You want to go to visit Sydney, Australia’s largest city? I recommend a 4 day itinerary that allows to discover the major sights of the city and its surroundings.

ITINERARY - AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND: here is the full itinerary for a tour of these 2 countries.

Sydney - Opera House

Sydney is a big city, but the major sightseeing places are pretty much all located around the harbour (CBD: Central Business District). So you can easily visit the city on foot, or if you don’t feel like walking, you can also use the subway which is very convenient.

With that being said, let’s go to see the details of the schedule:

Schedule - Sydney, 4 days

Day 1: did you say « free tour »?

The first day cannot really be dedicated to visit the city since it takes a while to reach the city centre from the airport, checking-in at the hotel, having lunch, purchasing bus tickets to go to Canberra and Melbourne, and even changing money …

But once everything is done and that you’re ready to start visiting the city, I recommend joining a « free tour » which is a free guided tour of the city with a volunteer guide. You’ll need to meet the guide at « Town Hall » station (there are two tours a day, one at 10.30 am and another one at 2.30 pm). The tour lasts about 3 hours and will show you all the main sights of the city. But because your guide won’t make you enter the buildings like the Parliament House and won’t stop to let you take pictures, you’ll need to come back later to explore the city deeper. So this tour can help you finding your way more easily into the town. The second advantage of this tour is that your guide will tell you some part of the history of the city. The tour is free but if you’ve appreciated it, just tip your guide.

And if you’ve liked this first « free tour », you can consider joining another one that focuses on the historic district of « The Rocks ». It lasts 1 hour and a half and takes place at 6 pm every day. The tour starts at Cadman’s Cottage on George Street, close to the dock.

For the end of the day, being close to the Harbour Bridge, you can consider crossing a part of it on foot to enjoy the view at night before crossing it again the next day but during the day.

Day 2: 2 walking tours in Sydney

After the first day of discovering the city throughout free tours, you will need to spend, at least, another whole day to explore it deeper. There are two walking tours of half a day each, interesting to do:

  • historic precinct of « The Rocks »: (on the left side of the map) get to the district via George Street in order to see the Town Hall, Queen Victoria Building and the Strand Arcade on your way. Finish this tour by crossing the Harbour Bridge and even visiting Milsons Point.
  • historic precinct of « Macquarie Street »: (on the right side of the map) go to the Opera House, passing through Circular Quay before heading back down to the city centre, passing through the Royal Botanic Garden. Then keep going on Macquarie Street to reach Hyde Park to visit the Anzac Memorial.

Tip: you can also click on the links down below from your smartphone, to open the itinerary to follow on google maps:
« The Rocks » walking tour
« The Rocks » walking tour - zoom on step G (go to see down below)
« Macquarie Street » walking tour

« The Rocks » walking tour

Sydney - The Rocks walking tour - Queen Victoria Building
Sydney - The Rocks walking tour - Town Hall Sydney - The Rocks walking tour - Strand Arcade
Click to enlarge images.

Starting from « Central » station, walk along George Street towards the harbour. On the way, you will see:
A- St Andrew’s Cathedral: which is the oldest Anglican Church of the country.
B- Town Hall (free entry): you will be able to glimpse the inside but not to visit it.
C- Queen Victoria Building: which is a shopping gallery.
D- Strand Arcade: which is also a Victorian Style shopping gallery.
E- Circular Quay: keep walking along George Street until you reach Circular Quay.
F- Hyatt Hotel: then you will be able to walk along the harbor until you reach the Hyatt Hotel (and if you like contemporary art, you can go to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art which is free).
G- The Rocks: then go back to Circular Quay and take the stairs that take you back to George Street. From there you can start your tour of the historic precinct of « The Rocks » (this part will be explained in the following section).
H- Harbour Bridge: after the visit of the historic precinct of « The Rocks », walk straight and on your left you’ll see some stairs that lead to the Harbour Bridge. The bridge is about 2 km long and once on it, you will be able to see the Opera House.
I- Milsons Point: on the other side of the bridge, you’ll arrive at Milsons Point where you’ll be able to see Luna Park (a theme park) and the Olympic pool. To go back to Circular Quay, you can either walk back or take the ferry (or even the subway, but the station is located further than the ferry pier).

