A Holiday Break in Sydney - Guide to the Best Itinerary

By: Guest Author
Getty Images / Michael Dunning

Senior Travel Consultant and Sydney resident Adam James let Trading Places in on the best Sydney travel itinerary for a holiday break in the Australian city.

Time and again, travelers have mistaken Sydney as just a stopover city, thinking they only need a couple of days to see it all. Located on one of the edges of the world, Sydney is considered one of the best cities on the planet for various reasons.

It is the capital of New South Wales and is the host to the Sydney Harbour which is home to the iconic Opera House. Apart from this, the sun-soaked beaches, vibrant art scene, and some of the best restaurants on earth can be found in Sydney.

Bondi Beach and the Opera House are world-famous, but there is much more to Sydney. Amidst the sky-touching landscapes and the bewitching beaches, lies a city where people of all ages can get their share of fun and entertainment.

This article will help you narrow down the itinerary while you are in Sydney, with a shortlist of things to do and see to point you in the right direction to explore the city.

Fun Fact: The movie “Mission Impossible 2” was both shot and set in Sydney. Who can forget the climax where the iconic and famous motorcycle duel Tom and Baddy tackle each other in mid-air as their bikes collide?


A dive into Sydney’s hottest neighborhoods

Sydney has a strict division into planned neighborhoods. Each of them has its own character. A traveler will easily find most of the big attractions in the Circular Quay area, right by the harbor, in the city center.

Hop on the ferries to peripheral islands, or take a walk along with the Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Museum of Sydney all nearby.

The Rocks, the first European settlement in Australia and now a historic cobbled village full of heritage buildings, can be accessed just by a walk towards the north along the water. The Sydney Harbour Bridge can also be accessed easily from this area.


Eat like a king

There are a plethora of fine dining restaurants inside the Sydney Opera House. Sydney is a chef’s paradise for people who would love to devour Australia’s best steaks or sample the super-fresh seafood. Sydney has migrants from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Italy, and even Spain. These people have brought their cuisine to Sydney and blended it with the local produce.

In Circular Quay also you will find people gathered up at restaurants for contemporary Cantonese cuisine and heritage setting.


Hit the beaches

The crashing waves of Bondi Beach have been the postcard image for Sydney for many years. You can even take the coastal walk after catching some sun or taking your surf lessons. This walk can expose your eyes to some of the most stunning cliffside views of rock pools and bays.

Beaches such as Redleaf Beach, Milk Beach, and Parsley Bay, also offer some exotic experiences. Coastal beaches like the Manly Beach which is about an 18-minute ride north on the Fast Ferry from Circular Quay can give you hipster coffee shops and waterfront bars, plus an attractive stretch of sand.


Catch a show

The first thing that comes to mind after hearing “performances” is the Sydney Opera House. But the Opera House is more than just opera — it is home to various events and performances every night of the week. This incredible marvel doesn’t just do opera but also houses various stand-up comedy, theatre, ballets, Indie concerts, and more.

However, it’s not the only place in Sydney where you get to see shows. The 1920s State Theatre hosts international ballets, concerts, and world-class orchestras in a majestic setting. Travelers won’t have to toil to find live music and comedy shows every night.


Go out on the town 

Sydney’s bars are as astounding as its food, with a fabulous collection of craft beer spots to speakeasies and casual wine bars. If you are a whiskey and beer person, then Sydney is perfect for you as these types of establishments are getting more and more common. Our pick? Visit the Darlinghurst area, where you will find some of the busiest bars in town.


Go to the zoo

The Taronga Zoo in Sydney offers one of the most amazing views of the harbor. Travelers come here not just to view the animals but also to capture some breathtaking moments. This zoo attracts more than one million visitors every year from across the world.

It is just a 13-minute ride from the Central Business District, and you can see more than 4,000 animals, including tigers, giraffes, kangaroos, platypus, koalas, Komodo dragons, elephants, lions, chimps, and more. Visitors can also get the chance to become part of concerts, a ropes course, a lemur forest, hiking trails, and rainforests.


Live life king size

In Sydney, hotels and main attractions are spread across a few main spots around the harbor and also in the central business district. Suburbs including Surry Hills, Elizabeth Bay, Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, Chippendale, Redfern, and Newton and beach suburbs like Bondi and Manly are considered among the main accommodation hubs.

While in Sydney, you can try getting out of the hotel mindset. There are options in Sydney that can easily reduce your expenses, freeing up more money to do activities, eat out, and experience Sydney like never before. 

Sydney is a hive of activity, a city that never sleeps; and it also boasts gorgeous beaches, fantastic weather, and mild winters. Why wait? Sydney attracts over 32 million visitors per year and you can be the next one to visit Sydney with all its glory.