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The world-class City of Sydney, Australia attracts visitors from around the globe – and our 3 Days in Sydney Itinerary showcases the absolute best things to do in the Emerald City Down Under!
The iconic landmarks, exceptional nature, incredible attractions and an innovative culinary scene are what make Sydney a must-see Australian destination. However, with so many choices, creating a succinct itinerary for Sydney can be overwhelming.
No worries! After spending ample time in the city, we created a 3 Day Sydney Itinerary that features our the best things to do in Sydney and New South Wales. Although we could easily fill a week (or even a month) with sightseeing adventures, 3 days in Sydney is enough time to get a fantastic introduction to the world famous Australian destination!
Creating The Best Sydney Itinerary
Our itinerary of what to do in Sydney for 3 days includes a walking tour, coastal treks, pristine Sydney beaches, top Sydney sights, a day trip to the mountains and a taste of local Australian craft beer.
However, before we dive into our day-by-day itinerary in Sydney, Australia, we want to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about planning a trip to the Great Southern Land.
Where is Sydney, Australia?
Before you start planning the best Sydney things to do, you need to know where it is! Sydney is located in southeastern Australia on the coast of the Tasman Sea, with the city center nestled in the protective Sydney Harbor.
We share top travel tips on how to get to Sydney later in the article.
When is the Best Time to Visit Sydney?
Boasting more than 340 days of sunshine a year, tourists can enjoy Sydney year-round. Many of the top things to do in Sydney, Australia are outdoors.
That said, summers can be incredibly hot – which is great for swimming in the sea, but not ideal for afternoon coastal treks. Meanwhile, winters are mild with high temperatures typically in the low 60s Fahrenheit.
Many travelers plan to visit Sydney during Christmas and New Year – as Sydney is one of the most iconic places in the world to Celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Determining the best time to plan a trip to Sydney depends on your desired activities you want to include in your 3 Day Itinerary Sydney.
Keep in mind that Australia is in the southern hemisphere – so the summer months are December, January and February and wintertime is June, July and August.
Who Can Use this Ultimate Sydney Itinerary?
Our Sydney 3-Day Itinerary appeals to a wide range of travelers – because we include an array of attractions and activities. We also offer alternate suggestions for what to see in Sydney throughout the outlined Sydney trip plan.
Therefore, any traveler visiting Sydney in three days – whether traveling as a couple, family, with friends or solo – can use our outline of things to do and see in Sydney.
Furthermore, whether you are an Australia native planning a long weekend in Sydney Itinerary or a traveling from abroad completing a vacation around Australia, you can use our Sydney trip itinerary to plan your visit.
Is 3 Days in Sydney Enough?
Deciding how long to spend in Sydney is not an easy task. We have breezed through the city on quick trips while on our way to other Australian destinations and we have based ourselves in Sydney for an entire month.
That said, we think visiting Sydney for 3 days is just enough time to see the highlights and enjoy the best attractions.
We understand, however, that some travelers may have more – or less – time in the city. To help travelers with different timeframes build their best Sydney Itinerary, we offers suggested itineraries in the How Many Days Sydney section at the end of the post.
Our alternate Sydney Itineraries cover what to see with only one day in Sydney and how to spend a week in Sydney, too.
How To Organize a 3 Days Sydney Itinerary?
Planning a trip to Sydney, Australia is a big task! Our detailed day-by-day trip plan for Sydney can help, but you still need to keep track of all the personal specifics of your vacation.
As you begin to make your plans and reservations, staying organized is key! We recommend using a Travel Planner – like our Travel Planning Printables – to get your vacation to Australia organized.
Tips for Planning an Australia Itinerary
While Sydney is a fantastic starting point for visiting Australia, there are many more destinations worth seeing.
Visitors traveling to Sydney as part of a longer Australia trip can use our Australia Travel Guides page for top tips and walking tours for other major cities in Australia. Some of our popular Australia Travel Articles include:
- The Best Things To Do in Melbourne (and a Self Guided Melbourne Walking Tour, too!)
- Spending a Day on the Great Ocean Road
- Fun Things To Do in Coolangatta (and One Day in Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast)
- The Best Cheap and Free Cairns Attractions (and the Great Barrier Reef on a Budget)
- The Best of Brisbane Sights
- A Fabulous Perth Walking Tour
BEST SYDNEY ITINERARY 3 DAYS
Below we outline the best way to spend three days in Sydney, Australia. At the end of the post we include additional information, like where to stay and what to pack. Use our top tips and suggestions to plan your perfect trip to Sydney!
