The Ultimate SYDNEY Guide | Important Tips, Places to See, Things to do

In total, I spend almost one month in Sydney. Living in Bondi Beach for 2 weeks and the rest in the City centre, so I would say I can give a good overview on places to see, what to do and tips for an awesome time in one of the most liveable Cities on the planet.

And because Sydney (and Australia in general) is a healthy/vegan/pretty Café and Food heaven there will be a Food Guide coming soon as well!

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I can definitely say that Sydney is one of my favourite cities now. Especially living in Bondi Beach (or Manly), but I could not choose between Melbourne or Sydney (if we cut out the weather fact :D ) cause both have such different personalities and I really love them both for different reasons.

That’s why I would highly recommend visiting both when you plan to go to Australia. Here you can find my Travel Guide for Melbourne with all the essential tips and places to go and see.

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Important things you need to know!

  • If you arrive at the airport in Sydney, avoid taking the tram to the centre (if you are on a budget). They are really expensive (about 20$ one way). Either take an Uber if you are several people that share the costs or take the Bus 400 to Bondi Junction and go from there to your destination (if you have the time, cause it takes longer).
  • On Sundays, you only pay 2,80$ for the whole day of using public transport (usually the daily maximum limit you could pay is 13$) so make sure you make use of it and take the Ferry or other long/expensive routes.

Things to Do

Opera House. See a show or a ‚behind the scenes‘, we watched the behind the scenes of the ballets Spartacus and the Nutcracker and it was amazing to see the ballet dancers in their training, it was only 29$.

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See the Opera from many different perspectives. From the Harbour Bridge, the Botanical Garden, the Ferries that go to Manly or from the other side of the harbour.

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Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden of Sydney is huge and shows many different plans from all over the country and the world. You can explore different sections with plants of different parts of Australia. The place is ideal for a nice picnic in the shades of palm trees and from the waterfront walk and Mrs. Macquarie’s Point you have a beautiful view over the Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the Downtown Skyline.

 

National Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Art Gallery located in The Domain is definitely worth a visit showing beautiful Aboriginal Art as well as modern Australian artists and exhibitions.

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Museum of Contemporary Art. Another very nice museum with beautiful exhibitions and a great view from the Skydeck over the city and Harbour Bridge.

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Walk on Harbour Bridge. When you walk on the Bridge you have a beautiful view over the Harbour, the Opera and the waterfront houses. There is also a Skydeck on one of the towers. The entry price is pretty high, but the view is for sure great.

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Darling Harbour. This vibrant place is best to visit in the evening when everyone is out for drinks and dinner or at lunchtime when you can see the real Sydney-business people coming out of their Skyscrapers for a quick bite to eat and a chat with friends and colleagues.

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Shopping. Great places to check out for shopping are around Town Hall and the Queen Victoria building.

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At the Queen Victoria building, there is also the Jet Café & Bar that I can highly recommend to eat Carrot Cake. I went there every time I was nearby and it is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had and for the location definitely not overprices.

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Peddy’s Market and Chinatown are also good to check out. It’s not as big as in Melbourne for example, but in the Peddy’s Market there is a section of fresh fruit & vegetables that are fairly cheap and good quality and the IGA upstairs is super interesting because they mostly sell Asian food and you can find some cool stuff to try out.

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Once a month there is also a completely Vegan Market with lots of street food and great brands. For more information have a look at their Instagram @sydneyveganmarket. I am super sad that I never made it there…

Newtown. This part of the city reminded me a bit of Melbourne with all the street art, Vintage and Second-Hand shops and the people that walk around. Very hipster and cool. There are also many vegan restaurants and cafés located here like Gelato Blue, Golden Lotus, Lentils as Anything, Buddha Bowl Café, Gigi’s Pizzeria and more.

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Surry Hills. Another lovely part of the town with many nice lunch spots and restaurants, shops and little boutiques. I lived there for one week in an Airbnb with my cousin and it is definitely the best place to live in the city centre because it is located very central, near the Centra Station that takes you basically everywhere and it’s not too far to walk to the Harbour and it’s still very quiet and calm and nice.