Australia - Sydney - Harbour Bridge

Tip: you can also visit Pylon Lookout, it’s the inside of one of the pillars of the bridge: AU$13/adult and AU$6.5/child. And for AU$158, you can climb the bridge with « Bridge Climb ». The entrance is located on Cumberland Street (but you need to book in advance).

Zoom on the historic precinct of « The Rocks » (step G)

Sydney - The Rocks walking tour - The Rocks Square Sydney - The Rocks walking tour - Argyle Cut Sydney - The Rocks walking tour - Garrison Church Sydney - The Rocks walking tour - Australian Hotel
Click to enlarge images.

A- Cadman’s Cottage: on George Street, it’s a kind of park, go down the stairs and you’ll see it. It’s the oldest residence in Sydney.
B- Gannon House: then keep going a little bit on George Street and turn right on Argyle Street. You’ll see Gannon House on your left. It was Michael Gannon’s residence but it is now a pastry shop and an art gallery.
C- The Rocks Discovery Museum (free admission): take the little alley facing Gannon House and you’ll see the museum on your left. There, you’ll find objects and videos that explain the history of Australia and of the aborigines.
D- The Rocks Square: when leaving the museum, walk to the end of the street, then turn left on Mill Lane and you’ll see the square.
E- Argyle Stores: from the square, turn left and walk along the street until you reach Argyle Street. At the corner, you’ll see Argyle Stores.
F- Argyle Cut: then turn right on Argyle Street and in front of you, you’ll see a kind of tunnel. It is a road that was carved into a sandstone ridge. Part of that sandstone was used to build the Argyle Stores.
G- Garrison Church: once you’ve passed the Argyle Cut, keep going on Argyle Street and you’ll see the church on your right. It was Australia’s first military church.
H- Argyle Place: in front of the church, you’ll see Argyle Place which is a small village.
I- Argyle Stairs: then go back to Argyle Cut and take the street located on the right (Cambridge street) which is facing the Argyles Stairs. And walk along the street until you reach the Susannah Place Museum where you can enter to visit (1 hour guided tour costs AU$8/adult and AU$4/child). Over there, you’ll see old houses and will be able to discover the life of people who were living there. After the museum, take the stairs.
J- Australian Hotel: once on the top, turn right and walk to the end of the street. There you’ll see the Australian Hotel which holds the oldest running hotel license in Sydney.

Tip: if you are lucky to be in the historic precinct of « The Rocks » on a Friday, you’ll be able to see, in front of the Gannon House, « The Rocks Friday Foodie Market » which opens from 9 am to 3 pm. There you can taste specialties from different countries. And on the weekend, at about the same place (it extends into George Street) stands « The Rocks Market » from 10 am to 5 pm. You’ll find many stalls selling jewelry, art, accessories …

« Macquarie Street » walking tour

Sydney - Macquarie Street walking tour - Royal Botanic Garden - 200 years anniversary Sydney - Macquarie Street walking tour - Royal Botanic Garden - Government House Sydney - Macquarie Street walking tour - Royal Botanic Garden - fountain
Click to enlarge images.

