How to Spend a Day in Sydney

Do you have a layover or only one day to spend in Sydney? If you have 24 hours in Sydney or less, I have put together the perfect one day in Sydney itinerary to make the most of your short visit. There are enough things to see and do for a long day in Sydney, so feel free to skip a few things if you enjoy exploring at a more relaxed pace.

Best Things to Do in Sydney in One Day

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1) Bondi Beach

pools bondi beach

Bondi Beach is probably the most famous beach in Australia. There are many shops, cafes and restaurants in the area so this is great spot to have a drink or a bite while enjoying a view of the water. If you fancy a swim but the waves are too big, there are pools at the edge of the beach that overlook the ocean. Even if it is too cold to swim, Bondi is a great spot for watching surfers or just people watching in general.

2) Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

bondi beach one day in sydney

Get your camera ready for beautiful photos. The coastal walk between Bondi and Coogee beach is one of the most beautiful and scenic walks in Sydney. This walk is popular with both locals and tourists and offers amazing views, beaches, parks, cliffs and rock pools. The difficulty level is easy to moderate but there are some hills and steps along the way. The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is 6 km long and takes approximately 2 hours depending on how often and long you stop – there are beaches as well as places to sit and eat along the way.

You can start the walk either at Coogee or Bondi. Some people find it easier to start the walk at Coogee rather than Bondi because it is more of a downhill walk compared to the opposite direction.

3) Sydney Opera House / Harbour Bridge / Circular Quay

sydney for a day

The Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are two of the most iconic attractions in Sydney and top Australian landmarks and are not to be missed. While you can admire Sydney Opera House from outside, there are also tours available if you want to see the inside.

Circular Quay is located between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and has fantastic views of both attractions. This is a great spot for boat and people watching and there are also plenty of restaurants if you want to grab a bite to eat. Circular Quay is a major transportation hub with access to trains, buses and ferries so it is always crowded with locals and tourists. If you have time, you can hop on a short ferry (approximately 30 minutes) to Manly for views of the Sydney Harbor, Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge from the water.

24 hours in sydney

4) Free Walking Tour of Downtown Sydney

Free walking tours are a great way to see a large number of attractions in a short amount of time. I’m Free Walking Tours offers free walking tours of downtown Sydney daily which starts at Town Hall Square and ends near Circular Quay.

Their Sydney sights walking tour covers Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, and other major attractions in the Central Business District (CBD) including Hyde Park Barracks, Queen Victoria Building, St Mary’s Cathedral, The Rock’s District, Hyde Park, and more.

Below are some other guided tour options other than walking tours:

5) The Rocks

From Circular Quay, it is a short walk to the city’s most historic neighborhood, The Rocks. There are many cafes, restaurants and bars here so this is a good neighborhood for dinner and drinks. One good spot is The Glenmore Hotel which has excellent harbour views.

These are my top choices for the top things to do in Sydney if you only have one day. If you have more time in Sydney, here is a 2 day Sydney itinerary and if you are looking for more activities, you can research and find discounts on the best things to see in Sydney with Groupon.

Have you visited Sydney? If so what would you recommend first time visitors see and do if they only have a day?


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