What to Do, See and Eat in Sydney

Nicole Renard is a student at Chapman University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Wellington, New Zealand.

G’day, mate! While studying abroad in New Zealand, I had the chance to go to Sydney, Australia, for a week by myself. Initially, I was afraid to go alone, but Sydney quickly became one of my favorite cities and arguably one of my favorite trips. If you have time to go, GO!

Before I went, I did my research to make sure I could see everything from the Opera House to Koala bears. Now I want to share my guide with you so you can experience the best of Sydney, too. I’ve made lists of my favorite places, spaces, things to do, eat and see that are do-able on a college budget.

Sydney Skyline, Sydney, Australia, Renard-photo 2
Sydney Skyline

The best deal you can get is to buy an iVenture Pass because with it comes entry to all the main attractions in Sydney. You end up saving lots of money and get the chance to do almost everything!

iVenture has a bunch of different options for passes. Whether you want a 3-day, 5-day, 7-day unlimited pass or a 3-attraction, 5-attraction, 7-attraction pass that you can use within 31 days, you can customize your pass to suit your travel needs.

Here are a few lists of my favorite things I experienced!

Favorite Attractions/Places

Opera House Tour: no explanation needed; incredible.

Sydney Explorer Hop on Hop off Bus Tour: This includes 2 routes and takes you to Bondi Beach

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Beautiful Bondi Beach

Oz Jet boating: Get ready to get wet! This is a wild ride!

Captain Cook Hop on Hop off Cruise: This tour is AMAZING and is on a boat that takes you to Taronga Zoo, Manly Beach, Watsons Bay and Luna Park

Sydney Tower Eye SKYWALK: If you don’t want to go outside, the Observation Deck is great and has good views of the city.

Taronga Zoo: Really great zoo with views of Sydney skyline

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The Taronga Zoo, across the harbor from the city centre.


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A rooster at the zoo

Madame Tussaud’s wax museum

Manly Beach Bike Tours 

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Manly Beach, my favorite

SeaLIFE and WildLIVE Aquariums

Luna Park: An old vintage theme park situated in Lavender Bay. Free of charge to walk around in!

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Iconic Luna Park entrance

Watson’s Bay: Get off at the stop on Captain Cook Hop on Hop off and walk to the Gap.

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The Gap


Things you can see for FREE:

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The Ferris Wheel at Luna Park

Royal Botanical Gardens: SO BEAUTIFUL! Start at Circular Quay and walk all the way along the water to the Opera House and you can enter the Gardens from there.

The Government House: neat castle-like building in the Botanical Gardens. Worth taking a look at if you’re there.

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The Government House in the Botanical Gardens

Hyde Park

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Hyde Park

Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge: Great views of Sydney! You can also climb the bridge, but I didn’t do that.

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Sydney Harbor Bridge Walk

Best Restaurants/Food:

Kangaroo Burger at The Rock’s Cafe: You’ve got to try it, mate! Come on. You’re in Australia.

Kangaroo Pizza at The Australian Hotel: They call some restaurants “hotels” there. It’s not a hotel. I was confused, but YUM.

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Kangaroo Burger at The Rock’s Cafe. Unfortunately I ate my kangaroo pizza before I had a chance to take a photo of it.

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe: Can be pricy, but if you like chocolate, then stop here.

Max Brenner Chocolate Cafe

Pancakes on the Rocks : iHop better watch out

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Pancakes on the Rocks

Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Darling Harbour 

Stanley Street: Kind of hidden behind the Australian Museum is a cute little street filled with great restaurants. Check it out!

Opera House Kitchen: Yummy food with a great view! If you do the Opera House tour you get a discount! You also get a discount to a show so check to see what’s on!

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Opera House Kitchen Meatballs. YUM.


Best Ice Cream (you knew it was coming):

Gelato Messina: You have to go. It will knock your socks off. If you’re doing the Hop on Hop off bus tour, its just a 5 minute walk down from the Kings Cross Stop.


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Movenpick: Corsi street at Manly Beach

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Copenhagen Ice Cream: Circular Quay or The Rocks

Ben & Jerry’s: I know we have this in the states but it’s still good.

There you have it! To follow more of my adventures abroad, follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @NicoleERenard. To see what ISA student are doing around the world, follow ISA on Facebook and Twitter at @ISAabroad.

Want to read about more Australian adventures? Check out “3 Wallet-Friendly Weekend Trips You Need to Take in Australia”