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Sydney is one of the largest cities in Australia and, of course, known worldwide. The city on the east coast of Australia in the state of New South Wales is for many visitors the beginning of their trip to Australia.

Sydney – how to get there and first impressions

The metropolis has a very special appeal and almost everybody knows many sights of Sydney such as the Sydney Opera House or the Harbor Bridge. For me, Sydney was the beginning to a month in Australia and I’ll tell you in this article about my first impressions.

How to get to Sydney

Sydney has the largest airport in Australia and is therefore very easy to reach from many parts of the world. There are many flights with stopover, but also direct flights, e.g. from Asia or the United Arab Emirates. From Europe there is usually a stopover since the total flight time is over 20 hours. It’s best to compare prices and times at Skyscanner.

Tip: Due to the long flight time it is worth to do a stopover in Asia, e.g. in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, before heading to Sydney.

To get to the city from the airport, there are several options. The Airport Link Train takes you to the main train station in just under 13 minutes. The buses 400, 420 regular and 420N (night drives) are other ways to get to the city cheaply. This is also where the neighborhoods like Kings Cross or Circular Quay are located. The last option is to pre-book an airport shuttle online that will take you directly to your accommodation.

Accommodation in Sydney – our hotel tip

The Mariners Court Hotel is located on the edge of the center, just a few-minutes walk from the Royal Botanic Gardens, from which you can reach the Sydney Opera. In addition to the clean rooms with all amenities and a balcony, the hotel offers a breakfast buffet, washing machines and dryers as well as luggage storage. Good access to public transport also speaks in favor of the Mariners Court Hotel.

You can find more hotels in Sydney in other popular areas like Kings Cross or Darling Harbor here.

First impressions of Sydney

After traveling a good 24 hours from Bangkok via Jakarta and Singapore (due to strange flight bookings), I was afraid of leaving the summer behind me. As it was early May, fall usually returns slowly to Australia. But I was lucky and the sun was already shining in the morning, warming up the day.

The entry procedure was also very simple and except for the annoying entry papers, which I needed to fill out, everything went very quickly. Before that, I often read on the internet that I will be asked for a bank statement as well as a return or onward ticket. This was not the case for me. Nevertheless, I would advise everyone to have these papers with you. They scanned my passport, stamped it and welcomed me to Australia!

After the first Australian shower, I was excited to enjoy the sunshine on the other side of the world. Kings Cross, where my accommodation was located, is not that far from the harbor with the Sydney Opera House, the Harbor Bridge and the Royal Botanical Garden. A good starting point for Sydney.

1. The botanical garden of Sydney

The Royal Botanic Garden is over 30 acres and is located on a bay, so to speak, opposite the Sydney Opera House. It is only one of Sydney’s three botanical gardens, but it is the largest. It was founded in 1816 and is still open every day. You can visit it for free.

View from the botanical garden at the skyline of Sydney
View from the botanical garden at the skyline of Sydney
A cockatoo in the botanical garden of Sydney
A cockatoo in the Royal Botanic Garden of Sydney

During a visit you can discover several areas in the Royal Botanic Garden, such as the Begonia Garden, the Palm Grove, the Tropical House, a piece of rain forest and much more. A walk along the water is also absolutely worth it, because there you will get first views of the Sydney Opera and the Harbor Bridge.

The Sydney Botanical Garden

The Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge in the background

2. Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is certainly the most famous building in the Australian metropolis. The UNESCO World Heritage listed building is visited by almost every traveler who comes to Australia. The unique design of a Danish architect impresses at first sight and you can also explore the interior during a guided tour.

The famous Sydney Opera House

Even today, there are about 2,500 screenings in the Sydney Opera each year, resulting in about 4 million visitors. If you would like to watch one of the screenings, you should get your tickets in time, e.g. to La Bohème Opera.

The skyline of the CBD in Sydney

Incidentally, the best view of the Sydney Opera House is from the Harbor Bridge, or the ferry that takes you from the Central Business District to Manly. By the way, there I took the following picture.

The Sydney Opera with the skyline in the background

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbor Bridge spans over the harbor and is accessible to cars, pedestrians and cyclists. It not only connects the Central Business District with the city’s North Shore, but is also one of Sydney’s major attractions.

Tobi in front of the Harbour Bridge in Sydney

The bridge has been open since 1932, and if you’re in Sydney you should definitely come here for a sunset and, of course, get on the bridge. From there you can enjoy a great view over Sydney Harbor and the skyline.

The Harbour Bridge of Sydney during sunset

A highlight for many visitors on the Harbor Bridge is also the Bridge Climb. You can climb the bow with a group and experience a wonderful panoramic view of the city. The Harbor Bridge has other viewpoints that you can visit, but you will not get higher up than the Bridge Climb.

View of the neighborhood around the Sydney Harbor Bridge

Conclusion for the first day in Sydney

The first day in Sydney was really nice. The weather was fine and I finally saw two things on my bucket list. The Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge are really impressive and have already made the first day in Australia a highlight. The greater the joy of exploring Sydney in detail over the next few days.

Sydney: Tours and tickets

What was your first impression of Sydney? Did you like the Australian metropolis? We look forward to your comment.