Sydney is an iconic city known throughout the world. It is one of Australia’s major draw cards for tourists both near and far as the city has something to offer everyone. From culture festivities to fun at famous beaches like Bondi, Sydney is a destination you won’t be bored in. Check out our guide for this incredible place and consider protecting your trip to Sydney with domestic travel insurance.
How to get around Sydney
Sydney has a very comprehensive transport system, with trains connecting larger suburbs together, and with the CBD. The train is also the fastest way of getting from the airport to the city, which is about a 10 minute trip one way at a price of $17AUD. Public transport is reasonably priced, and simply load money onto an Opal card to start travelling! Use the NSW transport site to plan your trip.
If you’re looking to really explore what Sydney has to offer, hire a car. Hiring a car comes with the benefit of being able to explore areas further away from the city such as the Blue Mountains, Jervis Bay, and Wattamolla. The city and surrounding areas is a bustling metropolitan, but to get into exploring the natural environment, hiring a car is your best bet.
What to do in Sydney
The first time tourists
For first time travellers, it’s a must to get down to Circular Quay to see the iconic Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House! The views from Circular Quay are guaranteed to impress the crowds with the stunning placement of the icons, the sun glimmering high up or producing magnificent landscape shots at sunsets, or seeing the city lights come alive in the night, any time is a perfect time to visit.
Why settle with having a look around the Opera House when you can take a tour, or even book into a show? The Opera House plays hosts to a wide variety of shows that go beyond just theatre productions, think ballets, operas, comedy festivals, concerts, and live orchestrated movies such as Harry Potter!
Sydney is a melting pot of multiculturalism, art, religion, and food. For those that enjoy art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of Australia’s largest and oldest art galleries. The gallery showcases everything from Aboriginal Australian art, contemporary art and everything in between. AGNSW also plays host to a wide array of international and domestic exhibitions.
Delve deeper into the cultural and spiritual connection of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders past and history with Bangarra Dance Company. Bangarra is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing arts organisation. Their performances encapsulate 65,000 years of culture, movement, dance, and unique soundscapes.
No doubt at Circular Quay you won’t be able to miss the ferries passing by. So why not hop on one! The ferry connects Circular Quay to a majority of popular areas such as Taronga Zoo, Watson’s Bay, and Manly. The thirty minute ferry trip to Manly is definitely a crowd favourite as it takes travellers across the harbour and gives the perfect view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in one shot. Once at Manly enjoy the beach, the surf, and the lively promenade.
On the other side of the harbour are the iconic yellow sands of Bondi Beach. It’s not hard to see why Bondi is so famous around the world with the clean sands, the stunning blues of the water, and the whites of the waves crashing in, it’s simply picturesque. The streets are lined with cafes, where you’ll be able to have the typical Australian brunch of eggs benedict or smashed avocado on toast.
For those that enjoy a leisurely walk rather than sunbaking on the beach, head up north towards Bondi Icebergs where you’ll be able to get a panoramic view of the beach, watch as people look like ants scouring on the beach, and surfing the waves. This also marks the beginning of the Bondi to Coogee walk. The walk winds along the coast, leading you through Tamarama and Bronte Beach before reaching Coogee.
Out of the city
Sydney is a bustling metropolitan with beautiful streets, people, and beaches, but there is much more once you get out of the city! The Blue Mountains are popular amongst both locals and tourists, and it’s no surprise why. The mountains are grand, and there’s untouched, natural Australian flora as far as the eye can see. The Blue Mountains features stunning hikes and trails that traverse through the mountain and forest, it’s a great chance to see the Australian natural environment.
Close by to the Blue Mountains is the ever beautiful Wentworth Falls. The Wentworth Falls track leads all the way down to the bottom of the falls where you’ll be able to look up and see the water glisten in the sun as it falls off the falls. This is truly a sight to see. The trek is fairly easy going down, however once you start the trek up the stairs are quite steep and unstable.
For the kids
Sydney is a very child friendly city, and there is plenty to see and do with the kids. A favourite both kids and adults, is Taronga Zoo based in Mosman. If you’re headed in from the city, take the ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo. With its prime location, you’ll be able to look at the animals with a backdrop of the city! You’ll find it’s common that your photos of elephants and giraffes capture the Sydney skyline in the background!
On Darling Harbour and King Street Wharf there are variety of kid friendly activities such as the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. In Darling Quarter on Darling Harbour there is a fantastic children’s area that allows them to release their inner child with swings, slides, climbing walls, and a water system!
General travel tips
When dining out in Australia, you’re not expected to tip the waiters, etc. Australia doesn’t have a strong tipping culture and workers are fairly compensated for their work. However, you can leave a tip if you feel the service exceptional – in that case 10% is the norm.
If you’re planning on travelling via public transport whether train, bus, or ferry you’re going to need an Opal card. Opal cards can be picked up from news agencies, and small outlets. They’re completely free and you only need to load money onto it to start tapping on at stations.
In comparison to other bustling metropolitans Sydney closes pretty early in the night. Shopping malls are usually open until 7pm at the latest, and on Thursday’s “shopping nights” they’re open until 9pm. Not only that, most restaurants close their kitchens at 9.30pm.
Like travelling anywhere, there are always dangers to be weary of. The main one occurs at beaches, as rips are very dangerous and can drag swimmers out to sea. As such, it is so important to listen to lifeguard instructions and swim between the red and yellow flags.
Don’t play with the natural wildlife! Those koalas, wombats, and kangaroos may look cute and cuddly, but they are also territorial and if they feel threatened, they will act accordingly! It’s always best to just observe wild animals as they are, so try not to disturb them and let them go about their day.
Travelling within our own country can be an incredible experience. Protect your holiday to Sydney with domestic travel insurance.
Destination NSW is the lead government agency for the New South Wales (NSW) tourism and major events sectors. Our vision is to make Sydney and NSW one of the world’s most successful tourism and events destinations. Plan your trip and find accommodation, attractions, events and more at Visit NSW and Sydney.com.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.
Plus, for helpful destination-based COVID-19 information, don't forget to check the COVID-19 Travel Risk Tool before and during travel.
*The cover information contained on the above pages refers to Cover-More policies sold on or after 26 June 2023. For cover information on policies sold prior to this date, please read the relevant PDS.