Sydney, Australia is a beautiful place, with the Blue Mountains to one side and the Pacific Ocean to the other. You can spend hours enjoying the beach or sightseeing around Sydney City Centre since it is home to some amazing monuments. Almost 32% of the city's population were born overseas, making Sydney Australia's largest multicultural community.
You can take advantage of all the different cultures and ethnicities that have made this city their home to meet lots of interesting people. Although Sydney is the world's 12th most expensive city to live in it is ranked number 10 for livability so you are really lucky if you get to visit, even if it's just for a few days!
It can be hard to plan a vacation, especially if you are visiting an amazing city like Sydney and only have a couple of days to see it all. Maybe you are visiting for a long weekend, or you are just stopping at the Sydney International Airport while heading somewhere else.
Check out our itinerary below so you can get an idea of just how much you can do in 3 days in Sydney. Don't drag extra gear, shopping purchases, or even large purses along on your daily excursions. Instead, your first stop should be a Sydney luggage locker to you can drop off your things before heading out into the town.
Sydney Itinerary - Day 1
Morning: Walk on Bondi Beach
It is always nice to start the morning off with a walk, and one of the best places to take a stroll in Sydney is the gorgeous Bondi Beach. This place is known around the world for its nice sands, clear waters, and perfect waves for surfing. You can easily get here from basically anywhere around the city using the train station and buses.
Reserve a couple of hours for beach time, since once you arrive at Bondi Beach you will never want to leave. Try out surfing yourself or explore one of the beautiful walking trails in the area, like the Bondi to Bronte walk which starts at the Bondi Icebergs Club. If you want to discover the area more you can stop for a swim at one of the Bronte beaches before continuing on for the day.
By now it is probably time for some breakfast. When you get hungry, stop by Brown Sugar Bondi, a cute and affordable brunch restaurant that is within walking distance from Bondi Beach. Make sure you have a good breakfast because you have a full day of sightseeing ahead of you!
Afternoon: Sightsee Around Sydney Harbour
After enjoying a morning at the beach it is time to start ticking things off of your sightseeing list. First, make your way to Sydney Harbour which is home to lots of the city's landmarks. Be sure to stop by the Sydney Opera House, which is one of the most widely recognized buildings in the world. Of course, Sydney Harbour Bridge should be your next stop followed by Taronga Zoo, and Mrs Macquarie's Chair is in the area as well.
If you have the time (and money), we definitely recommend doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. This activity will let you go to the top of the bridge which offers a fantastic view of the city and the harbour below. However, getting access to the climb is pretty expensive which is why some people opt for the Pylon Lookout or the Sydney Tower Eye instead. The views are good here as well and it is much more affordable.
After you've had your fill of iconic landmarks you are probably looking for something to eat. There are lots of great places to dine in the area so you will have no problems finding somewhere to grab lunch. Try the Opera Kitchen for burgers and dumplings or the Cafe Sydney for some tasty and modern Australian cuisine. The Opera Bar is another fantastic choice serving pizza and cocktails.
Evening: Events at Hyde Park
The big and beautiful Hyde Park is a great place to relax after your first day of visiting Sydney. The greenspace is surrounded by skyscrapers and buildings but is a nice oasis in the City Centre. The park itself is fairly old dating back to 1810, and the Hyde Park Barracks are considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The park is often used as a venue for festivals or events, so you can check the schedule to see if anything is going on while you are in town. For example, there are the After Dark at the Hyde Park events put on by the Sydney Living Museums. They showcase different artists and masterpieces and the events usually happen in June. Musical concerts or performances are put on throughout the rest of the year as well.
There are restaurants, cafes and bars lining all sides of Hyde Park, so whenever you get hungry you can head to the nearest one. Some of the options nearby include Mazzaro Restaurant, a classy place offering Mediterranean dishes, or The Canopy which is a rustic but modern restaurant serving Australian meals.
Sydney Itinerary - Day 2
Morning: Brunch and Picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens are located in the heart of the City Centre and are a beautiful spot to spend your second morning in Sydney. Take your time exploring the area since entry is completely free and there is quite a lot to see. The gardens are separated into several sections each showcasing different Australian flora.
Take your time walking through the different areas and admiring beautiful palms, roses, herbs, ferns, succulents, and more. Each part of the botanic gardens represents unique stages of the history of Australia, including some dedicated to aboriginals, pioneers or farmers who have all played a part in shaping the city.
The Botanic House is a fantastic place to go eat and is found right inside the gardens. You can sit down for a world-class dining experience or order one of their picnic boxes to go and find somewhere in the gardens to eat!
