How to spend a month in Sydney: Everything you need to know
With its glittering harbour, sun-soaked beaches, photogenic landmarks and world-class dining and entertainment, Sydney is undoubtedly one of the world’s most visually stunning cities and a hive of cultural richness. The capital of New South Wales has long been a popular tourist destination for travellers from every corner of the globe, boasting a diverse range of attractions that appeal to all ages and interests. While many people choose to visit Sydney on a quick weekend trip with a jam-packed itinerary, spending up to a month or even more in Australia’s biggest city is a fantastic way to explore its treasures at a more relaxed place and truly embrace the lifestyle. Once you check in to your private apartment at Fraser Suites Sydney, here’s our guide to experiencing the best of Sydney during a month-long visit.
- Since you’re staying a while, visit major attractions on weekdays instead of weekends to avoid the biggest crowds.
- Always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Australia has dangerous UV levels and skin protection is a must all year round.
- At the beach, swimming between the flags is a must.
- Despite what the locals say, Sydney has a pretty amazing public transport system and is usually preferable to driving, particularly in the CBD where traffic can be a nightmare. Grab an Opal card at any convenience store and top up whenever you need to.
- There’s always something happening. Keep an eye on the events and entertainment calendar for fun ideas every day of the week.
Sydney boasts a sunny climate with hot summers, mild winters and low to moderate humidity, with plenty of blue skies throughout the year. The weather is mostly ideal for enjoying the outdoors, but the subtropical climate lends itself to the occasional storm; even if the skies look clear in the morning, double check the forecast to make sure you don’t get caught in torrential rain later in the day. The warmest weather comes between late October and early April; those wishing to avoid the hottest months and biggest crowds should aim for October, November, March and April.
Sydney has sprawling train, bus and ferry networks as well as a small light rail service. A tap-and-go Opal card is an essential purchase and can be found at many supermarkets, newsagents, convenience stores and Sydney Airport – it will give you access to all trains, buses, ferries and light rail services in Sydney and can be topped up online, by phone or at one of the many self-service machines throughout the city. Taxis and ride-shares are readily available at all times, just be aware that traffic can be a bit of a nightmare – something to keep in mind if you’re renting a car, too.
Sydney isn’t the cheapest city, and you’re likely to find yourself spending a little more than you’re used to for food, entertainment and other activities. However, its size and infrastructure ultimately make it possible to visit on any budget with everything from free attractions to fine dining.
Sydney has an ever-growing list of major attractions that prove to be evergreen draw cards for visitors throughout the year. While these are the places you’re most likely to experience throngs of tourists, they’re all well worth visiting at least once.
Sydney Opera House: The go-to attraction in Sydney. Sit on the steps at sunset, enjoy breathtaking views of the Harbour Bridge and watch the ferries cruise by over a drink at Opera Bar. Don’t forget to check out the interior, too – it’s just as impressive as the outside.
Sydney Harbour Bridge: Once you’ve admired the bridge from every angle at the many viewpoints along the harbour, walk along the bridge itself and admire the iconic structure from up close. You can even climb to the top and get some stunning pictures if you’re willing to fork out for a ticket.
Royal Botanic Gardens: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city without leaving it. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore in the Gardens, so grab a map and take a self-guided tour through this lush oasis by foot or bicycle.
Circular Quay: The area between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge is the perfect place to go for a stroll with its waterfront bars and restaurants, bustling ferry terminals, the Museum of Contemporary Art and more.
The Rocks: A maze of laneways straddling the Harbour Bridge with an abundance of street food, fine dining, historic pubs, buskers, shopping and markets. A must on any trip to Sydney.
Bondi Beach: Scroll down for more info on Sydney’s best beaches, but don’t skip a trip to this world-famous strip of golden sand less than 10 kilometres from the city centre.
Check out our top 10 places to visit in Sydney for a more detailed rundown of the biggest hotspots.
Sydney’s bevvy of upmarket shopping malls, cobbled arcades and trendy strips are balanced by a bounty of markets selling everything from fresh produce to antique cameras. The many markets dotted around the city present excellent opportunities to pick up unique second hand goods, charming knick knacks, delicious international street food, handmade products and quality local produce direct from the source. Even if you don’t plan on spending a cent, it’s worth trawling at least a couple of markets for the experience alone – kind of like an enhanced window shop with more fresh air and a community-centric atmosphere. The following are just some of the many markets worth visiting:
- Glebe Markets
- Paddington Markets
- Chinatown Night Market
- Paddy’s Markets
- Carriageworks Farmers Market
- Kirribilli Markets
- Marrickville Markets
- Sydney Fish Market
With more than 100 beaches within Sydney’s boundaries, it’d be a crime to stay downtown for the full length of your stay. The city’s numerous world-class beaches are an essential ingredient in its iconic lifestyle, bringing a culture of swimming, surfing and general outdoor-loving goodness all year round. Sydney has everything from quiet little coves to bustling beachfront promenades, so it’s worth exploring a few different beaches to experience the wide variety on offer. Here are our top picks in no particular order:
- Shelly Beach
- Palm Beach
One of the most popular outdoor activities in Sydney is the famous Bondi to Coogee walk, where locals and tourists alike stroll along a stunning coastal trail traversing coves, cliffs, rock pools and grassy hilltops. If you want to blend in with the locals, why not take surfing lessons with one of the many providers lining the Sydney’s most popular beachfronts? Whatever you do, remember to always swim between the flags and wear sunscreen to protect your skin from Australia’s dangerous UV levels.
