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Sydney Travel Guide: 3 Days in Sydney

After living and exploring Sydney for over 9 months, I decided it’s time to share all my expierences with you. My first trip to this amazing city was two years ago for 4 days. Of course there was only time to see the Opera House, Bondi beach and China Town, but this city has so much more to offer. In January 2017 I made my way back to Australia with the goal to live there for 1 year in my favorite county of all time. I landed in Brisbane and didn’t really have a plan where I wanted to work for the most time. I first went up to Cairns, but finding work there was difficult. So me and my travel partner Dalton jumped in the car and drove all the way down to Sydney in only two days. If you only have limited days to be here it's okay, below are the things to do for 3 Days in Sydney. 

Arriving in Sydney we found a really nice share house in the Curl Curl area. Many of you might know Manly, and I lived in that area. I always liked to think back to the times I had there getting up in the morning and going for a run, grabbed a coffee and walked along the water. True paradise and made me quickly feel at home. Sydney had both. It is kind of like the New York and Miami of Australia. Where you will find busy well dressed people in the CBD, but you take a short ride out to Manly or Bondi and you feel the relaxing beach vibes.

Sydney became my favorite city in the world. It might not have the craziest nightlife but it sure offers beautiful beaches, breathtaking nature walks and the food scene is just amazing. You’ll fall in love with Sydney like I did.

Where to Stay in Sydney?

Sydneys CBD is split in neighborhoods and every single one is unique. At Circular Quay is the Opera House and the Royal Botanical Gardens where you can walk for the best sunset views to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. The Rocks is one of the oldest parts of town with a market every Saturday and Sunday. In China Town you will find the best Asian cuisine, and at Darling Harbor nearby you can enjoy weekly fireworks every Saturday at 9 pm. Newtown is a very funky, party part. It’s so much fun and one of the best places for BYO (bring your own) alcohol to restaurants. It is also is the only place in town where you can find a street to park for free. In Surry Hills, you will find the cutest cafes where they serve food full of flowers. Many cultures come together at this place. You will meet all kinds of people from all over the world. It really is a dreamy place but it has shade too. The high buildings steals the sun and makes you feel cold sometimes walking through the city. It’s good that Sydney offers very good Public transport to beaches.

There are two beach parts of town. You might know Bondi beach. It’s famous for it’s surfing culture and Iceberg pool. You can go on a beautiful walk to nearby beaches. The other part of town is the Northern beaches. I fell in love with Manly immediately after I first set foot out of the ferry. You walk to what locals call the Corso, and while walking there you have people entertaining you, many cute shops and cafes and at the end is Manly beach with the view of the university where they filmed the great Gatsby. After living there for a couple of months, I even found much better spots and sure will tell you about them.

I can’t really recommend any hotels since I stayed in a share house but I’m sure you can always find something nice that suits your budget. Air BnB is pretty big, also hostels and hotels like the Hilton or Shangri La. I stayed once at the Cambridge hotel in Surry Hills and it was for a great value.

Shangri-La Hotel - 3 Days in Sydney
Darling Harbour - 3 Days in Sydney
Manly Beach - 3 Days in Sydney
Mrs. Macquarie's Chair - 3 Days in Sydney
Bondi Beach - 3 Days in Sydney
Sydney Opera House - 3 Days in Sydney
The Rocks Market - 3 Days in Sydney

Best Beaches in Sydney

If you were to see all of Australias beaches visiting one per day, it would take you 29 years of exploring. And alone Sydney has over 100 of them. Every beach is different and has it’s own character to it. Here are some of my favorites I’d think you should go and see when in Sydney.

PALM BEACH starting off with the most breath taking one. This beach is my absolute favorite (and Shelly beach). You can go to the most beautiful beach cafe called the Boathouse. You can take a little hike to the Lighthouse and enjoy the view of two beaches on the same island. It is hard to describe but I added a photo to it so you know what I mean.

