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  • Writer's pictureJamie Clark

Seven days in Sydney

Updated: Apr 8

Welcome to Sydney 🐬☀️


The city holds significance and size, officially covering an area of 12,368km², surpassing that of many countries such as Lebanon (10,452km²), Cyprus (9,251km²) and Singapore (734km²).


Naturally, upon arrival, Sydney's vastness may feel overwhelming, with its expansive landscapes and its bus network that often exudes a more village-like charm.


In this guidebook, I will outline how I would spend seven days exploring my home city as if I were visiting it for the first time.


When selecting activities each day, consider the weather forecast. If one day promises sunshine and you notice more outdoor activities scheduled for another day, feel free to adjust your plans accordingly based on the weather.


Now, it is time to lace up your shoes, let's do it!


 

Monday


Morning: Catch the bus to Coogee Beach and walk towards Bondi Beach along the coastal route. If walked at a leisurely pace, it will take around one hour. You'll zigzag your way along the beautiful coastline and can stop for a swim at Gordons Bay, Clovelly, Bronte, Tamarama, and finally Bondi. Each beach really does feel unique in its properties and energy, making it one of the most interesting coastal walks in the world.

Coastal Walk Map
Coastal Walk Map

Early afternoon: While at Bondi Beach, I suggest grabbing a coffee at one of the many brunch places in the area. One of my favourite cafes is also a bookshop called Gertrude & Alice.


Late afternoon: From Bondi Beach, you can catch the 380 bus to Dudley Page Reserve (about a 15-minute bus ride from Bondi) for sunset. Dudley Page overlooks the entire skyline and always offers incredible sunset views. Conclude your first day in Sydney with a picnic there!



 

Tuesday


Morning: Enjoy a bit of extra sleep, as you'll likely be tired from yesterday's adventures. Head to Circular Quay, get a takeaway coffee (naturally), and stroll down to the pier. Ferries to Manly depart every 15 minutes, offering both public and private options. Personally, I prefer the public ferries for their spaciousness and slower pace, allowing you to fully appreciate the views as you sail into Manly. In terms of pricing, both options are quite similar, costing around $7 per journey.

Late morning: Enjoy an early lunch in Manly and then take a stroll over to Shelly Beach, located just to the right of Manly. There's a lovely little walkway that leads there. On a clear day, Shelly is a great spot for snorkeling, where you can see an abundance of marine life!


Early afternoon: Head back towards Manly, and continue your stroll along the promenade toward Freshwater Beach. You can find a map below for reference.

Map of Shelly and Freshwater

The walk takes around 20 minutes, and then you'll arrive at what, in my view, is one of the best beaches in Sydney.


Freshwater Beach has pristine white sand and three distinct areas in the water. On the north side of the beach, the waves are smaller, making it family-friendly. In the middle, waves are of medium size and attract bodysurfers and beginner surfers. And on the south side, waves are bigger and can attract some great local surfers. The backdrop of the cliffs creates an extremely beautiful natural sight. You feel like you are in a dream.


Late afternoon: Walk back toward the Manly Ferry terminal and catch the boat back to Circular Quay around sunset. Upon arriving back in Circular Quay, you can head to Opera Bar, located nearby the pier, for a drink or meal to celebrate a great day out. Given its prime location, the menu is not overly expensive, and after a big day like that, you deserve a good meal!



P.S. Afterparty: For any salsa or Latin music lovers, on Tuesday evening at Establishment, there is a Latin night. It is always very vibrant! From 9pm to 3am.


 

Wednesday


Morning (on map below, orange line): Assuming you didn't stay out until 3AM dancing salsa at Establishment and are now wide awake and motivated, if you're still craving some sun and saltwater, I recommend heading to the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve (close to Kambala School). From there, you can start the Hermitage Foreshore Track. This walk offers stunning views of the harbour and several small harbour beaches for a refreshing swim. Although the track officially ends at Nielsen Park (Shark Beach), I suggest pushing on and taking a break for lunch at Parsley Bay. Parsley Bay resembles an outdoor swimming pool, with a scenic bridge and forest overlooking it. With crystal-clear blue water and a relaxed atmosphere, this spot is perfect for relaxation and a good siesta! There is a small kiosk in Parsley Bay open until 4PM that offers excellent lunch options, but feel free to bring your own picnic!

Map Hermitage Track & Walk to Camp Cove

Afternoon (on map, blue line): After feeling restored and relaxed, I would continue walking along the coastline through Watsons Bay and onwards to Camp Cove. From Camp Cove, there is a circular walking loop to the Hornby Lighthouse, where you can explore the cliffs and overlook the endless ocean.

Circular Loop Camp Cove

Camp Cove is THE place to be in the early evening as the sun typically sets just behind the skyline, and you can often experience beautiful and unexpected colour patterns in the sky.


Evening: Back at your accommodation after a long adventurous day, put your legs up, and enjoy a warm cup of tea while smiling in triumph!



