First, let’s get these out of the way: While direct flights from Manila to Sydney are available via our local airlines, these long-haul flights don’t come cheap (unless you get them at a promo rate), and at around eight hours long, are not the most comfy, either. And you can’t get in with just your Philippine passport; you’d have to apply for a visa through a third-party agency or DIY it through the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website, where application will set you back over P5,000, not to mention take up to a month to be approved. Finally, Sydney ranks tenth among the cities with the highest cost of living in the world—higher than New York’s!—so you can bet that whatever you spend on your trip will make a serious dent on your savings.
Still here after we’ve listed the cons? Let’s move on to the pros, of which there are TONS. Trust us: Once you set foot in this bustling, intoxicating city, you will quickly realize that all the struggles you endured burning through your bank account and praying for your visa grant were totally worth it.
Go on a Sydney Big Bus Tour.Sure, boarding a fire-engine red double-decker bus with a bunch of shutter-happy tourists sounds cheesy, but promise, it is F-U-N. Plus, It’s super convenient if you’re a first-time traveler who wants to hit all the major tourist attractions—you can hop on the bus at any of its designated stops, hop off wherever you feel like lingering, and then wait for the next bus that comes in 15- to 20-minute intervals so you can hop on again.
Catch the ongoing shows, festivals, and other events.
From musical performances to community gatherings to art and culture spectacles, there’s always something going on in Sydney. If you’re traveling from end-May to mid-June, you’ll get to catch Vivid Sydney, the city’s annually held, highly anticipated outdoor lighting festival. Year-round, hallowed venues like the Sydney Opera House and the Enmore Theatre host events such as concerts, comedy shows, and performance art shows. Looking to catch cool gigs? Places like the Metro Theatre and the Oxford Art Factory play host to more cutting-edge acts.Continue reading below ↓
Enter the museums and art galleries.
Want to sneak some cultural pitstops into your trip? Don’t miss art spaces such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which regularly host temporary exhibits on top of their permanent collections; or museums such as the Australian Museum, the Museum of Sydney, or the Powerhouse Museum if you want to learn as you loiter.Continue reading below ↓
Marvel at the city’s old-world architecture.
Sydney has done a topnotch job of preserving structures that date from as far back as the 19th You’ll see how beautifully maintained they are when you do a little shopping at Queen Victoria Building, catch a show at the adjacent Sydney Town Hall, or stroll down the cobblestoned paths of The Rocks.Continue reading below ↓
Prowl the weekend markets.
Sydney loves its outdoor markets, and so will you! Popular ones like the Balmain Market, The Rocks Market, Rozelle Market, Glebe Market, Kings Cross Market, and Chinatown Night Market offer everything from local eats to fresh produce to artisanal products to secondhand finds to various awesome odds and ends. Planning a visit towards the end of the year? Catch The Finders Keepers from November 30 to December 2, 2018, a seasonal market gathering products by Australia’s independent artists, crafters, and designers.Continue reading below ↓
Drown in discounts at the Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre.
While there are lots of spots where you can find great picks, from the major malls to the neighborhood boutiques, the price tags can be a bit painful to behold. Pro tip: There’s always Sydney’s largest factory outlet complex, which is home to 170 Australian and international brands. You’re welcome.Continue reading below ↓
Stuff yourself silly with fish and chips.
A visit to Sydney ain’t complete without a serving of fish and chips. You can find it practically anywhere since it’s a staple dish, along with meat pies, sausage rolls, and, er, Vegemite. Get your fill at The Fish Shop, or if you’re aiming for the ultimate pig-out, make a beeline for the Sydney Fish Market.Continue reading below ↓
Experience Sydney’s coffee culture.
Australians take their coffee seriously, so it’s no surprise that tons of great cafes with cool music and impeccable décor abound in Sydney. Grab a cuppa at The Grounds of Alexandria or its younger sister, The Grounds of the City, for a marvelous coffee experience that will have you Instagramming everything in sight.Continue reading below ↓
Hit up the bars.
Want to experience a night out in Sydney? Say no more, fam. There are options for every type of night owl: Go drinking and dancing at diner-slash-bar The Soda Factory, nurse your favorite poison at underground whisky cellar The Baxter Inn, catch live music in cool digs at Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice, or hang like a hipster in the bohemian neighborhood that is Newtown.Continue reading below ↓
Sign up for a Hunter Valley wine tour.
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply someone who’s always down to go boozing, the two-hour drive to this picturesque wine country is worth taking. There’s no shortage of tour operators you can find online, which typically treat you to three to five winery visits, cheese and chocolate tastings, and epic surrounds as far as the eye can see.Continue reading below ↓
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge—if you dare!
For all the daredevils out there, you might want to try BridgeClimb Sydney, which will have you clambering up the arch of this Sydney landmark on foot. Tickets don’t come cheap, with the cheapest at AUD 168 (around P6,600), but can you just imagine the exhilaration—not to mention the insane view?!Continue reading below ↓
Show the buskers some love.
In Sydney, buskers are everywhere from street corners to train stations, but one prime spot to catch them is on the western side of Circular Quay, where all manner of talent has a place, from artists to musicians to dancers to levitating men (!!!). After enjoying their performances and snapping away with your camera, throw some cash into their collection boxes—it’s only polite!Continue reading below ↓
Hop on a ferry.
From Circular Quay, ferries can take you to other popular destinations like seaside town Manly Beach, wildlife sanctuary Taronga Zoo, or amusement park Luna Park. Wherever you end up going, the ferry ride is a delight all its own as it spoils you with gorgeous views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Make sure to grab a seat at the outdoor deck for unobstructed uh-mazement.Continue reading below ↓
Bondi Beach Graffiti Wall.
If you visit in the cooler months (autumn is from March to May while winter is from June to August), it might not be the best idea to go for a dip, but Bondi Beach is still worth a visit, if only for its regularly changing strip of murals made by some of the world’s best street artists. Make your Bondi sidetrip even better by camping out on the sand right as the sun sets. Heaven.Continue reading below ↓
Attempt a scenic walk at Manly Beach.
If you’re not only a sucker for seaside views but also love a good hike, take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach and go on the scenic walk to the North Head Sanctuary. The staggering 9km distance can be a challenge, so make sure you’ve packed water, sunscreen, proper footwear, and oodles of persistence.Continue reading below ↓
Basically just walk, walk, walk everywhere.
Many of Sydney Central Business District’s iconic landmarks are a skip and a hop away from each other, so you can tick off spots such as the Sydney Opera House, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Hyde Park, the ANZAC Memorial, and the Australian Museum all in one go. Even if you don’t go the well-worn touristy route, there’s still plenty to discover in Sydney’s nooks and crannies, from local designers’ shops to charming neighborhood cafes to ultra-cool street art.Continue reading below ↓
Relax at a park or lookout spot.
Tired from all that walking? Rest your cute ass at a park bench, or better yet, right on the damn grass. The breathtaking displays of flora at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, the spectacular view of the Sydney Harbour from Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, or the sight of kids frolicking by the fountain at Hyde Park may be just the thing you need to enjoy a moment of chill…before you start walking again.Continue reading below ↓
Last but certainly not the least, chat with the locals, mate!
Australians are known for their world-famous friendliness, so don’t be surprised if you’re just ordering food at a restaurant or standing in line at the cashier and someone strikes up a conversation with you. Just a heads up: Their accent can get you in some HILARIOUS misunderstandings.Continue reading below ↓