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Things to do in Sydney

Itineraries for Your Trip to Sydney

Sydney locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Sydney for First Timers

Curated by Karen Gardinera Scottish travel writer based in the US.

With three days in Sydney, you have plenty of time to soak up the city’s atmosphere, see its most famous sights, loll on the beach, and head out of town into the surrounding countryside. Here are a few ways to experience the very best of Sydney in 72 memorable hours.

Day 1

Sydney Harbour, with its iconic UNESCO World Heritage–listed opera house and dramatic Sydney Harbour Bridge, makes up the city’s most recognizable image. One of the best ways to take in the sights is aboard a catamaran or tall-ship tour around the harbor. Tour boats typically cruise close to the Sydney Opera House and bridge, allowing for excellent photo opportunities. Some tours include lunch or dinner, and others offer additional experiences such as entry to the Taronga Zoo. Alternatively, consider a scenic helicopter tour for a wide-angle view of the harbor and Sydney skyline.

After seeing the harbor highlights from a distance, you can get up close on a guided climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a backstage Sydney Opera House tour, or by attending an opera or ballet inside the world-famous performing arts venue.

Day 2

No visit to Sydney is complete without spending some time soaking up the sun on at least one of its legendary beaches. Famed Bondi Beach is just five miles (eight kilometers) from the city center, so both Sydney and Bondi sightseeing tours offer the chance to take a stroll along the beach and dip your feet in the warm water. Alternatively, Sydney and Bondi hop-on hop-off bus and boat tours allow you to set your own itinerary and take your time at the beach before continuing on to other stops along the sightseeing route.

More sand-and-sea options lie just a short distance from the city, including bustling Manly. Some Sydney tours include visits to Manly and the Northern Beaches, and usually allow for free time to enjoy the beach area.

Day 3

Sydneysiders looking to escape into nature flock to the serene Blue Mountains, easily and quickly accessible from the city center. Guided full-day Blue Mountains tours (private or group) typically take in the region’s most famous sights, such as the distinctive rock formation of the Three Sisters, and many include stops at additional attractions, such as a wildlife park where you can see kangaroos, koalas, and other native critters.

Alternatively, spend a day exploring Australia’s oldest wine-producing region. Guided Hunter Valley wine tours with hotel pickup and drop-off take the worry out of driving after indulging in some wine tasting, and often include lunch with wine pairings.

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