Destinations

The Best Things To Add To Your Next Sydney Itinerary

There's so much more to experience in this vibrant city.
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A show at the Opera House, a shot by the Harbour Bridge, a trip to Taronga Zoo, a seafood meal at the Fish Market or sightseeing at Bondi beach are just some of the most spectacular places and things to do in Sydney, Australia. But don’t miss out and think you’ve done it all because there’s so much more to experience in this vibrant city. Here are the best things to add to your itinerary the next time you’re back for a real Sydney experience:

1. Drink good coffee.

Besides the beautiful harbour and good seafood, Sydney is well known for having great coffee, maybe even one of the best in the world. It’s hard to get a bad cup of coffee in Sydney so make sure to maximize your daily capacity. Besides the usual favorites like Mecca and Grounds of the City, here are a few more worth trying when you’re in the CBD.

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Skittle Lane

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A minimalist, clean, and no frills kind of coffee shop, Skittle Lane doesn't even have regular chairs and tables—yet it remains so interesting, stylish, and inviting. It offers a seasonal blend that is full-bodied, well-balanced espresso with notes of vanilla and cocoa and a rotating selection of single origins for espresso and filter. Its limited menu of quick bites, tartine-style sandwiches, and toasties are simply delicious and a must try—but you need to be there early enough before they quickly run out.

Gumption by Coffee Alchemy

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Nestled right in the middle of The Strand Arcade, Gumption by Coffee Alchemy is a small espresso bar-like space rather than a full cafe. Its main focus is just to serve good quality coffee to busy city dwellers and shoppers who conveniently just go in and out to get their daily fill.

Industry Beans

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A Melbourne original, the recently opened Sydney branch is a good combination of great coffee, minimalist interiors, and delicious brunch. The beautifully designed coffee shop incorporates coffee into its dishes and serves both Melbourne menu favorites as well as a selection only unique to Sydney.

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Whether you like milk or non-milk based coffees, you won’t go wrong with ordering any of your favorites in these cafes. If you want to try something very Australian, go for a flat white as this coffee type was invented in this country.

2. Enjoy a healthy and delectable brunch.

It’s a known fact that Sydney is home to an excellent brunch scene. Other than that, it is also a haven for the health conscious with many restaurants offering healthy and nutritious dishes. You can mostly blame it on the freshest produce that locals use.

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Besides the good old favorite Bill’s and its famous ricotta pancakes, Four Ate Five, which is also in Surry Hills, serves a superb smashed pea and avo toast with feta, dukkah, and poached egg among others. 

Pablo’s & Rusty’s in the CBD has a number of healthy dishes including this Gochuiang mushrooms.

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If you find yourself in Bondi, the Depot also offers hearty meals for everyone to enjoy.

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3. Go on amazing coastal walks.

One of the best ways to experience the true beauty of Sydney is through its breathtaking coastline views and there’s no better way to do this but through walking. You will even get the benefit of burning those extra calories while you’re at it. Besides the all-time favorite Bondi to Coogee walk, there are so many others to explore, some just about 30 minutes away by bus or ferry from the CBD.

Federation Cliff Walk


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An easy 1.5-hour ( 1 way) walk which starts from Watsons Bay and passes through a number of amazing sandstone cliffs, great ocean views, parks, and a beautiful lighthouse. This walkway will take you all the way to Dover Heights or even up to Bondi beach if you choose to walk further.

To get to Watsons Bay, all you need to do is take the 30 min ferry ride from Circular Quay.


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South Head Heritage Trail

Another trail that starts from Watsons Bay is the South Head Heritage trail. This is a much shorter walk but also boasts of astonishing views of hidden beaches and harbour views, a touch into history and an incredible view of the City. If you’re lucky, you might even see whales during the wintertime.

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Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk


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A little further north, the Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk is an easy to moderate trail that will take about 1.5 hours. This hiking trail in Barrenjoey Headland at the northernmost part of Palm beach boasts of a hilltop with stunning views of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Broken Bay, and the coastline north of Sydney. It is also a popular place to go whale watching come winter.


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There are two kinds of trails that you can choose from, an easy one and a moderate one which is a bit steeper, if you’re feeling more adventurous. Once you’ve enjoyed the views from above, you can then move on to enjoying the rest of the Palm Beach peninsula where The Boathouse is located. This is a good place to have your well-deserved late lunch, cocktails, or coffee.

