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Known for its sunny coasts, Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, and some of the finest beaches in the world, Australia is a popular destination for holiday-goers, backpackers, and foreigners looking to stay long term. As the biggest city in Australia, Sydney is the most popular starting point for visitors.

 This is your go-to list bucket list for making the most of your stay in Sydney whether you are just stopping by for a few days, or looking to settle down and call Sydney home for a while. 

Photo courtesy of Alex Rottler/Mad Monkey

Sydney Opera House
As the most iconic building in Sydney, a visit to see the Sydney Opera House is a must while you are in Sydney. The spectacular building is worth a visit for the photo opportunities along with the great views and atmosphere. The Opera Bar is the perfect place to stop for a drink or a bite to eat outside. You have some of the best views of both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge!

Photo courtesy of Alex Rottler/Mad Monkey

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Nicknamed “The Coathanger,” this famous bridge has some of the best views of the city for you to take in when driving, biking, or walking across it. This beautiful piece of architecture spans nearly 1,150 meters and stands 134m high. Connecting Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD) and the North Shores of the city, it is a landmark many visitors come to see. The Harbour Bridge will give you a great view of the Sydney Opera House and vice versa, so kill two birds with one stone and see them both in one day! Fancy getting a bit of a workout in for some even better views? You can climb up the Harbour Bridge for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city and Opera House.

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The Rocks
Only a short walk from Circular Quy is a little spot called “The Rocks.” This hub has over 50 restaurants, cafes, and hotels. There is surely something for everyone. Not only can you nourish yourself with some tasty eats, but you can also shop till you drop. Visit high-end brands, little boutiques, and pick up a souvenir for friends and family back home while you’re at it. This area is great for having a stroll around and letting yourself get a bit “lost” while you’re exploring around.

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The Royal Botanic Garden
Next to the CBD, stop by and relax at the Royal Botanic Garden! This is a perfect stop for budget travelers because it’s free! You can take a free guided tour where you’ll learn all about the exotic plants in the garden. The Royal Botanic Garden also has a scenic view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Feel free to wander wherever your heart desires, take a stroll, and stop to smell the roses. Pro tip: This is an amazing spot to have a nice little picnic with a group of mates, your significant other, or a peaceful solo picnic. 

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Coogee Beach
Coogee is Bondi’s equally beautiful and trendy, but smaller neighboring beach suburb. The beach in Coogee is a larger cove beach with plenty of room for locals and visitors to set up camp for a beach day. The beach has the perfect waves to splash and jump around in, with some surfers catching waves on stormier days. There is a large grass space just behind the beach perfect for a game of rounders, kicking the football around, or simply relaxing with a book. 
Across the street from the beach, you will find Coogee Beach Hotel and the Coogee Pavillion, to popular indoor-outdoor places to grab a drink or go out for an evening. There are also many restaurants including FNKY MNKY which has burgers to die for and a balcony with outdoor seating facing the water to enjoy your meal and a pint. 
There are also several boutiques and op shops with cute clothing to check out. Coogee Beach is definitely a favorite among the locals and backpackers and is home to Mad Monkey Coogee Beach. With the prime location, social atmosphere, easy access to transportation, comfy beds, and clean rooms, it is a favorite hostel in Sydney.

Photo courtesy of Mad Monkey

Bondi Beach
There is no doubt that Bondi Beach is tourist central. Millions of visitors stop by the beach every year. You are sure to see surfers, locals, holiday goers, and backpackers. This beach is one of the most popular in the world. You can ride the waves, soak in the sun, play some catch, and take a dip in the water to cool off.
Make sure to head to the south end of the beach to visit the Bondi Icebergs Club. Not only does it have delicious eats, but the views are stunning. Be ready with your favorite swimsuit to snap a few photos for the ‘gram here because if you didn’t post a photo at the Bondi Icebergs Club did you even go Sydney?
Are you a huge beach lover? Here is our guide to the must-visit beaches in Sydney. 

Photo courtesy of Alex Rottler/Mad Monkey

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
Take a stroll from Bondi to  Coogee, or Coogee to Bondi along the coast clifftops. With stunning views of the ocean, beaches, parks, cliffs, and rock pools, this 6km walk is well worth the trek. Make sure to bring along plenty of sunscreen, just because you’re not sunbathing on the beach doesn’t mean you won’t burn! Also bring a speaker for some tunes, a towel, some water, and snacks so you can take breaks and explore the different coves and cliffs you pass by. Here is a guide to the best stops along the way!

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Taronga Zoo
Take a ferry from Circular Quay to the Taronga Zoo. Visit the large variety of animals who live at the zoo. The zoo is so large you can expect this to be an all-day trip! Not only can you see your favorite animals, but you can participate in Wild Ropes, an exhilarating high ropes course to put your skills to the test. You’ll navigate flying foxes, suspension bridges, climbing walls, and see grand views of the Harbour Bridge.

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Maroubra Beach
Wanting to lay out in the sun to work on your tan and learn to surf? Maroubra is the beach for you. Known for its gnarly waves, this beach is both quiet but lively. Catch the locals hanging tens and yelling cowabunga at sunrise before they head to work for the day. The beach s so big you won’t have any trouble finding a spot to set up camp for the day. 

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Chinatown and Haymarket
This growing Asian marketplace in Sydney features dining, events, bars, and markets! If you make your way down to Dixon Street, you are bound to stumble upon an event going on. Check here for an up to date events guide to plan your visit around one of the awesome events. 
Want to check out more markets? Here is our guide to the top Sydney markets

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Newtown
Looking for a funky and alternative experience? Look no further than the vibrant suburb of Newtown. Full of colorful streets and hip people, you’re in for a treat. Check out the coolest street art, sit at one of the many cafes for a brewed coffee, or visit the Enmore Theatre. There is also a shopping strip full of sweet boutiques, vintage shops, and sick thrift shops. Full of cozy bars, breweries, and unique cafes along King Street, your favorite beverage will be calling your name.

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Westfield Bondi Junction Shopping Centre
This is for all the shopping addicts out there! After a long week of hanging ten, getting your tan on, and eating all the food you ever could’ve wished for, you’ll want to relax and treat yourself to some shopping. Bondi Junction Shopping Centre is your spot to shop, have fun, and eat even more. There is every store you can possibly imagine here providing a sometimes overwhelming amount of options. Is it a rare rainy day? After you’ve shopped till you’ve nearly dropped, head up to level six to catch a movie at the cinema. 

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Darling Harbour
Going to Darling Square, a beautiful district near Darling Harbour, you can stop at one of the many bars, restaurants, or institutions scattered around. If you’re looking to wind down with a book, pay a visit to the Darling Square Library. With its modern architectural design on the outside, it’s worthy of an Instagram picture. Visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship for a place to relax and get some peace from the city. Here you will find exotic plants, beautiful flowers, Koi fish, and you can’t miss out on indulging in some Chinese food while you’re here. Keep an eye on the Darling Harbour website to see all the events going on during your stay in Sydney. 

Whether you are a backpacker making a quick stopover in Sydney, or this you’re starting to lose count of your visits, there is always something new to experience and explore every day. You’ll never find yourself not having something to do in this bustling city. Sydney is a unique city full of life, sunshine, and overall amazing energy. With amazing people living and visiting from all over the world, delicious cuisine, and a poppin’ party scene, Sydney is full of overall good vibes. 
Are your travels around Australia continuing? Here is our guide to the perfect Australian road trip. Thinking of staying and working in Australia? We have you covered with this complete backpackers guide to finding a job in Australia!

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