Sydney, Australia 2 Day Travel Tips
G'day mate and welcome to the land of Oz. This is my second time visiting Sydney and the jet lag always kicks my bum when traveling east, let me tell you... The first day was an absolute wash. After landing, I went directly to the hotel, dropped off my bags and grabbed a quick bite to eat with intentions of getting in a few hours of sleep. Well, those few hours turned into an entire day but I was definitely refreshed and ready to go early the following morning.
Visa - Required if traveling from the US. The visa process is all done electronically through the Australian ETA app and can take up to 78 hours for approval. The Australian visa is good for up to 1 year.
Transportation: Airport to City Center
From the airport, you can take the Airport Link, Sydney's Airport Train and is advertised to get you from the Airport to City Center in 10 min. Cost is approx. 20 AUD.
Inner City Travel:
You can easily get around the city by utilizing Sydney's bus or tram system for a low fare
Sydney's Opal Card (Transportation card)
If you've ever been to London and used the Oyster card, it is very similar to Sydney's Opal card. Essentially, you pay a deposit for the card (Opal does not require a deposit but requires a minimum card value of 20 AUD) and load funds for how often you plan to hop on/off any mode of transportation. This card can be purchased at the airport or at any of the tram stops that has an Opal retailer. If you choose not purchase the Opal card and have contactless payment, you can go that route too.
Helpful tip: Be sure to tap in and out when using the bus or tram. Otherwise, you will be charged a full days fare.
Australia is very expensive and you will have a bit of sticker shock. Luckily, the USD was doing well at the time I had visited, so it wasn't too bad. The first time I had traveled to Sydney, my friend had warned me how expensive it was and suggested to bring Cup-of-Noodles. They sure came in handy.
Average Meal Cost: 15 - 20 AUD (lower end)
Where I stayed:
Cost: $475.12 (2 night stay)
This was a great location. It's a close walking distance to China Town and to Darling Harbor. There are several restaurants nearby and it's easily accessible to the tram.
Citadines Connect Sydney Airport (stayed on return from the Gold Coast)
Cost: ~90 AUD (1 night stay)
This hotel is about a 10min walk from the SYD International Airport. The rooms were very clean and hip. The restaurant on the top deck has a roof top terrace overlooking the Sydney city scape.
Where I ate:
Fish Bowl (Food hall in Darling Square)
Mamak - Malaysian roti and satay (China Town)
Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet (China Town)
Emperor's Puff (China Town) This is place been around for years and is a local staple.
What I did in a day:
Since I waisted the first day sleeping, I had jam packed in all that I could.
Walked around The Rock and stumbled upon a St Patty's Day parade - There are several pubs around the The Rock, which are named hotels. This was done to disguise themselves during the prohibition. If you're up to it, you can do a historic pub crawl.
Took a ferry around the harbor - You can get some great views of the Opera House and the Sydney Bridge from the water. Cost: ~8 AUD roundtrip.
Bondi Beach - From Circular Quay, you can take the bus to Bondi Beach. Cost: ~2 AUD
The Icebergs at Bondi Beach - (Highly recommend) You can get an all day pass for 9 AUD, which includes access to the locker/shower room. Towels are a separate cost (2 AUD). The main lap pool is salt water and at high tide, you can see the waves crash up to mix in with the pool.