A- Begin that walking tour by going to Circular Quay (if you’ve took the ferry from Milsons Point, you should normally disembark at Circular Quay). Right in front of the quay, you can, if you want to, go to visit:
-Customs House (free admission): it’s one of the city’s historic buildings that has now been modernized.
-Justice & Police Museum (admission: AU$8/adult and AU$4/child): it hosts temporary exhibitions about the dark past of the city.
-Museum of Sydney (admission: AU$10/adult and AU$5/child): it tells ongoing stories of Sydney and its people.
B- Opera House: then walk along the quay towards the Opera. Once there, take some pictures before continuing visiting.
C- Royal Botanic Garden: when leaving the Opera, head to the Royal Botanic Garden. Over there, you can join a free guided tour that lasts 1 hour (at 10.30 am every day and at 1 pm from Monday to Friday). But you can also visit it alone (it’s what I did). It is not an extraordinary garden (it is more like a park), so if you don’t have a lot of time, don’t waste too much of it there.
D- Government House: it’s located into the Botanic Garden, ringed by barriers. To go there from the Opera, just stay on the right side when entering the garden, then keep walking a little bit and you’ll see it (it’s a castle). If you want to visit the inside, you have to join a free guided tour that lasts 45 minutes. It takes place every 30 minutes from 10.30 am to 3 pm. To join a tour, just ask the reception desk.
E- Conservatorium of Music: you can go to see the outside of the conservatorium building. And if you still have some time left, you can go to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair walking through the Royal Botanic Garden to have an amazing view of Sydney.
Then get out of the Botanic Garden to go to the Macquarie Street, heading down to the city centre. On your way, you will be able to see:
F- State Library of NSW: this state library contains more than 5 million books (over there, you will be able to take some free bookmarks as a souvenir).
G- Parliament House (free admission): you can get in to visit!
H- Reserve Bank of Australia Museum (free admission): it’s located between the Parliament House and The Mint but on the other side of the road. Over there, you can learn more about the history of the Australian currency.
I- The Mint Museum (free admission): it’s the oldest building in the CBD (Central Business District). On the outside of the building, you will be able to see some murals. The entrance is located on the left side of the restaurant, in a very small pathway.
Once you’re done with the visit, keep walking straight heading to Hyde Park, but before entering the park, you will see:
-St-James Church: located on the right side, it’s the oldest church in Sydney (georgian style). In front of it, you can also visit the Hyde Park Barracks Museum which provides an overview of the daily lifestyle of former prisoners (admission: AU$10/adult and AU$5/child).
-Art Gallery of NSW (free admission): you can also, if you have some time left, go back to the Royal Botanic Garden via the Art Gallery Road, to go to this gallery to discover collections of Australian and Aboriginal art.
-St-Mary’s Cathedral: located on the left side of Hyde Park, it’s a gothic style church.
J- Anzac Memorial (free entry): then enter Hyde Park to go to visit the Anzac memorial. Inside of it, there is a statue and a cupola with stars. It’s a tribute to the First World War.

Day 3: day trip to the Blackbutt Reserve

After having visited the city for 2 days, it’s time to go to explore Sydney’s surroundings. As a first day trip, I suggest taking the train to Kotara (located in the city of Newcastle) to go to the Blackbutt Reserve to see kangaroos, wallabies, emus and koalas. The best thing with this reserve located at two and a half hours by train of Sydney, is that you can observe animals quietly and all for free!

Sydney - Newcastle - Blackbutt Reserve Sydney - Newcastle - Blackbutt Reserve - Koalas Sydney -  Newcastle - Blackbutt Reserve - Wallabies Sydney -  Newcastle - Blackbutt Reserve - Kangaroos
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To go to the Blackbutt Reserve, you’ll need to go to « Central » station, platform No. 9, to take a train going towards Newcastle. There is only 1 train every 2 hours (for example, 8.15 am or 10.15 am), so I recommend taking the 8.15 am train. The only thing you’ll need to get there is your Opal card. A one way trip costs AU$5.81 and a return trip costs AU$11.62 (but if you go there on a Sunday, a round trip will only costs AU$2.5). After 19 stations you’ll finally arrive at « Kotara » station. Once off the train, walk towards the big staircase. Up there, remember to tap off with your Opal card, and then turn right. And when you’re out of the station, you’ll need to walk for about 1.2km, so follow the instructions down below:

  • Go straight on 40 m.
  • Then turn left on Kotara Pl and walk straight for 60m.
  • Go straight on Gregory Pde for 50m.
  • Then turn left on Grinsell St and walk straight for 350m.
  • And finally turn right on Carnley Av and walk straight for 655m. Be really careful on this part of the road because there’s not a real sidewalk and cars are driving pretty fast. Also I recommend crossing the street as soon as possible to be able to walk on the left side of the road, and make sure to stay behind the safety barrier. The entrance of the reserve is located on the left, so you’ll just need to keep walking straight until you see the parking lot.

