The ultimate guide to a perfect Sydney itinerary | finder.com
The ultimate guide to a perfect itinerary in Sydney, Australia

The ultimate guide to a perfect Sydney itinerary

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Free and easy itineraries to plan your trip to the big city.

The cosmopolitan city of Sydney draws in millions of visitors every year. Vibrant and bustling, it offers everything from a high-rise cityscape filled with landmarks and nightlife to a natural landscape filled with white sand beaches and bush trails.

Whether you’ve got one day planned to zip through the highlights or 10 days to explore the city and its outer regions, we’ve worked out some simple itineraries you can follow to make the most of your time in Sydney.

Not sure what there is to do and see? Read our Sydney travel guide to decide before you start planning.


Sydney itinerary: one day

With only one day in Sydney, your best bet is to stick to the landmarks in the city center. Booking a hotel in the heart of the city helps you save time, and it’s possible to conduct your own walking tour in the city to cover the major sites.

One-day highlights: Darling Harbour, Queen Victoria Building (QVB), Town Hall, Pitt Street Mall, The Rocks, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour.

Here’s a walking path you could take:

Alternatively, if you’re short on time and wish to see as much as possible, an organized walking or day tour can help you see all the sights without all the stress.

One-day tours of Sydney


Sydney itinerary: two days

Two days in Sydney means you can take your time exploring the city and its neighboring areas and landmarks. Here are some suggested itineraries for each day:

Day one: Sydney city highlights. This can include Darling Harbour, Town Hall, Pitt Street Mall, Botanic Gardens, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and The Rocks.

Day two (options):

  • Take the day to immerse yourself in the city. This can include the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, the Sydney Tower Skywalk, the Wild Life Zoo, the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Powerhouse Museum and harbour cruises.
  • Spend the day exploring Sydney’s inner suburbs such as Surry Hills, Redfern/Chippendale, Paddington, Kings Cross, Kirribilli, Leichhardt, Balmain, Newtown and Bondi Junction.
  • Take the ferry to Manly to see the beaches in the north of the city.
  • Take the ferry to Taronga Zoo.
  • Drive to the Blue Mountains and Jenolan caves.
  • Go east to Bondi Beach and enjoy the coast along the Bondi to Bronte walk.
  • Discover Sydney’s love of food on a dedicated gourmet food tour.
  • Head north to unwind and sip wine in the Hunter Valley.
  • Go jetboating through Sydney Harbour.
  • Skydive over the beach.

Two-day tours of Sydney

2-Day Australian High Country Tour from Sydney to Melbourne
2-Day Australian High Country Tour from Sydney to Melbourne

Orbitz

2-Tour Combo: City Tour with Lunch Cruise & Blue Mountains Tour
2-Tour Combo: City Tour with Lunch Cruise & Blue Mountains Tour

Orbitz


Sydney itinerary: three days

Three days in Sydney gives you enough time to soak up the atmosphere and explore a variety of areas farther out. Here is a popular itinerary for a three-day visit:

Day one: Sydney city highlights

Day two: Take the ferry up to Manly or Taronga Zoo and then catch a performance at the Sydney Opera House in the evening.

Day three: Day-trip to the Blue Mountains, Canberra, the Hunter Valley, Port Stephens, Kiama, Royal National Park or up the Central Coast.

If you’re chasing powder, you might also consider a trip to Thredbo during your three-day stay.


Sydney travel deals


Sydney itinerary: four days

If you really like to experience a city, four days in Sydney will give you a good feel for it. However, if you’d prefer to be on the go, you can include an overnight trip to another city or region; for example, the Central Coast, Wollongong, Canberra or the Hunter Valley. An easy itinerary might look like this:

Day one: Sydney city highlights

Day two: Spend the day exploring the city or take a day trip to the Blue Mountains, the Royal National Park, Wollongong or Canberra.

Day three: Overnight trip to the Hunter Valley, Port Stephens or The Entrance.

Day four: Return from your overnight trip.


Four-day tours of Sydney


Sydney itinerary: five days

The longer you stay, the more you’ll see. Five days can settle you into the city nicely, but with so much time, you’ll want to see even more. You can break up your day/overnight trips to give yourself some time to rest in the city, or you could embark on a camping trip through one of the many national parks.

Here is a sample itinerary you could follow:

Day one: Sydney city highlights.

Day two: Day-trip to the Blue Mountains, the Royal National Park, Wollongong or Canberra.

Day three: Further exploration of Sydney CBD, including museums, experiences and activities as well as outer suburbs like Kirribilli and Manly.

Day four: Overnight trip to the Hunter Valley, Port Stephens or The Entrance.

Day five: Return from your overnight trip.


Five-day tours of Sydney

5-Day Sydney & Surrounds Backpacker Adventure Tour
5-Day Sydney & Surrounds Backpacker Adventure Tour

Orbitz


Looking to build your own itinerary throughout your stay?

Here are some top tours and experiences you can book right now to fill your Sydney itinerary.

Blue Mountains Wildlife Day Tour with River Cruise
Blue Mountains Wildlife Day Tour with River Cruise

Orbitz

BridgeClimb Experience at Sydney Harbour Bridge
BridgeClimb Experience at Sydney Harbour Bridge

Orbitz


Sydney itinerary: seven days

Visitors who’ve saved a whole week to see Sydney have the opportunity to go bush and see more of what the state has to offer. This can include a trip into Greater NSW destinations like Byron Bay or Melbourne and back.

Your options are vast, and if you do intend to DIY your way out and back, we suggest you rent a car to help keep your itinerary flexible. If you’re chasing the sun, here’s an idea of what you can cover:

Day one: Sydney city highlights

Day two: Further exploration of Sydney CBD, including museums, experiences and activities. Key ideas include doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, learning to surf on Bondi Beach or visiting the Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Aquarium, the Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds.

