With limited travel options in 2021, Kiwis and Aussies alike are queuing up to explore our own (and our neighbours’) backyard. Sydney is an obvious choice for a quick getaway, but what else is there to see nearby? I’ve created this 10-day Sydney and New South Wales itinerary – it’s exactly what we did on our trip there in 2019 and we had such a great time – hopefully you will too!
Sydney and New South Wales Itinerary
This Sydney and New South Wales itinerary will take you from the iconic sights of the city centre to some of the best city beaches anywhere in the world, as well as the Blue Mountains and a trip down the South Coast to Jervis Bay. I reckon it’s the best itinerary to follow, especially for first timers, as it takes in everything that makes this city (and state) special. Let’s get on with it!
Day 1 and 2: Exploring Sydney
If you’re flying into Sydney you’ll want to spend the first few days in the city itself. There is heaps to explore, so even in three days you won’t be able to do everything. When visiting a new city it’s a good idea to go for a stroll and get your bearings. We stayed in Kings Cross, known as a bit of dodgy area, and strolled the streets for a while looking for food. It’s quite a lively place to walk around but I’m not sure if I’d advise everyone to stay there (we only chose it because it was cheap).
On your first full day in Sydney I’d make a beeline for the iconic sights – the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. You’ve seen these places before on TV etc, and it’s always cool to see something so iconic.
Luckily, these aren’t the only things to see in Central Sydney – you can easily spend a day or two wandering the historic streets, eating great food and visiting museums, old shopping arcades and hanging out by the Harbour Bridge at the Rocks. You can also walk across the bridge or take a short ferry ride across to Luna Park. So many options – soak it all in for a couple of days and then you’ll be ready to move on!
You’ll probably want to check out a beach too. I’d recommend taking the ferry over to Manly and checking out Manly Beach, as well as the walk to Spit Bridge (or just hang out in the beachside town centre). Bondi Beach is obviously iconic, but I’ve added that into the end of my itinerary.
Day 3: A Day Trip
On your third day in Sydney I’d say you’ll be starting to crave something a bit different, and the Blue Mountains are certainly that. You can catch a train from Sydney to Katoomba, and then a short bus ride will take you to Echo Point and the Three Sisters. It’s probably the most famous Blue Mountains viewpoint and it’s so easy to visit.
Katoomba is a nice little town too, and by the time you’ve had a look around and caught the train back to Sydney you’ll have spent most of the day. We really enjoyed our day trip to the Blue Mountains and I reckon it should be on everyone’s Sydney itinerary.
Day 4-8: A Road Trip
When we were planning our Sydney itinerary we always knew we wanted to visit Jervis Bay. I’d heard Hyams Beach had the whitest sand in the world (just a rumour unfortunately) and that there were heaps of other amazing beaches to explore (definitely not a rumour). We spent four nights down at Jervis Bay and it was such a great time. Our days consisted of lazing around on beaches, walking between beaches, doing a dolphin spotting tour and generally just enjoying the beachside vibe.
I’m not going to give you a day-by-day breakdown of what to do in Jervis Bay, instead, check out this post, which should give you a good idea of some of the options. My must-do list for Jervis Bay includes Hyams Beach, the White Sands Walk and Booderee National Park. Huskisson is a great town to base yourself in – it’s a short drive / walk from the best beaches and there are some good places to eat and drink.
Day 9-10: Back to Sydney
The last couple of days of my Sydney and New South Wales itinerary takes you back to Sydney. It’s always a good idea to spend the last night or two in the place you’re flying from, and there are so many cool places in Sydney that you’ll be spoiled for choice. We chose Bondi for our last couple of days in Sydney. The vibe is very different to the city centre, and there’s a great walk to Bronte Beach and beyond. Bondi is great for eating and drinking as well.
Bondi was the perfect end point to our time in Sydney and New South Wales. From there it’s a short bus / train ride to the airport – we were sad to go but vowed to return and see more of this beautiful city (and state).
Sydney and New South Wales Itinerary Tips
- Do you need to rent a car? We only rented a car for a few days, as we felt we needed one to explore Jervis Bay. Outside of that, we didn’t need a car in Sydney itself, and there are lots of day trips available to public transport users. The train system in Sydney is extensive and easy to use, and you can get to some good places on the ferry too.
- Is it expensive? Not as expensive as we thought it would be. We found decent (but very low-end) rooms for around $70 and the food and drink was around the same as in New Zealand. Petrol is way cheaper though!
- Is 10 days enough? Its enough to get a good taste of what this region has to offer, but there’s obviously only so much you can see in 10 days. I reckon you can see the highlights though, and if you push it out to two-weeks or so you could fit in a lot more.
Are you planning a trip to Sydney and New South Wales? Let me know in the comments below!
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