Afternoon: Fun at Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is located to the west of the Central Business District and is a great pedestrian-friendly area that lots of tourists love to visit. There is so much to do here including activities that are perfect for families, so if you brought the kids, they are going to love it. Check out one of the Sydney tours in the area if you want someone to show you around.
Some of the key attractions in this part of the Sydney CBD include Madame Tussauds and the SEA LIFE Aquarium which can be fun for people of all ages. Make sure that you walk across the Pyrmont Bridge and take a ride on the Darling Harbour Ferris Wheel to admire views of the city from above. The Australian Maritime Museum and an IMAX Theatre are also located in the area.
There are lots of nice places to eat on the waterfront of the harbour. Grab lunch with a scenic view. Olivo is a great upscale Italian restaurant, and the Harbour Bar and Kitchen is another good choice.
Evening: Stroll Along the Coogee Coastal Walk
It can be nice to spend an evening walking around the city when many people are resting and the area is quiet. Make your own walking tour or follow a designated path like the Coogee Coastal Walk. It is one of the most popular scenic walks in the country because of its natural beauty.
The walk is fairly easy with a few inclines, but in general, the terrain is flat and easy. It will take a couple of hours if you want to walk it completely, so consider starting it early on in the evening. Feel free to stop whenever you want to take a break in the water or to take photos; you'll definitely want to bring a camera.
You will pass by several restaurants along the way and when you choose to stop and eat is up to you. If you get hungry somewhere near Bronte then you can stop at Bronte Fish, Chips & Burgers. The Bucket List is also a great spot to eat serving tacos, burgers and cocktails with outdoor seating by the coast.
Sydney Itinerary - Day 3
Morning: Retail Therapy at the Queen Victoria Building
Head towards George Street near the Town Hall for a bit of morning shopping for the last day in Sydney. The Queen Victoria Building and its surrounding area is a great place to start, and also a nice spot to hang around. The QVB is on the heritage list and a pretty impressive structure.
We hope that you saved a bit of money to bring home some souvenirs, or maybe upgrade your wardrobe! This building has stores selling all sorts of things like Aboriginal Art and Opal gems. They make for the perfect souvenir to remind you of your trip to Sydney or gifts for loved ones back home. The Pitt Street Mall or MLC Centre shopping mall are close by, and other stores like Apple, Louis Vuitton and H&M are not far away.
For brunch in a cute setting try Parlour Cucina where you can enjoy the vintage décor and old-timey vibe. The Grounds of the City is another unique restaurant worth checking out and offers some great breakfast meals.
Afternoon: Hike in Blue Mountains National Park
Just outside of Sydney's CBD is a gorgeous national park. It will take a couple of hours to get there and back, so leave some extra time in your schedule. On your hike, you will pass by some beautiful areas like the Wentworth Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the park. Follow the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to see the Three Sisters rock formation.
Your trek will take you up mountains and overlooking cliffs, and it is really an amazing experience. If you are lucky you might even get to spot some wild kangaroos on your journey! You might want to check out Scenic World, a fun amusement park type attraction in the park with cable cars and ziplines. It is the perfect activity for a Blue Mountains day trip.
There are a couple of restaurants in the area so, depending on where you end your hike, you should be able to find somewhere to eat easily. Not too far away from Wentworth Falls is a restaurant called The Wayzgoose Diner with a bright atmosphere and good food made from fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Evening: Manly Beach and Dinner Cruise
After freshening up from your hike head to Manly Beach, the city's second most popular beach after Bondi. To get here you should take a ferry that departs from the Circular Quay station at Sydney Harbour, and even the ferry rides are scenic and fun. You can admire all of the famous landmarks again but this time from the water.
Make sure that you pack lots of sunscreen and a bathing suit so you can cool off in the waters of Manly Beach when you arrive. This is a great spot for water sports like surfing, so if you have ever wanted to give it a shot now is your chance. Shops and cafes line the area and you can get in a bit of shopping as well.
Take the ferry back to the harbour for dinnertime. If you can, we recommend timing it so you can watch the sun go down over the water. For your last supper in Sydney, you should treat yourself to dinner on the Sydney Harbour Cruise at the Harbour Bar and Restaurant, and enjoy some sunset drinks on the water.
Visit Sydney in Just Three Days
If you only have a couple of days in Sydney, Australia then the reality is that you will have to pick and choose what you want to do. Some of the must-visit places from the Sydney itinerary posted above definitely include the famous beaches and places like the Sydney Opera House, and thanks to the public transport in Sydney you can get around to most of them pretty easily. If you don't manage to see all of the city highlights then you can keep them in mind for your next trip to the capital city of New South Wales!
Still planning your visit to Sydney? Check out these guides for more ideas!