to combine sightseeing with just enjoying the city and all it has to offer. And the main delight Sydney has to offer? FOOD! Sydney is a total foodie city, so whether you’re a craft beer enthusiastic, a brunch goddess, Lord of the burgers, or anywhere in between, this is the city for you! Read on for the best weekend things to do in Sydney.
For our Sydney city trip we chose to go for Airbnb, as we were travelling in a group of three and this was the best quality choice versus price. We got very lucky with our Sydney accomodation, as we had a great Airbnb on Stanley Street, which was a seven minute walk from the metro and next to a gorgeous park. The price was really decent considering it was peak season in Sydney and the spacious place, so it is always worth checking airbnb options.
Other places to check for great accommodation in Sydney:
3. Hostel World
Sydney is equipped with a fantastic train network, and that will save you plenty of time and money getting around. I recommend getting an Opal card at the airport and just topping that up as you go. It also works for ferries!
This was one of the main things I was excited for, to enjoy a proper Australian brunch! I'm not sure if brunch is very traditionally Australian (can any Aussies confirm?), but I had seen enough Instagrams and ads to be excited. I did my research carefully, as I only had three breakfast opportunities and I needed to use them properly. I felt like I had three golden tickets, and needed to hand them out responsibly.
Here were my final choices for brunch in Sydney:
My first morning in Sydney, my first morning in Australia, this had to be a good one… and it certainly was! Located north of CBD, this is the ideal stop for breakfast before heading to Manly Ferry, the Sydney Opera House, the Botanical Gardens etc. It was a gorgeous day so we sat outside, and there were plenty of of shoppers strolling by. I had an egg and avocado brioche, as brioche aren’t too common in the Netherlands so I was eager to try something new. It was so tasty, and came with a spicy chili jam that created a really unique taste! Their coffee menu is extensive, so definitely a good stop in Sydney for coffee fans.
2. The Walrus.
With an ideal location in the heart of CBD, this is the ideal stop before a day of exploring or shopping. There is limited seating available so be sure to arrive on time, but a delicious and unique menu! I really enjoyed my latte, which was a generous size for the price. I also had the hash brown and eggs, which was delicious but a bit small. My sister had the acai bowl and that was delicious too, but also not super filling. So maybe get a side with your order!
Looking for a bottomless brunch? Looking for a vegan brunch? Looking for both?
Got you sorted.
Untied is a rooftop bar with exotic decoration, covered in plants and overlooking Cockle Bay. On Sundays it offers a bottomless vegan brunch, with 5 courses and a delightful wine and cocktail menu. The food was so creative and delicious, even as a non-vegan I adored every course and didn't notice the lack of eggs at all.They were not timid with refills; the minute my cocktail was finished they were quick to offer me another. It was $65 pp but I certainly feel like I got my money’s worth, as I was stuffed and drunk until my evening flight. 10/10 would recommend it as the best bottomless brunch in Sydney.
I had limited time in Sydney due to plans to travel further and visit family, so I had to really pick and choose what I saw. But I’m really happy with what I managed to fit in, and while there is definitely more to explore in Sydney, be sure to prioritise the following sights.
1. The Harbour Bridge. I didn’t pay to go all the way to the top, as I’m not a huge fan of heights and as previously mentioned, I had a lot to see in little time. But even just walking across it was incredible. We had some smog from the fires, but still managed to see the Opera House and views. The walk across takes about twenty minutes, and then the same back, so be sure to bring some water and a cap!
Slightly smoggy view from the Harbour Bridge!
2. The Royal Botanic Garden. I always love to visit a botanical garden in a new city, as it’s great for walking around and relaxing in. That being said, I have yet to visit the one in my own city, which is slightly shameful! The Sydney botanic garden is even betterthan most as it’s got several key sights within it. We walked to the Main Pond and learned about their issue with eels - 'who put the eel in the pond?'. And then we headed up to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, but unfortunately no standard tourist photo was taken due to the high number of people waiting for it. And from there you could get a superb view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge together!
