Let me start by Sydney series by saying, I have definitely fallen in love with the harbour city! Actually, typing this right now while I wait for my flight to Manila which will later connect me to Tokyo.
Okay, I feel like I can’t properly put into the context this bucket list without saying some personal stuff. First, since going to Melbourne some 2 years ago, I’ve been fighting my way back to come here (and maybe one day move).
Since seeing the Manila-Sydney flight sale around eight months ago, I booked my first solo adventure and never looked back.
Sure, a lot of things went wrong with Sydney this past week — most notably the weather. But I honestly can’t imagine going around, constantly testing my patience, and meeting friendly locals or travellers alike any other way.
And so, I’ve procured this bucket list in hopes that you experience the best of only what Sydney has to offer. My personal recommendation? Stay here at least a week.
Seven days sure wasn’t enough for me to get everywhere I wanted to go.
#1. See the Opera House from the Royal Botanical Gardens
If you plan to avoid the tourist crowd, go to the Royal Botanical Garden just right from the Opera House and walk until you reach Mrs. Macquire’s Chair where you have a beautiful view of the entire harbour including the bridge.
#2. Take the ferry all the way to Manly
If the view doesn’t do it enough for you, taking a 30-minute ferry all the way to this side of NSW will definitely show you a different side of what the city has to offer. It’s a little more relax over at this side of the waters but nonetheless, the best place to see purple cherry blossoms + manly beach!
#3. Stroll around Bondi Beach
Aside from the usual surfers, Bondi beach is where the hipsters are at (and tons of tourists!!!). There’s so many great coffee places around here and even better, you’ll probably find the best outdoor restaurants too.
#4. Explore Bondi Junction
Totally biased but I got an AirBnB near this area and it’s a beautiful place to roam around. So Bondi Junction is generally the wealthier part of Sydney and can be quite far from the city, but you won’t have problems finding the coolest restaurants, coffee, and dessert shops here!
#5. Order Avocado Toast at Nelson’s Road Tuck Shop
Didn’t get the chance to take a photo, but trust me when I say…You just have to try the food here! They’re mostly healthy food but the serving is massive for the price you pay. Plus, you’ll feel tons better after eating their Avocado Toast.
#6. Have coffee and brunch at the Grounds of Alexandria
If there’s even a place as instagrammable as this, tell me now. Haha! Seriously, take the early train to Alexandria and have breakfast over at the Grounds because let me tell you — not only is their food super delicious, but their coffee is too.
#7. Eat fish and chips at Coogee Beach
Okay, I admit I technically didn’t sit on the beach and eat my chips. More of, I sat down at one of the steps near it and then ate them. I mean, the view is beautiful but the seagulls freaked me out. #SorryNotSorry
#8. Go dessert or pastry hopping around CBD!
And yes, the doughnut’s name is Liam Hemsworthy.
But hey, at least it’s vegan!
#9. Get crazy over the ice cream. Anywhere. Everywhere.
It’s a well known fact that Sydney is craaaazy over their desserts! I didn’t get to go to the big gun shops because it rained most days, but when it’s unbelievably sunny one afternoon, try as much of their ice cream as you can!
#10. Drink coffee at Surry Hills
More specifically, try the Single Origin Roasters’ double shot flat white with the smallest cup. It’s too good to pass up, to be honest.
After drinking myself so much caffeine during my entire stay, I’ve now come to the conclusion that the best coffee can be found anywhere in the Surry Hills area.
#11. Explore The Rocks
Located near the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Rocks is currently my favourite place to be in Sydney. I was lucky to go there when they had a market, a small festival, and tons of performers wandering the streets.
#12. Walk around the CBD area with only your Opal card
I believe it was on a Saturday (or Sunday, I can’t be sure) where I decided to explore the entire CBD area with only $50 on my Opal Card and no idea where I’d end up. Turns out I’d end up at the University of Sydney, Newtown, and even some fancy galleries!
#13. Have breakfast and then walk around Paddington Markets for your Saturday morning
Take a bus to Paddington where they hold a weekly market for craft finders, fashionistas, and those who simply love really good local food. Still drooling over the crossbun filled with chocolates I ate over here.
#14. Take a leisurely stroll around Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour reminds me a lot of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront except it’s about five times bigger. You’ll find tons of restaurants, Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and the Maritime Museum over here.
#15. Try your best to do the Coogee-Bondi Coastal Walk
As one of the most beautiful walks you’ll take in your life — don’t be like me and expect to finish it in one afternoon. Apparently, it takes an approximate day and a half if you don’t take breaks in between.
#16. Watch the sunrise or sunset by the beach
Arguably, Australia has the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the world. I wake up at 6am every day to catch a glimpse of the sunrise by Bronte Beach while others choose to go in the afternoons around 8pm for the sunset.
#17. Climb up small hills or rocks and enjoy the breeze
I count myself pretty lucky to have gone in Sydney during the end of their summer and experienced pretty cool (or chilly) weather. What I love is getting to walk around as much as possible, sit on top of a rock formation and then write about anything.
#18. Take different angles of the Opera House
I am willing to bet you so many people will have the same photo as you when you’re on top of the Opera House! But try to find different angles and more ways to see this beautiful structure.
#19. Hang out by the Opera Bar
As a way to avoid the rain during my first day, I stumbled upon the Opera Bar which serves a mean selection of seafood and coffee. Trust me, you will most definitely love hanging around here. If not, you can take a ferry to Darling Harbour instead.
#20. Walk to wherever your feet will (literally) take you!
I read on so many travel blogs and websites about how Sydney isn’t an easy place to walk around. I’d have to disagree — the best finds, the best memories are those from when I was strolling through CBD or a suburb with no expectations.
Over to you:
Do you plan to go to Sydney any time soon?