Day 1: Sydney Walking Tour and Sydney Harbour Cruises
Spend your first day in Sydney, Australia seeing the iconic landmarks on a city walk, then set off on a Sydney Harbour cruise to see the sights from a different vantage point.
Sydney City Tour
Waste no time in getting acquainted with the city! As soon as you get settled in your Sydney accommodations, set off on foot to explore.
For a short 3 Days in Sydney Itinerary, we think it is best to have a good sightseeing plan, so that you don’t miss a thing. The most famous Sydney sights, museums and historic buildings are located in the Central Business District (CBD).
Self Guided Sydney Sightseeing
Visitors who enjoy touring cities on their own can use our comprehensive Self-Guided Sydney Walking Tour, which includes step-by-step directions and a Sydney attractions map.
The self guided walk features the best things to see in Sydney, Australia – from the Opera House to the Royal Botanic Gardens to the famous Queen Victoria Building and beautiful Hyde Park.
Sydney Tour with a Guide
For a personal introduction, join one of the guided Sydney Walking Tours. Tours range from sightseeing by bicycle to attraction specific tours. You can find the best Sydney Tours on Viator and Get Your Guide, but we are highlighting a few of the most popular options.
Sydney Opera House Tour
Join a guide for a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at one of the most iconic sights in the world: The Sydney Opera House. Tour participants learn about the history and architecture of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – plus get to see areas that are normally off limits to the public. Get the details!
The Rocks Guided Walking Tour
The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney – and cobblestone lanes and historic buildings are still found in the district. It’s a must-see district for your 3 Day Itinerary Sydney (and we include it on our above mentioned Self Guided Walk).
On a guided tour of The Rocks, visitors learn about Sydney’s convict past, hear tales about the city’s first residents and feel the charm of the historic district. Find out more!
Sydney Bike Tour
Make the most of your time in Sydney and let a guide lead the way as you explore on two wheels. On a guided bike tour of Sydney, visitors get to see the best city sights – from the Sydney Harbor to the Royal Botanic Garden to Darling Harbor – in a short amount of time. Find out what you will see!
Top Tip: Has your long haul flight left you a bit too jet-lagged for a walking tour of Sydney? Consider buying tickets for a Sydney bus tour, like the Big Bus Hop-On-Hop-Off, for a more leisurely look around town.
Sydney Harbour Cruises
Continue your sightseeing Sydney one-day tour with a boat ride around the famous Sydney Harbor – it’s a Sydney must do! The view of the Sydney Opera House from the water is even more spectacular than on land.
Cruise options from Sydney range from sunset cruises to island adventures to a Sydney NYE party yacht. Some cruises offer combo ticket discounts, so check out the top-rated Sydney tours on Viator to find the one that best suits your interest.
Dinner and Drinks in Sydney CBD
End your first day in Sydney in The Rocks, where food and beverage choices are plentiful.
For a casual dining experience with a view, we recommend Squire’s Landing, a fun brewpub ideally located on Circular Quay West. Sip one of their small batch brews while gazing at the Sydney Opera House.
Top Tip: You can find more tips on The Rocks bars at the end of our Sydney Walking Tour.
Day 2: Sydney Coastal Walk, Beaches and Craft Beer
On Day 2 of your Sydney, Australia itinerary explore the rugged coastline, stroll on one of the top Sydney beaches and enjoy the best craft beer in the city!
Sydney Coastal Walk
Start your second day in Sydney by stretching your legs on one of the nearby epic coastal walks. The shore around Sydney is some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. Characterized by towering cliffs and deep bays, the jagged coast offers phenomenal viewpoints.
There are three popular coastal treks that you can include in your Sydney Itinerary – Bondi to Coogee Walk, the Spit to Manly Walk or the South Head Heritage Trail. All three are easily accessible via boat, public transportation, Uber or taxi.
However, with only 3 days in Sydney and so much to see, we recommend choosing just one coastal walk to add to your Sydney travel itinerary.
Bondi to Coogee Walk
A fairly easy walk with stunning views of the sea, the Bondi to Coogee trail is popular with both locals and tourists. We detail everything yo need to know about the trek – including trail length, time needed and walk highlights in our Guide to Walking the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Path.
Top Tip: If you can fit the roundtrip trek into your 3 Days for Sydney Itinerary, that’s great! However, if you only plan on walking one way, we recommend starting in Coogee and walking to Bondi Beach, where you can spend time after your walk.
