Sydney is one of my favourite places in the world, afterall, I was born and grew up there. And I know when I sightsee Sydney Harbour it has so much to offer. Apart from my family and friends Sydney is a vibrant city, has world-class beaches and some iconic sights. You know the ones I mean, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and of course, the Harbour. Every day people from overseas and locals head to Sydney Harbour to explore. Here is my 1 Day Walking Itinerary Around Sydney Harbour to help you make the most of your time in this beautiful city.
Sydney Accommodation – where to stay in Sydney
Before you start your 1 day walking itinerary around Sydney Harbour you will need somewhere to stay. Sydney has many accommodation options available, many on or near and within easy reach of Sydney Harbour. As I am now based in Melbourne I need to find accommodation when I go to Sydney. I always book accommodation through booking sites as they are so easy to use. My go-to sites are HostelWorld if I want to book a bed in a hostel (or a family room if I am travelling with my family). Then I book through Booking.com if I am looking for a hotel room or unit. The closer to the harbour the better but even if you stay at the other end of town closer to Central Train Station there is plenty of public transport to take you to Sydney Harbour.
Sydney has a number of backpacker hostels to stay in including Sydney Harbour YHA in The Rocks. This hostel has many facilities for the visitor and has a variety of rooms available. Most of all Sydney Harbour YHA has a rooftop area which has fabulous views over Sydney Harbour. It is definitely worth staying here just for the view!
If you would prefer a hotel room there are plenty of boutique and hotel chains available. I particularly like the Travelodge at Wynyard. It is near public transport, is central to everything and is an easy walk to Sydney Harbour. I have stayed there many times and can highly recommend it.
Sydney YHA has great views. Book Your Stay Here.
Sydney Transport – how to get around Sydney
Getting around Sydney is easy as there is plenty of local transport. Ranging from buses, trains and ferries. Get yourself an Opal Card and get going. If your stay in Sydney is limited by time, consider take the hop-on hop-off BigBus Sydney. It will take you to the major sights and allow you to hop-on and off at places you want to stay longer at. The BigBus will give you a great grounding about what to see and do in Sydney. Book your BigBus ticket here. However today on my 1 Day Walking itinerary of Sydney Harbour you will be walking so ensure you have a good pair of walking shoes.
1 Day Walking Itinerary Around Sydney Harbour Map
Sydney Harbour Bridge
First stop on your 1 day walking itinerary around Sydney Harbour is the Sydney Harbour Bridge or ‘The Coathanger’ as it is affectionately known. You can walk underneath the bridge and see the massive pylons that hold it up. Look up and listen to the noises of the traffic and trains crossing it. You might feel inclined to walk across the bridge to North Sydney. Don’t be alarmed if you can feel it vibrate as you walk. If you aren’t feeling energetic take a train across The Bridge. It offers spectacular views of the city from a different angle.
Or you might want to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. When you climb to the summit 134 metres (440 feet) above sea level you will be treated to spectacular views over Sydney. You can choose to climb at dawn, during the day or at night. See Sydney’s changing faces as it progresses through the day as it wakes up, comes alive and then goes to sleep. The climb to the top can take around 3 hours and you can purchase your ticket to climb to the top here. If you don’t want to go to the top you can go up to half way. You can purchase your ticket for the half climb tour here.
From the Sydney Harbour Bridge you can walk past the International Cruise Line Terminal and into The Rocks area. Here you will walk along cobblestone laneways and discover the history of Brittish settlers and convicts who arrived here in the late 1700s. Learn about the British settlers and the beginnings of colonialization of Australia. See many of the original buildings like Cadmans Cottage at 110 George Street, a sandstone cottage which served as a sailor’s home at one stage.
The Rocks area is also a vibrant area with a number of pubs, cafes and restaurants. If there on a weekend visit The Rocks Markets for some locally made products. Or relax at one of the eateries before continuing your walk around Sydney Harbour.
Sydney is built around a harbor and Circular Quay is a vibrant, busy and essential part of Sydney Harbour today. You could say Circular Quay is the hub of Sydney Harbour. It has the train station, bus stops and ferry terminal all bringing people to the harbour making it a lively place with shops and buskers and lots of people. And you may even have a visiting ocean liner moored at the International Cruise Line Terminal. It is also your link to other areas in Sydney. You have the ferries that take you to the other side of the harbour such as to Manly or Taronga Park Zoo. If you want to see Sydney from the water you may want to take a cruise of the harbour. You can organise your cruise of the harbour here.
Sydney Opera House is an easy walk from Circular Quay and is the next stop on my 1 Day Walking Itinerary around Sydney Harbour.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is a world-class venue and an iconic Australian landmark. It was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon and opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II. Distinguished by soaring sails of white ceramic tiles it is a World Heritage Site and a must-see while in Sydney. Well you can’t actually miss it because of its dominance in the area! You could try to catch a theatre show at the Opera House or just enjoy the complex with its restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and outdoor plaza areas. If you wish to take a tour of the theatres and halls inside you can purchase your ticket for a tour of the Sydney Opera House here.
On walking around the Sydney Opera House you will notice a castle-like building sitting in the middle of the harbour? This is Fort Denison, once used as a convict prison it is now a tourist attraction with a restaurant.
The Royal Botanic Gardens
Leaving the Opera House walk along the foreshore of Farm Cove. This was the original farming ground of the first white settlers and is now the Royal Botanical Gardens. The gardens are set on 30 hectares and house a number of areas to enjoy including the Palace Rose Garden, Herb Garden and the Australian Native Rockery. Or perhaps visit The Calyx, a living art gallery in the gardens. Or you could just sit in the park and have a breather before continuing to the final spot on this 1 Day Walking Itinerary around Sydney Harbour.
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Great views of the Harbour from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Why would a chair be of interest on this walking tour of Sydney Harbour. Well. The first Governor of New South Wales was Major-General Lachlan Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth Macquarie loved to sit in a spot most evenings and overlook Farm Cove. She loved sitting in this spot so much a sandstone rock bench was carved for her by convicts in 1810. And here she would sit for hours. Now you too can sit on the bench and overlook Sydney. The view though, I can only imagine, is very different to what it was in 1810!
So now you have completed your 1 Day Walking Itinerary around Sydney Harbour. You will have experienced a lot of what Sydney has to offer, particularly around The Harbour area. You may see it all in a day or maybe two. However long it takes it is well worth it. Now to find a nice restaurant for dinner and watch the sunset over my hometown. Great places to eat can be found along the Sydney Opera House Concourse. Sit outside, have some good food and a drink and enjoy the hustle and bustle of Sydney Harbour.
PS: If you want to see more of what Sydney has to offer, because Sydney is more than just a harbour, read my blog 13 favourite things to see and do in Sydney.
Sydney Harbour at night