I have to start off by saying that every time I’ve visited Sydney I’ve really loved it. Guaranteed, I’ve spent most of my time visiting the tourist attractions – the harbour bridge, the harbour itself, and the surrounding beaches – but even the little time I spent exploring the quieter parts of the city have been brilliant all the same.
This time on my visit I spent a long weekend staying in the most incredible Airbnb with a rooftop pool and BBQ. Seriously, if you’re planning on visiting Sydney anytime soon check this place out, it was incredibly good value for the view from the roof, and the pool and BBQ facilities you can find up there.
If you’re on a similar trip to us and planning on spending a long weekend in the city, I’d definitely recommend the following for your trip!
Walk Along the Harbour Bridge
This is a free and less hair raising alternative than doing the bridge climb (that can set you back almost $200!). Grab the subway/tube to the Milsons Point and climb up the stairs to walk along the walkway across the bridge.
The view you get of the harbour, the opera house and of all the boats passing by is just brilliant. When we walked across – and it only takes around 20 minutes or so – the view was spectacular, and we even got to see a cruise ship pass underneath, with everyone on the top deck waving up to us…
And at the other side, over the bridge you end up in the Rocks, which is a really nice area of Sydney to explore the laid back cafes, restaurants and shops.
Grab a boat to Manly Beach
There are two options for sailing over to Manly beach – grab a F line with your Opal card, or hop on the Super Fast Manly Beach Ferry – which is the same price. I’d say avoid pre-booking this and just see which is the earliest one to you when you arrive to save time.
The journey over to Manly beach lasts just under half an hour but if you spend it on the top deck it’s a lovely journey with great views of the city and the surrounding beaches.
Once you’re at Manly you have plenty of options for beaches, not just the main stretch – and you can either hire sun beds and umbrellas or pick a spot yourself for sunbathing. Around the harbour there is also a lot options to stop and grab something to eat or drink, and watch people diving from the pier, or paddle boarding across.
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
For a small but scenic route from the Sydney Botanical Gardens round to the opera house, stop off at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for a great viewing spot of the Harbour, bridge and opera house and all.
It’s a popular spot but for a reason, as the view you get of the Opera House and the bridge is just brilliant. It’s also a perfect walk through the park and round to the harbour, and if you want to explore further you can also access The Rocks, to explore further.
The Shangri-La Hotel
If you fancy a posh date night then grab the lift up to the Blue Bar on 36 on the 36th floor (obvs) of the Shangri-La Hotel either in the day or at night time for an extraordinary view of the Opera House and the surrounding area.
I can’t attest for how good the food, drinks or service are as when we visited we just slipped into the viewing lounge for a sneaky peak before heading down the Opera House itself… But if you want to have a special evening and treat yourself it’s worth booking ahead to make sure you get the prime spot to see the harbour!
The Opera House Bar
Guaranteed the prices for drinks are on the pricier side – but where with a view like this wouldn’t be? Also their range of Frosé (Frozen Rosé) is quite impressive, and I’m sure a glorious sunny afternoon could be spent sampling them all…
It’s also a pretty lovely sight at night, with the bridge lit up and the view of Luna Park across the harbour. If you’re in Sydney as a tourist it’s an aboslute must for experiencing the harbour view, with the added bonus of being able to enjoy a drink at the same time!
I hope if you’re visiting Sydney soon that any of the above recommendations come in handy. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything glaringly missing!
More Australia posts will be coming to the blog every week, but in the meantime my holiday snaps can be found on my Instagram @GrundyTravels.
Thanks for reading! x