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Planning the Perfect Sydney Itinerary: 1, 2, and 3-Day Guides

Heading to Sydney but have no clue where to begin planning your itinerary? You’re not alone. The amount there is to explore, see, do, sip and eat in the Emerald City is dizzying and can be downright daunting! But don’t let this defeat you - we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to experience the best of what Sydney has to offer in a short amount of time, whether you’re staying for 1, 2 or 3 days.


Day 1




Start at Wendy’s Secret Garden

We hope you brought your walking shoes - you’re going to need them! Hone your post-trip arrival excitement and adventurous energy into exploring some key city sights on foot. First up, we recommend visiting the hidden oasis of Wendy’s Secret Garden.

Begin your exploration in the tranquil setting of this transformed railway land, providing a relaxing escape and an almost surreal contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. Tirelessly crafted and maintained by Wendy Whitely in tribute to her late husband, Australian artist Brett Whitely, the garden is characterised by its lush greenery, winding paths, and hidden nooks - perfect for a picnic or leisurely bask in the sunshine. Take your time to explore the beautiful gardens, before moving on to the next stop.

Wendy's Secret Garden

Source: Wendy's Secret Garden


Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art

Hike over the Sydney Harbour Bridge towards your next harbourside destination, the Museum of Contemporary Art. Open every day except Tuesdays, the MCA holds an astounding collection of artwork and invites the public to celebrate contemporary art through exhibitions, events, creative learning and more.


Enjoy lunch at The Rocks

Exit the MCA to find yourself in the heart of The Rocks. A historic neighbourhood and favourite for locals and tourists alike, explore the lively cobblestone streets at your own pace. On the weekends, take in the vibrant atmosphere of live music, mouthwatering street eats and eclectic stalls at The Rocks Markets. If you’re feeling peckish, you’re in luck! From cheap eats to some of the most exquisite restaurants in Sydney, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your tastebuds.




Explore the Royal Botanic Gardens

Next, take a stroll around to the other side of the harbour towards Australia’s jewel: the Sydney Opera House. Of course, take your time to snap the picture-perfect shot on the steps or with the Harbour Bridge behind you, and then venture into the Royal Botanic Garden. A sanctuary of lush greenery in the heart of the city, wander freely through the impressive array of plant species from Australia and around the world. With 74 acres to explore, don’t miss some of the key highlights, such as the Palace Rose Garden, the Pioneer Memorial Garden or the Wildflower Meadow.


Walk to Hyde Park & St Mary’s Cathedral

If you’re up for hiking just a bit further, beneath the Royal Botanic Gardens is Australia’s oldest and most famous park: Hyde Park. Aside from exploring the beautiful grounds, a must-see here is St Mary’s Cathedral. Step back in time as you enter the hauntingly beautiful gothic church, featuring intricate stonework and soaring spires. Entry is free and open to the public every day. On Sundays, join a free guided tour in the afternoon to learn more about the history and architecture of the magnificent cathedral.

St Mary's Cathedral

Source: St Mary’s Cathedral




Enjoy a drink at Bar 83

After returning to your room to rest and freshen up, top off the day with a sunset drink at Bar 83 atop the Sydney Tower. Elevated 83 floors above street level, marvel at the spectacular panoramic views of the city with a drink in hand as the sun sinks below the horizon.


Order dinner at King Street Wharf

To close out day one of your trip, indulge in a well-deserved feed at King Street Wharf. You’ll be spoilt for choice with fantastic waterfront dining options offering cuisines from around the world. If you’re not quite ready to hit the hay, you’re conveniently located in one of the hotspots for vibrant nightlife, with bars and entertainment venues just a short stroll away.


Day 2




Have breakfast at Watson’s Bay

Wake up to a more relaxed start to the day. Head over to the Watson’s Bay Hotel for breakfast overlooking the sparkling blue waters of the oh-so-picturesque Watson’s Bay, framed with views of the CBD and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance. Make the most of the postcard-perfect views on the sandy shoreline and tuck into the delicious breakfast menu. 

Source: @watsonsbayboutiquehotel via Instagram


Walk the Hermitage Foreshore Track

Now that you’re well-rested and fueled up for the day, head over to Rose Bay to walk the Hermitage Foreshore Track for a stunning coastal trek. Approximately 3.5 km return, this short and easy route allows you to take in the beautiful views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and islands off the coast.


