Sydney was amazing. I wish I had more time (and money) to stay longer. However, I ticked somethings off the list, not everything I got to try but got some great tips and advice from the locals and people on Instagram.
Here for you is a list of amazing things to do in Sydney.
The Russell Boutique Hotel is nice and a good base for your stay, slightly off the beaten track (albeit in a tourist destination) - it will be relatively quiet during the week but very noisy/boozy area on Friday& Saturday nights.
If you need to grab a quick French breakfast/brunch close to your hotel there’s the local la Renaissance.
If you’re after a kangaroo, crocodile or Emu pizza try the Australian Heritage Hotel.
Close by you is the Museum of Contemporary Art (entrance on George St, and backs on to harbour/Circular Quay). MCA has exhibitions which honour and reflect the Aboriginal indigenous people of Australia which gives a different historical perspective to the European settlement. Cafe on rooftop has nice outlook, and another on ground floor to people watch on Circular Quay. Good gift shop.
Also handy is the Sydney Harbour Bridge so how about doing the bridge climb, guys?!
Circular Quay Area
A stroll from The Rocks is the bustling hub of Circular Quay:
Opera House. Legendary Opera House and a signature landmark. If you are there after May 24 you’ll be able to see it spectacularly lit up during Sydney Vivid Festival.
The Royal Botanic Gardens are lovely to stroll through, just next to Opera House. Once upon a time there used to be tribes of Flying Foxes/bat like creatures living in the trees - quite creepy little things but at dusk each night they’d fly en masse past the window of my hotel (beside Hyde Park/Darlinghurst). Authorities tried to get rid of them because they were destroying the trees, so not sure if you'll still find them in the Gardens.
Top restaurants with dress circle views of Circular Quay are Quay, Aria and Bennelong - expensive but world class.
For more casual, buzzy evening dining by the water but without the big views perhaps go to Cowper Wharf, Woolloomooloo - There are a line-up of eateries, some of the better ones are China Girl, Otto.
There are lots of awesome cheaper, cheerful restaurants in inner city suburbs of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Chippendale so worth researching yourself to find your favourite kind of cuisine and vibe.
Definitely explore Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Redfern if you're into your street photography. Old worker cottages, classic pubs etc.
Circular Quay is home to the city's Ferry transport hub and you must go somewhere on a ferry as it gives a unique perspective and a good look at the beautiful harbourside properties.
Some of the trips you could do by ferry are:
Taronga Zoo Ferry - they have some native animals there at the zoo and it's a quick trip by water with nice views back to the city from the northern side of the city.
Rose Bay Ferry - go for lunch at Catalina, Rose Bay. (Ask for seat with view) You’ll go past some of Sydney's most expensive real estate on the way there in the Eastern suburbs of Double Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Darling Point, Point Piper. [This is the ferry Favourite Hooman took to go to his school, Cranbrook in Bellevue Hill].
Rose Bay wharf is where the seaplanes land and take-off, so if you really want to cover some ground and maybe fly up to Palm Beach where the rich and famous have their weekend houses, then maybe consider a sea-plane tour! (There seem to be two companies that do tours to the same restaurants/destinations that accommodate the seaplane)
Bondi Beach - Yes, it's a cliche destination, and yes, you might be underwhelmed in terms of the beach but don’t not go as it epitomises the Aussie beach lifestyle.
If you have an Opal prepaid public transport card you can get a 333 bus from city to the beach cheaply and reasonably quickly.
Bondi Beach is very busy at weekends. Visit iconic restaurant Icebergs which I really like…the views are highly instagramable but book seat with view.
Another good place to eat is Seans Panorama.
While you’re at Bondi Beach and feel like some fresh sea air/exercise then the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is spectacular.
Or have a swim in the saltwater pool below Icebergs!
If you want to get out of the city and have a wander in a pleasant local suburb then there’s a strip of Paddington you could look at:
Start at the little pocket of fashion shops around Glenmore Rd, then you can walk up Oxford Street taking in the quirky little William St shopping area which runs the length of the street, ending with coffee in Alimentari. An awesome design store you should check out is Dinosaur Designs where you should buy a little vase or platter to take home as a souvenir.
Beautifully merchandised tiny showroom. Paddo Inn is an upmarket pub for local upwardly mobile, Parlour X a fashion store, international labels in interesting historic building. If you need an emergency blow-wave my old hairdresser is Valonz. Smart modern bistro for dinner in the area is Centennial Hotel.
So that is but a few recommendations around the city for a first or second time visitor!