A 5-Day Itinerary With the Best Spots in Sydney and New South Wales

Australia is a vast country with plenty for you to do and explore. Here’s a list we’ve curated to showcase the best places to go in Sydney and New South Wales. From iconic landmarks, sandy white beaches, there is something for everyone in Australia.

DAY 1-2: START WITH WORLD FAMOUS ICONIC AUSSIE LANDMARKS

The list of best places to go in Sydney and New South Wales is extensive, so it’s best to use the city as your base for travelling around the state. Hence the natural start for your itinerary would be in Sydney, with these iconic Insta-worthy attractions.

Sydney opera house
A picture of Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge says you have arrived Down Under. | Credit: Destination NSW

The two quintessential Sydney landmarks are the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. While here, enjoy a luxurious 3-hour food tour around the Sydney Opera House that reveals the diverse flavours and culture of this city. Then, burn off those calories by climbing the picturesque Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney harbour climb
The Sydney Harbour Bridge climb lasts from 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours and is open from Thursday to Monday. | Credit: Bridgeclimb Sydney

The best way to scale the summit of the Harbour Bridge is with an indigenous Australian storyteller. This is the ultimate Aussie experience as you are treated to unrivalled views of Aboriginal landmarks, accompanied by in-depth Australian First Nations stories.

royal botanic gardens
Peak flowering times at the Royal Botanic Gardens run from late August to early October and from December to March. | Credit: Unsplash

In the evening, wind down with some quiet ‘me time’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. This is the best spot for sunset pictures as you can pose with a backdrop of the Sydney Harbour—one of the most photogenic harbours in the world.  Insider tip: Get up to Mrs. Macquarie Chair to take the perfect photo of both Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

mrs.macquarie seat
The two icons of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge mark this unmistakable destination. | Credit: Destination NSW

Once you have the perfect shot, head to Calyx for a sublime experience. The beauty of the Calyx, a living art gallery, cannot be captured in words and pictures.

calyx art wall
Calyx’s living wall art gallery is a sight to behold. | Credit: Destination NSW
calyx art centre
Calyx is a hub of activity with shops, a cafe, events and festivals. | Credit: The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

  

DAY 2-3: GET YOUR RETAIL THERAPY-FIX

New South Wales is a mecca for shoppers and rich in culture. These shopping destinations are among the best places to go in Sydney, and you can’t help but marvel at their significant history and architecture at the same time.

Pitt Street Mall is New South Wales’ premier shopping destination. This is where you can admire The Strand Arcade, one of Sydney’s finest examples of Victorian architecture. Queen Victoria Building offers a diverse shopping experience complete with historical clocks and statues (with one of Queen Victoria and her dog Islay, no less).

stand arcade
The Strand Arcade has kept its original cedar staircases since 1892 and its best-kept secret is its traditional shoeshine under the stairway near George Street. | Credit: Wikimedia

Explore discounts galore at Birkenhead Point Outlet where premium international and Aussie brands are on sale every day. If you’re one with an unusual sense of originality and style, don’t miss the beautifully handcrafted items and unique homewares sold at  The Rocks Markets, where talented local makers, chefs, and artisans converge.

birkenhead point
Birkenhead Point Outlet is one of the best spots for the factory outlet shopping experience. | Credit: Destination NSW
rocks market
Discover handmade beauty products, art, homewares, gifts and more from local makers at The Rocks Markets. | Credit: Destination NSW

Shopaholics will be sated at Paddy’s Markets and Carriageworks Farmers Market. Paddy’s two large markets in Haymarket and Flemington have everything from affordable souvenirs to fresh produce, while Carriageworks is an award-winning farmers’ market.

carriage market
Carriageworks Farmers Market stocks fresh seasonal produce from the best growers and producers from around New South Wales. | Credit: Destination NSW
honey market carriageworks
Find organic and biodynamic produce, artisan breads, boutique wines, single origin coffee, herbal teas, freshly harvested honey and more at Carriageworks Farmers Market. | Credit: Destination NSW

DAY 3-4: TAKE A HELi RIDE AND TRY LOCAL FARE

Looking for something different? Take a scenic helicopter ride for panoramic views of Sydney, the fascinating Blue Mountains and expansive Hunter Valley. You can consider tours by Sydney HeliTours or Sydney Seaplanes—the latter lets you end the experience by sipping champagne over the glistening waters at Empire Lounge, Rose Bay.

Sydney heli tours
Most heli-tours take off from Sydney Airport and some operators provide a shuttle service to and from selected hotels. | Credit: Sydney HeliTours
Sydney sea plane
View Sydney’s magnificent harbour skyline and coast from an eagle’s perspective. | Credit: Destination NSW

If you love food, you’ll also love the quality seafood and especially the extraordinary ocean-to-plate encounters in Sydney and New South Wales. Must-visit places include Sydney’s Chinatown and the Sydney Fish Market, for gastronomical delights as well as hands-on interactive cooking classes.