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Manly. The ferry ride from and too Manly is already worth going. You have the most amazing view over the skyline, Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. But Manly in general is a super cute part of town you shouldn’t miss. The beach is really nice and the pedestrian streets are great to stroll around, shop and eat some yummy food. I can also highly recommend doing the walk along the water and West Esplanade. You can see some beautiful houses, lovely views and pretty birds. I would check out Shelly Beach if you have the time as the walk is beautiful to get there and the beach is supposed to be one of Sydney’s best beaches.

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Rose Bay Beach. I went there several times when I was in Sydney in January because it is a beautiful beach. Not very busy and mostly locals going there, you have an amazing view and can see the city centre and Harbour Bridge in the background and the beach is a dog beach so you see many cute puppies playing in the water.

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Bondi Beach

I lived in Bondi for 2 weeks, so I definitely know my way around and have checked out many places. I would always recommend staying in Bondi Beach for a few days if you have the time or at least visit the are of Sydney for one full day (or more!).

If I would have to choose a place to live in Sydney, I would pick Bondi Beach. I just really love the vibe: health, fitness, summer, surf and motivated people. Everywhere you look there is people working out, going for walks or surfs, enjoying the sun, healthy vegan cafés, smoothies and acai bowls and walking around in only a bikini and barefoot is no problem.

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I stayed at Surfside Bondi Beach Backpackers twice and I can highly recommend it. Super great vibe, not such a big hostel, the owner and workers are really nice and it is located perfectly: 2 minutes to the beach and right near the main street.

You obviously can’t miss the famous view over the Icebergs Bondi Pool at the ocean just like the beach promenade and the lovely sunset colours over the ocean.

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There is also a Coastal Walk along the beaches that is worth walking to see the best ocean views, nicest beaches and prettiest (and most expensive) houses of Sydney.

Shopping. I liked shopping in Bondi better than in the city centre because it is more casual and less stressful. Great shops to check out are Nimbleactive, Playa, the Vintage store on Hall street and all the nice boutiques and shops on Hall Street, Campbell Parade and Gould Street. There is also a big Westfield Shopping centre in Bondi Junction.

I will also share my food favourites of Bondi with you soon in an extra Sydney Food Guide so stay tuned!

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Have you ever been to Sydney? What were your favourite places? Do you want to visit Sydney one day?

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Why I couldn’t be a Full-Time Nomad – Things I Miss about Home

I have many homes now. I call everywhere I go home. If it’s a hostel bed, friends couch, camper bed or my own room. As long as I feel comfortable and have my stuff with me I feel good.

And even when I leave Australia there is a place that I’ll call home forever. The Sunshine Coast with my AuPair family. This place and these people will stay in my heart forever.

But there are definitely things that I miss about my real home. Germany. My parent’s house. And about having a constant home base.

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The Nomadic life is great and I love it. I enjoy it a lot to have the freedom to go places, see friends, move again if I am not happy and travel where my heart leads me, but through the 6 months that I have been doing that now I discovered that this couldn’t be my life forever.

I love it, BUT I also love having a set home. So in this blog post I want to talk about a few things that I miss about Germany, my home and the „normal“ life and why. Maybe for you to understand that the settled down life has its advantages as well and for you and me to remember and appreciate when we are not travelling.

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  • Having your family and friends around you. No need to constantly make friends with new people, meet new people. To be around people you know, that know you and that you trust.

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  • Knowing your way around. I love exploring new places, but it is always most exciting when you finally can put your map in your bag and stop constantly checking on google maps if you are still on the right way. It’s great to know the best places to shop and know how to get around with public transport easily.

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  • Having a routine. Daily and weekly routines make me more productive, organised, feel safe and comfortable which can be great. But I obviously would never miss the curiosity of new challenges, changes and new adventures.

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  • Staying on track with your goals and plans. It can be hard to continue good habits and work on your goals while travelling. You get distracted, you want to explore and experience and you’re not in your usual environment. So it might be a bit harder to eat healthily, work out and work as you are used to.

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  • Having everything you need. I am definitely not a person that needs a lot of material things. I am fine with the few T-Shirts that I carry around with me and only use one soap bar to wash my hair, body and face. But there are a few things that are wonderful to have. Your own comfy bed, no snorers, fresh air and nobody distracting you while sleeping. Your clean kitchen with all the utensils you need and nobody in your way while cooking. A clean bathroom where you don’t need to wear flip flops or clean the toilet before you use it.