CURL CURL BEACH is a very long Beach and supposed to be one of the best beaches for surfing in the world. It has a beautiful dog park as well so you will see many locals taking out there puppies yay. Because it is so long the ends are split into South and North Curl Curl. Both ends have a rock pool the one in North Curl Curl is absolutely beautiful but a bit more tricky to get there. On the south side of Curl Curl there’s a board walk to a really beautiful beach called Freshwater.

FRESHWATER BEACH will make you feel like you are in Italy on the Amalfi Coast. The beach is surrounded by cliffs and on these cliffs are many houses. They also have a really romantic beach restaurant there called Pilu if you are into fine dining, or even a casual baretto. This beach is very local so it’s quite crowded on the weekends. The water is e beautiful blue and you feel like you’re in paradise.

SHELLY BEACH one of my all time favorites! There is so much to explore. It’s a very easy walk from Manly, just take a right and follow the street. It is a street where you can only walk, so no cars. You can get there by car but parking is pretty expensive. Anyway, you should take a whole day to see this magical place. Start with some breakfast at the boat house and go snorkeling at the beach. When it gets too crowded pack up and go to the lookout, just turn around and take the stairs up. We always climbed over the fence to sit on the rocks ;). Breathtaking views. When the shadow comes, go down on the other side where you will find a beautiful hidden spot to watch the sunset at a very rocky beach. But it’s accessible by stairs.

MANLY BEACH is the perfect place if you love to hang out in cafes and bars with beach views. The beach can get pretty crowded because most of the tourists only know about this beach and the surrounding area, and don’t know what the Northern beaches are all about. Surfing is quite popular there. Definitely worth stopping by and exploring this beach and Corso for some cool food places. Also they have a market once a month.

BONDI BEACH has it’s own character. I went there twice. You can enjoy free wifi at the beach but it can be really crowded as well. There you find one of the most famous rock pools in the world called the Iceberg. Bondi is worth to see at least once in your life, but I am sure you will enjoy the other beaches I recommended more.

Palm Beach - 3 Days in Sydney
Curl Curl Beach - 3 Days in Sydney
Freshwater Beach - 3 Days in Sydney
Shelly Beach Lookout - 3 Days in Sydney
Shelly Beach Sunset Point - 3 Days in Sydney
Manly Beach - 3 Days in Sydney
Bondi Beach - 3 Days in Sydney

Hiking in Sydney

MANLY TO SPIT JUNCTION – this walk is really long but so worth it! In total you will walk 10 km so make sure you bring lots of water and food. The hike begins at Manly wharf and takes you all the way to the Spit bridge on the north side of the city. You could also start at the Spit bridge so you would be arriving in Manly and you can go to a restaurant after this exhausting hike.

CURL CURL TO DEE WHY – I found this hike randomly when I started to explore the area I lived more. It is really beautiful and along the water the whole time. I saw really cool things around there, like a cliff where is written down DON’T JUMP or also a flower field with many butterflies. In the end I arrived at Dee Why beach. It is not really my favorite but they have some good restaurants around. This hike is only 1 hour but offers spectacular views – you might want to take more time to explore around.

BONDI TO BRONTE BEACH – Another really beautiful hike but apparently very crowded. You might make some friends though. The hike is really easy and I am sure worth many pictures. The good thing about it is that you will start at the Bondi beach, and half way you can stop and chill out at Tamarama beach. After that then comes Bronte. Another thing I really like about Australian beaches is that they provide a BBQ grill at almost every popular beach for you. So why not make a fun BBQ and watch the sunset after the hike? 

HARBOR BRIDGE – This is a must do in Sydney. It might be one of the most famous bridges in the world and how awesome would it be to stand out and have some pictures ON the bridge and not like everybody else OF the bridge They offer a lookout in the tower but it cost 20 $ per person to get up there. The walk will be longer than you may think and at the end you will land in a beautiful spot of town called Kiribilli where you can easily walk to my favorite Cafe called Celsius Coffee and Co.

