I’m now in Sydney! Thanks to Jetstar, we got really cheap return tickets from Melbourne to Sydney (AUD 60 per pax for return if my memory didn’t fail me).
I booked it a few months ahead when they were doing the “Return For Free” promotion, and thought I got a really good deal.
Sydney is a really expensive city, especially the public transport.
Being a Melburnian for almost two years already, I am really used to those free trams running in the city.
I was surprised to see how quickly my credit (AUD 30) in my Opal card evaporated in just 2.5 days. Sydney is expensive but you can cut costs by taking a freeSydney walking tour!
However, I have so much love for Sydney because almost everywhere is walkable.
Plus, it’s really easy to find your bearings in the CBD. Before I started my trip, I have 2 self-walking tours planned out. It covers almost all the main attractions in the city.
Also, I will include the costs for specific attractions and also some food recommendations. If you wanna save some cash on public transport (and spend it on food like me), take the Sydney walking tour down below! Take 2 even if you have more time!
Sydney Walking Tour 1
No, you’re not swimming. At first, when you look at the map, you might notice that the map looks a bit distorted. But fear not! It’s carefully planned so that you can see the most of Sydney in a day! I recommend doing this walking tour on a Sunday, seeing the ferry tickets are way cheaper than they are during other days.
The Rocks Discovery Museum
There are so many stories to be told in this museum. The Rocks is the oldest neighbourhood around in Sydney. Housed in a sandstone building, it tells the story of The Rocks from pre-European times to the present. Highly recommended.
Opening hours: 10am – 5pm
Typical time spent in the museum: 1-2 hours
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Take a postcard-like photo of Sydney Opera House with the skyline. Remember to walk on the eastern side of the bridge as it offers a better view. How can be an authentic Sydney walking tour be complete without the Harbour Bridge?
Opening hours: 24 hours except when there’s fireworks display
Typical time spent to walk the bridge: 20 – 30 minutes, considering the fact that you will stop every minute to take photos (or maybe that’s just me)
Prebook your ticket early. It always gets booked out!
Pylon Lookout has the second best view of the cityscape after Bridge Climb.
Bridge Climb Sydney would be the best view but it’s expensive. And from the Harbour Bridge, there’s a fence blocking the view.
A few minutes after you’ve started walking the Harbour Bridge, there’s a fortress tower called Pylon Lookout. It provides a perfect view of Circular Quay. The lookout also offers three levels of exhibits that features Harbour Bridge’s history.
Opening hours: 10am – 5pm
|General Admission (13 years and over)||$13.00|
|Concession (Seniors & Student)||$8.50|
|Children (5 to 12 years, inclusive)||$6.50|
|Children (4 years and under)||FREE|
(Copied and pasted directly from the official website at http://www.pylonlookout.com.au/Visitor_frs.htm)
Typical time spent: 15 – 30 minutes.
Milsons Point Wharf
Take a scenic ferry trip back to Circular Quay after you have walked across to the north side of Harbour Bridge. The view overlooking the Sydney skyline in the ferry was so fantabulous.
I wished the 6-minute ferry trip lasted forever.
Normally, the trip costs AUD 5.74 if you have an Opal card. It will be AUD 2.50 if you travel on a Sunday.
Opening hours: Check http://www.transportnsw.info/ for the latest ferry schedule. There’s a trip planner which is very useful for you to plan your journey.
Price: AUD 5.74 (Mon – Sat) and AUD 2.50 (Sun)
Typical time spent: Just 6 minutes, unfortunately.
At Gateway Sydney, you will be spoilt with choices to dine in!
Located at Alfred street, this place is a stone throw away from Circular Quay station. Big big shout out to Messina because the gelato is beyond this world. Want some Thai food? Chat Thai can fulfil your cravings. Killing for a burger? No worries, Burger Project got you.
Opening hours: 7am till late (Mon – Fri), 10am till late (Sat and Sun)
Price: I would say the restaurants here target the working class and tourists, and hence the price tag on the menu is also lavishly polished. The restaurants located on ground floor are a lot more affordable than those on other floors.
Customs House Sydney
There’s a visitor lounge and also free WiFi if you wanna linger around for a bit. If not, take some photo and go. I stayed mainly because Christmas decorations were already up and I just had to feed my camera.
Opening hours: 8am till late (Mon – Fri), 10am till late (Sat), 11am to 5pm (Sun)
Sydney Opera House
The most awaited stop. The reason why I put this in the end is because you will be able to enjoy the sunset if you’re lucky. I mean, isn’t this the most essential part of this Sydney walking tour?
Opening hours: Refer to the official website
Price: Free if you don’t watch anything in the Opera House. Check the prices, though. Sometimes, you can get inexpensive tickets for some shows.
