Sydney for Beginners....

Caroline Joyner on 30 March 2023

It's up there with the likes of London, Rio, Vancouver and New York as one of the world's most iconic cities, yet Sydney boasts a relaxing Aussie vibe. It's not a city to hot foot it around sights, it's a city to hang out and savour the famous beaches, parks and beautiful views.

Sydney’s harbour setting is among the world’s most stunning, but there is so much more to take in. The compact central area and CBD are surrounded by suburbs, each with its own unique character.

The eastern suburbs of Darlinghurst, Surrey Hills, Potts Point and King's Cross have lots of quirky character, alfresco cafe options, shopping and nightlife and are home to the cool professional set, along with Glebe which has a great market. King's Cross has trendy wine bars and clubs and is where the backpackers and students party until the wee hours. Much of the population lives in the eastern or northern beach suburbs which boast some of the best lifestyles of any city around the globe. I spent a year living in one of these many moons ago and coming back always feels like coming home.

If you find yourself with a few days to spare in Sydney here are some top ideas.

Relax in the Botanical Gardens

The oldest gardens in the country are a beautiful place for a picnic on a sunny day, offering the serenity of being surrounded by beautiful flowers, native trees and wildlife with a backdrop of city skyscrapers. Wandering around the harbour-side walk also gives you some incredible of the opera house and the bridge from all areas. Walk to Mrs Macquarie Chair, carved into the rocks, for the best views.

Seek out the history down at the Rocks and Circular Quay

The Rocks is the oldest area of Sydney, where the early Colonial settlers built their first wattle and daub dwellings. Some of the cobbled streets and historical buildings still stand, and you can take a guided tour to appreciate the history. There are also great restaurants and bars with some of the best views in the city.

The area where the ferries depart from around the harbour is Circular Quay and it's a great place to wander with street entertainers, ferries coming and going, iconic harbour views and ice cream treats.

Luna Park, Milson’s Point

If your children are slightly flagging a visit to Luna Park is sure to reignite their fire! One of only 2 original 1930s amusement parks in the world with plenty of fun rides for all the family. It's located on the north shore with more iconic views of the harbour. To get there jump on the F3 Paramatta line from Circular Quay.

Walk or cycle the Harbour bridge

You can climb the bridge if your kids are over 12, however, it's expensive. A simpler way to appreciate it is to walk or cycle over the bridge to soak up the views of the harbour and opera house.

Visit Darling Harbour

Touristy though it is, glitzy Darling Harbour has lots for the whole family to enjoy. The Darling Harbour Children's playground is about as good as it gets, with a zip line and mega slide as well as the usual suspects. There is also the aquarium, the Sydney wildlife zoo, the Maritime Museum, Madame Tussaud's, children's theatre, green picnic spaces, cinemas, family-friendly restaurants and bars. No one will be bored here!

Hang out on the beach

There are over 100 beaches in Sydney and the city culture is built around swimming, surfing and sun worshipping, running, and relaxing on them at weekends and summer evenings.

The most popular beach suburbs are Manly and the eastern beaches of Bondi, Coogee and Brontë. Coogee is compact but has an enticing mix of cafes and fun, and Bronte is small but perfectly formed, Bondi is the big brash beach to be seen on.

The ferry ride from Circular Quay to Manly, one of the world’s most scenic commutes, offers up fantastic harbour views, and Manley's long golden sands, waves and cafe culture are worth a day trip.

If it's surf you are after Manly has some good waves, but Dee Why is for the more dedicated surfer.

On top of all those, you have plenty more northern beaches to choose from, many of which boast picturesque views of the harbour.

Take a ferry to Taronga Zoo

Sydney's Zoo is located on some of the city’s most prime real estate with more fantastic harbour views. Take a ferry from Circular Quay and then jump on the cable car to get to the zoo. It's very large so you will need at least 3 hours to see it all. Whilst not being. A fan of zoos, this zoo does showcase many native species well and does a lot of conservation work.


Learn some history from a quick tour of Sydney's museums.

· Art Gallery of New South Wales (modern art) · Museum of Contemporary Art Australia at The Rocks (contemporary art) · Australian National Maritime Museum (maritime history) · White Rabbit Gallery (contemporary Chinese art; also has a teahouse) · The Rocks Discovery Museum (local history) · Hyde Park Barracks Museum (local, criminal, and judicial history) · Australian Museum (natural history) · Justice and Police Museum (criminal museum in an old courthouse) · Museum of Sydney (local history) · Sydney Jewish Museum (Je

Harbour and coastal walks

My own favourite memories of my time in Sydney are the stunning harbour and coastal walks.

The 2-hour coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi is popular with locals and then you have the many harbour walks – think glimpses of glistening blue waters in between the trees, with boats bobbing and walks down to hidden coves. Native bush and trees abound and you will only hear the sounds of the birds.

My favourite harbour walks are Manly to Spit Bridge, Cremorne point walk (a great short walk), manly to Shelly Beach (with lunch at the Boathouse), Taronga Zoo to Balmoral (lovely cove beaches and snorkel spots) Rose Bay to Watson's Bay (take the ferry both ways and have fish and chips at Doyle's in Watson's Bay)South Head trail (whale watching in winter and great ocean views).

Take your "togs" on these walks as on a hot day there will be plenty of opportunities to swim!

To hand-craft your perfect Australia itinerary get in touch today!