Live music, events and entertainment
Sydney is a dynamic tapestry of evolving culture that manifests itself through the many live shows, concerts, festivals and events that are held throughout the city all year round. Musicals, sports, comedy, music festivals, moonlight cinema, cooking classes, pop culture expos – whatever your tastes, in Sydney you’ll find countless like-minded people celebrating the things you love most. Keep an eye out on the official Sydney Events page to get word of any upcoming events you might be interested in and don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. Don’t stress if you’re on a tight budget, as there is always a wealth of free and cheap events to enjoy.
For the kids (and young at heart)
Whether you need somewhere to take the kids or just want to treat yourself to some all-ages fun, Sydney will not disappoint. Taronga Zoo on Bradleys Head is arguably one of the world’s best and is home to everything from Sumatran tigers and Asian elephants to meerkats and koalas. The Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour are also well worth visiting for the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of marine life and native fauna. Luna Park is another excellent place to check out with a range of carnival rides and games overlooking the Harbour Bridge from Milsons Point. For something a little left of centre, head to Cockatoo Island in the middle of the harbour for a self-guided tour and a dose of wartime history.
Day trips to the Blue Mountains
Named for the distinctive tinted haze that permeates its valleys, gorges and horizons, the Blue Mountains is a rugged region roughly two hours’ drive west of Sydney and is one of the best day trips you can do from the city. The area is a maze of forests, waterfalls, cliffs and canyons that make for the perfect nature retreat in contrast with the hustle and bustle of the big smoke. The region’s main town of Katoomba is the perfect place to start, where you’ll find a community overflowing with quaint shops, inviting cafes and critically acclaimed restaurants. A convenient way to explore the wilderness beyond is on a guided tour, where you can see the region’s top attractions in a day and be taken back to the city in the evening. The Blue Mountains’ best attractions include Katoomba Scenic Railway (the world’s steepest railway), the Giant Staircase walk, the Jenolan Caves and more.
Off the beaten track
Street art: While most consider Melbourne as the street art capital of Australia, Sydney has its fair share of urban sightseeing and won’t disappoint the culture lover in you. Newtown, Bondi Beach, Chippendale and Redfern are among the many trendy suburbs splashed with fascinating commissioned pieces, sprawling murals and treasured graffiti walls.
Ghost tours: Don’t knock it till you try it. Sydney is quietly renowned for its ghost tours, particularlythose operating in the maze-like laneways at The Rocks. Put on a brave face and prepare for a spooky and semi-historical adventures through underground tunnels, shadowy alleyways, forgotten buildings and eerie graveyards.
Ferry rides: Yes, ferries form a key part of Sydney’s public transport infrastructure, but they are much more than vessels to get from A to B. Jumping on a ferry is a great way to see the city from a new perspective – jump on at Circular Quay for unbelievable views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Aboriginal heritage tours: Learn about the rich Aboriginal culture and heritage of Sydney with a guided tour in the Royal Botanic Garden, the traditional land of the Cadigal people. Join on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10am at the Visitors Centre and enjoy a valuable insight into traditional food, music, medicine and dance.
Accommodation at Fraser Suites Sydney
Fraser Suites Sydney offers the perfect accommodation for month-long stays in Sydney with luxury serviced apartments in the heart of the CBD just minutes from Darling Harbour. Our suites put you at the centre of the city’s major attractions and landmarks, making it easy to immerse yourself in the very best that Sydney has to offer.
Each apartment flaunts practical luxury with an open-plan layout and facilities for self-contained living, giving you the freedom to cook and dine privately or step outside for a meal at one of the many world-class restaurants on the doorstep. Choose between a studio suite, one and two-bedroom apartments or a luxury three-bedroom penthouse, each featuring a work desk, entertainment system, Malin & Goetz bathroom products, a kitchenette and floor-to-ceiling windows. Don’t forget to take advantage of the hotel’s indoor pool, gym, restaurant, meeting rooms, 24/7 concierge and all the other in-house amenities at your disposal.
Online bookings through Fraser Suites come with a Best Rate Guarantee to ensure you get the most value out of your reservation. Don’t forget to check our latest offers to see if you are eligible for any discounts or freebies as part of your booking, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team if you have any specific enquiries about booking anything from short stays to month-long accommodation at our award-winning Sydney hotel.