Sydney, Australia

Three Stellar Days in Sydney

I have a more longstanding connection with Australia than most Americans. My second-grade teacher Mrs. Fraley, you see, was somewhat obsessed with the country—I had the words to “Waltzing Matilda” memorized before my eighth birthday, to say nothing of all the other random trivia I ended up learning in her classroom that year.

In spite of the extent to which I “knew what to expect” traveling to Australia for the first time, laying eyes upon the Sydney Opera House as my jumbo jet descended out of the clouds was easily in my top 10 travel moments. I’m excited to report that the experience of spending three days in Sydney (on the ground) was every bit as satisfying.

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Where to Stay in Sydney

I personally stayed right on Bondi Beach (more on that in a minute) during my latest visit to Sydney, but this massive boasts a dizzying range of accommodation options. From boutique properties like Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney, which faces the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, to the simple waterfront charm of the Sands Hotel and Apartment in Coogee, Sydney is a veritable treasure trove of incredible lodging. For even more Sydney lodging options, check out this HotelsCombined blog on the top 23 Popular 5-Star Sydney Hotels with Unbridled Luxury.

Day One: Sydney 101

Cliché as it might sound, there’s no place I would rather being three days in Sydney than at the Sydney Opera House, peering out toward the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Past this point, however, your options are wide-ranging and divergent, which means that no two Sydney itineraries are going to be alike.


If you want to cover ground slowly, for example, you might occupy most of day one right near Syndey’s central business district, at places like Circular Quay or the Royal Botanic Gardens, or even scaling the Harbour Bridge itself. Alternatively, you might head west to Darling Harbour and Newtown, south and east from Hyde Park and the Anzac Memorial, along Oxford Street into Sydney’s Gayborhood, or in most any other direction from the city center.

Day Two: Bondi and Other Beaches

Bondi Beach might be the best urban beach in the world, with all due respect to Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, Camps Bay in Cape Town and Hilton Beach in Tel Aviv. Of course, Bondi (the beach and the upmarket neighborhood that extends northward from it) are only the beginning of adventures for sun-seekers in Sydney.


You could spend your second of three days in Sydney walking, for instance, enjoying the Coastal Walk from Bondi down to Bronte Beach. Or, you could head even further down the Sydney-area coastline to Coogee, or (much farther) northward to Manly. The moral of the story is that no matter where you are in Sydney, a world-class beach is never far away!

Day Three: Get Out of Town

On the other hand, saving Manly until your third of three days in Sydney might be a more befitting option. After all, one of the most satisfying excursions to enjoy on this day is a boat ride to Watsons Bay, which offers one of the most incredible zoomed-out views of the city, and which is in the same part of the city (relatively) speaking at the surfer-strewn beaches of Manly.


Another option, as strange as it might seem, is to shirk Sydney’s coastal scenery (at least temporarily) and head for the hills—this is a particularly good idea if you visit Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road. Or, more specifically, the Blue Mountains, which are not particularly blue (in my experience) but are nonetheless a gorgeous day trip to take to round our your three days in Sydney.

The Bottom Line

I’ve gone to great lengths to simplify Australia’s most populous city, but the fact is that three days in Sydney are only the beginning of the adventures you can find here. From iconic architecture along gorgeous Sydney Harbour to some of the best urban beaches on the planet, Sydney more than lives up to any hype surrounding it, even for me—and I’d hyped it for more than two decades before I finally arrived!

About The Author

is the author of 996 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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Chadwick August 31, 2017 at 2:58 am

I loved Sydney too. More as somewhere to visit than to live (Melbourne is top of my list for liveability). Like any big city, a weekend just isn’t enough. We stayed at the Harbour Rocks, and I recommend it. The location at the foot of the bridge is unbeatable, but you can say the same about many other Sydney hotels. We’ve stayed at the Swissotel under the Sydney Tower and that was also a great location. The south side city centre is very walkable with all the big hitter views within easy reach.
Talking of which…
The classic Opera House + Bridge view is from Mrs Macquaries Point (go at sunset and walk back through the Botanic Gardens as the fruit bats begin to unfurl their wings from their daytime roost in the trees above you).
The Bridge Climb is iconic, expensive and totally worth it. Vertigo sufferers can be reassured that the beams are wide enough to drive a bus over and you are clipped to a wire the entire time.
The Bondi-Coogee walk is incredible for the views and rocks. We only got as far as Bronte. There are buses linking back to Bondi or back into town.
The Manly ferry gives you just the same views as a tourist harbour cruise – and you get to visit Manly.
The Blu Bar at the Shangri La hotel gives exceptional views over the harbour while you sip swanky cocktails.
The Rook – if you can find it – is a funky secret rooftop bar/restaurant. No view, but good food and atmosphere.
The Blue Mountains are a whole 3 or 5 day trip in their own right.
Nothing prepares you for the first time you see the Opera House. A tour inside is also fascinating.

So yeah, there’s my 10 cents, hopefully backing you up that no two Sydney itineraries will be the same, and that the city has plenty to offer.

Robert Schrader August 31, 2017 at 5:09 am

Thanks for your suggestions! I really feel they add to my itinerary.

Mauritius Travel Agency September 8, 2017 at 3:47 am

I love to visit Sydney and your article is very useful for tourist. i like your colorful photos and popular places but you would try to mention some activity to do there, when to go, cheapest hotel list so it is good for traveler.

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