Hire a GoBoat

On those clear sunny days when the water looks so inviting that you just want to be out on it, you can be! Hire a GoBoat from Cabarita to cruise along the rivers and waterways in a privately hired electric boat - no license needed! Pack a picnic or pre-order food for the ultimate way to enjoy Sydney from the water.




Visit the White Rabbit Gallery

On the way back towards the CBD, stop in at White Rabbit Gallery to discover the incredible display of contemporary - and sometimes confronting - 21st-century Chinese art. The four-level industrial building hosts a rotation of four exhibitions throughout the year. Before you leave, pay a visit to the Tea House for delicious hand-made dumplings, scones with jam and cream, or a selection of Taiwanese and Chinese teas. From here, it’s less than 10 minutes to walk back to your hotel room if you would like to freshen up.



Drink at the Opera Bar

In the late afternoon, head back towards the harbour for a drink with world-class views at the Opera Bar, sunken below street level beside the Opera House and facing out towards the Harbour Bridge. Enjoy a cocktail and an unbeatable photo opportunity. You may have to hover around to score a seat, but it’s worth the wait!




Catch an outdoor movie

After a drink and a bite to eat, close out the day by catching a flick at one of Sydney’s outdoor cinemas. You’ll find temporary pop-ups scattered around the city, such as the Laneway Cinemas at The Rocks or the Moonlight Cinema at Paddington. If the weather doesn’t permit stretching out beneath the stars, catch a show at the epic Art Deco Ritz Cinema in Randwick instead.

Day 3




Walk from Bondi to Bronte 

Spend the morning in gorgeous Bondi, starting with the famous Bondi to Bronte walk along the jagged coastline. Take in the magnificent views of the ocean and eastern suburbs. When Bondi Beach is packed with thousands of tourists in the warmer months, stop in at Tamarama between the two seaside suburbs for an equally stunning beach that gives you a little more room between towels! Carry on to Bronte and stop off for a coffee or freshly squeezed juice before turning back.

However, if you’re keen to extend your walk, take the coastal track all the way to Coogee. The trek from Bondi to Coogee and back is 12 kilometres, so set aside a couple of hours to complete the track, or more if you want to stop off for a refreshing dip, drink or bite to eat along the way.


Swim in the ocean pools

After a few hours in the sun, the glistening ocean pools never look more inviting! Dive in at Bronte, or make a splash in the iconic Icebergs pools to tick off a bucket list photo opportunity.





Enjoy lunch in Bondi

By now, it’s well and truly time for lunch. Wander up Bondi Road for a diverse selection of dining options, from a hearty Italian lunch at Totti’s to fish and chips, pizza, or a simple cafe snack. In holiday mode and craving a midday cocktail? Climb the stairs up to Don Pedros on the promenade to sip on a margarita while you dig into a delicious Mexican feed.


Take the ferry to Manly

In the afternoon, head back to Circular Quay and hop on the ferry to Manly. Here, bustling cafes, rooftop bars and quirky market stalls beckon. There’s truly something for everyone, no matter what you’re in the mood for. If you’re feeling adventurous, take up a surfing lesson at Manly Beach or hire a bike to discover the hidden coves and beaches. If you’re in the mood for a laid-back afternoon, explore stalls of artisan knick-knacks at the Manly Arts and Crafts Market, stroll through the Corso outdoor mall for funky fashion finds, or indulge in fresh seafood at Garfish Manly.  


Picnic at Observatory Hill Park 

When you arrive back at Circular Quay, we highly recommend taking in the iconic harbour views one last time from a different perspective. Head to Observatory Hill Park at Millers Point for uninterrupted 180-degree views stretching from Sydney’s west to the harbour. For sunset lovers, heading here at dusk is a must. Pick up some cheese and crackers on the way or a takeaway pizza for an unbeatable twilight picnic.

Observatory Hill




Finish the trip at Abercrombie

As a last hoorah for your stay in Sydney, head to Abercrombie for a night on the town. Everything you need is right here in this multi-level heritage-listed building. Grab a bite at the Abercrombie Public Bar, Kitchen & Beer Garden, sip on locally sourced wine at the Lil Sis Wine Bar, or head into the nightclub space to dance the night away - it’s up to you!

Whether you cram your few days with exploration and jam-packed action, or you enjoy your stay at a more leisurely pace, you’re bound to fall in love with the charming buzz and city charm of Sydney. 


Looking for Sydney accommodation? Discover the heritage charm and welcoming atmosphere of Vulcan, conveniently located close to public transport and within walking distance of some of the city’s best attractions.


Sydney Harbour