How to spend a long weekend in Sydney


New South Wales

Trying to escape the 9-5 grind can be a difficult task, by the time it comes to Friday you have switched off and turned into weekend mode often wanting to shut off from the world and rejuvenate so you can do it all again on Monday.

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Having said that it is also important to be able to schedule in some time for the occasional long weekend getaway, even if this means just taking one day of leave and spending the weekend away in a different city. This is exactly what I did along with a few other work colleagues, earlier in the year we flew from Melbourne up to Sydney to spend three days in Australia’s largest city.

So what do you do in Sydney when you only have three or less days to explore before returning back to the reality of the 9-5 working week. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to get the most out of Sydney and make it a time to remember.

Pick a Hotel with a WOW factor…

One of the great things about travelling with three others on this occasion was that we could splash out a little and stay in a hotel that would normally be out of our means if travelling solo. While I don’t like to spend too much on a hotel because really the main goal of being in another place is to spend as little amount of time in the hotel as possible, but sometimes it is nice to just take it up a notch and experience the high life.

On this occasion the high life was on level 62 with an impressive three bedroom apartment overlooking the city of Sydney from one of the best vantage points the city has to offer. We stayed at the Meriton Serviced Apartments World Tower which is just a short walking distance to Darling Harbour and an easy train ride or slightly longer walk to Circular Quay, the gateway to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

Check out a musical…

Ok so just putting it out there that this might not be one of my favourite things to do and until this visit to Sydney I was a musical theatre virgin, but it is certainly something you can experience in Sydney as most major productions pass through the city at some stage. On this occasion I went along to see The Lion King at the Capitol Theatre, it was pretty good and I enjoyed it, but not something I’ll be going to do again for a long time.

The current run of The Lion King will end on 31 August, 2014 with the next production at the theatre being Wicked, so if theatre is your thing head out for a nice dinner and then off to see a show, worth dedicating a night out to this.

Visit Taronga Zoo…

After seeing The Lion King and seeing puppet animals it was a good opportunity to see real life animals with impressive views. A great thing about Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is the scenic experience that also accompanies the zoo. Catch a ferry from Circular Quay for a ride along the harbour to the base of the zoo, the cost of the ferry can be combined with the entrance fee for the zoo all in one ticket.

From where you are dropped off by the ferry you can take a chair lift to the top of the hill to the zoo entrance and then make your way through the zoo down the hill ending the day where it all began. Some of the many highlights include a Seal Show, the Giraffe enclosure with the impressive backdrop of the city skyline in the background and the newly renovated Elephant enclosure. Also the chair lift ride to the entrance was also a highlight for me.

Explore Darling Harbour…

There are many things to see and do in Darling Harbour and if you really wanted to you could spend a whole day here. The Sydney Sea Life Aquarium is located on the city side of the harbour for those wanting to see if they can find Nemo, while next door you can get up close and personal with your favourite celebrity in wax form at Madame Tussauds. Darling Harbour is also home to the worlds largest IMAX screen, and is also a great place to check out some of the city’s street performers.

Other attractions in the area include the National Maritime Museum which also includes a submarine docked in the harbour and also the Chinese Gardens, a soothing and quite relaxing area right in the centre of a hustling and bustling city.

Catch a ferry to Manly…

One of my favourite things to do in Sydney is to catch a ferry from Circular Quay to the beach side suburb of Manly which is located at the entrance of the Sydney Harbour heads, doing this you gain an appreciation on how large the harbour is. Something I really want to do but have never had enough time to do is to check out the Sydney Harbour National Park on the tip of the north head and then subsequently would love to go to the south head also.

Manly is a favourite of mine, disembarking the ferry you walk from one side of the main shopping strip through the centre and out the other side to Manly Beach, a really nice town for a day trip and somewhere to chill while having lunch.

Do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb & Pylon Lookout…

Not a cheap option to do but certainly worth the experience, climb to the top of one of Australia’s most iconic symbols the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Before your guided tour of the coat hanger you will go through an hour of training and safety demonstrations before starting your assent, the whole time your are harnessed onto the bridge and your guide will take photos of your journey along the way.

When I recently went up for my climb it was a twilight climb, all climbs continue no matter what the weather conditions are with the exception of lightning. While at the very top of the bridge one of the climbers asked what happens if there is lightning, our guide said that the team usually have a 10 minute warning before any lightning strikes. As soon as he finished saying that a lightning strike hit in the distance, his response was that they must have been asleep. Our climb was then cut short but luckily for us we were towards the end of our climb anyway otherwise we would have had to wait until the storm passed or come back another day.

Part of your ticket to the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb will also enable entry to the Pylon Lookout which offers impressive views of the city, harbour and of the bridge itself. It is well worth taking a look around the pylon even if you are not doing the bridge climb. Some of the best views to be had come from up here.

So there you have it just some of the many things you can do in Sydney on a short break, another thing that I failed to mention is to go up to the top of Sydney Tower or Centrepoint Tower as it used to be called. From here you can get a 360 degree view of the entire city, for the more daring person you can also climb outside on the ledge of the building and walk the entire circumference.

If you have travelled to Sydney before, what are your favourite things to see or do? Let everyone know below…


Just your average guy doing his 9 – 5 job as a Senior Payroll Officer by day, writing about his travel adventures and hopefully giving you inspiration and ideas for your next travel adventure here at loneXplorer…

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