A (not quite) Local’s Guide to Sydney

Well…I can’t believe it. It’s almost the last week here. Someone please tell me how this happened?

I am forever grateful and blessed for the opportunity to spend three months in Australia (my dream destination since I was literally 8). I would stay forever if I could. But I feel like I’ve accomplished and seen a lot of Sydney and the surrounding areas, enough that I am confident to be able to give some true recommendations. So here they are!

Top 3 Sites to See:


  1. Sydney Opera House


Did…did you think you were going to come to Sydney and not take 30 photos with the Opera House? It sits on the sparkling waters of the Sydney Harbour, around the beautiful area of The Rocks. You can find tons of restaurants and bars here (our favorite is El Camino!). Not gonna lie, the Opera House didn’t look like what I expected it to. It looks really weird from some angles, and people even asked me “what is that?” when I sent them photos of it! However, it is still a beautiful sight and a MUST see if you’re in Sydney. You aren’t allowed to go inside the Opera House unless you have tickets for a show or tour, but you can hang out at the bar. It’s a little pricey though (but most things in Sydney are pricey, be warned).  

  1. Blue Mountains

So technically this isn’t in our city, but it’s only an hour away from Sydney by train. The Blue Mountains is a must-see if you are into nature, hiking, and taking a break from all the beach days you are inevitably going to have. Right before you get to the Blue Mountains, you pass by a small town called Katoomba. If you have time, you should wander around this quaint little down and get some lunch. The (probably) best veggie burger of my life can be found at Cattlefish, so I suggest this burger and chips joint! So the Blue Mountains is a beautiful, expansive, green-as-green-can-be National Park to the west of Sydney. It features the famous Three Sisters rock formation and rolling green hills. It has a lot of cute waterfalls wildlife, and if you’re into the more arduous hikes, Federal Pass, National Pass, and the Ruined Castle Walk are the top 3 hikes, taking from 4-5 hours to complete.

  1. Beaches (with sub-ranks)

Of course, beautiful Sunny Sydney is quite known for the beaches. I might be a little bit of a hypocrite because I kind of hate sand, but the beaches were still amazing to lay down on and bask in the sun. I don’t go into the ocean, so I can’t speak for body surfing and swimming, but here are my recommendations.

  1. Coogee: Ok first off, don’t embarrass yourself with the pronunciation. It’s cuh-gee, not coo-gee. Get it right, because apparently all my local friends make fun of people who say coo-gee because they are so obviously tourists. Anyway, this was my favorite beach to go to because there was an entire rock area (no sand, yay) that you can play and tan in. There’s a natural tide pool that you can swim into, and you don’t have to worry about fighting the aggressive ocean waves. There’s rock jumping here too, and just a really area if you want to get away from the sand, like me. I laid down my towel and fell asleep on a flat rock right in the sun! (Pic below)
  2. Manly: I would say go to Manly just so you can take the iconic ferry across the ocean to the Northern Beaches. Manly is in another cool town, and it’s quite packed but a fairly cool and standard beach. Nothing special really, but the ferry is fun and you can get some good pics of the Opera House.  
  3. Bondi: Ok, so I haven’t technically gone to Bondi yet, but it’s the most famous beach in Sydney. If you want to go just to say you’ve gone to Bondi, I say go. This is why I put it at #3. Otherwise there are better beaches to go to, unpopular opinion! Bondi is always very very packed, and the public transportation you have to take there is a nightmare. Just buses packed full of beach-goers. It gets nasty.

So there you have it! A not-local-but-good-enough’s recommendations on what to do in Sydney. I hope everyone gets a chance to visit this city I fell in love with. Don’t make me leave!!