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  • Your own space. Walking around naked, throwing your clothes on the flow when you come home late at night, cooking only in a shirt, singing out loud or listening to loud music, only wearing underwear while getting ready –  all the things you can do when you have your own space.

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And a few small things that I miss:

  • German bread. The sourdough bread here can be really yummy, but sometimes I just miss my super grainy, moist fresh bakery bread from home.
  • My cat. I miss her so much. Miss her cuddles, her talking, snoring. Just her being around.
  • Some real German food. Sauerkraut, red cabbage, German dumplings, Schupfnudeln, Spätzle… sometimes that’s just really nice. Especially when my grandma cooked it.
  • Family gatherings. I am always so sad when I miss family gatherings. Christmas, Easter, birthdays or just for no reason… I love sitting together and talking with my grandparents, aunts & uncles and my cousin and eating yummy food together. And also my aunt & uncle just adopted a foster child and I haven’t got the chance to meet her yet :(

 

  • Sauna. We have a sauna at home and I missed the snuggly Sunday evenings.
  • Food Testing & Photography. I miss my pretty bowls and dishes, decoration, ingredients, supplies and the time to try out new recipes, experiment in the kitchen and take pretty food pictures from it… but I am still cooking: Easy, Cheap, Healthy Dinner Recipes – Perfect for Backpackers

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But there is something that would combine the two – being on the go, travelling, exploring and having a home, a cozy place where you don’t need to move from: camper life!

I’ve done several camper road trips and vacations with my parents already and last week I did my first one with a friend renting the little camper myself. We had a lot of fun, a great little cozy place for us and everything with us all the time.

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And if it’s your own camper you can even pimp it and make it extra cozy and cute with your own things, decoration and nicely renovated.

I definitely want to own a camper myself at some stage in my life to travel Europe in a little home on wheels and also do some other van trips on the West Coast of Australia and through north and south America.

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What do you love and dislike about Travelling? What do you miss when longterm Travelling?

 

Q&A – Solo Travel

Here we go with number three of my Q&A series. This time, I am answering all the frequently asked questions about travelling alone (for the first time).

I always get so many questions from friends, strangers, other travellers or follower on Instagram, so I wanted to answer them all and help new travellers to feel more confident, safe, get inspired to travel themselves and help them plan their own journey.

  1. Q&A – Backpacking Australia
  2. Q&A – Work & Travel Australia
  3. Q&A – Solo Travelling
  4. Planning your own Work & Travel Year
  5. About being an AuPair

If you have further questions or topics you want me to talk about, please feel free to message me on Instagram or comment down below!

I really want to create more content that is helping, informing and inspiring my readers/followers, so if you have any ideas or interests that you are interested in – tell me!

IMG_9421But for now: let’s get started…

How is it like to travel alone?

I love it! It is so much fun to feel free to do exactly what I want without making compromises. It is so easy to meet people in hostels or on tours and here and there you are lucky to make some real friends for a lifetime. You never have to be alone if you don’t want to but you still always have the chance to spend time by yourself and do what you desire.

In Perth I had some days where I felt lonely and just not myself…  but that’s alright.

Do you feel lonely sometimes?

Since I started I only had one week where I felt a little bit down, lonely and homesick and that was in Perth after my cousin left me and my parents were about to come and I didn’t find many nice people that I really connected to in my hostel. I also wrote a blog post about my feelings at that time called the downside of travelling alone.

And usually after I have to say goodbye to travel mates and friends that I had an awesome time with, I get a slight feeling of loneliness and it is a little bit weird to be alone again, but that usually disappears after a while.

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When you ask strangers to take a picture of you and it actually turns out great! :D

Is it easy to meet people (even when you are shy)?

I would say yes! For me, it depends on the situation and the people if I am shy or not, but I would say it is super easy to meet people when you live in hostels.

In your hostel room, in the kitchen, TV room, sitting area there are fellow travellers everywhere that also want to meet other people and even if you are shy but just smile and look friendly there will be people talking to you and starting the conversation. Or you can start it yourself by just saying “Hi, how are you?” or asking a question. You will get more and more used to it and it gets easier every time.

