Experience Sydney in One Day
VroomVroomVroom has compiled a quick guide aimed to provide both first-time visitors and those from overseas the best one day experience possible when in Sydney. Make sure to follow this itinerary to help you explore the city with a rental car so you won't miss some of the popular attractions, including the Bondi Beach, Tower Eye, Harbour Bridge and Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney Opera House, Manly Beach, even if you only have a day.
Early in the Morning — Bondi Beach
Start your day right by heading to Bondi Beach, recognised as one of Australia's famous surfing destinations. Driving early to Bondi is a good idea because it gets busier as the day wears on. Enjoy your morning coffee at Sensory Lab Cafe, popular for their 'coffee nirvana' and then choose your next destination.
With a rental car, you aren't limited to Bondi Beach. Explore more of Sydney's beautiful south coast. Nearby Tamarama is also a popular beach among locals, and from the nearby cliffs you'll find great views of the ocean. Continue driving down the coast, stopping by the picturesque Coogee Beach, until you reach one of Sydney's most photogenic locations - La Perouse.
10 AM — Sydney Tower Eye
Just 25 minutes drive from Bondi Beach via New South Head Road, make your way to the highest viewing point in the city. Situated right at the corner of Pitt and Market Streets, the Sydney Tower Eye opens from 9 AM to 9 PM. Expose yourself to a 360-degree panorama of the city and get treated to wonderful views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. On a good day, the amazing spectacle even extends all the way out to the Blue Mountains.
Book tickets online to save time. If you're driving in a rental car, the Sydney Tower Eye provides special discounted parking rates at any of the Wilson's Parking locations. These include the Citipark Car Park, Darling Park Car Park, Darling Quarter, 383 Kent Street Car Park and 321 Kent Street. Click here to gather more information.
11 AM — Art Gallery of NSW
Only a 10 minute drive from the Sydney Tower Eye, a visit to the Art Gallery of New South Wales should not be missed if you are searching for a taste of culture. Cited as one of the best attractions and leading art museums in Australia, the gallery is open every day (except for Good Friday and Christmas Day) from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Consisting of five different levels, visitors will love the Gallery's collection of Aboriginal, Asian, European, Australian, and contemporary art. Every year, the Art Gallery of NSW attracts more than one million visitors. The gallery only a 5-minute walk from Macquarie Street, across the Domain.
Lunch — Circular Quay
Circular Quay is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. Explore and have lunch at Circular Quay, which serves as a stepping stone for top attractions in and around the harbour. Enjoy a delicious meal at the Opera Bar while taking in the breathtaking views of the famous Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Meals here usually range from $20 to $40, no reservations are needed.
Find out why climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is deemed as one of the city's all-time great tourism experiences. If you want to sample the BridgeClimb, prices vary from $248 to $383. Note that this can last from 1.5 up to 3 hours depending on the package you choose.
Continue your city exploration by heading along to the iconic Sydney Opera House. Certainly one of the most photographed landmarks in Australia, the Sydney Opera House is located on Bennelong Point at the north-eastern tip of Circular Quay. There are a few tours available should you wish to dig deeper and learn more about the history of Australia's greatest building. Find time also to watch a special live theatre performance at the Opera.
3 PM — Manly
You can have many options when it comes to renting a car in the Sydney area, and Manly is just another great location to visit and explore. Only a 45-minute drive from Sydney via A8, Manly is deemed as an iconic site among surfing community in Australia and throughout the world. It is surrounded by Manly Vale, North Manly, Fairlight, North Harbour and North Head, and it is opened to the Pacific Ocean. Within Manly CBD, there are four Council run paid parking stations: two car parks are located in Central Avenue, one in Whistler Street and the other is in Wentworth Street.
Manly Beach is one of the beautiful golden beaches that you will find in this region. Spend an hour or less enjoying some water sports. It is easy to park alongside the beach where you'll be walking distance from all the restaurants, boutiques and shops. From here, you can also get to the Fairy Bower and Shelley Beach.
7 PM — Sydney CBD
The fun never ends as Sydney continues to come alive when illuminated at night. Wander around the CBD and follow a path through the Spanish Quarter and Chinatown, as well as the main street of Sydney - George Street. Everything you would expect to see in the lively CBD areas can be found here. Take a walk and discover why the vibrant Sydney is one of the multicultural cities in the world.
9 PM - Darling Harbour
Finish your night at the wonderful Darling Harbour, where you can find plenty of bars that are within walking distance to some of the best clubs in the city. If you still have some energy left, visit the Queen Victoria Building for the best shopping experience before returning back to Darling Harbour in preparation to cap off a busy one day visit in Sydney.