The first 72 hours in Sydney
What to do (and where to eat!) in Australia’s dazzling harbour city
The stunning city of Sydney is the perfect destination for a city break. Great weather, beautiful beaches and cutting-edge cuisine are just a few of the graces which the sun-kissed capital of New South Wales is blessed with. The city’s eclectic mixture of great museums, fun-filled zoos, trendy boutiques, hip bars and chic eateries make it the perfect destination for families, friends and couples alike. What’s more, we have an incredible collection of homes scattered across this dazzling seafront city. So whether you’re looking for a contemporary apartment in the centre of town or a beachfront bungalow complete with infinity pool, you’ll find the perfect spot for you in Sydney.
While 72 hours simply won’t be enough to ‘do it all’, our guide gives you a carefully-curated and well-rounded first taste of this magical metropolis and ensures your trip is off to a memorable start.
Kick your trip off with a Sydney classic: a trip to the world-famous Bondi Beach. This sweeping white-sand crescent is one of Australia’s most iconic beaches and is well worth a visit, despite the crowds. Settle down in a trendy cafe and watch the surfers take on waves while the beau monde of Bondi saunter pass. Feel adventurous? Ask us about booking a private surf lesson for beginners or advanced wave riders alike.
Once you’re done people watching, pay a visit to the Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club. Facing out to the ocean, with waves crashing against its outer wall - this breathtaking saltwater pool looks too beautiful to be true.
After a swim and sunbathe, you can grab lunch at the pool’s own bistro, or if that’s busy then head back along the beach to North Bondi Fish. Here you’ll find delicious seafood dishes and great beachfront views - bliss.
If you’re feeling energetic, you could always opt to walk lunch off with a wander along the Bondi to Coogee Walk. One of the city’s most lovely walks, this stunning 5 km urban coastal route takes you past beautiful beaches and dramatic clifftops, as well as plenty of great cafes for a spot of refreshment along the way.
From here, head to the other side of the peninsula and enjoy an afternoon in Darling Harbour. With an array of boutique shops, bars and eateries and entertainment options, you’ll find plenty to do along the bustling harbourfront.
If there are kids or history aficionados in the group, then a trip to either the Powerhouse Museum or Australia National Maritime Museum is a must. While seafood fans won’t want to miss the chance to shuck oysters and Sydney Fish Market. When you’re done exploring by foot, take to the water and cruise along the harbour, admiring the stunning shoreline views. We are happy to arrange your boat tickets in advance to avoid the queue, or opt for a private yacht rental instead.
Come evening, watch the sun go down in style from a rooftop bar. The terrace at Smoke Bar at Barangaroo House is a great option if the weather is good. Afterwards, enjoy some of Australia’s finest fare and excellent views of the Opera House at Aria Restaurant, before heading for an after-dinner drink at The Baxter Inn. You’ll find this elusive bar located in the basement of an old loading dock, accessible through a tatty unmarked door; however, your foray down a side street will be richly rewarded. Filled to the rafters with a world-class selection of whiskies, reached by scrolling library ladders, and with an army of expert mixologists behind the bar, you’re guaranteed a night to remember at Baxter’s.
You’ve done quite a bit of walking already, so today, why not sit back and relax. We’ll arrange a private chauffeur for the day. Time to soak in a spot of culture and head to the Art Gallery of New South Wales for a relaxing morning discovering Aboriginal, 19th century Australian and contemporary art. If you’d prefer something a little more niche, the White Rabbit Gallery showcases one of the world’s most significant collections of contemporary Chinese art and is well worth a visit.
When you’ve had your fill of fine art, it’s time to refuel. Committed carnivores will simply love a trip to Rockpool Bar & Grill, headed up by celebrated chef Neil Parry. Located in an art deco skyscraper, the setting here is every bit as impressive as the menu - the signature Cape Grim rib-eye being widely regarded as one of best in the country.
You’ve spent your morning inside, so now it’s time to get out and about and enjoy the incredible sunny climate Sydney is known for. And what better way to do this, than by wandering around The Royal Botanic Garden - a tropical oasis in the heart of the city. Keen horticulturists will appreciate the incredible variety of exotic and native plants here, while the kids will love the chance to forage for Aboriginal bush foods.
If you have some shopping to do, then head to Strand Arcade - a beautiful Victorian-style retail arcade dating back to 1891. Three stories high, the cedarwood galleries here feature endless unique boutiques dedicated to Australian designers, local craftsmanship and speciality products.
After a busy day out and about, it’s time to relax in style. And what better way to do that, than by catching an evening show at Sydney Opera House? Our team can share a list of what’s on and help you book your front row seats. Enjoy modern Australian dining in a spectacular, cathedral-like interior at Bennelong Restaurant, before watching a performance in one of the world’s most iconic venues.
Operating since 1855, a trip on the Manly ferry is a Sydney classic. Set off from Circular Quay and enjoy excellent views of the city and coastline during the 30-minute trip. Once you arrive in Manly, take some time to enjoy the beach before grabbing a spot of lunch (we recommend The Herring Room, just off the beach).
If you have kids in the group, then this is a great opportunity to take them to Taronga Zoo - located on the shores of Sydney Harbour. Boasting an incredible array of exotic marine and land animals, the zoo is a not-for-profit committed to conserving Australia’s native species. For those craving more beach time, then a session of snorkelling and sunbathing at Shelly Beach, which can be accessed off Manly Beach, is a must. Here you’ll find tropical fish aplenty in the clear calm waters which characterise this slice of paradise. If you’ve still got plenty of energy left, then taking an afternoon stroll along the Manly to Spit Coastal Walk (9 km) will reward you with incredible views of the local bays, inlets and beaches.
If you are travelling with children, let us arrange a nanny so that you can enjoy a late night on the town. Come evening, cross over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge (if you time it with the sunset then you could be in for some spectacular views) and head for a drink at Maybe Sammy. This world-class cocktail bar is located in The Rocks, a vibrant neighbourhood characterised by quaint cobblestoned streets, old colonial archtiecture and plenty of bustling bars and eateries. By now you’re sure to have worked up a healthy appetite, so it’s time to head to Saint Peter in Paddington for an unbeatable dinner. Serving only sustainably sourced seafood, Saint Peter is hailed as one of the best restaurants in the world and is an absolute must for any seafood lovers. Arrive hungry and with an open mind and prepare to be swept away on a taste-filled adventure, featuring a diverse lineup of Australian seafood cooked in myriad creative ways. Those looking to end their special sojourn in Sydney with a bang, can take to the skies and see the city by night with their own private heli tour. Watch as the sparkling lights of Sydney unfold beneath you - an unforgettable end toan incredible trip.