We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

Sunnyvale, CA
Level Contributor
220 posts
224 reviews
Save Topic
One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

Our plans changed again. We now have about 24 hours in Sydney. Our flight from Adelaide arrives at 11am, and we leave for home the next day at 2:45pm (this will be the 2nd week in August)

We plan to stay at a hotel near the Circular Quay and do the bridge pylon lookout before leave for the airport.

Question: our international flight leaves at 2:45pm on a Sunday. When should we leave from our harbor area hotel for the airport?

I'm looking for ideas on what to do on the previous day. We should be in the harbor area around noon, and options I was thinking of are:

1. Opera house (of course) and walk around this area

2. Australia museum

3. Aquarium

4. Harbor cruise: doing it in the afternoon would mean we can't really do much else so I was thinking about doing something at sunset or in the evening. All the dinner cruises seem to be more focused on dinner than seeing the sights. There are some cruises that leave at 5;30, after museums etc.. are closed. Anybody have any recommendations for a cruise?

If we don't go on a dinner cruise, where is a good, special place to have dinner? This is our last day/night so we don't mind splurging.

This is at the end of our 3 week trip in Australia and we will have seen beaches, rainforest, etc... I really don't like big cities, live close to San Francisco so don't need to see "big city" stuff, but would like to see stuff that is unique to Sydney in this really short time. So anybody have any "can't-miss" suggesions or any good half-day tour recommendations (again, don't mind splurging this last time).

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,790 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

If you don't go on a dinner cruise, I would suggest catching the ferry to Manly for the evening. You will have a quick tour of the inner harbour (albeit without commentary), and if you catch the ferry out while it's still light and then back in the evening, you'll have a good contrast of seeing the city skyline both by light and by night. There are lots of good restaurant choices on both the harbour and ocean sides of Manly - I like "Garfish" for a fairly high end type of place - best seafood around. The ferry is about $7 per person each way.

As far as the time to depart for the international airport, I would recommend no later than midday. That would give you a half hour to get to the airport (whether by train or taxi), for arrival at 12:30. Your check in deadline would normally be 90 minutes before your flight or 1:15pm, but confirm that with your airline and come a bit earlier if necessary.

Of the other things you mention, note that the aquarium is at Darling Harbour, not the Circular Quay area, and the Australia Museum is near Hyde Park in the eastern part of the CBD. Everything in Sydney is reasonably close but these are about a 20-30 minute walk from Circular Quay, so keep that in mind when planning.

Sydney/Melbourne
Level Contributor
18,129 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

Agree 100% with Jeremy about the Manly Ferry and Garfish for dinner.

Before you get the ferry over to Manly, you might enjoy a drink at the Opera Bar although it's very busy on Saturday afternoon.

Aqua Dining and Ripples are two other waterfront restaurants that will give you 'dinner with a view'. Both are at Milsons Point on the northern side of the Harbour bridge. You can get a ferry across from Circular Quay.

If you want to really lash out on a great meal then, unless you can still get a booking at Quay, you will have to forgo the view in favor of food. Places like Marque, Tetsuyas and Aria (and others) which do outstanding food will need to be booked now for a Saturday night in August. Check out www.urbanspoon.com

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Level Contributor
19,044 posts
188 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

Sunday August 10 is City to Surf and this will definitely impact on your airport trip. Definitley leave no later than midday. The last of the runners do not leave until 9.30am and many of the roads south stay closed for sometime after for infrastructure to be removed or are clogged as people try to avoid the race route to get to the eastern suburbs.

Australian Museum is not really focussed on Australia. You'd be better doing Museum of Sydney or Susannah Place.

Midday arrival Saturday (allow for football traffic if coming from the airport)

I wouldn't do a harbour cruise at all. I'd go with a ferry, one of the good choices seeing the aquarium is on your list, is the one to Darling Harbour as it passes under the bridge.

If I had 24 hours…

walk to mrs maccquaries and up to the Art Gallery, back and across through the domain and down macquarie st to the harbour.

Ferry ride, late afternoon to Watsons Bay and walk up to the Gap, ferry back around sunset to the city.

Pylon and Rocks on Sunday :)

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
Level Contributor
24,994 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

Leave for the airport by 11:30 am latest.

If I had just 24hrs in Sydney;

1. HoHo bus

2. Pylon Climb then walk across the bridge

3. Ferry back to Circular Quay

4. Walk the foreshore Circular Quay, Opera House and The Rocks

5. Ferry to Manly, eat there.

6. Catch ferry back, maybe grab dessert at somewhere like Guylian

Edited: 17 May 2014, 00:08
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
Level Contributor
24,994 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

Actually scratch the bus, as you technically have over 24hrs and you're getting defined ideas as to what to do.

Edited: 17 May 2014, 00:18
QLD
Level Contributor
110 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

KVE1005 omitting no1 as you said that to me is the ideal itinerary.

Sunnyvale, CA
Level Contributor
220 posts
224 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

THANK YOU EVERYBODY SO MUCH!! And the info about City to Surf is also good to know for planning purposes. The Manly ferry seems to also be just what we're looking for. Think we'll focus on walking around, seeing the opera house, pylon lookout and bridge and going for a ride. If we have to leave at 11;30-11:45 in the morning, not sure what we can do other than have a nice breakfast with a view that day.

I agree with roz5 - Kve1005's itinerary without the bus seems perfect!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Family Travel
Level Contributor
9,127 posts
150 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

Another vote for KVE's plan minus the HOHO.

I would recommend booking accommodation ASAP as City to Surf weekend is always a big one.

9. Re: One day in Sydney - what are the "you can't miss" attraction

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 May 2015, 07:16