Destination Guide: Sydney – RatPack Travel



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travel guide to sydney australia

Where do we begin!

The unofficial capital of Aussie {did you know its not?!}, Sydney is an unreal city with A LOT to offer, we love Sydney for its iconic landmarks {hello Opera House}, its city vibes and beachy escapes. The perfect place to start or end your east coast adventure you’ll have plenty to do in Sydney whether its checking out the galleries and museums, hitting up the foodie spots, enjoying the nightlife of the city or just cruising around and city sites. You can easily get to the legendary Bondi Beach, Manly Beach or Coogee from the Sydney which are awesome to visit for the day!

Where is it?

New South Wales


Get these ON your bucketlist...

  • Learn to surf at Bondi Beach
  • See the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge
  • Explore the city on a free walking tour
  • Check out Darling Harbour
  • Hit up all the beaches around the city – Manly, Shelly, Watsons bay
  • Explore the incredible Blue mountains
  • Go on an epic jet boat tour at the opera house
  • Explore the Rocks
  • Head to Luna Park
  • Go for a big night out, city style…
  • Skydive over Sydney

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Free things to do here:

  • Free walking tour
  • Chill out at one of many amazing beaches
  • Go to the museums & art galleries
  • Wander around the city
  • Get Snapping – this city is the home of  insta worthy spots
  • Hyde Park – grab a picnic and chill
  • Bondi to Coogee coastal walk
  • Luna Park – free entry (pay per ride)
  • Manly to Spit walk

Hostel recommendations:

  • Sydney Harbour YHA – this is the rooftop of ALL rooftops, this hostel offers epic views of the opera house, circular quay and the bridge
  • Sydney Central YHA – a pool, sauna, a photobooth and a cinema with free popcorn, need we say more??

Areas to check out...

  • Surrey Hills – cool vibes and great cafes.
  • Newtown – hipster, cool, artsy vibes.
  • Northern Beaches – check out Manly and Curl Curl.
  • The Rocks – cobbled streets and pubs in the heart of the city
  • Watsons Bay
  • Bondi Beach
  • Coogee Beach
  • Shelly Beach
  • Manly Beach
  • Botanical Gardens
  • China Town

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Foodie Spots...

  • Darling Harbour is home to lots of epic restaurants which do really good deals. Theres an epic thai place here too
  • Baby Coffee – a super cute instafamous cafe where everything is pink and beautiful {a sophie reco there not a sammy boi one haha}
  • The grounds of Alexandria
  •  Spice Alley

Hit the town...

  • Darling Harbour – hit up home {you can get free entry tickets from your hostel} or pontoon
  • Candy club – if you like reggaeton and latino vibes head here on a saturday night {but try not to break your shoes like sophie!}
  • Kings Cross – a backpacker hub with loads of good bars, check out world bar for teapot cocktails and silent disco!

Photo Spots...

Of the Opera House 

  • On the steps of the opera house
  • To the right of the opera house viewing from the botanical gardens
  • The other side of circular quay  (by the harbour bridge)
  • Pylon Lookout, an epic panoramic view point (note you do have to pay to go up here!)

Other epic spots:

  • Mrs Macquaries Chair/Point
  • Harbour Bridge
  • Bondi Icebergs
  • Darling Harbour

Top tips for Sydney..

Sydney is an epic place to explore as a backpacker, get out into the city and get walking! Check out our tips below to make the most of the city:

  • Get yourself an opal card and properly explore, on Sunday all travel is capped at around $2 so make the most of it and jump on one of the ferries, my fave is Watson’s Bay!
  • Most international flights land/depart from here making it the perfect spot to begin or finish
  • RatPacker Sophie recommends: take a wander around the rocks and don’t miss the market on a saturday & sunday {gals – theres a couple here that make beautiful rings for such a good price!} 
  • If you are planning to visit here for Christmas or New Years, BOOK IN ADVANCE, check out our blog here.

Our Top Tips


  • Sydney Harbour YHA
  • Sydney Central YHA
  • Bounce Hostel

Day Tours

  • Blue Mountains
  • Skydive 
  • Bondi Beach


  • Pontoon Bar
  • Home Club
  • Side Bar


  • El Camino Cantina
  • Milky Lane
  • Beach Burrito

Hidden Gems

  • Spice Alley
  • The Rocks
  • Watsons Bay


  • Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk
  • Seven Sisters in the Blue Mountains
  • Manly to Spit Walk

Quick Visit:

1-3 Days

If you are only in Sydney for a few days we recommend staying in a hostel thats central and head straight for the opera house and circular quay. Get around by train or bus and book a day trip out to Blue Mountains and head via train/bus to Bondi Beach for a beach day!

A Longer stay

4 Days +

If you’ve planned to stay in Sydney for longer than 4 days we recommend staying for half your time in the centre of the city and go on a walking tour, chill in the Botanic Gardens, head out to the Blue Mountains, eat and drink your way around, enjoy happy hour at Darling Harbour. And the other half of your time visit the beaches, each one could take a day, staying in Bondi is epic, the hostels are right on the beach and enjoy the Bondi vibe before heading to your next spot.

Where next?

  • Up the East Coast to Byron Bay
  • Along to Melbourne
  • New Zealand
travel guide to sydney australia

Book your Sydney Experiences...

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We operate a 24/7 service across multiple time zones. Our RatPackers have all been there and done it! Get the ball rolling on your upcoming trip. Send over your rough travel plans (including your flight details / dates). If you are yet to book a flight and seeking advice – HIT US UP ↡

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