Day three: Head up north through the Central Coast toward the Gold Coast. Stop by Port Stephens and stay overnight in Port Macquarie.

Day four: Travel up past Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay.

Day five: Head back to Sydney through Tamworth and Leconfield.

Day six: Travel to Hunter Valley and spend the night.

Day seven: Travel to the Blue Mountains, then make your way back into Sydney.

If you’d prefer to head through the big cities of Canberra and Melbourne, take a look at this alternate itinerary.


Seven-day tours of Sydney


Sydney itinerary: 10 days

If you intend to spend 10 days in Sydney, you’ll probably wind up seeing more of it than the locals. You have the option to unwind and enjoy the city at your own pace, exploring suburb by suburb and passing the time by immersing yourself in museums and experiences.

If you want to get out of the city, consider domestic flights. Popular itineraries start in Sydney and end in another city such as Melbourne or Cairns. Here’s a possible itinerary you can follow:

Day one: Sydney city highlights.

Days two and three: Further exploration of Sydney CBD, including museums, experiences and activities. Key activities include doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, learning to surf on Bondi Beach or visiting the Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Aquarium, the Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds.

Day four: Fly up to the Gold Coast and book yourself a stay at Hamilton Island.

Days five and six: Explore the Gold Coast and the Whitsundays, including Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach.

Day seven: Take a scenic train ride up to Cairns.

Days eight and nine: Spend two days exploring Cairns and its surroundings. This includes the Great Barrier Reef and Port Douglas.

Day 10: Fly back to Sydney.


Ten-day tours of Sydney


Sydney and Melbourne itinerary

Spending a couple of days in Sydney before traveling to Melbourne can be a good trip. You can opt to fly or drive. You can drive to Melbourne in two days via Canberra.

A week is enough to see the highlights of both Sydney and Melbourne, particularly if you’re planning to drive between the two.

Day one: Sydney city highlights.

Days two and three: Further exploration of Sydney CBD, including museums, experiences and activities. Key ideas include doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, learning to surf on Bondi Beach or visiting the Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Aquarium, the Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds.

Day four: Start the drive to Melbourne, stopping by Canberra to sightsee. Sights in Canberra to include on your itinerary include Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, Mount Ainslie, the National Gallery of Australia, Lake Burley Griffin and Questacon. Stay overnight in Canberra.

Day five: Drive to Melbourne and see the city highlights. These include Docklands, Federation Square, Luna Park, the Melbourne Museum, Flinders Station and Yarra River.

Days six: Drive the famous Great Ocean Road and see the Twelve Apostles.

Day seven: Further exploration of Melbourne CBD, including the Melbourne Zoo, the Melbourne Aquarium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Brunswick and Hosier Lane, or fly back to Sydney (if required).


Sydney and Melbourne tours

2-Day Australian High Country Tour from Sydney to Melbourne
2-Day Australian High Country Tour from Sydney to Melbourne

Orbitz

Naturally New Zealand With Sydney & Melbourne
Naturally New Zealand With Sydney & Melbourne

Tours4fun


Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns itinerary

If you want to see it all, you most definitely can. While renting a car may be an option, for those who are strapped for time, organizing internal flights to get you around are ideal for making the most of this itinerary.

Day one: Sydney city highlights.

Day two: Further exploration of Sydney CBD, including museums, experiences and activities. Key ideas include doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, learning to surf on Bondi Beach or visiting the Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Aquarium, the Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds.

Day three: Fly up to the Gold Coast and book yourself a stay at Hamilton Island.

Day four: Spend the day exploring the Gold Coast and the Whitsundays, including Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach.

Day five: Take a scenic train ride up to Cairns.

Days six and seven: Spend two days exploring Cairns and its surroundings. This includes the Great Barrier Reef and Port Douglas.

Day eight: Fly from Cairns to Melbourne. Check out Melbourne’s city highlights. These include Docklands, Federation Square, Luna Park, the Melbourne Museum, Flinders Station and Yarra River.

Day nine: Drive the Great Ocean Road.

Day 10: Further exploration of Melbourne CBD, including the Melbourne Zoo, the Melbourne Aquarium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Brunswick and Hosier Lane, or fly back to Sydney (if required).


Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns tours

Naturally New Zealand With Sydney & Melbourne
Naturally New Zealand With Sydney & Melbourne

Tours4fun


Sydney to Brisbane itinerary

Traveling from Sydney to Brisbane is best done with a car or RV. This will let you stop and sleep in many of the cozy towns that hug the east coast of Australia. The full drive takes a little over 10 hours, so it’s possible to do over three to four days, but we’d recommend you try and save seven or eight days so you can enjoy the view.

Day one: Sydney city highlights.

Days two: Further exploration of Sydney CBD, including museums, experiences and activities. Key ideas include doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, learning to surf on Bondi Beach and visiting the Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Aquarium, the Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds.

Day three: Head up north through the Central Coast toward Brisbane. Stop by Hunter Valley and Port Stephens, and stay overnight in Port Macquarie.

Day four: Travel up past Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay.

Day five: Explore Byron Bay, then travel up to the Gold Coast.

Day six: Kick back and relax on the Gold Coast.

Day seven: Drive the final leg to Brisbane and check out the city highlights.

Alternatively, you may prefer to head inland instead of hugging the coast. In this case, you can swing west from Sydney, through the outback towns of Nundle, Bingara, Tamworth and Yumba before hitting up Byron Bay and Brisbane.


Sydney to Brisbane tours


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Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at finder.com.au and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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