Once there, head to the picnic area and keep walking until you reach the pond. Over there, you’ll find maps of the reserve and information about all the available activities.

In the inside of the reserve, there are two main routes to follow in order to see animals:

  • The left one allows you to see all kinds of animals, such as birds, frogs, and especially koalas.
  • The right one allows you to see kangaroos, wallabies and emus.

But there are also other routes you can follow, some have animals to see and some others don’t.

Once you’re done visiting the reserve, take the exact same way to get back to « Kotara » station in order to take the train to go back to Sydney. Trains still run every 2 hours (for example 1.30 pm or 3.30 pm or 5.30 pm).

Day 4: day trip to the Blue Mountains

For your last day in Sydney, I recommend another day trip which leads to the Blue Mountains.

To go to the Blue Mountains National Park, you’ll need to go to « Central » station, platform No. 6, to take a train going towards the Blue Mountains. So don’t forget your Opal card! And as the ride lasts 3 hours, I recommend taking the 6.21 am train. More than that, if you take the train later on, you’ll have to pay more, AU$8.30 instead of AU$5.81 for a one way trip (but if you go there on a Sunday, a round trip will only costs AU$2.5). After 23 stations you’ll finally arrive at « Mount Victoria » station. Then, you’ll need to walk for about 2km. Follow the instructions down below:

  • Turn right on Patrick St and walk straight for 245 m.
  • Then turn left on Harley Av and walk straight for 295 m.
  • Then turn left on Great Western Hwy and walk straight for 660 m.
  • And turn left again on Victoria Falls Rd and walk straight for 810 m.

And you’ll finally arrive at the Blue Mountains National Park which is completely free.

At the end of the day, to get back to Sydney, you’ll need to take the 3.23 pm train or the 6.31 pm train in order to pay AU$5.81. But if you want take the 5.31 pm train, you’ll need to pay AU$8.30.




The first thing you need to know is that depending on the means of transportation you choose to leave the airport, the prices can be really different. And don’t listen to those (even at the airport information) who tell you that the taxi is the cheapest way.

Among the main choices, there are:

  • Subway: it’s in my opinion, the best way to reach the inner city. Not only the fastest (only 15 minutes), it’s also the cheapest (AU$15/person). To take the subway, you’ll need an Opal card (go down below for more details). Then take line 2, direction Inner West & South Line towards the city centre.
  • AirBus airport shuttle: it’s a collective minivan that takes you directly to your hotel for only AU$16/person. However, the journey can take up to 1 hour depending on the number of stops made to drop all the passengers.
  • Taxi: for a trip from the airport to the city centre, it costs AU$40 + AU$5 per bag, and it lasts more than 30 minutes.


The Opal card is a card that allows you to use any means of transportation in Sydney, whether it is the ferry, the bus, the tram, the subway or the train. It’s a free card where you need to put money on. The fare is calculated according to the length of your trip and will be deducted from your card (it’s a « pay-as-you-go » system).

There are different ways to save money with the Opal card:

  • Sundays: every Sunday, travel as much as you want on the entire network for only AU$2.50.
  • Weekly: if you’ve took 8 paid journeys (or if you’ve reached AU$60) from Monday to Sunday, then you can travel as much as you want for the rest of the week without paying more.
  • Off-peak fares: take a 30% off-peak discount on full price (only on train journeys) when you travel during weekends, public holidays or weekdays’ off-peak time.

Excluding the Sydney Airport Station Access Fee of AU$13.40.

But the bad thing about this card is that you have to top up at least AU$20 each time, and if there’s money left over, it won’t be refunded at the end of your stay.

