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The last time we were in Australia, Sydney was one place that we left for the next trip. So with our second trip there, I was determined to make it to this coastal city. In a weekend guide to Sydney, you’ll see there was so much more to have been done, but with two nights and three days, we made the most of it. I had heard conflicting thoughts and opinions on Sydney — some who loved it and other’s who preferred Melbourne over it. For me, it was hard to compare. Ultimately, I loved the city as it reminded me of a more laid-back New York or, rather, an elevated LA.

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

Sydney was energetic, booming with creativity in every way imaginable. It doesn’t hurt that its beaches are ridiculously stunning, even on a windy day. Coffee shops, ocean walks, and enough world-class restaurants to fill a month, and you’re set. It’s the kind of place you could never tire of. Each neighborhood is vastly different from the next. Surry Hills is all things “hipster” (I hate that word but how else can you describe it). Then you have the CBD, where financial buildings tower over endless shopping. Bondi and Manly take the cake for what feels like a small seaside town. The list goes on and on.

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

So whether you’re headed for a few days or a week, take a peak at this weekend guide to Sydney.

The Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

Transportation in Sydney, Australia

Ah the great debate. Sydney is easy to get to as its international airport has plenty of direct flights. Once on ground, if you’re two or more, I’d consider a $25-30 Uber into the main part of town (say Surry Hills). A friend who was from there said to not even bother with public transportation due to it not being timely. Ubers are affordable amongst a group and generally speaking, the neighborhoods are walkable. One key way to get around between outer neighborhoods is by ferry — consider it a scenic boat tour plus transportation. The Manly ferry is worth it.

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

Where to Stay in Sydney, Australia

This is a matter of preference and what you want to experience. We chose Surry Hills as it’s incredibly central and offers a central point to going everywhere. We rented a stunning Airbnb (get $40 on your first Airbnb adventure by using this link to sign up!) and found it easy to get around. As we didn’t book a hotel, I can’t confidently recommend one however these would be my top choices based on research:

Where to Eat in Sydney, Australia

I thought I’d break this out by neighborhood as the city is widespread. Those starred were the standout meals.

Surry Hills

  • Zeus Street Greek: A good spot for a fast, casual Greek.
  • *Reuben Hills: Come here for coffee and breakfast, hidden down a lane.
  • Goros: Izakaya-style Japanese bar with whiskey.
  • Single O Surry Hills: An institution for coffee.
  • Paramount Coffee Project: Another great option for coffee.
  • Gelato Messina: Can’t miss this Italian joint for good gelato.

CBD/Darling Harbour/Potts Point

  • *Endeavor Tap Rooms: Come here for the best view of the Opera House, where there’s beer on tap and a great menu.
  • Mecca: Beautiful coffee shop + good eats for lunch or breakfast.
  • *Cho Cho San: Our favorite meal hands down, this Japanese restaurant put together a meal unlike none other. Come here and be sure to reserve in advance.
  • The Apollo Restaurant: Undoubtedly one of the best Greek restaurants in Australia, where it’s served with big plates and bold flavors.


  • *Porch and Parlour: A great brunch or lunch spot, with innovative takes on classic dishes. The coffee is amazing too.
  • Lox Stcok & Barrel: Another solid place for breakfast or lunch.
  • Shuk Bondi: This is the one spot I wish we had time for, it’s an Israeli-style joint that makes fresh bread.
  • Orchard St. Organic Juice: Come here for fresh juice.
  • Sefa Kitchen: Solid spot for Mediterranean food.


  • *The Grounds of Alexandria: It’s not a trip to Sydney without a stop here. It’s worth the drive, and let me tell you, the food is incredible and the space, even better. You could spend a few hours walking through their perfectly manicured gardens.
  • Mecca Alexandria: Stop in for coffee and a bite.

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

What to Do in Sydney, Australia

  • Explore the CBD and take a walk along the Rocks.
  • Pop into the Opera House or catch a show.
  • Cafe hop through Surry Hills, there’s endless boutiques.
  • Grab the scenic ferry to Manly, walk the downtown, watch the surfers, and a grab a beer at 4 Pines Manly.
  • Head to Bondi to see the iconic Icebergs.
  • Walk the scenic Bondi to Coogee trail for a few hours of scenic views.
  • Grab the ferry to the Taronga Zoo — named one of the most scenic zoos.

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

More Australia posts here!

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The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Sydney, Australia

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


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