There are many amazing things to do in Sydney alone. If you’re a solo traveller looking for the best things to do in Sydney, this list of activities will help you find the best ways to enjoy the harbour city and plan the perfect solo trip to Sydney.
At the top of the list are visiting the iconic Sydney Opera House, riding a ferry under the Sydney Harbour Bridge or enjoying a historic walking tour of The Rocks, Sydney’s oldest suburb.
Having lived most of my life in the harbour city, one of my favourite things to do solo in Sydney is take a scenic walk around the Harbour and watch the sunset in Sydney from one of many beautiful viewpoints. There’s no shortage of wonderful things to do on your own in Sydney.
I’ve compiled this guide for solo travellers who want to enjoy the highlights of the city in a few days. These are my suggestions for the best things to do in Sydney alone.
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The Best Things to Do in Sydney Alone
1. Visit Sydney Cove & Circular Quay
If you’re visiting Sydney alone, the first place to go is Circular Quay. It’s a public transport hub for trains, buses, ferries and cruise ships. It’s also the gateway to Sydney Cove, The Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and The Rocks where the first settlers in Australia landed. Circular Quay is at the heart of Sydney and there’s a hum in the air.
Wander around and watch the ferries come and go around the harbour and enjoy the street performers and the vibrant atmosphere.
From Circular Quay it’s just a short walk along the harbour Foreshore promenade to the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks and the Royal Botanical Gardens. It’s a must-see in an itinerary if you’re visiting Sydney for a few days.
TIP: From the walkway on the Cahill Expressway behind Circular Quay there are sweeping views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. You can access the walkway from the stairs on Macquarie Street near the Botanical Gardens or take the elevator from Circular Quay railway station.
2. See the Sydney Opera House
Visiting the Sydney Opera House is high on the list of things to do alone in Sydney. The architecture of Sydney’s most famous building is extraordinary. Solo travellers in Sydney will love the harbour views from Bennelong Point and the buzzing atmosphere in the cultural heart of the city.
Watching an Opera or a concert at Sydney’s most famous performance venue or enjoying a tour of the backstage areas of the Opera House are fun things to do when visiting Sydney alone. Book your ticket at the box office on the first floor. It’s just up the stairs as you enter the building or better still, book online.
And make sure you stop for a drink at the Opera Bar. It overlooks the harbour and has an unbeatable view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay.
I still get a thrill of excitement walking from Circular Quay to the Opera House, it’s one of the best things to do alone in Sydney at night. When the city lights up after dark the view is simply stunning.
TIP: To see inside the performance spaces at the Opera House you have to buy a concert ticket or book a tour. On a guided tour you will learn about the history and the unique design of the famous building. Or take a look backstage at the places normally hidden from the public on a Guided tour of the Sydney Opera House.
3. Lunch near Circular Quay
If you’re a solo traveller in Sydney, there are lots of cafes around Circular Quay where you can sit and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere and watch the world go by. I can recommend the following:
- The Guylian Belgian Chocolate café is located on the promenade to the Opera House. It’s best for coffee & cakes but I’ve enjoyed lunch here.
- The Opera House Bar and café in front of the Opera House has a fabulous location! It’s one of the best places to go alone in Sydney for people-watching and stunning views.
- On the other side of Sydney Cove, next to Circular Quay is the MCA Cafe at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The cafe has Opera House views and a sculpture garden and it’s a lovely spot for lunch or a coffee when you’re visiting Sydney alone.
- Solo travellers in Sydney will also enjoy a meal at one of the Old Sydney Pubs like The Harts Pub in The Rocks.
4. The Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most famous attractions in Sydney and if you’re visiting Sydney alone you can enjoy superb views of the bridge from vantage points around the harbour. Opened in 1932 The Sydney Harbour Bridge connects the North and South sides of the Harbour.
On the South side, you can walk beneath the bridge at Dawes Point and visit the Pylon Lookout for sensational views of the Opera House and Circular Quay. Or catch a ferry to the north side of the harbour to Milson’s Point, Luna Park or MacMahon’s Point and sail underneath the bridge.
But it’s also fun to walk, drive or catch a train across the bridge, and watch a glorious Sydney sunrise or sunset from the other side with the Harbour Bridge as a backdrop.
TIP: The best way to acquaint yourself with the Sydney Harbour Bridge is to climb it. The 360° panoramic views from the top are unbeatable!
5. Stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens
if you’re visiting Sydney alone head to the Royal Botanical Gardens. This green oasis is in the centre of the city located right on the waterfront in a stunning part of the city. Strolling past Bennelong Point and the Opera House to the Botanical Gardens is one of the best things to do solo in Sydney.
Wander through the sculpted parklands, relax on the lawns and enjoy the beautiful landscape and stunning harbour views. Take a picnic, eat at the café or book a fancy meal at the restaurant.
PHOTO TIP: You’ll get great photos from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair anytime, but the sky is best at sunset. Watch the sun slips behind the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge from this lovely spot. It’s one of the best sunset spots in Sydney.
6. Visit The Rocks
One of the best things to do in Sydney alone is to visit The Rocks. It’s one of the oldest parts of Sydney and is full of colonial history. Take a self-guided tour, wander the laneways and look out for convict-hewn sandstone blocks covered with pick marks in buildings, streets and stairways.
Visit the heritage-listed Cadman’s Cottage on George Street. This tiny sandstone residence dates back to the first settlers in the colony and was once a sailor’s home.
Or take a guided walking tour of The Rocks and enjoy the historical stories and anecdotes about the area with a local guide.
Stop off in Argyle Street and enjoy shopping for local arts & crafts. If you walk from Circular Quay around the harbour to the Dawes Point Reserve and climb the stairs, you’ll be directly underneath the harbour bridge.
TIP: Visit on the weekend and you can shop at The Rocks Weekend Market, a vibrant and colourful open-air art & craft market with artisan stalls, local crafts and street food. It’s perfect for souvenir shopping if you’re visiting Sydney alone.
7. A Sydney Harbour cruise
A Harbour Cruise is one of the best things to do in Sydney alone and a great way to see gorgeous Sydney Harbour. There are plenty of photo opportunities as you see Sydney from the water.
The Hop-On Hop-Off harbour cruise is a handy way to see the sights around Sydney Harbour over one or two days. And there are lots of other great cruises to choose from. Relax in style with a 3-course meal as you cruise around Sydney or jump on a party boat or even a speed boat if you’re more adventurous.
If you’re a history buff or just curious, you may like to board a 19th-century square rigger and cruise on a Tall Ship around the harbour. The Tall Ships are replicas of the ships that sailed in the first fleet that sailed to Australia.
8. Ride on a Sydney Harbour Ferry
One of the best things to do solo in Sydney is to take a ride on a passenger ferry. You can enjoy spectacular views of Sydney Harbour for a fraction of the cost of a cruise. Strategically choose your spot when you board the ferry and have your camera ready. As soon as you leave Circular Quay, you’ll be treated to spectacular close-up views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Catch a ferry across the harbour to Milson’s Point, Luna Park or MacMahons Point to see Sydney from the north side,
Or choose a different ferry route. There are some fabulous destinations and here are a few of my favourites:
Manly is a fun place to go alone in Sydney on the ferry. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Manly from Circular Quay. On the way, you’ll pass Fort Denison and then the heads at the harbour entrance. You’ll notice the swell increase as you pass the open ocean.
When you reach Manly, wander through the shops to the beach where you can enjoy a relaxed lunch, a swim in the surf and a stroll along the promenade. It’s one of many great day trips for solo travellers in Sydney.
The Manly Ferry departs from Wharf 3 at Circular Quay every 30 minutes during the day.
Is Manly or Bondi Beach better? Compare Sydney’s two most famous beachside destinations
10. Taronga Zoo
Taronga Zoo is one of the best places to go alone in Sydney to meet some of Australia’s unique native animals. There are fabulous views from different vantage points inside the zoo and lots of amazing animals to see.
Introduce yourself to a kangaroo or a koala at Taronga Zoo and enjoy a scenic ferry ride on the harbour to get there. From the ferry wharf, you can walk up the hill to the zoo or take a ride in a cable car.
Visit the cuddly koalas who sleep during the day and eat leaves from the eucalyptus gum trees or watch kangaroos and wallabies hopping around. There are platypus, emus, wombats and even Tasmanian devils in the various enclosures.
Taronga Zoo is doing its bit to conserve native species with its breed and release programs, and you can also see endangered species from around the world.
