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Plan Your Trip to Sydney: Best of Sydney Tourism

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Sydney, Australia

Sydney is a place that’s really got it all: It’s a sunny, modern city, right smack in the middle of nature, where gallery-hopping, surfing, and fine dining can all happen before the sun goes down. Start with the views: Take the cliff top coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee, where you’ll pass by beaches, rock pools, and lush parks. Then there’s the world-famous Sydney Opera House—jutting up like a huge sailboat—anchoring iconic Sydney Harbour. It’s also worth seeing the city from the top down; the views from the Sydney Tower Eye observatory are nothing less than epic.

Travel Advice

Essential Sydney

How to do Sydney in 3 days

Postcard-worthy surfing beaches, coastal hikes, and café culture
Read on

Itineraries from real travelers

You don’t want to miss these saltwater pools in Sydney

The only thing better than Sydney's famous beaches are its sparkling saltwater ocean pools. With wild surf and rip currents, saltwater pools are a safer (and slightly more chic) alternative to the open ocean and they are beloved by tourists and locals alike. As a local Sydneysider and avid ocean swimmer (who can't resist an afternoon dip!), I've done my own deep dive into the best saltwater pools in Sydney.
Katie Dundas, Sydney, Australia
  • Bondi Iceberg Club
    175
    If there were a crown jewel of ocean pools, it would be Bondi Icebergs. I love people-watching here or bringing along my camera, as Icebergs is one of the most beautiful saltwater pools in the country. The contrast of the turquoise surf lapping against the bright white pool deck is honestly iconic. It's one of the few saltwater pools in Sydney that isn't free but worth the small charge. Avoid Thursdays, when Icebergs is closed for cleaning.
  • Fairy Bower Sea Pool
    5
    This unique, triangle-shaped pool is a must-see on any visit to Manly Beach. You'll come across it on the Manly to Shelly Beach walk. Being on the smaller side, this attractive pool is perfect for kids. It was built by residents in 1929 and is famous for its whimsical sculpture, Oceanides. You're also just around the bend from Shelly Beach, my favorite snorkeling spot in Sydney.
  • Bronte Baths
    2
    Bronte Baths feels so quintessentially Aussie—it features a 30-meter pool carved out of sandstone rock, along with a splash and play area for kids. If you don't want to pay for admission to Icebergs, this is a top free alternative that offers very similar views. Bronte Baths tend to be on the chiller side, so I'm always sure to swim with my rash guard (highly recommended for sun protection, too).
  • Bronte Baths
    2
    A short walk from Coogee Beach is Wylie's Baths saltwater pool. Coming here makes me smile because it feels like stepping back in time. Dating back to 1907, it's one of the last remaining ocean baths, complete with a high boardwalk offering epic views. And if you're up for a day of relaxation, it's also one of the most scenic spots in Sydney for a yoga or Pilates class!
  • Maccallum Seawater Pool
    5
    If you're on Sydney's Lower North Shore, Maccullum Seawater Pool is one of the most picturesque places to swim. Set in Cremorne Point, this small but scenic ocean pool can get popular on weekends, with sunbathers vying for space on the pool's inviting timber decks. However, it's easily accessed from the Circular Quay ferry, so there's no need to stress over parking spaces. I recommend stopping by for a sunset swim and enjoying some fantastic views of the Harbour Bridge!
  • South Curl Curl Rockpool
    2
    You'll often see this iconic saltwater pool in aerial photography of Sydney, but it's just as impressive in real life! With a 50-meter lap pool and a splash area for little ones, this ocean bath almost has it all—changing rooms, bathrooms, and parking—it just lacks lap lane markers, which may annoy some serious swimmers. Check with the Northern Beaches Council website for opening information — it's closed on select Mondays for cleaning.
  • Shelly Beach RockPool
    38
    Near Cronulla, you'll discover Shelly Beach Rock Pool, a large ocean bath popular with young families. With both stairs and a long ramp, this pool also scores points for accessibility. While the large pool makes it ideal for swimming laps, I also like that Shelly Beach Rock Pool has a spacious beach and grass lawn, perfect for picnics. Note there's no natural shade here, so bring along your beach umbrella.

Sydney Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Sydney

Susan Mills

Sydney has a fantastic public transport system complete with friendly staff to guide you in the right direction. Use the bus, train, or ferry to get where you need to be. The city itself, though it can be hilly, is great for walking.

Lyn D

Download Tripview App to your smartphone for the latest public transport schedule.

Africa Tourist

Australians do not tip. People working in service industries are well paid by world standards, and so do not feel obligated to tip.

DONNA063

Sydney has a lot of wonderful places to visit that suit all ages and tastes. It has one of the most beautiful harbours in the world with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Sydney Opera House as the main focal points. The Blue Mountains are a three-hour train ride and is well worth a visit.

2gnomesinparis

Sydney is a beautiful city to explore. The harbour is so pretty with lots to do. There are many things to see and do around Sydney as well as wonderful shopping. The cafes and restaurants are amazing! Easy to get around, you can walk to most things. Our amazing beaches are a short bus or ferry ride from the city. Kids will love the zoo and the view over the harbour from the zoo is to die for! The air is clean, the sky is blue, the harbour is magnificent!

Michael N

Sydney has become a cosmopolitan city compared favorably with other great cities of the world. Centered around its magnificent harbour, there are many attractions and experiences to be enjoyed.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD) is Australia’s busiest airport, with daily flights to/from major global destinations on dozens of airlines.

Do I need a visa?

All visitors (except New Zealand citizens), require a temporary visa to visit Sydney. Visit the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs for visa information.

When is the best time to visit?

March to May: The best times to visit Sydney are between March and May and September and November. You’ll find more comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds — which means you can likely nab better prices on airfare, too.

But if you want to warm up with the masses from winter back home, the average daily temperatures in January can hit highs of 30°C/86°F and lows around 20°C/67°F.

Get around

Public Transit

Sydney has a great public transportation network. Be sure to download the TripView app for train, ferry, bus and light rail schedules.

Buying an Opal Card is another must for getting around Sydney as it’s the easiest way to pay for public transit. For more info, visit here.

trains

The Sydney Metro system is still under construction, but it currently has one line running from Chatswood to Tallawong. You can also get local and regional train service on NSW TrainLink and Sydney Trains to/from Central Station.

trams

There are two tram lines in Sydney that can also get you around town.

bus

Sydney’s massive bus network operates until midnight usually, and there are many hubs around the city.

ferries

The nine routes of Sydney Ferries are a great way to get around and see the city.

bikes

Though traffic can be intense, Sydney has bike lanes and many bike-rentals companies.

taxis

Taxis are readily available in Sydney for hailing and booking via the NSW Taxi Council.

rideshares

Uber can be booked via its app on your smartphone.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Australian Eastern

What are the voltage/plug types?

220-240 volts AC

What is the currency?

Australian dollar

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Tipping is not expected in Australia, however, a tip for exceptional service is always appreciated.

Restaurants/bars

Again, it’s not customary, but you can add between 5 and 10% if you are super happy.

Hotels

A few AUDs would be appreciated for anyone who helps with your bags and the housekeeping staff.

Taxis

Rounding up to the nearest AUD is typical.

Tour guides

If your guide was particularly fun or interesting, 10 AUD would suffice.

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The legal drinking age in Sydney is 18.

Greetings

Handshakes are a customary greeting in Sydney.

Public transit

Offer your seat to people who are old, pregnant or have mobility issues.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sydney


Some of the most popular restaurants in Sydney include:

Sydney is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:


If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Sydney between September and November, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between December and February.