Short on time but don’t want to miss anything the harbour city has to offer? Whether you live in the city and have a free Saturday or you're making a flying visit, this ultimate one day itinerary will take you through the best bits of Sydney – from the iconic sights to the mouthwatering food – all in under 24 hours.
9.00am - Breakfast and a walk around Circular Quay
Start the day right: with breakfast at Bowery Lane, right in the CBD. The New York-inspired menu provides extensive options to fuel up for a busy day, but our top pick is the diced avocado. It’s a twist on the classic with the welcome addition of eggplant and walnuts – it may put home ownership out of reach, but it’s well worth it.
After breakfast, make the short walk down to Circular Quay, where you can take in all the classic sights. Wander up to the steps to the Sydney Opera House, look across to the Harbour Bridge, and take in the hustle and bustle of commuter ferries coming and going. A stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens a must, and if you make it as far as Mrs Macquarie’s Chair you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views across Sydney Harbour.
11.30am - Get up close and personal with wildlife
Take the 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo and jump in the Sky Safari cable car to the zoo’s entrance. A walk around the zoo offers more than just encounters with wildlife – Taronga Zoo boasts some of the best views of Sydney Harbour so you can take in Giraffes and the Opera House in one go.
1.00pm - Lunch and a wander around Bondi Beach
Photo: Alan Lam
Hop on a bus or look into local car-sharing options for the trip out to Bondi. Car Next Door lets you rent a real person’s car by the hour or the day, and a return trip from central Sydney to Bondi (plus the convenience of having wheels for a few hours) will set you back about $25-35. Click here to view real people's cars to hire in Sydney.
Head to Matt Moran’s North Bondi Fish for lunch. Whiting tacos or fresh crab sliders make for a more inspiring meal than your traditional beachside fish and chips.
Once you’ve had your fill of local seafood, spend some time at Sydney’s most famous beach, including a dip in the most photographed ocean pool in the country, the Bondi Icebergs. Take the return Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk (or all the way to Coogee if you’re feeling especially energetic) for some beautiful beachside views, any time of year.
4.00pm - Head out to Watson's Bay
Australia's oldest fishing village is just a short trip north from Bondi, and offers some of the best views and fresh seafood in Sydney. Take one of the two walking paths that start at the ferry wharf: up past Camp Cove (and the spectacular views back to the habour) and the Hornsby lighthouse, or south past the Gap and the Macquarie Lighthouse.
6.30pm - An Italian feast in Paddington
After all that walking it's time to refuel the best way we know how: with carbs. Head to Paddington where you'll have your pick of great Italian restaurants. 10 William Street has a great wine selection, or head to Lucio's if you like to eat your duck-egg ravioli surrounded by a magnificent collection of Australian art. Vino E Cucina or Cipri Italian are also great options.
8.00pm - Enjoy a movie by moonlight
Between November and March, a corner of Centennial Park converts into an outdoor movie theatre with Moonlight Cinema screening a rotating program of movies each night. Roll out your picnic rug and don't forget the snacks.
If you're here in the cooler months, head a little further down Oxford Street to the Palace Verona cinema in Paddington. Here you can enjoy an arthouse movie, sheltered from the elements (plus the cinema is licensed, so you can take your wine or beer in with you).
10.30pm - Head to Newtown for a drink (or two)
Finish the day at one of the inner west's best bars or pubs. Newtown and Enmore have plenty of places to enjoy a drink or two. If it's cocktails you're after, try Earl's Juke Joint, Jacoby's or The Midnight Special. If you're more of a vinophile try She Loves You or Cittavino. If you think you might need a late-night burger with your drink, head to one of the many great pubs: Queens Hotel, Corridor or Mary's.