Tip: you can get this card and top up money on (in cash) at any convenience stores like 7-Eleven, EzyMart, Minimart …

Transportations Fares Details
ferry AU$5.74
0-9 km
9+ km (ex: Many to Circular Quay)
bus AU$2.10
0-3 km
3-8 km
8+ km
light rail (tram) AU$2.10
0-3 km
3-8 km
subway and train peak hours off peak

0-10 km
10-20 km
20-35 km
35-65 km
65+ km (ex: Newcastle to Central)

You can go to the Sydney transport website to calculate the fare of each of your trips. And each time you are using public transportation, don’t forget to tap on and to tap off because that’s how your fare is calculated.

Of course, it’s not mandatory to take the Opal card in order to use public transportation because you can also buy single tickets. But if you do so, just remember that every trip is going to be much more expensive.


To go to Melbourne (via Canberra), I recommend buying a Greyhound pass at AU$99. It’s a hop on hop off pass that allows to stop anywhere between Sydney and Melbourne. To buy this pass, you can either do it on their website « » or while in Sydney. For the last option, I highly recommend buying the pass with « Happy Travels », a travel agency which is located close to « Central » station, they are really kind and don’t take commission. And they can also help you booking your trips because even with the pass you need to make bookings, to make sure to have a seat into the bus.


To get Australian dollars, there are, to me, 2 excellent ways:

  • Global Alliance: if your bank is a member of this alliance, then you can withdraw cash at any of the cash withdrawal machine of the Westpac bank in Australia, with your credit card. They don’t take commission and have one of the best rate.

Tip: for example, the members are:

  • Barclays in the UK
  • Scotiabank in Canada
  • Bank of America or Bank of the West in the USA
  • BNP Paribas or Hello Bank in France
  • Currency exchange offices: you can also carry some cash and go to change it over there (or even change it before going). But if you want to change your money in Sydney, just make sure that you change it with Chinese people rather than Indian people. The reason being that Chineses will provide the best rates and more than that, they don’t take commission unlike Indians. And if you need money at the airport, just change what you need there, you’ll change the rest in town.

Tip: in Sydney, one of the places that offers the most attractive rates is located on George St (going towards the harbour), not far from « Central » station. It’s a shop with glass doors and a blue sign located almost in front of the Commonwealth bank.


For dinner, don’t go to the restaurant to late because some places close at 8 pm.

Talking about cheap places where you can go to eat, there’s « Scubar » where you can eat a kangaroo pizza for only AU$5. Once there, just go down the stairs and ask for your pizza!

Also if you are lucky to be in Sydney on a Friday night, I highly recommend going to the « Night Market » which is located in Chinatown. It’s open from 5 pm to 11 pm and over there, you’ll find all kinds of Asian food.


Just so you know, in Sydney hotels are quite expensive. So if sleeping in a proper hotel is not that important to you, I suggest booking a youth hostel.

And more than that, I recommend booking a hostel close to « Central » station because it’s very convenient. It’s not only a subway and a train station, but it’s also a bus station where you can find Greyhound and Murrays buses which allow to travel from town to town.

During my trip, I stayed at 790 on George Backpackers, which is a youth hostel where you can book individual rooms. But there are other ones in the area, so you could choose a different one if you feel like it.

Description: rooms are pretty small with basic comfort, there is just a closet and a bunk bed. There are common bathrooms and in the basement there is a shared kitchen, by the way it’s the only place where you can get free Wi-Fi.

Price: about $50 per night for 2 people.

Location: the hostel is located close to the subway station « Central ».

Pros Cons
the price rooms with basic comfort
very convenient location no free Wi-Fi, except in the basement


While walking through the city, you’ll be able to see a lot of souvenir shops. They sell aboriginal boomerangs, magnets, key chains and all kinds of trinkets. But I recommend comparing prices of all the stores before buying anything because prices can be really different from shops to shops. Even in shops located in the same street.

Then, if you want to buy some cheap hoodies or t-shirts with Australia’s flag printed on it, you should go to « Paddy’s » market which is located on the ground floor of the « Market City » shopping centre in Chinatown. It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm.

Thanks for reading :)