How to Spend 4 Days in Sydney, Australia

I arrived in Sydney on Thursday morning and had 4 full days to see the city.  Sydney was awesome, right from the start.  Whether you love museums, parks, architecture, galleries, food, shopping, beach or water sports, you can find it all here.  I had beach time on the top of my list! Next I knew I wanted to check out the waterfront and see the nationally recognized Sydney Opera House.  I explored the city as much I could without cramming too much in.  If you would like to follow the same itinerary, here is what I suggest:

Day 1: Take a couple of hours to explore the area where you are staying.  I always do this in every city that I arrive in. It helps me get to know the lay of the land.  In Sydney, I stayed in the heritage hotel called The Grace.  I highly recommend this hotel for its location, price, size of the suite and the maintenance.  The Grace Hotel is centrally located and walking distance to cool places like the Spice Alley.

After exploring your area and perhaps a little bit of shopping head down to the Royal Botanic Gardens.  As you walk through the gardens, you will reach a point (right at the top of Mrs. Macquarie’s Road) where you have a gorgeous view of the Sydney Opera House.  If you love taking photos, this will be a nice angle for you.  After that, you can walk through the park to get to the Opera House.  I walked into the theatre to chill a bit in the lounge.  I didn’t leave without snapping a couple more pics of this magnificent place.

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Take a stroll along the Circle Quay and stop in to the Aboriginal Art Gallery.  There you will find a collection of art from world renowned artists.  A visit to Australia is not complete without learning something about its first rightful owners of the land.

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The weather was great and the sun was yet to set for several more hours so we took a quick ferry ride to the famous Bondi Beach.  Leaving the beach and getting back into the central business district (CBD) is very easy.  Just hop on a bus heading to Town Hall or St.James Station.

Day 2:

Darling Harbour. Sydney is surrounded by water, so of course there are multiple spots to catch an amazing view of the city.  Darling Harbour also has the Australian Maritime Museum and the Welcome Wall honoring more than 6 million overseas migrants that have settled in the country.  I didn’t go through the entire museum, the first level is free and if you like American history you may enjoy the display.  I perused through for about 10 minutes and then moved on to see more of Sydney.

Barangaroo South. A short walk away is the Barangaroo South district, which is still going through development, but there is enough to please your appetite for food, retail therapy, and great photos opps.

 

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If you love walking head over to The Rocks, and tour the cobble laneways and visit with local artisans.  You can cover this area in 30 minutes and then walk up to the Harbor Bridge.  You can walk across the bridge and get an up close experience of this wondrous engineering without doing the BridgeClimb (which I was not interested in). Once you get across the bridge, you will be in Milson’s Point area.  If it is a Sunday, there may be a local fashion market happening.  You can catch the train from here back to where ever you need to go (perhaps your hotel to take rest).

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The Rocks

Day 3:

Manly, Manly Beach, and if you have time head up more north to Palm Beach.  If you make it to Palm Beach, plan to veg on the beach because there is nothing around in this secluded area, except gorgeous mansions, one restaurant and a small shop.  It took about 40 minutes from Manly to get here by bus and it was well worth it.  There are multiple ways to get to Manly. You can use the fast ferry or take the Manly Ferry (which is more economical and you can use your Opal card).  Both options will give you the spectacular views of the Sydney harbour and surroundings.

Day 4:

If you like to discover neighbourhoods that feel more local, yet still have something to offer tourists, then you need to hit the Spice Alley.  I heard this place referred to as a little Singapore in Sydney.  I have yet to travel through Singapore, but the plethora of food option, flavors, and smells is exactly how I imagine Singapore to be.  Spice Alley is in the heart of Chippendale and don’t get this name twisted with the male tour group.  Chippendale is a happening area popular for its converted warehouses, galleries, green space, and shopping.

There are more touristy things that you can do like, visit the Blue Mountains, The Toronga Zoo, and do the Bridge Climb.  All of which, I have heard amazing stories. If you have done this, let me know about your experience.

Getting around by public transit in Sydney is super easy.  You will need to purchase an Opal card, which you can do upon departure from the airport.  For all the insider tips on getting around with public transit click here.

 

Fish and Chip This in Manly, Australia

One of my favourite travel moments is when it’s time to discover really good food. I always like to find out where the locals like to go and then I like to know what food is authentic to the specific city. When in Texas, look for Texas BBQ or Tex Mex. When in Montreal, have poutine. When in Britain have fish & chips. Apparently, when in Australia, you should have fish & chips too! I’m used to having cod, haddock, or halibut battered and deep fried …sometimes beer battered and then fried. While in Manly, Australia (just outside of Sydney) I stumbled upon this cute place called the fish Shack.  You will find this place along the Steyne Street, right in front of the beach. I ordered the Barramundi fish & chips for takeaway.  The barramundi is a white fish, which is quite meaty, high in omega 3 and packed with protein. It is mercury free and considered environmentally friendly. We chose to take the food away and sit along the beach. The service was just okay and we did receive our food within 15 minutes.

I couldn’t place this order without including the iconic beverage, Bundaberg ginger beer. Ginger beer takes me back to my childhood years. It was always a treat to get Reed’s Jamaican Ginger Beer.   If you love ginger, you must try this beverage! Bundaberg brew has been around since the 1960s and it’s known for its quality ingredients. Lucky for me Bundaberg is exported to the US and I can quench my thirst with this anytime.

There are tons of food options in this cute little town. This was a pleasant moment, but I only had only one afternoon so I didn’t get a chance to try anywhere else.

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Australian Ginger Beer

 

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Barramundi Fish and Chips

 

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