 

Thursday


Entire day: I highly recommend taking a day trip to the Blue Mountains, located just 70km from Sydney. It's a stunning mountain range with an abundance of hikes and waterfalls to explore. If you're able to rent a car and explore various spots within the Blue Mountains, I would definitely recommend doing so. If you choose to drive, I suggest referring to the visitnsw info page to make the most out of your day there, as you'll be able to fit in a whole lot more than if you go by train!


However, I understand that not all travellers like to drive, so for this guide, I will explain the journey if you were to catch the train. This is how I would spend the day there if I travelled by public transport.


Blue Mountains in relation to Sydney
Blue Mountains in relation to Sydney

Getting there: From Central Station, there are trains that run every hour towards the Blue Mountains. Because it's a large expansive area, there are various stops where you can get off, depending on what you want to see. If you don't fancy a hike per se and just want to see the famous Three Sisters, then Katoomba would be your stop. If you want to include a hike in your visit, you will need to get off at Wentworth Falls Station. You can tap on/off either with a debit card or by purchasing an Opal card. The approximate cost is $8 one way.


Favourite Hike: Valley of the Waters to Wentworth Falls. To begin the hike, I recommend adding the Conservation Hut (92 Fletcher St, Wentworth Falls NSW 2782) to your Google Maps. It's approximately a 30-minute walk from Wentworth Falls station. From there, you'll see signage indicating where you can start the hike. The trail is about 4 hours long, featuring various beautiful waterfalls and of medium difficulty.



Back to Sydney: There are hourly trains from Wentworth Falls station back to Central Station, with a similar cost of around $8 per person.


 

Friday


It's Friday morning now, and what an amazing couple of days it's been!


Morning: For a dive into culture, I recommend checking out the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It's the most important public gallery in Sydney and one of the largest in Australia. You can buy tickets to world-class exhibitions or simply roam around the various floors for free, as many exhibitions are unpaid. Nearby, take a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens down to the harbour. You'll encounter beautiful flora and get to see the city from a different perspective.


Afternoon: In the late afternoon, I would head to Newtown, famous for its slightly quirky and bohemian spirit, filled with vintage shops, iconic art, and charming restaurants. I recommend taking a stroll up and down King St, where you'll find most of these establishments, and then selecting whichever restaurant speaks to you the most. After dinner, treat yourself to an ice cream and take a leisurely stroll along King St before calling it a night.




 

Saturday


Morning: Now that a full 48 hours have passed without dipping into the ocean, it's time to head back to the beach. This time, I recommend making your way to Maroubra Beach, located just to the south of Coogee Beach and on the outskirts of what's known as the Eastern Suburbs. Maroubra remains a local favorite with large surf waves and various swim spots throughout. After a refreshing swim, I suggest grabbing a coffee and a morning snack at one of the cafes situated here. (Map below).


Map of Maroubra Beach

Afternoon: Alright, it's Saturday night, and Sydney will be at its best. Naturally, there are various options to choose from. Whether it's sports or arts that tickle your fancy, I would encourage you to either head to Allianz Stadium or the Sydney Cricket Ground (depending on what sport is on that evening) to watch a match, OR check out what's on at the Sydney Opera House and attend a show.


For the sporting option: The Allianz Stadium and Sydney Cricket Ground, located next to each other, are two of the most beautiful stadiums in Australia. They serve as the local grounds for most of Sydney's sports teams. Depending on the season, you may be able to catch a game. I'll leave below a list so you can see what might be on:


Sport

Team

Stadium

Period of the year

AFL

Sydney Swans

SCG

March to October

Cricket

Sydney Sixers or Australia National Team

SCG

November to February

Rugby League

Sydney Roosters

Allianz Stadium

March to October

Football

Sydney FC

Allianz Stadium

October to May

Rugby Union

NSW Waratahs or Wallabies

Allianz Stadium

March to September


For the cultural option: Arriving at the Sydney Opera House to see a show is a truly unique experience. The Opera House is simply beautiful, situated on the water. You can enjoy a glass of champagne in hand while overlooking the harbour as you prepare to be immersed in a top-quality performance. I recommend heading straight to the Sydney Opera House website to see what's on!


Evening: Grab a late dinner near where you are staying and go for an evening stroll to celebrate the incredible week.




 

Sunday (last day, booo)


Last Morning: To round off a wonderful week in Sydney, I recommend heading to Bondi Beach for a morning swim, ideally catching the sunrise if you can. Later in the morning, you can explore the weekend markets known as Bondi Markets (not the most creative name), held inside Bondi Beach Public School. Get a coffee and browse the stalls to see if there are any gifts you'd like to pick up. It is a big vibe.


Map of Bondi Markets

Early afternoon: I would stroll up Campbell Parade, browse some shops, and when you're ready, go for that final swim in Bondi before you head off! And if you haven't already, head to Icebergs and snap that iconic photo — embrace being a tourist in Sydney. Because the next time you visit, you'll feel like a local!



Beautiful Bondi.


 
(photos and content written by me, not by AI)

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