Sydney food market
Don’t miss the sushi doughnut at Fish Market Cafe, a community cafe that has been around for over 30 years. | Credit: Fish Market Cafe

Missing some local fare? Mamak Haymarket is an award-winning Malaysian restaurant serving roti, murtabak, kari, satay, rojak and much more while Ho Jiak serves Chinese-Malaysian cuisine.

DAY 4-5: RELAX, RECHARGE AND GLAMP IN A ZOO

To enjoy Australia like the Aussies, head to the beach! Bondi Beach is known as Australia’s most famous beach, and for good reason. You can kick back and watch surfing pros in action, or get in on the action yourself. Just grab a board from a surf shop opposite the beach.

Sydney coogee walk
Bondi to Coogee Walk, a popular coastal walk, is peppered with cafes where you can stop for a bite. | Credit: Destination NSW
Bondi surfing
The surf at Bondi Beach can be enjoyed by beginners and seasoned surfers alike. | Credit: Tourism Australia

Once you’re done with seaside frolicking, head to A Tavola Bondi for some fresh handmade pasta or Icebergs Dining Room and Bar for a gourmet fare with jaw-dropping views of Bondi Beach’s crashing surf.

iceberg bondi
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is known to offer an all-round experience with great views, food and service. | Credit: Destination NSW

Other highly rated beaches in Sydney and New South Wales include Manly Beach, Freshwater Beach, and Bronte Beach. Manly Beach is a long stretch of luxurious golden sand, and a short walk away is Freshwater Beach, a stunning family-friendly beach. Here you can also enjoy a contemporary Italian meal at Pilu at Freshwater, served up with impeccable service.

manly beach
Manly Beach offers a unique combination of wide ocean beaches and serene sandy harbour coves and inlets. | Credit: Destination NSW

Go where the locals go and take the Manly Fast Ferry from Sydney. Savour breathtaking views of the sea, the gorgeous Sydney skyline, or catch a glimpse of whales passing through during their migration season (June to November) if you’re lucky.

There are also plenty of cafes to be found along Bronte Road, near Bronte Beach, ideal for an experience of the classic combo of brunch and beach.

pile freshwater
Savour a long lunch at Pilu at Freshwater, which should be at the top of your places-to-eat list. | Credit: Pilu at Freshwater facebook

After all that adventure, stay the night at Taronga Zoo Sydney—yes, it’s unlikely and unusual, yet unrivalled when it comes to accommodation options. Sleepover at Taronga Zoo’s Roar and Snore, where you can get up close with wild animals against spectacular sunset and sunrise views of Sydney Harbour.

taronga zoo
Taronga Zoo is easily accessible via a direct bus from the city, or by ferry from Circular Quay. | Credit: Destination NSW

 

MAKE SHORT TRIPS OUT OF SYDNEY

3 Days of Bliss in Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains has proven itself to be a firm family-favourite holiday destination. You can get a Blue Mountains Explorer Bus Discovery Pass to explore Jamison Valley and take pictures of the Three Sisters, the most spectacular landmark of this World Heritage Site.

blue mountain nsw
The Three Sisters are the Blue Mountain’s best known landmark. | Credit: Destination NSW

There are so many ways to get busy in the Blue Mountains. We recommend Glow Worm Cave Tours, Stargazing Tours or canyoning, abseiling and rock climbing.

Visit the Everglades Garden in Leura during spring time (from September to November) and find the garden in full bloom. For a quaint experience, Bygone Beautys is a perfect place to enjoy tea and scone after visiting the teapot museum.

caving blue mountain
Caving is one of the most thrilling Blue Mountains attractions. | Credit: Destination NSW

3 Days of Epicure Adventure in Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley, the oldest wine-growing region in New South Wales, is another bucket-list destination. Here, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to quality dining and world-class wine.

hunter valley cuisine
Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s best regions for culinary experiences. | Credit: Destination NSW

Muse Kitchen and Margan Wines & Restaurant are incredible dining spots located at award-winning wineries. Besides eating and drinking, go walking with a fluffy llama or look for kangaroos and wombats on a Segway.

hunter valley alpaca
An unexpected sight in Hunter Valley, the fluffy llamas are available for you to walk. | Credit: Destination NSW

3 Days of Natural Wonders in Port Stephens

Another unmissable destination is Port Stephens, with its famous dolphin cruises and sand dunes. There are rugged quad bike tours, sunset and sunrise camel rides on the beach, and the invigorating Tomaree Head Summit walk. Remember to take binoculars as you may be lucky enough to spot the dolphins that call Port Stephens home. 

Join one of the daily fish farm tours before you tuck into succulent seafood at Cookabarra Restaurant, a world-leading Barramundi farm.

port stephen dolphin
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins live permanently in the waters of Port Stephens. | Credit: Destination NSW

We hope that this 5-day itinerary has helped you plan your travel to Sydney better. If you’re looking for a fuss-free way to travel that includes these locations and more, explore our Sydney travel packages here:

5D4N Sydney & Surrounds – Private Guided Tours
4D3N Sydney CitiPac

Travel restrictions and regulations apply and are subject to change. Find out about the latest travel updates here.

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