Itinerary for the Perfect Five Days in Sydney
Five days is the perfect length of stay to get a feel for Sydney and experience the day to day life this city has to offer. We have created this itinerary to offer you a great blend of culture, fun, and sightseeing.
Before we dive into the itinerary, if you are simply interested in learning more about Sydney then check out our ultimate insiders article on Sydney.
Day one is all about exploring the city, seeing some of it’s main sights and just getting a general feel.
- Start you morning by walking through the Royal Botanical Garden and making your way to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for the best view of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline
- Head back through the Botanical Garden towards the Big Bus Hop On-Hop Off Tour stop #9 (Royal Botanical Garden) and grab yourself a 24 hr ticket. It’s one of the best ways to see all the main sights in a short period of time, and the additional commentary is good
- During this tour, get off at Darling Harbour where you will find the Australian National Maritime Museum which includes a replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavor. If you would rather explore a different museum, consider stop 27 for the Australian Museum, this stop is served both by the Sydney route and the Bondi route
- For thrill seekers, end the day with a big bang and have a go on the Oz Jet Boat. It’s a blast!
During peak season the Big Bus Hop on-Hop off Tour operates until 7:30pm, so use this ticket as your means of transport for the day and jump off at all the sites that interest you. We recommend the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Bondi Beach, and Elizabeth St. Day 2 will cover some of the other interesting sites. Also, stop 13 of the Hop on Hop off bus is very close to the Glebe market, consider grabbing lunch there (open Saturdays)
On your second day you’ll experience Sydney from the water as well as having a bit of fun going on a tour.
- It’s a must to explore Sydney from the water which is why Day 2 starts with the Hop On-Hop Off Captain Cook Cruise. During this trip jump off at Taronga Zoo and enjoy a few hours there. For a bit of fun and if you have the time, try out the Wild Ropes at the zoo.
It takes three and a half to four hours to fully explore Taronga Zoo, but it is still a perfect destination for those with only one or two hours to spare (it all depends on how many other attractions you visit).
- At 1:30pm join the Rocks Walking Tour which starts at Shop 4a – Clocktower Square, Argyle and Harrington Streets (only a 6 minute walk from Hop on Hop off’s stop number 2, Circular Quay). There is no better way to get up close and personal with the living history and heritage of Sydney than on foot, so this is a must (the tour is free with the iVenture Pass, if you don’t get the pass there is a free walking tour at 6pm for The Rocks which would also give you more time on the cruise)
- Spend the afternoon in Darling Harbour and visit the Sydney Aquarium. For dinner you can either stay in the harbor, or for less of a tourist trap venture to Regents Place for some great Ramen!
Remember that your ticket for the Hop On-Hop Off Cruise is Valid for 24 hours so this will be your way of getting around and jumping off at main sites. Sites we recommend include Manly, Watsons Bay, Fort Denison, and Shark Island.
You’ll be going on one of Sydney’s best tours, checking out some exciting art and getting a great view of Sydney.
- Start your morning at the White Rabbit Collection (closed Mondays and Tuesdays, there are several alternatives or you can simply switch day 3 with another day) – 21st century Chinese Art, it’s different and definitely worthwhile, an hour is enough
- Head to the Chinese Garden of Friendship and again spend an hour there, make sure to find you zodiac that’s hidden away!
- Now you have a choice to make, either go the the Tower Eye, the highest observation deck in the southern hemisphere, or climb over the harbour bridge. Both offer great views
- Make sure to get to the Sydney Town Hall by 2:20pm in time for the 2:30 Sydney Sights Free Walking Tour (tip at the end is expected)
- If you have some time before the tour, go have a quick look at the Hyde Park Barracks, it may be bit of a squeeze though! You could always do this instead of the White Rabbit if art really isn’t your thing (but we do highly recommend the White Rabbit).
You have the evening of, and hopefully you have adjusted to the Sydney time, so why not check out an evening show or go to the theater? or perhaps a cocktail at a nice bar?
Note: Day 3 is easily exchanged with other days.
The best nature Sydney has to offer awaits you.
- You need to start this day early. It’s time to get out of the City and catch a train from Central to Katoomba. From there jump on the Blue Mountains Explorer bus and take in all the main sights that the Blue Mountains have to offer, including the Three Sisters
- Next up are the Jenolan Caves. There’s a bus service from Katoomba called the Blue Mountains Bus Company which will take you there. Make sure to book your tour for the Jenolan Caves in advance to avoid disappointment.
There are also tours available from Sydney that will take you directly to the Blue Mountains and the Jenolan Caves. The extra convenience does come at a higher cost though. Or, rent a car and you will have complete freedom and less stress for time!
As this is your last day you have a few options. We are going to go with a beach day, but we will recommend other things you could also do.
- The best way to explore Sydney’s Beaches is by heading to Bondi Beach and trekking the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. On the way stop at either Tamarama or Bronte beach (or both) for a picnic and a swim.
You can either spend the whole day at the beach, or a few hours and head back into the city from Coogee after lunch. A few other things we would recommend on your last day either as an add-on or in place of the beach are:
- Whale Watching (May – November)
- Barrenjoey Lighthouse – tie it in with a visit to either Bilgola Beach, Avalon Beach, Whale Beach, and Palm Beach. Ideally you would have a rental car.
- If it’s a really hot day and you have had enough of Sydney then Wet ‘n’ Wild is an option for some fun
- Check out some of the markets, Glebe is great if you need a souvenir (only open Saturdays though)
- A day trip to the Hunter Valley including a wine tour
- One of Sydney’s great art galleries including Artspace, S. H. Ervin Gallery, and the Brett Whiteley Studio is a good option after the beach
We highly recommend adding in more markets, for example, on Fridays, Chinatown Night Market is open and a great way to experience authentic Asian food. We haven’t added the markets in simply because they are usually only open one or two days a week, so it is dependent on which five days you spend in Sydney.
Save Money on this Trip
For 2 adults all these attractions would cost a bit over $AUD750, however, with the iVenture Pass 2 Adults could save more than $AUD100 as well as fit in more attractions for free and add flexibility!
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