Manly to Spit Junction - 3 Days in Sydney
Manly to Spit Juction - 3 Days in Sydney
Manly to Spit Juction - 3 Days in Sydney
Manly to Spit Juction - 3 Days in Sydney
Curl Curl to Deewhy - 3 Days in Sydney
Curl Curl to Deewhy - 3 Days in Sydney
Bondi to Bronte Beach - 3 Days in Sydney
Sydney Harbor Bridge - 3 Days in Sydney
Sydney Harbor Bridge - 3 Days in Sydney

Where to Eat in Sydney

As I already mentioned there is quite a few good places to go to. As I am from Germany and apparently from an area where they only just discovered what vegan means, I have to say Sydney will be true paradise for you. You can get any food you can imagine as there is so manly cultures living around. I would say traditional Australian cuisine is a mixture of Western and Asian kitchen. They also love to serve everything with flowers and nicely plated so they put lots of love in their dishes.

Definitely try breakfast at the Boathouse. They got quite a lot of locations of the Boathouse around the Sydney area. Plus it’s always at the beach. Since I am obsessed with mangos I had to get the smoothie and Dalton loved his Watermelon juice. To eat I got avocado toast served with fresh tomatoes, feta and basil. Dalton ordered a breakfast pizza and since he is American, of course it had bacon on it with  cheese and eggs on the side. The food is really nice and they serve huge portions so you totally have to lay at the beach to relax after.

Another favorite is Celcius Coffee and Co. The location of this place is absolutely insane. At Kiribilli wharf right by the water you will be served delicious breakfast or lunch in a flower paradise. I really enjoyed my food there. And again for me it had to be avocado (#addicted) served with tomatoes and almond yummm. I also had to get the chia coconut curd served with berry puree, granola and fresh fruit. So delicious! Dalton got a burger. We also tried a fruit juice which was really tasty. We waited longer for a table by the water because the view is breathtaking and the water looks sonice.

For some good burgers I can totally recommend THE HOLD in Manly. It has such a cozy ambience and looks like a old boat inside. The burgers there are just amazing. The best part is you can get every single thing there vegan as well. I always get the vegan side burger and some sweet potato fries on the side. They also offer some really cool beers from all around the world. After the burgers have a cocktail for 10 $ at In-Situ at happy hour.

If you like pizza and I love pizza you should go to Via Napoli in Surry Hills. This place is very casual. Bring some friends when you go because you can order a 1 m long pizza. They have some really nice food with fresh mozzarella as an entree and they are happy to get you some fresh tomatoes on the side if you don’t like Prosciutto.

Mr. Wong is an all time favorite and always super busy. This place is massive. Make sure you have a reservation. You will be served really fancy Cantonese food and every dish is designed to share. Right around the corner is Palmer and Co for some fancy cocktails and the waitresses are costumed in a 60’s style.

The Boathouse - 3 Days in Sydney
The Boathouse - 3 Days in Sydney
Celsius Coffee And Co - 3 Days in Sydney
Celsius Coffee And Co - 3 Days in Sydney
The Hold - 3 Days in Sydney

SHOPPING IN SYDNEY

In a city with over 4 million people you can be sure to find any shop you can think of. The main shopping street is Pitt street in the CBD. I really love the architecture in Sydney because it seems like every shop is in a really pretty building. The most beautiful shopping mall is the Queen Victoria building. On Pitt Street there is also the Westfield tower which includes a shopping center inside. Another one I can recommend is called the Strand Arcade. You can find anything in Sydney from cheap clothing to very expensive stores, whatever suits your budget. Here is a little list of Australian fashion brands I like: Posse, Zimmermann, Cult Gaia, KOOKAI, Wittner, SHEIKE and co, Forever New, Quay Australia, Saboskirt (only online), Tiger Mist (only online), showpo (only online), Hello Molly (only online), peony (only online), Ete Swimwear (only online), little lace (only online)

Queen Victoria Building - 3 Days in Sydney
Queen Victoria Building - 3 Days in Sydney

I hope I could give you some inspiration for your next Sydney trip. If you still have some questions comment below and I will be happy to answer them for you.

written with love by Shannon <3

Original source: SYDNEY TRAVEL GUIDE by Barefoot on my way


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Barefootonmyway was founded this year by Shannon Feld to inspire people to live a travel orientated lifestyle.

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