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Only Got 24 Hours in Sydney? Here’s how to Make the Most of Your Time

24 Hours in SydneyFood and DrinkThings To Do

Kookaburra in a Gum Tree

One of the most frustrating things about only having a short time in a place is not having the time to figure out what to do next. You can easily waste time trying to get from one place to another, and not really know how long trips take, or how to use the transport. This is where we come in. Our experienced guides know this city and all its little intricacies, so we’ve decided to put together a series of 24 – hour guides that will have you getting around like a pro. This is the first in the series but watch this space for more.

A top tip is to get an opal card from either the airport when you arrive or from the transport office in Circular Quay. Put around $20 on it, and you’re good for the day. It works on ferries, trains and buses, and you won’t waste time buying tickets everywhere you go.

Early morning – Manly

Manly Beach scene

Manly is one of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches, and it exudes a laid back vibe that is so uniquely Australian. It’s a popular spot with locals, so good to go very early morning and catch the sunrise or early morning sun while cruising the harbour from Circular Quay. Plenty of options for breakfast too.

Catch the ferry from Manly back to Circular Quay, and walk eastwards toward the gardens.

Morning – Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens

Head to the beautiful Botanic Gardens, and if there’s one available, join one of the indigenous guides as they show you some of the native bush foods the first Australians used to eat. The gardens are very close to the Art Gallery of NSW and Government House, so there’ll be plenty of places to take shelter if it rains.

Established in 1816, the gardens is one of Sydney’s oldest landmarks and has a spectacular harbour view. It also has a collection of rare and endangered plants.

Lunch – Chinatown


One of Sydney’s oldest precincts, Chinatown houses a heady mix of Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants from cheap as chips dumpling houses and hole in the wall noodle bars to more upscale dining. There’s also an eclectic range of shops for trinkets and Chinese medicines, and it’s alongside the bustling Paddy’s Markets. Take the train from Circular Quay to Central for a quick 10-minute ride.

Afternoon – Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour

Depending on the weather, you can while away a couple of hours at Sydney Aquarium and see its collection of over 700 species of marine animals including Australia’s famous sharks. If the weather is too good to be inside, simply meander through Darling Harbour, where you’ll find an assortment of shops and cafes, or have a close-up koala encounter at the wildlife Sydney zoo.

Dinner and Evening – Newtown

Streetart graffitti statement Newtown

This is an eclectic inner-city Sydney suburb at its best.  Tons of funky small bars, gay pubs with shows, and cheap and cheerful restaurants, especially of the Thai variety. Newtown draws quite a colourful crowd at night and is open later than some other areas. Jump on the train from Central, and you’ll be there in ten minutes.

Remember Sydney is a safe and beautiful city, and you’ll probably run into different things you want to explore along the way.  You could also book one of our tours if you want guided experience, but otherwise, feel free to explore and see what you can find.