Australia offers a range of tourist attractions, from no cost to high-end. Depending on your budget and liking to adjust, here is some recommendation for you:
What is it to go to Sydney without visiting the famous Opera House? It is like visiting Paris without going to Eiffel Tower. Wherever you are staying, take a bus/train/walk to Circular Quay. Here, you can take pictures of the Opera House along with the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge. To be honest, during my 5 days in Sydney, almost everyday I went to the Circular Quay. There is no specific time to come, I love it best in the afternoon. I can just sit on one of many benches scattered, sipping coffee, people-watching, enjoying the magnificent view of my surrounding.
If you have a full day to spend, do a walking tour around the area (free guided walking tour is available). Try to climb to Harbour Bridge (to the bridge only, not to the top of the bridge) to see Opera House from higher ground. Accesses are available from Circular Quay, the Botanic Gardens, and The Rocks.
Spend a few hours lazying on the newly-cut grass of Sydney Botanic Gardens (water fountains, toilets are available at no cost – I did my shalat here).
If you have extra budget, you may want to join the Bridge Climb (cost starting from A$ 148). Please note that weather is important factor for the excursion.
Aside from the Bridge Climb, you will spend zero dollars, given that you bring your own food. If not, McDonald’s is available across the street, Hungry Jack’s (better than McD) is available on the quay. A halal restaurant is available nearby, I think it was on Pitt St – must be cost a fortune.
Get the feel of your surrounding by taking Sydney monorail (A$ 10 for a full circle, or two, or three, as long as you like). Stations: Harbourside, Convention, Paddy’s Market, Chinatown, World Square, Galleries Victoria, Darling Harbour. Hop in anywhere you like. You can hop off, also, anywhere you like.
Hop off Galleries Victoria and walk to QVB (Queen Victoria Building), a mall with superb interior. It has beautiful antique clock that show time in unique way – with the birds and song, and soldiers, and all royalty stuff.
Cross the street to city Town Hall for more beautiful colonial-style buildings.
If you fancy towers – like my husband does – head to Sydney Tower, a 309 meter high standalone structure. From the observation deck, you can see the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Manly, everything in 360 degrees.
At the bottom of the tower is one big shopping mall, Westfield. For more bohemian soul, the area around Westfield (mostly on Market St) is so vibrant with street musicions and performers.
Skip to Chinatown for lively Asian feel. End your day around Darling Harbour area – a Madame Tussaud has just been opened. Many other attractions available for all ages. A short visit to Paddy’s for souvenirs (Victoria Market in Melbourne is cheaper than Paddy’s).
Splurge you dollar to book a day trip to Blue Mountain. You will experience wildlife Australia, such as kangaroos. Wombats, meerkats, and cuddly koalas. You can see the beautiful scenery of Magalong Valley, Mt Victoria, etc.
You can also ride scenic railway and cableway.
Go to the beaches!
Australia’s beaches may not as beautiful as yours, but what is it to go to Sydney without visiting the infamous Bondi? Most times it is crowded, full with people, predominantly young. Some girls may be topless. There are hop on hop off busses available for Bondi, or you can go independently using public busses and trains.
When I was still studying in Oz, they have this famous stall selling fried Mars and fried Snickers and M&M’s. Indonesians will call it gorengan cokelat!
When I heard the word Cronulla, I’d automatically remember the incidents happened in 2005 (I was living in Melbourne). Riots and violences broke out for several days. It is actually a beautiful sandy beach stretches from Boat Harbour to North Cronulla. Similar to Bondi, it is also a surfing hotspot.
Cronulla is 26 km from city centre and reachable by train.
It’s ferry time.
Take the ferry to Manly island. It is 17 km from Sydney CBD and 30 minutes by ferry. Manly is famous for its beaches, such as Manly Beach, Queenscliff Beach, and Shelly Beach.
For those animal lovers, or family with young children, go to Taronga Zoo maybe a good option. The zoo can be reached by ferry from the city, in 12 minutes ride.
Getting back from the island, you would once again have the chance to see the scenic Harbour Bridge and Opera House, taking more pictures.