If you have time, you can go on the Sydney Story Cruise. It’s a 2-hour cruise of highlights of Sydney.
Royal Botanic Garden
This botanical garden is huge. Home to many, many flora, it also boasts some of the best city views.
Opening hours: Refer to the official website. Opening hours differ in different months of the year.
Mrs Macquarie's Chair
We will end at Macquarie’s Chair for the first day. As you can see, I wasn’t so lucky with the sunset. But just imagine if there’s sunset, you will be able to see it setting across Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridget – a perfect ending to day 1 of your Sydney Walking Tour.
Sydney Walking Tour 2
Compared to the last walking tour, this is more like a photo trail. This walking tour is closer to the city and you don’t need an Opal card.
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Wander through to feast your eyes with a vast collection of art. This general exhibition of this grandiose gallery is free.
Apart from the usual European arts, there are also Australian arts, sculptures and even a place for you to practise (or play with) Chinese calligraphy.
Opening hours: 10am – 5pm every day except Wednesday, which opens until 10pm.
Typical time spent: 1 – 2 hours or even longer if you’re an art enthusiast.
State Library of New South Wales
This library is so photogenic – although not as gorgeous as the one in Melbourne =P. Go down the stairs and you can see a small exhibition featuring the history of Australia.
Learn more about Captain Cook’s opulent odyssey and admire the extravagant relics that he and his family used during the sail.
Opening hours: Refer to the official website as different rooms have different opening hours.
Typical time spent: 15 minutes to 30 minutes if you are not reading anything in the library. Do spend some time visiting the exhibition.
St. Mary's Cathedral and Archibald Fountain
St. Mary’s Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Australia.
It’s the finest English style Gothic churches that I’ve ever visited in Australia. Attend the mass if you are longing for some creepily solemn music. There’s a lot of carolling going on when it’s close to Christmas, so check the official website out!
Remember to check out the Archibald Fountain that’s a stone’s throw away.
Opening hours: Cathedral store opens from 9am – 5pm
Typical time spent: 15 minutes to 30 minutes
Sydney Tower Eye
Queen Victoria Building
Clothed with an amazing Victorian-styled architecture, QVB is a place frequented by tourists and locals alike. As the restaurants in QVB is expensive, I recommend trying the restaurants at surrounding streets. They will still amaze you but at a much cheaper price.
Opening hours: Refer to the official website.
Sydney Town Hall
Sydney town hall is acclaimed as the largest and the most ornate late 19th-century civic building in Australia. As it is always booked for various private events, Sydney Town Hall is inaccessible to the public at times.
However, if you’re lucky, you can enter the town hall to admire its rich Victorian-styled decorations and also the elegant stained glass window. Know more about the town hall and its significance by arranging a detailed tour via the official website.
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm every day except Sat and Sun
Typical time spent: 15 minutes if you can’t enter. 1 hour if you can.
Chinese Garden of Friendship
Come to the Chinese Garden of Friendship and enjoy some serenity in the city.
Situated in the middle of this exuberant city, this well-maintained garden balances the hustle-bustle of the city out, just like how Yin and Yang compliment each other.
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is a symbol of friendship between Sydney and Guangzhou back in 1988.
The tranquillity of nature is recreated by the sound of the waterfall, the chirps of the lovebirds, the scents of the flowers and the aroma of a pot of quality tea.
PS: Don’t order the food.
Opening hours: 9.30am – 5pm (April to September), 9.30am – 5.30pm (October to March)
Price: AUD 6 for adult
Typical time spent: 1 – 2 hours.
Cockle Bay Wharf and Pyrmont Bridge
Chill by the harbour and enjoy the Sydney skyline with the shimmering sunset as a backdrop.
Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE Aquarium Sydney are both located here if you are planning to visit them. If not, walk the Pyrmont Bridge to the Darling Harbour side and enjoy the cityscape that Sydney has to offer.
End your Sydney walking tour by having dinner somewhere there. I personally tried Hurricane’s Grill and Bar and felt that it doesn’t worth so expensive a price (a.k.a don’t try it). However, it’s a good place to stay till the night to gaze upon the night lights of Sydney CBD.
If you are on a budget, stay at the best rated hostel in Sydney. It is very well managed and most importantly, it is very clean and new! And it's not that expensive after all for Sydney standard.
If you are looking for some privacy, stay with any of the Meriton Suites. The one shown in the picture highly rated for its central location and the amazing view of the city! Click on the image to find out more!
To pamper yourself after a day of walking, stay with Radisson Plaza Sydney. The building itself is an icon of the city. It is strategically located in the heart of Sydney. Breakfast is scruptious is this hotel.
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