Sydney is a city which I could happily spend a week at a time and still have things to do. However not everyone can spend that amount of time in Sydney as many people use the city for a quick stopover on the way to another international destination or if they are also traveling to another destination in Australia. I recently did this when I was on my way to the Whitsundays. I had 24 hours in Sydney and I was just happy to stay around the city but then I thought if this was someone’s first time to Sydney and they only had a day then what would I recommend for them to do.
This is our guide to how to spend 24 hours in Sydney.
Breakfast at the Sydney Fish Market
The Sydney Fish Market is the largest fish market in the southern hemisphere and third largest in the world in terms of variety and trades nearly 14000 tonnes of seafood annually. All that fish makes for a fun morning to start the day on sampling some of the freshest seafood.
Stalls open from 7:00am but if you want to get up close to the action for the seafood auction then you need to take a tour starting at 6:40am. The tour takes you onto the floor where you witness the hectic pace of the auction where each day 50-55 tonnes are sold.
How to get to the fish market
Take the light rail from central station. It takes 10-15 minutes to get to the fish market. The fish market is opposite the stop.
Coffee at Darling Harbour
After you have walked around the fish market, eaten some of the freshest seafood it is time to jump back on the light rail train and get off at either Convention or the Exhibition stop to be in the heart of Darling Harbour surrounded by luxury boats, five star hotels, and the state of the arts Exhibition Centre The Darling Harbour is the perfect place to take a stroll, take some photos then enjoy your morning coffee at one of the many cafes that line the harbour.
If you’re with children and they need some entertainment there is also an aquarium and Madame Tussauds wax museum to keep them occupied as well as the maritime museum.
How to get to Darling Harbour
Take the light rail to either Convention or Exhibition stop. It takes about ten minutes from the Fish Market.
With Sydney Tower looming in the background it would now be the perfect time for you to climb the tower. Over years the tower has gone by many names but most people just call it the Sydney Tower.
The tower is the tallest building in Sydney and the second highest tower in the southern hemisphere standing 309 metres high. The observation deck gives a bird’s eye view of the city skyscrapers, the Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the harbour down below.
Sydney Tower Information
opening 9:00am-10:00pm last entry 9:00pm
standard admission $28 adult $19 children
Skywalk tours $50 adults $32.50 children 8-15 years old
How to get to Sydney Tower
It’s easy to get there from Darling Harbour as you can see it from there. The tower is located on the corner of Pitt Street and Market Street.
Continue to walk north from Sydney Tower and you will walk to Circular Quay to the right there is the Opera House and to the left there will be Harbour Bridge and The Rocks the oldest place in Australia where Captain Cook first stepped foot on land. If it’s your first time to Sydney, you will probably want to race over to the Opera House however I suggest to do that at a later time of the day towards the evening. It’s better to walk over to The Rocks explore the old quarters, alleys and enjoy a nice lunch and pint at one of the oldest pubs in Australia.
Take the ferry to either Manly or Bondi Beach
I don’t think it matters which seaside suburb you choose from Bondi Beachor Manly and there may be some better ones that others may recommend in the comments below but either one of these make for a great afternoon relaxing on the beach taking in the rays, having a dip if its warm enough and then once you have had enough of the beach. Sit at one of the cafes and have an afternoon coffee.
I personally prefer Manly to Bondi it just seems a little more local, quieter than Bondi but both are extremely touristy.
How to get to Manly or Bondi Beach
From Circular Quay, the ferry departs from wharf 3 to Manly.
From Circular Quay, the bus departs near wharf 2. The bus takes 45 minutes. Take bus 380 or 333 from Alfred Street.
Crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is such an iconic site to Sydney known locally as the Coat Hanger by the shape of the bridge. Tourists are probably unaware that you can actually cross the bridge, you don’t need a car you can either ride or walk across the bridge. It’s the best place to take photos of the harbour and Luna Park on the other side.
How to cross the bridge
To cross the bridge, take the stairs next to the pedestrian crossing on Cumberland Street in the historical Rocks. The walk across the bridge should take 15 to 30 minutes depending on how many photos you wish to take.
Sydney Opera House
By now it should be dinner time and we have left the Opera House for last. The opera house is illuminated at night, the pearly white exterior brightly shines with the Harbour Bridge in the backdrop, what better place to have a glass of wine or a beer than at the Opera bar as well as some oysters
If I were in Sydney for only a night then I wouldn’t stay in the city even though it is convenient to the airport as the downtown area is not too far away however the city hotels are very expensive. I believe it is better to stay at a cheaper but still comfortable hotel near the airport. I recommend staying at the Ibis Hotel.
To ride any of the public transport you need to buy an opal card as you cannot buy individual tickets each time you want to use public transportation
Sydney is definitely worth more than a day but if that’s all you have then I hope our guide to Sydney in 24 hours help you to plan your trip.
What do you recommend to do in Sydney if you only have 24 hours
Feel free to tell us in the comment box below.