Located on the southeastern coast of Australia, Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales, the premier state of the country. You’ll find pristine beaches, lush forests, five-star dining and accommodations, spectacular architecture, and more in Sydney. Whether you enjoy the outdoors or a more pampered experience, this magical city offers plenty for you.

Airport Information

The Sydney Airport, located only 15 minutes from the heart of the city, welcomes international and domestic flights alike. Several other airports exist on the eastern side of the continent near Sydney, but the Sydney Airport (SYD) is your best option for easy access and multiple flight options. Domestic airlines housed here include Virgin, Qantas, Jetstar, and Tigerair. International flights can be found through airlines such as Delta, American, United, Emirates, and others.

This airport features three terminals. International flights depart and arrive at terminal one (T1), while domestic flights are managed through the smaller terminals, two and three (T2/3). T3 is used exclusively for Qantas flights. Airlines such as Qantas and Virgin offer free transport between T1 and T2/3, but passengers flying with other airlines will need to use the T-Bus service, taxi, or train — all available with a small charge. Each terminal offers plenty of shopping and dining options, so you will not likely need to travel between them.

Baggage check and claim areas are found in each terminal as well as plenty of options for restrooms, relaxation, and currency exchange. The only post office available is found in T1 as well as a prayer room on level 3 of the terminal. Many other amenities can be found in all three terminals.

If you’re flying internationally, you’ll be spending your time in T1. Here you’ll find options for sit-down dining, quick bites, coffee, and snacks. Enjoy fresh, locally sourced fare at Kitchen by Mike or some hand-rolled sushi at Sushia. Coffee lovers have a wide selection of cafes available, including Campos Coffee near Gate 24 and Veloce Espresso near international arrivals. Pair your warm beverage with a fluffy pastry from Luxe Bakery by Gate 56. If you want a quick bite before security, stop in at Chicken Confidential for quality fast food or Taste of Thai, both in the food court.

The fashion-minded traveler will enjoy the array of shops housed at the international terminal. Find designer stores such as Fendi, Max Mara, Salvatore Ferragamo, Lacoste, Armani, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Hermes, and more after the security check. Pick up something dazzling from Tiffany and Co. or Swarovski, both found between the Mega Store and Gate 30. Grab a few souvenirs from duty-free shops such as Heinemann and A Little Something. If you forgot any adventure gear, stop by Icebreaker before security for performance clothing.

Plenty of shopping and dining options are also available in the T2/3 terminals. Enjoy a coffee and a pastry from Azucar Cafe near the check-in area before security. Grab a bite, a brew, and a bottle of Australian wine from the Tap House near Gate 32. Hokka Hokka and Bistro 2020 offer casual dining in the food court after the security check. Shops in the T2 and T3 terminals include Calvin Klein, Rip Curl, Victoria’s Secret, Blue Illusion, and others.

Once you’ve arrived in Sydney and are ready to enjoy your stay, head to the car rental area outside the arrivals level at the international terminal, or jump on a bus at one of the service stops outside T1 and T3. If you have a hotel room booked upon arrival, check to see if the hotel offers shuttle service from the airport.

Chinese garden of friendship
The Chinese Garden of Friendship.

Early Morning: Royal Botanical Gardens and Sky Views

Get a fresh start with a specialty pick-me-up from Cabrito Coffee. This spot is a well-known micro-roaster in the area offering perfected lattes and made-to-order breakfast options. Open daily from 7 a.m. until evening, The Royal Botanical Gardens are a short distance down the street.

These gardens are the country’s oldest scientific institution and prized visitor attraction. Learn about native plants and underwater botany upon your visit. Areas within the gardens such as the Calyx, the Camellia Garden, and the Herb Garden promise memorable displays. Don’t miss the Rainforest Walk or the Wollemi Pine, one of the rarest, oldest plants in the world.

For the best views of the city and ocean, climb to the top of the Sydney Tower and enjoy the SKYWALK experience. Only a 20-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride from the gardens, this must-visit place is among Sydney’s treasured landmarks. Book a guided tour for access to the observation deck, almost 1,000 feet in the air, or reserve a “fully flexible ticket” for general admission on any day if you’re not sure which day you’ll be visiting.

Midmorning: Taronga Zoo

Cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge into the suburb of Mosman to visit the Taronga Zoo. See native animals such as the koala and kangaroo as well as visitors, including the Asian elephant, red panda, and more. Save your energy and take it all in via the Sky Safari or Zoo Train. Get up close and personal with playful creatures in the Squirrel Money Jungle Walk. This world-renowned zoo offers plenty of fun for an entire day, but you can also enjoy it during a shorter visit.

For some extra exercise and adventure, challenge yourself on the high ropes courses. Four different courses are available and offer excitement and views of the zoo and harbor.

Archibald fountain in hyde park
Archibald Fountain at Hyde Park in Sydney.

Noon: Lunch in Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a famous city park, only a 15-minute drive from the zoo. This Sydney neighborhood is in the center of the business district and offers a quiet getaway from the city’s activity. Reserved as a common in 1792, and used for cricket games and horse racing in the early 1800s, this outdoor space is the oldest park in Australia.

Walk through the park to see many mementos of Australian history with the Anzac Memorial and statues of famous Australia natives. A reflection pool sits before the art deco style Anzac Memorial, built to commemorate the country’s soldiers of World War I. On the opposite end of the park, you’ll find Archibald Fountain, celebrating the partnership between French and Australians during the same war.