3. The Ferry to Manly. The ferry itself is a gorgeous experience so try to time it so that you’re going there or back at sunset, it’s breathtaking! You can use your opal card for the ferry. Once there I walked along the beach, and saw plenty of cute dogs along the way,a key path for dog owners! I also went to find the Wormhole, a mysterious sight recommended to me on a blog. But here’s the catch: don’t follow Google Maps, they will send you completely wrong! Instead head to the swimming pool located by the cliffs, and you’ll see a small stone path to follow around the side. You’ll walk through small arches and get an incredible view of the ocean.
Once the elusive Worm Hole had been found, it proved to be more than worth the effort!
4. Bondi Beach. Be sure to fit in time for the Bondi Beach walk during your trip. You may have grown up as I did watching Bondi Rescue, so it was awesome to see the locations live! The Bondi to Cogee walk is two hours long, and perfectly finished by a dip in those clear waters.
5. Shopping! Australian clothing stores differ greatly to those in Europe, as so it was my duty to give them a try. Plus, you can find almost all electronics (including games) for far cheaper! These were my top picks for shopping in Sydney:
I’ve mentioned the best brunch places in Sydney, the obvious priority, but brunch can’t fill you for the entire day! Girl’s gotta eat, and then eat some more. And so, here are all the other places that this girl went to eat.
1. The Colonial. We chose this one partly for convenience, as it was a ten minute walk from our airbnb, and partly due to a mad craving for Indian food. It did not disappoint. We got several vegetarian dishes to share and were stuffed by the end of it. I wouldn’t choose this place for atmosphere, but it was well priced for the large portions, and had a huge variety of vegetarian options. So far, being a vegetarian in Sydney was proving to be super easy!
2. Guzman y Gomez. I was a little late to the Guzman show, but now that I’ve tried it I’m a big fan! Their vegetarian burrito was delicious, including a generous portion of guacamole. I liked the salsa options and that you could help yourself to numerous toppings. Great quality fast food.
3. Bar Luca. A recommendation from my Australian family, we were very intrigued at the only place they suggested in all of Sydney. And it did not disappoint. There was a queue when we arrived, which only fuelled my anticipation. We took a seat by the bar while we waited, and before we could even order a drink, we had a table! This was the first of many restaurants we visited during our trip that required you to order your food at the counter, something that isn’t frequently done in Europe. I had the BL Veg, and on the side we shared poutine and mac n’ cheese (with truffle oil!). It was delicious, with a great beer selection and friendly service. Bit noisy and crowded, so not the place to visit for an intimate meal.
Whether it’s a mocktail or cocktail, it’s nice to enjoy something to drink on those warmer evenings! Here are some bars and breweries I visited in Sydney.
1. 4 Pines Brewery. A packed place on Manly, with plenty of unique and delicious beers to try. It also seemed to attract a lot of dog owners, so I got to pet some good boys while enjoying my beer. Try to make it here for Happy Hour, which is 4pm to 6pm every weekday, and you’ll get to enjoy a $6 pint. But be sure to first confirm which beers are included in this offer to not make the mistake we did! Also, why is it called Happy Hour if it’s more than one hour? Are they then Happy Hours? #questionsoflife
2. The Glasshouse. Another Manly delight, and one I would not hesitate to recommend! It was difficult to choose whether to sit inside or outside at this rooftop bar. As inside had gorgeous decoration and plenty of foliage, but outside had a direct view of the beach. Given the sunny day and our pale, yet to be tanned skin, we chose outside with plenty of sunscreen (protect your skin!). They had a delightful Pimms happy hour which we enjoyed thoroughly. I’d also recommend their chips menu, where you can choose three different types for $15. We tried sweet potato, zucchini and polenta. The only one I wouldn’t recommend was zucchini as it was very moist and difficult to eat with your hands.
Short but sweet, my time in Sydney was over before I knew it. But in a country that big and beautiful, you can’t spend too long anywhere. There are plenty more things to do in Sydney and places to visit, and if you think I missed anything major, let me know in the comments! Since I have family living 5 hours from Sydney, I will likely go back in the coming years and would love your advice for visiting Sydney.
Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.
Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.
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