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Other beautiful coastal walks available in Sydney include Cocktaoo Island, Spit to Manly (Manly to Spit), Coogee to Maroubra, and many more. 

4. Enjoy a gastronomic experience.

Over the last few years, Sydney has become a melting pot for amazing restaurants with such unique concepts and memorable venues. There are countless places to try whether for lunch or dinner, and the food and drinks are just incredible.

Take Poly in Surry Hills for example, under the same group as one of the city’s highly acclaimed restaurants, Ester. Poly has a very relaxed vibe, no frills, almost casual but not. It is officially classified as a wine bar more than a restaurant but its wine-friendly menu, they call snacks, is enough reason to go back for more.

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At the heart of the CBD, you’ll find Restaurant Hubert where you’ll feel you’ve been transported back to post-war France. The interior is so on-point, you’ll be entertained just by being there—not to mention “all that jazz.” Its ecargot and the rest of its French-themed menu are très bonne!

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Fred’s in Paddington has reinvented fine dining, taking the open kitchen concept to a different level. The beautifully designed restaurant enables guests to interact and be part of the high-end cooking process. This is normally the opposite for a lot of other fine dining establishments. It serves seasonally driven food that is fundamentally produce-based. Its menu may sound simple but you’ll be amazed by how good the dishes taste.

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If there’s one thing that you’ll need to remember to be able to dine anywhere in Sydney, you always need to book ahead and reserve a table. 

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5. Explore the arts.

Whether you’re an expert or just someone who appreciates art, Sydney has one of the richest art scenes.

Choose from a variety of art galleries including everybody’s favorite the Art Gallery of NSW.

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If experimental and contemporary art is what you want to explore, Carriageworks, the largest multi-arts center in Australia, is recommended. It commissions a variety of Australian and International artists and tries to incorporate contemporary ideas in its executions and exhibits.

The venue itself is already worth visiting, given the history of the place dating back to the 1800s. It also holds weekend and night markets that are worth checking out.

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6. Experience the pub life.

If there’s anything that is truly very Sydney, it is the pubs filling up with people for happy hour by 5 p.m. Much like coffee shops, every corner in Sydney has a pub or a bar but here are a few favorites where you can get your beer, whiskey, or cocktail fix:

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Get your beer at Lord Nelson’s. This is Sydney’s oldest pub brewery with award-winning ales known throughout the world. It also has the best fish and chips in the city.

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The Baxter Inn is a true Speakeasy tucked away somewhere on Clarence Street. It is, however, worth the hunt as it offers such a huge selection of whiskeys that will definitely quench your thirst.


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Palmer & Co is another Speakeasy that will transport you back to the 1920s.

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PS40 is a quaint modern bar, which has its own soda making plant and serves one of a kind cocktails.

7. Marvel at the Sydney libraries.

There are a number of libraries in Sydney that are so interesting and picturesque even non-book worms will want to go and see.

The State Library of New South Wales in the city has an amazing array of books and offers different kinds of workshops and exhibits. The building and interiors alone are full of history and are definitely must-sees.

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The Green Square Library in Zetland, on the other hand, is a modern library with a more active and lively feel. Don’t miss out on the colorful wall in the reading room, which is a favorite spot for photo ops.

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8. Join a festival.

The great thing about Sydney is that no matter the season, there is always an ongoing festival and you’ll never get bored. Take the recent Festival of Lights for example or better known as Vivid Sydney. This was a great new way of seeing even old-time favorites such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge all glammed up and ready to be admired in a different light.

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Now that it’s wintertime, locals have what they call “Christmas in July.” It may not be the real Christmas season but it’s the time of the year when Australians celebrate with winter festivities including food and wine that are in season, wear big ugly sweaters, and even go ice-skating.

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The festivities include the Truffle Festival, Bastille French Festival, ice skating at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and many more.

Good coffee, delectable brunches, beautiful coastal walks, gastronomic experiences, the arts, the pub life, libraries, and festivals are just some of the best things to do in Sydney. Experiencing them on your next trip will definitely be worth every minute of your time.

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Marsha Guzman Ng
Contributing Writer
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