Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Sydney, NSW, Australia by A4A guest writer Paula Morgan.
Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.
Overview of Sydney
Sydney has so much to offer. From world-class attractions, like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, to gorgeous beaches and national parks close to the city centre. There is a great food and drink scene no matter what your budget. While it often makes the world’s most expensive cities lists, there is plenty of affordable fun on offer if you know where to look.
Top 5 places to visit
5. Newtown – Street Art and craft beer
If art and food are close to your heart then you will enjoy spending a few hours in one of my favourite suburbs, Newtown. Just a couple of kilometres from the centre of the city and only 10 minutes by train, Newtown is a great contrast to the city and beaches. Take a stroll along King Street, the main thoroughfare. It’s lined with interesting and mostly independent shops. Down the alleys and laneways lies a multitude of great street art.
Explore some of Sydney Craft best beers either at Young Henry’s brewery or on tap in the local pubs. Make sure you try Black Star Pastry’s Watermelon Cake, a lamington from FlowerDrum, a meat pie from Pie Tin, and anything at all at the Continental Deli and Bar.
4. Manly Beach
Get a taste of a Sydney beach and a ferry ride all in the one day. Walk along the Corso (mall) to the ocean and follow the beach walk around to Shelley Beach. If you fancy something more active, rent a kayak from Manly Wharf and paddle over to Collins Beach just around the harbour from the wharf.
3. The Rocks and Barangaroo
Walk the streets of Sydney’s oldest quarter and imagine what life was like for the early settlers. Start at the Rocks Discovery Museum for a crash course in the history of Sydney and then take a stroll through some of the main streets. If you are a true history buff like me, you will love the Susannah Place Museum too.
When you are done exploring, grab a beer in one of the historic pubs like the Lord Nelson or the Hero of Waterloo, the two oldest pubs in the area. Otherwise, admire the view from the rooftop bar at the Glenmore Hotel.
2. Bondi to Coogee Walk
It’s listed in all the guidebooks for good reason and you really should try to do at least a section of this walk while you are here. The track hugs the cliffs and takes you past 6 beaches, a cemetery, a cliff top bowls club and plenty of gorgeous homes. You can begin at either end of the walk – there are bars and restaurants at the start and finish, and transport to get you back to the city. If time is short just do the Bondi to Bronte section.
1. Sydney Harbour Pylon Lookout
The Pylon Lookout is in the south eastern granite pylon that supports the bridge. Just 200 stairs will get you to the top and a bird’s eye view of the harbour. Along the way are several displays that honor the workers and show how the bridge was built.
For travellers on a budget, it is hard to go past Newtown on the western edge of the CBD. Bordering Sydney University, Newtown boasts cheap food in almost every variety you can imagine with over 50 restaurants in the main street. In Chinatown, there are some great food halls and you can easily eat well for $10. Also keep an eye out for pubs, particularly in the inner suburbs with lots offering $10 dinners mid-week.
Also, don’t rule out a drink and something to eat at Opera Bar. It’s a splurge for sure, and you would think it would be super expensive, but it’s pretty much the same as other city venues who don’t have the view. It’s a brilliant spot for a sunset drink.
Sydney’s integrated ticketing system, Opal, covers buses, trains, ferries and light rail in Sydney and regional areas. The card itself is free and you load the credit you need (from $10) onto the card. You can buy your card at convenience stores and transport kiosks around the city. You can reload credit at these stores and most train stations have top up machines (but not card machines frustratingly). Currently after 8 trips in a week you travel free for the rest of the week. There is talk of this changing later in the year but for now it still works.
On Sundays you can travel anywhere in the network for $2.50 – even the Blue Mountains! You can still buy individual single tickets but these cost about 30% more than the discounted Opal rate, so if you are here for a couple of days it is usually worth getting one.
Most budget hostels are located around Central Station. The pick of the bunch is the YHA in the Rocks, it has a gorgeous roof top area with views of the harbour. If you are on a longer holiday consider staying outside the city. In summer try Bondi, Coogee or Manly for a beach holiday experience or Glebe, Newtown or Potts Point for an inner city feel.
Airbnb is also an option with lots of properties in the inner suburbs and all along the coast. The legal situation with these is still a bit up in the air but there are plenty to choose from.
If your budget will stretch or you are travelling in a group there are some great apartment options from Meriton, Adina and others. I really like the Adina in Surry Hills and the Quest or Meriton at Bondi Junction because they are well located for exploring Sydney.
I am a lifelong Sydneysider, travel writer and volunteer guide with Sydney Greeters. I love showing people around this fabulous city pointing out the things the guide books leave out of their top 10 lists. The aim of my blog is to showcase the best of Sydney and give people enough information to plan interesting and affordable itineraries.
If you would like to work with Adoration 4 Adventure, contact A4A.
All photos in this article (except the feature image and vertical pin) are the property of A4A guest writer Paula Morgan.
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