Spit To Manly Trek
More rugged and less trafficked than the Bondi Walk, the Spit to Manly Trail is an outstanding way to experience the Sydney coastline. We detail everything you need to know about the trail in our Sydney Travel Blog Post: Guide to Walking Spit to Manly.
Top Tip: This trek is best done one-way…and we recommend hiking in the direction from Spit to Manly Beach so that you can enjoy Manly Beach at the completion of your walk.
South Head Heritage Walk
A much shorter trek than the two previously mentioned walks, the South Head Heritage Trail is less than two miles – but features great views and attractions along the route. Visitors start in Watson’s Bay and make the short walk up Cliff Street to Camp Cove Beach – and then journey along the coast past a pretty beach to a the Hornby Lighthouse. More info here.
Best Sydney Beaches
Is there any better way to end a trek than at the beach? We don’t think so! It’s especially true in Sydney, where idling away an afternoon on a beach is one of the top things to do in the city.
Bondi Beach, Manly Beach and Camp Cove Beach rank as a few of the most famous beaches in Sydney. Top beach activities are swimming, surfing, sunbathing and strolling.
In addition to the sandy beaches, the beach towns of Manly and Bondi Beach feature numerous eateries, bars and shops – and there are good seafood restaurants in Watson’s Bay, as well.
Craft Beer in Sydney
On the second evening of your Sydney Itinerary, discover the burgeoning craft beer scene in Sydney’s Inner West suburb of Marrickville. The neighborhood is home to more than 10 craft breweries – all of which have tasting rooms where patrons can get a taste of the best Sydney craft beer straight from the source.
Pro Tip: Use our guide to follow in our footsteps on a Craft Beer Sydney Pub Crawl.
Day 3: Blue Mountains Day Trip and Darling Harbour Entertainment
On Day 3 of your Sydney tour itinerary, take a day trip to a national park for some hiking, then return to the city for an evening of fun at the Darling Harbour entertainment district.
Blue Mountains: A Sydney Day Trip
On your last day in Sydney, get an early start and embark on one of the top Sydney, Australia day trips. Just two hours away by train, Blue Mountains National Park features a network of hiking trails, phenomenal scenic viewpoints and tumbling waterfalls.
Top attractions at Blue Mountains NP include the Three Sisters rock formation and Scenic World (where there is an aerial cable car and inclined railway). Use our complete guide for tips and advice on how to plan a day trip to Blue Mountains.
Top Tip: Sydney excursions to the Blue Mountains can easily be done without a guide. However, there are several Sydney guided tours that explore the national park along with other sights along the way. Find out more about booking a Blue Mountains Tour.
Spend your last night in Sydney on Darling Harbour, an entertainment district with something for everyone. At the heart of Darling Harbour is Pyrmont Bay, which is lined with waterfront eateries and bars.
Dine with a view as the sun goes down and the lights go up on Sydney nightlife. Indulge in a little fun at Strike Bowling, sip cocktails at Bungalow 8 or Untied or try your luck at Star Casino. If it’s a Saturday, don’t miss the Darling Harbour Fireworks at 9:00pm!
More Darling Harbor Attractions
Travelers who want to stay in Sydney rather than traveling to the Blue Mountains will find heaps of entertainment in Darling Harbour. In fact, there are plenty of Sydney attractions at Darling Harbour that can fill an entire day of your Sydney Trip Itinerary!
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Without a doubt, the aquarium in Sydney is the best place to see an array of fabulous sea life. It’s a fun activity for visitors of all ages – and especially so for travelers planning a Sydney Itinerary with kids.
Peer at colorful fish at the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, walk through the Shark Valley underwater tunnel, get an up close look at penguins and hold sea stars at the Discovery Rockpool. Buy Tickets
Australian National Maritime Museum
Visitors of the Australia National Maritime Museum can explore ships – from sailing vessels to a destroyer to a submarine. Additionally, the museum features displays and artifacts that detail the history of Sydney’s maritime past. Buy Tickets
Mingle with celebrities at the star-studded Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. The museum is particularly fun for photo ops – especially on rainy days in Sydney. Buy Tickets
More Attractions for your Sydney 3 Days Itinerary
We have highlighted our top picks for the best attractions for your 3 days in Sydney, Australia – but there are a few more exceptional sights that fellow travelers might want to add to their Sydney To Do list.