I also found it super nice and very easy to meet people when you do a bus tour with a small group for a few days. Because you have to stay together for several days it is a lot easier to make friends because you actually have time to get to know them and you also are kinda forced to talk to each other as you are travelling together. With my three tours I did so far, I was always very lucky with my travel mates and met some nice people.

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Are you scared of travelling alone sometimes?

I am not a person that gets scared easily and until now I’ve been not in a situation that really scared me. Obviously, there were some moments that I didn’t felt completely safe walking home alone or being in a surrounding that doesn’t feel completely safe, but you also have those moments at home. Overall I would say Australia is a very safe country and you don’t need to worry a lot. It is definitely a great place for females travelling alone or travelling alone for the first time. Usually, you are in bigger cities/towns anyways and the hostels are in animated and busy areas.

I also experience so many great situations where people asked me to help me, told me what to do and how to stay safe and in general Australians are so nice and helpful.

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Easy questions for first conversations:

  • Where are you from?
  • What are you doing in Australia?
  • How long have you been here?
  • What are your plans?
  • What have you seen so far? Where have you been so far?
  • Are you travelling on your own?
  • What are your plans for today/tonight?
  • How was your day?
  • What do you do at home/what have you done at home before you left?

Those are the easy questions you basically ask and get asked as a traveller EVERY TIME you meet people :D Can get annoying, but it’s fun at the same time, especially when you get over these basic questions with someone and have real conversations. Another funny thing is that you usually ask very late what his/her name is because it doesn’t matter that much and you meet so many people and can’t remember all their names anyways :P

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Two weeks into Solo travelling and already met two wonderful people that I’ll stay friends with forever <3

How do you get to meet/talk to people?

  • In your hostel room. Just say hello to everyone in your need room, smile and if you get a friendly response and a real smile back just ask one of the questions above t start a conversation
  • In the kitchen. When you ask to get a kitchen tool after they are done using it or tell them that their food looks/smells yummy you can easily start a conversation and sit together while eating after cooking.
  • In the common area. When you sit down with your food next to someone/at the same table, smile, say hey and if you get a friendly response/smile back you can start a conversation
  • On Tours. Because you are travelling for a few days together, it is a lot easier to find friends here because you are kinda forced to talk to each other and get to know one another. When you meet at the bus ask where they are from or see what the situations bring you. Oftentimes the tour guide also makes everybody to introduce him-/herself.

And you will see that oftentimes the other person is just as willing to start a conversation and starts him-/herself. Especially when you are travelling alone and other people are together or in a group they will start a conversation because it is a lot easier for them than for you as a solo traveller. And when you are shy to do the first step, better choose another person alone than a group/couple because that makes it less scary.

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Why Australia and why on your own?

It’s hard to exactly say what made me do all this. There were several reasons behind it, but the biggest was that it just felt right. I felt the urge to go travel on my own after school and Australia called me.

Other than that, Australia is a warm and sunny country which I love, it is big so it makes sense to explore it in one year and really see many places (for example New Zealand can also be done in 2-3 months, at least that’s what I think), the nature and animals are completely different than in Europe or wherever I’ve been so far and it’s supposed to be a very good country for travelling solo as a female for the first time when you are still very young. It is also pretty popular for travellers, so you can easily meet others, find jobs as a Backpacker and travel around.

When I was thinking about my gap year I was always seeing myself doing whatever I want, not being with someone and when I started to get more into it and read amazing experiences and advantages solo travel has I knew, I want to do this on my own.

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Why do you love and recommend travelling alone?

Because you learn and grow so much as a person

  • You learn to be confident,
  • to make your own decisions,
  • stop being shy and practice talking to strangers
  • getting life experiences that will help you your whole future life
  • meeting many different people from all around the world
  • you will get to know yourself and your own character trades more
  • making friends with new people and some will be part of your life forever
  • you get to see the world and culture more intense and maybe even differently
  • you can do whatever the hell you want to without having to make compromises or justify it

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I love travelling with my friends or going on vacation with my family. But solo travel just has such a special feeling to it and it changes and lets you grow even more than travelling already does.

I can only recommend everyone to try it themselves! It’s special, it’s an adventure and it will only have a positive impact on your life at the end (even with a bad experience you will learn something).

I urge you to travel. On your own.