Things to Do in Sydney: One Day Sydney Itinerary from Bondi to Manly

Disclaimer: this itinerary involves quite a LOT of walking, because when I travel, I love to just walk around and take in the sights and sounds and atmosphere. Clearly it is quite weather-dependent, as it won’t really work on a rainy or a super hot day. But this is an IDEAL Saturday for me, and any such days will always involve lovely weather and clear blue skies 😉

Things to Do in Sydney: One-day Sydney Itinerary

things to do in sydney

Morning: Bondi to Bronte Walk

One of the best things about Sydney is that it only takes 30 minutes by train to go from the towering CBD to the crashing waves of world-famous Bondi Beach. So wake up early and go for a walk!

The Bondi to Bronte walk is the most popular route. It only takes around 30 minutes one way if you walk slowly, and it takes you across some really pretty coastline and a couple lovely beaches. There are bus stops at both Bondi and Bronte beaches, so it gives you the option to just walk one way and get a bus out of Bronte.

things to do in sydney

For a more detailed account of the Bondi to Bronte walk, read our post here>> Things to Do in Sydney: Bondi to Bronte Walk.

Mid-morning: Browse for trinkets at Paddington Markets

Paddington Markets opens from 10am every Saturday and acts as a space for local artisans to display their goods. From both Bondi and Bronte beaches there are direct buses going to Paddington Markets, and that makes commuting really easy.

When I visited it was mid-morning and the markets were in full swing. There were some really nice stalls, from clothes and accessories, to handmade leather goods and patchwork bags, to painted ceramic tiles. There were also local bakers selling their baked goods. I tried a random pain au chocolat from a random stall and it was really delicious! I just walked around admiring all the lovely trinkets and ended up buying a lot of pretty things I didn’t really need.

Paddington Markets
395 Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney
NSW 2021, Australia

From Bronte Beach take Bus 440 towards Rozelle
From Bondi Beach take Bus 333 or 380 towards Sydney

Afternoon: Lazy Lunch at Surry Hills

Surry Hills is a tranquil residential neighbourhood with a certain old school charm. It is also home to various famous cafes and coffee spots. Pick a table outside (most cafes have tables by the sidewalk) on a clear lovely day. Munch on some classic brunch favourites, read a magazine and sip on some famous OZ coffee while you watch the world go by. Don’t forget to drop by the famous Bourke Street Bakery for its heavenly chocolate tart. For a guide to my favourite cafes in Surry Hills, read our post here>> Sydney Eats: Guide to Surry Hills Cafes.

Surry Hills
Directions to get there vary depending on which part you want to go to. But generally, take Bus 352 from Paddington Markets and alight at Crown St before Cleveland St. Walk, or get another bus, down Crown Street and you are already in Surry Hills!

things to do in sydney

Late Afternoon: Explore Sydney Harbour

Burn off your lunch calories and walk around the Sydney Harbour! My favourite route is:

Start at Milson’s Point (across the harbour in North Sydney) – cross the Harbour Bridge on foot to Circular Quay – walk by the water’s edge to the Sydney Opera House – continue on across the Botanic Gardens – end at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair.

Botanic Gardens, along the way from Sydney Opera House to Mrs Macquarie's Chair
View of the CBD from Botanic Gardens, along the way from Sydney Opera House to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
things to do in sydney
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. You can catch the sunset from here!

The best thing about this walk is that you can adjust the route according to how long or short you want it to be. Stay tuned for a more complete guide to the Sydney Harbour walk! 😉

Sydney Harbour
Directions: Also varies depending on which part of Surry Hills you are coming from. Generally you can take the train from Central station and get off at either Milson's Point station or Circular Quay station, depending on where you want to start your walk at.
View of the Opera House from the ferry!

Evening: Jump on a Ferry to Manly for Dinner at Papi Chulo

Skip the touristy harbour boat cruises and simply hop on a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly for dinner. I almost did not do this and boy am I so very glad I went through with it! There are two types of ferries – the slow one and the fast one, but the difference is only around 10-15 minutes. You can see the schedule here, or just grab a paper copy at Circular Quay.

I'll never get tired of photographing this building!
I’ll never get tired of photographing this building!

Just be kiasu and make sure you get a good spot at the open-air upper deck of the ferry. Because the view you get as the ferry pulls out of the jetty, of the CBD lights and the Sydney Harbour unfolding before you, is abso-bloody-lutely amazing. Don’t bother to take pictures on the way out, just enjoy everything and take it all in. Snap photos on your way back in to the city.

The restaurant that comes highly recommended by a lot of local friends is Papi Chulo. It is located right at the wharf in Manly, and when I was there for a Saturday dinner it was super bustling and merry. They specialise in barbecues and grills, but I wasn’t very hungry at that time so I only tried their grilled squid. It was really fresh and good, though, and I really enjoyed my dinner there.

Oh and reservations are a must! We still had to wait a bit at the bar for our table despite having booked in advance. But the bartender, like everyone else in Australia, was so very friendly and we had fun chatting to him and drinking orange spritzer (a local favourite!) while waiting ;D

Papi Chulo
Address: Shop, 22/23 E Esplanade, Manly Wharf 
NSW 2095, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9240 3000
Opening Hours: Monday - Tuesday, 5 pm to 10 pm
Wednesday - Thursday, 12 pm to 10 pm
Friday - Saturday, 12 pm to 10.30pm
Sunday 12 pm to 9.30pm

Late: Have a Drink at the Opera Bar

If you aren’t totally floored after that long day, grab a drink at the Opera Bar when you come back from dinner. The Opera Bar has got to be one of the nicest venues anywhere in the world. The location and views are unbeatable – right by the Opera House overlooking the Harbour Bridge and the waters. The atmosphere is always so bustling and warm and lovely too.

Opera Bar
Address: Lower Concourse, Sydney Opera House,
Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Nearest Station: Circular Quay
Phone: +61 2 9247 1666
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8 am to midnight
Friday 8 am to 1 am
Saturday 9 am to 1 am
Sunday 9 am to midnight

So that’s it! Thanks for journeying with me for a lovely day in Sydney 🙂 I’d be totally honest if I say I’d re-live this day countless times and never get bored. Throw in your favourite things to do in the comment box!


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