Taronga Zoo Sydney
A phenomenal zoo housing more than 5,000 animals, the Taronga Zoo is a big hit with kids and adults, alike. In addition to tigers, elephants and monkeys, the zoo is also home to native Australian animals – like koalas and kangaroos. With a location right on the harbor – and easy ferry access – visitors can easily include the Taronga Zoo in their Sydney Travel Plan. Buy Tickets
Sydney Tower Eye
Ranking as the tallest building in the city, the Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck offers fantastic 360-degree city views. It takes just 40 seconds to get from the entrance to the 820-foot-high viewing deck…but visitors will likely spend about an hour taking in the panoramic view. Buy Tickets
Pro Tip: Upgrade your experience with the open-air Sydney SKYWALK. Walk across a glass floor platform on the open deck for the best Sydney city views. Buy Tickets
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
The spectacular steel Sydney Bridge that spans the Sydney Harbor is a sight to behold. Adventurous travelers can make the climb to the top for unparalleled views. It’s not a Sydney activity for the faint of heart (or for budget travelers, as the experience costs a bundle!).
How Many Days in Sydney, Australia
Deciding how many days to spend in Sydney depends on multiple variables – including time allotted for your overall tip, your Sydney budget (which we share a few tips on later) and your personal interests. While it is possible to see the highlights on a one-day trip in Sydney, we highly recommend spending at least two days in Sydney.
Visitors who want to explore the surrounding New South Wales region on day trips from Sydney can easily spend one week in Sydney – or more!
Use our sample itineraries to help decide how long to stay in Sydney, Australia.
Sydney in a Day
A Sydney one-day trip severely limits how much you can see. However, with 1 day in Sydney, we recommend sightseeing the city’s most iconic sights.
Use our tips for Day 1 in the above Sydney itinerary – and, if time allows, squeeze in a ferry trip to Manly Beach (or perhaps, take a trip to Bondi rather than a Sydney Harbour cruise).
Sydney Itinerary 2 Days
With 2 days in Sydney, you can still get a good introduction to the city! We recommend following Days 1 and 2 from the above outline to create your own Sydney 2-day Itinerary.
Sydney Itinerary 4 Days
With 4 days in Sydney, there is enough time to explore the city on foot, take a day trip and enjoy the top Sydney attractions and museums. We recommend following our tips for three days in Sydney, then on your last day, spend the day at Darling Harbour (visiting places like SEA LIFE Aquarium, Madam Tussauds and the Maritime Museum) or heading across the harbor to the zoo.
5 Days in Sydney Itinerary
Wondering what to do in Sydney for 5 days? No worries! With 5 days in Sydney you can easily fill your itinerary!
Use the above 4-Day Sydney Itinerary and on the fifth day, go on another Sydney coastal walk, either Bondi to Coogee, Manly to Spit or South Head – whichever you didn’t do on Day 2.
Sydney Itinerary 6 Days
With 6 days in Sydney, you can see even more of the city and the surroundings. We recommend following our advice for the above 5-Day Sydney Itinerary and adding one more Sydney day trip to your agenda.
We recommend taking one of the popular Sydney wine tours – like the full day Hunter Valley Wine Tour that features wine tastings, regional cheese, delectable chocolate, lunch and a distillery tour.
You can find other top-rated day trips from Sydney on Viator.
1 Week Sydney Itinerary
If you have 1 week in Sydney, you can spend more time getting to know the city and explore further afield. With 7 days in Sydney, we recommend using our above 6-Day Sydney Itinerary and on the additional day, use the time to further explore the sights and museums of the CBD.
Alternatively, you could delve into some of Sydney’s best suburbs (like Newtown, Alexandria and Surry Hills) or return to one of the Sydney beaches for a fun day of sun and sea.
10 Day Sydney Itinerary
Spending 10 days in Sydney is ample time to really get a feel for the city. We recommend following our tips for our above outlined One-Week Sydney Itinerary, with a couple changes and a few additions.
Instead of taking a day trip to the Blue Mountains, join an overnight 2-day trip from Sydney (search for the best-reviewed 2-day tours from Sydney to Blue Mountains on Viator).
Then, on Day 9, explore the unique Sydney suburbs and on Day 10 relax at the beach!
Travel Tips for Sydney, Australia
Now that you know what to do in Sydney, Australia for 3 days – or longer – we have a few last travel tips for planning your Sydney Itinerary…and then you’re off to Australia!
Sydney Tourist Pass
A Sydney Multi Attraction Pass can save visitors both money and time. Rather than buying individual Sydney attraction tickets, you can pay one fee for a Sydney sightseeing pass that allows entry into multiple sights.
Check out The Ultimate Sydney Attraction Pass, where you pay a flat fee for a specific number of sights. Some of the top attractions included with the Sydney Pass are: Sydney Opera House Tour, Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE Aquarium and the Sydney Tower Eye.
