What to Do In Sydney, Australia for Four Days

An Oceania Trip: Part 1

This is Part 1 in a series of blog posts about our November 2017 trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

When revisiting all my vacation photos, I find myself constantly going back to my pictures from Australia - there's just so much unbelievably stunning scenery. While the trip was nearly a year ago as of this blog post, I can remember most of it pretty clearly because - well, you just don't forget a vacation like that one.

If you can take 2-3 weeks off work, I highly recommend checking out the South Pacific. We decided to visit in late November/early December, when it would be late spring/early summer. That turned out to be a great decision as it wasn't as crowded and the weather was perfect basically the whole way through.

The timing also contributed to our trip costs remaining relatively low. Despite being notoriously difficult and expensive to get to, we managed to keep our overall trip costs to about ~$3,000 CAD per person for an 18 day trip, which is really not bad at all considering the hotels we stayed at and the activities we did. I will include a breakdown of costs in a later blog post.

Without further ado, let's get into the trip details, starting with the first stop!



After near 24 hours of flying, we arrived around 9:00 AM Sydney time, on a sunny Friday morning. Our first order of business was to catch a shuttle bus to our hotel. It took us a while to find and some haggling, but we were dropped off at the Westin Sydney for $15 per person with our luggage.

Since SPG gives you the 5th night free on points, I decided to book the previous night even though we were only in Sydney for four days. This allowed us to check-in to our room immediately after the flight and rest, which we desperately needed after the 15-hour Los Angeles to Sydney leg of our flight.


Address: Port Jackson Bay
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 1-3 hours

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon scoping out our picture taking spots and took it easy, hoping the eye bags would disappear tomorrow. We found an area at Sydney Harbour which gave a great view of the Harbour Bridge. I believe it's at the port (?); you take the elevator up to the top floor, walk around the restaurant, and find a staircase that looks out onto the bridge.

Absolutely no filter on this picture. This is a nice spot near where the cruise ships park.


Address: Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
Bring: Walking shoes

We also took the opportunity to walk around the Royal Botanical Garden, which is really impressive as far as gardens go. I especially like how they have very different species of trees planted beside each other, and that such a massive space is so well maintained.

Royal Botanical Garden.

Before we crashed, we withdrew some cash and grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant called Kafeine. We ended up coming back here the next morning, which was our first exposure to Australian coffee. It’s way more expensive than coffee in North America - you’re looking at minimum $4 a cup - but also, way, way, way better. Australians are notoriously snobby about their coffee, and it definitely shows in the quality of coffee you can get on any street corner.

Our room at The Westin Sydney.

I didn't know this prior to booking it, but The Westin Sydney is a five star hotel in an amazing location. It was within walking distance of Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Queen Victoria building - aka everything you want to visit in Sydney as a tourist. There is also a subway station and Daiso (!!) very close by to the hotel, so we picked up some necessities and planned out the rest of our trip.


Address: Darling Harbour
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 1 hour

In the evening, we walked over to Darling Harbour to check out the area and lively crowd. During the day, I believe there are Chinese gardens you can visit, but we ended up not going back.

Darling Harbour. 



Address: Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 1-2 hours

After continuously sleeping for more than 4 hours, we were in much better shape to go sightseeing. The time zone difference wasn’t hard to adjust to either, since it was 14 hours. We took pictures with the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, though beware - you will likely encounter annoying Chinese and Korean tourists who will aggressively hog the scenery for their own photos. My advice: be aggressive back, it was a long flight!


Address: 1d Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
Bring: Walking shoes

View of the Sydney Opera House from Mrs Macquarie's point.

We also strolled through other parts of the Royal Botanical gardens. Found this in one of the exhibits and chuckled.

Coincidental cacti.


Address: Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 4-5 hours
Bring: Swimsuit, Towel, Hat, Sunscreen, Flip Flops, Sunglasses

We took the subway and bus to Bondi Beach and met up with Eugene’s friends. The whole trip was literally 15 or 20 minutes away from downtown. Let me repeat: this insanely beautiful beach is 15-20 minutes from downtown. The closest beach there is to downtown Toronto is Woodbine Beach and it is nowhere near as photogenic, nor can it even remotely compare to how soft and white the sand is along the entire Bondi coastline.

Views of Bondi Beach.

Then came the part that I really was not prepared for. Apparently, the plan was do the Bondi to Coogee walk, which was 6 km end to end and mostly uphill. I ended up getting sunburnt in a few places where I had missed applying sunscreen, and was extremely dehydrated by the end. Not to mention I was wearing flip flops! I definitely learned my lesson about the Australian sun. Nonetheless, it was an incredibly scenic walk, looking at cerulean waters and foamy waves rolling gently along the coast (and whispering to m- lol just kidding).

On the way to Coogee.

We pretty much died after we got back to the hotel, but it was a good bit of exercise at the very least, and definitely a must-do while in Sydney. Just remember to apply sunscreen very liberally, bring water, don’t wear flip flops, and maybe do Coogee to Bondi instead of the other way around so you're walking downhill.



Address: 217 Kildare Rd, Doonside NSW 2767
Cost: $32 AUD (can find for cheaper online)
Estimated Time: 2-3 hours
Bring: Change (for kangaroo feed)

We took the train to Featherdale Wildlife Park, which is about an hour outside Sydney. Here, you can find a lot of baby kangaroos, though we arrived after lunch so they weren’t too keen on being fed. You can also find koalas here, and take a picture with one for a cool $25.

Baby kangaroos hiding from the heat.


Address: 455 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 0.5-1 hour

After the Wildlife Park, we went back to Sydney and checked out the Queen Victoria Building. We had high tea at one of the restaurants, which was adequate - I just really wanted high tea.

Inside Queen Victoria building (I think).

In the evening, we headed over the Barangaroo area to have kangaroo steak at The Meat & Wine Co. The irony of petting baby kangaroos in the morning and then eating them for dinner is not lost on me. Overall, the kangaroo steak tasted very lean, and was good to try once, but I’d probably try something else off the menu next time.

We walked off our dinner by strolling around the area close to the Westin. It’s a bit funny seeing a Christmas tree when it feels like July, but it’s definitely nicer than what we would get outdoors in Toronto.

Holiday cheer in Sydney.


This was our day to run errands, as well as relax and unwind after Bondi and Featherdale. We spent the morning doing a load of laundry in Chinatown before heading out for shopping.


Address: 19 Roseby St, Drummoyne NSW 2047
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 2-3 hours
Bring: Your wallet

We went to Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre, which has a huge Nike outlet store as well as a few other well-known brands. Normally I’d be pretty happy with outlet mall shopping, but this place seemed more sportswear-oriented than fashion-oriented. I only ended up buying one item, whereas Eugene walked away with New Balance running shoes and a few other clothing bits.


Address: 20 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Cost: Free
Estimated Time: 0.5-1 hour

On our way back from the outlets, we passed by the Tesla store in the Sydney CBD. We decided to check it out, and one of the employees was nice enough to chat with us and show us a few of the Tesla floor models.

Walking around the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and stopping by Tesla for kicks.

We also checked out some of the fancier malls downtown, though we really didn’t end up hauling much back (likely because we were mostly window shopping). We grabbed dinner and headed back to our hotel to pack our bags for the flight next day to Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

In conclusion, Sydney may have replaced Vancouver as my #1 most beautiful city...there's a special place in my heart for Vancouver, but the natural beauty and iconic architecture in Sydney is the perfect combination for a bustling metropolis.

To be continued in Part 2 in Cairns...