Enjoy a locally sourced Greek lunch at Alpha Restaurant. With options such as Twice-Cooked Octopus and lamb shoulder, you are sure to take in a memorable meal. The ever-changing menu works to keep up with the seasons so the establishment can feature fresh produce and fish. Add a finishing touch with a cup of Bravo Greek Coffee and fuel up for the rest of the day.

Manly
Manly Beach in Sydney.

Afternoon: Bondi to Coogee

Hop aboard a bus for a 30-minute ride to Bondi Beach, one of the country’s most famous beaches for its world-class surfing waves. The Bondi to Coogee coastline trail, a scenic walk under 4 miles, begins near the Icebergs Pool of Bondi Beach, a can’t-miss landmark. Walk along the relatively flat trail to see carvings from Aboriginal people and other sculptural displays at Mark’s Park.

Snorkelers and scuba divers will want to jump in at Gordon’s Bay to see the underwater trail in the Bronte-Coogee Aquatic Reserve. The nearby tourism center will provide information and guidance for those new to underwater activities who want to give snorkeling or diving a try. If you’re looking for a thrill, check out the opportunities for shark-cage diving.

Head across the street from the trail anytime you want to take a break from nature for some shopping at boutiques along Campbell Parade. Waverley Cemetery, established in 1877, is home to many famous deceased Australians. Visit the rooftop at Coogee Pavilion for spectacular ocean views and a refreshing treat such as a fresh-squeezed juice or a bundle of takeaway oysters.

Take in the coastline of Sydney along this trail of cliffs and white beaches while also enjoying Sydney-specific landmarks, shopping, and eateries.

Evening: Dinner and the Sydney Opera House

Head back toward the heart of the city to Aria Restaurant for dinner. The world-famous chef and owner, Matt Moran, is known for palette-satisfying dishes and four-course, exquisite dining experiences. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a seasonal tasting menu put together by the chef with perfect wine pairings. You don’t need to worry about making the right choice from the menu; let the professionals take care of it.

Continue your luxurious evening with a spectacle at the iconic Sydney Opera House, a short walk from Aria. Take in a show anytime with more than 40 performances happening here every week. Enjoy something for your classical taste with an opera, theater production, or orchestral performance. Circus acts, Cabaret theater, magicians, ballets, and more frequent the performance spaces of this famous building. You can also catch shows by contemporary artists, and some famous podcasts host live shows here. Check the calendar to see what’s on performance during your visit.

Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Late Night: Sydney Harbour Bridge

Finish your day in the city with a beautiful nighttime view of the lights and harbor on the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. Book a bridge climb at night to walk up to the summit of the bridge, or stay grounded and enjoy a stroll on the walkway. Only a short distance from the downtown area, the bridge is the perfect spot to end the day before heading back to your hotel.

Where to Stay in Sydney

Sydney, Australia, is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. As such, you’ll find accommodations ranging from five-star hotels in Sydney and private homes available for rent to everything in between. Find exactly the experience you want for a price you can handle with many options.

Luxury Hotels

For a totally pampered vacation, choose from an array of luxury hotels. Hotels near the airport include well-known names such as Pullman and Quality Inn as well as budget-friendly options such as the Ibis Budget Hotel. Outside of the airport, heading toward the city on O’Riordan Street, you’ll come across Stamford Plaza. This award-winning hotel features high-class amenities and superior rooms.

Head into the heart of the city to find more luxury options near all the best sites. Find several hotels along Darling Harbour, including the Hyatt Regency, Sofitel Sydney, and the Darling Hotel. Each of these accommodations features rooms with views of the city and water, five-star restaurants, spa amenities, and suites with all you could want in a hotel stay.

For a little vintage flair and a coastal location, check out Hotel Ravesis on Bondi Beach, only a short drive from the city. Featuring 12 boutique hotel rooms and an on-site restaurant, you’ll enjoy a one-of-a-kind stay with eclectic style, in-room massages, champagne service, and surfboard storage.

Luna park
Luna Park in Sydney.

Nearby Hostels

Find many hostel options in the heart of the city throughout neighborhoods such as Darlinghurst, Haymarket, and Woolloomooloo. The Jackaroo Hostel features a shared kitchen, rooftop terrace, and free breakfast. Enjoy free barbecue at Summer House backpackers or an on-site bar at the Strand Hotel. To the east of the city, Bondi Backpackers is a beachside hostel with free breakfast and both private and shared rooms. Get to know other visitors and Australian natives when you choose this affordable stay option.

Homes for Rent

Choose from hundreds of options in the city center of Sydney and along the coastline when searching for a house to rent. Plenty of homeowners are happy to rent out their spaces while they are away. Vacation homes are available throughout the year to provide extra space to hang out and relax during your adventures.

Look for upscale apartments for rent in the Surry Hills and Darling Harbour neighborhoods and have an entire apartment to yourself. You can also search for single-bed, private rooms in larger homes if you’re traveling alone and want a place to lay your head at night.

Rent a private villa with Jet Flamingo and choose from the Rockstar, Beach House, and Luxe Villas. Bring your family or a bunch of friends as these houses can accommodate more than 10 people each. Cook meals in the fully equipped kitchens and walk to the beach for morning surfing or boardwalk runs.

GoDoTrip is here to help you plan your best vacation ever. Don’t miss any opportunities for fun with all the information about Sydney, Australia, at your fingertips.