Day Trips from Sydney, Australia
While Sydney is a thriving, entertaining and fascinating city, Sydney day trips allow visitors to explore more of the surrounding NSW region.
In our Sydney 3 Day Itinerary – and in our recommendations for longer Sydney trips – we shared a few of the most popular day tours, including the Blue Mountains and Wine Tours.
That said, there are many day trips – and travelers can begin their search for the top-rated Sydney day tours now!
Sydney Budget Itinerary
Sydney, Australia is a city that can be enjoyed by visitors with a range of budgets. There are many cheap things to do in Sydney…but some attractions come with a high price tag.
Several of the activities on our 3 Days in Sydney, Australia Itinerary are free and cheap Sydney attractions – but we feature some ticketed sights, as well.
In order for budget travelers to use our outlined 3-Day Sydney Itinerary, we recommend eliminating attractions that require tickets and stick to the things to do in Sydney for free.
There are many ways that visitors can keep their Sydney trip costs in check. For example, take a boat ride on the harbor by commuter ferry, rather than a more expensive cruise. Use our Self-Guided Walking Tour for Sydney, rather than paying for a guided tour. Visit the Harbour Bridge Pylon and forego the Bridge Climb.
Instead of embarking on a craft beer pub crawl, seek out happy hour deals in local neighborhood bars. Because, while incredibly tasty, Sydney craft beer is expensive and can quickly wreck your travel budget for Australia!
How to Get to Sydney, Australia
The best way (by far) to reach Sydney is flying into the Sydney International Airport (SYD). Cruise ships also dock in Sydney Harbour, and if you’re already in Australia, Sydney can also be reached by bus or train. However, unless you’re on a road trip through Australia, it’s likely still better to fly to Sydney.
As JetSetting Fools, we prefer to travel via plane and have arrived in Sydney on direct flights from the USA, Bali and New Zealand and departed Sydney on non-stop flights to Bangkok, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
When we need to purchase cheap plane tickets, we start our search for the best flights on SkyScanner. Before you begin your search, however, read our tips for Finding the Best Cheap Flights.
Where To Stay in Sydney, Australia
There is no shortage of accommodations in Sydney, Australia! On our many trips to Sydney, we have stayed in convenient hotels, comfortable Airbnb apartments and have even stayed in houses for free as petsitters.
When it comes to where to stay in Sydney – especially for first time visitors – we think the CBD is the most convenient location.
Best Hotels in Sydney, Australia
Finding the best hotel in Sydney will depend largely on your budget. Sydney hotels range from luxurious to basic – and include everything in between.
To get the best Sydney hotel at the best rate, read our tips for Finding Cheap Hotels – and then start your search on Booking.com – like we do!
Sydney Vacation Rentals
Short-term vacation rentals – like those on Airbnb – can be a good option for many travelers. We like renting apartments while we travel as they are typically equipped with a kitchen where we can prepare simple meals.
However, when visiting Sydney in 3 days, renting a holiday apartment can be a hassle – and sometimes the extra fees end up costing more than a hotel room.
What To Pack for your Sydney, Australia Trip
We have just a few final tips about what to pack for your trip to Sydney, Australia. You can find all of our advice and packing hacks on our Travel Packing Tips page. Need a packing list? Get your FREE Packing Checklist here!
The Right Shoes
Sydney is a walkable city…but only if you have the right travel shoes! For your trip to Australia, don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes and a good pair of flip flops for your days at the beach in Sydney.
On our last trip to Sydney, my favorite travel sneakers were sufficient for city walking as well as coastal treks – and Kris wore his favorite trail shoes by Merrell.
A Real Travel Camera
We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip to Sydney. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual travel camera for higher quality photos.
We always travel with a Canon Rebel with an every 18-135mm lens. It takes amazing photos, is easy to use and is ranked as one of the best budget cameras for travel.
Sydney Map and Guidebook
It’s easy to get turned around in any foreign city…even Sydney! Make sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook before arriving in Australia.
Durable Day Pack
Whether you prefer to travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you’ll also want to have a great day bag to organize and secure all your favorite everyday travel items! We use small backpacks that have zippered compartments to ensure our personal items are safely tucked away.
Australia Travel Insurance
Travel insurance may come in handy when things go awry (illness or injury, cancelled flights, lost luggage, etc.). If you haven’t already insured your trip, consider traveling protected on your vacation to Australia with World Nomads.
Start planning your trip to Australia! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing! Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!
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