11. Walk from Bradley’s Head to Chowder Bay
Taking a walk around the beautiful Sydney Harbour from Bradley’s Head is one of the best things to do solo in Sydney. This lovely walk starts from the ferry wharf at Taronga Zoo and follows the harbour shoreline around Bradley’s Head to Chowder Bay. You can enjoy the gorgeous coastal scenery, with million-dollar harbour and city views.
This easy, scenic walk has a well-maintained track. It’s 4km one way and takes around 2-3 hours to return.
TIP: Bradley’s Head is a beautiful spot to watch the sunset over Sydney Harbour.
12. Luna Park & Milsons Point
Luna Park is a heritage-listed amusement park on Sydney’s north shore just a 4-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay. The location of Luna Park, right underneath the harbour bridge is a big drawcard for solo travellers in Sydney and it’s in one of the most scenic spots in the city.
At Luna Park, you can ride the big dipper and marvel at the views as you hold on for dear life or simply stroll around the foreshore to beautiful Lavender Bay & Wendy’s Secret Garden.
PHOTO TIP: One of the best things to do in Sydney alone is to visit the Jeffrey Street wharf near Milson’s Point for stunning sunset views of Sydney Harbour. It’s on the north shore almost directly opposite the Opera House and almost underneath the harbour bridge. After dusk, the city lights up and it’s a lovely place to be on a summer’s evening.
13. Watsons Bay
The scenic ferry ride to Watsons Bay takes 15 minutes from Circular Quay and it’s one of the best places to go alone in Sydney. From the ferry wharf, there’s a short walk along the South Head Heritage Trail to the colourful Hornby Lighthouse at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. The views are stunning!
Walk around the point and take a dip at lovely Camp Cove Beach. Enjoy fish & chips by the wharf or dine in style at Doyles, one of Sydney’s oldest seafood restaurants.
There are more stunning views nearby at The Gap where you can watch the waves crashing against the sea cliffs and rock platforms below. The Gap is known as a suicide spot in Sydney and there are high fences at the lookout point. But the views are wild and spectacular. And you can continue walking along the cliff path to the historic Macquarie Lighthouse.
14. Relax at Bondi Beach
Sydney’s most famous stretch of sand, Bondi Beach is a few kilometres away from Watsons Bay and it’s the perfect place to go alone in Sydney. Slap on the sunscreen, pack your swimmers & join the summer crowds at beautiful Bondi Beach in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Relaxing and swimming at the beach are some of the most popular things to do solo in Sydney.
15. Walk from Bondi to Coogee
Walking along the clifftop from Bondi to Coogee is one of many fun things to do solo in Sydney. With open ocean views, a rugged coastline, beaches, cafes and parks, the walking track from Bondi Beach to Coogee is popular with locals and visitors alike. The 6-kilometre walk takes 2 -3 hours one way.
Watch out for the “Sculpture by the Sea” event held each year in March. Local sculptors and artists exhibit their works on the clifftops of the Eastern suburbs. Walk along the cliff path and enjoy the artwork and the views. It’s a lovely day out for solo travellers in Sydney.
16. The Sydney Tower Views
If you don’t mind heights, one of the best things to do solo in Sydney is to take the lift to the top of the Sydney Tower. There are 360° panoramic views of Sydney and beyond from the viewing deck.
Indulge in a special sky feast at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Sydney Tower and watch the view change as you relax and enjoy your food.
17. A Scenic Helicopter Flight
A helicopter ride is an exciting way to experience Sydney so if you’re visiting Sydney alone, treat yourself to the best views of the city from the air.
Where to stay in Sydney
My top pick for the best places to stay for solo travellers in Sydney is The Rocks next to Sydney Cove and right on Sydney Harbour. This is one of the best locations in the city. You can walk to all the main sights and enjoy the views and the history of the oldest part of Sydney.
Budget: Sydney Harbour YHA is in a fabulous location on a hill in The Rocks near Circular Quay with numerous public transport options and a rooftop terrace with a stunning view. From the hostel, it’s just & a short walk to Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens.
The Rendezvous Hotel is in an upmarket location at The Rocks and has clean, comfortable rooms a gym and a pool.
Rydges Sydney Harbour has a fabulous location near the cruise terminal at Circular Quay. It has rooftop views, and a pool and is close to public transport.
The Four Seasons Hotel has one of the best locations in Sydney near Circular Quay. Guests love the service at this popular five-star hotel and the reviews are exceptional.
The five-star Shangri-la Hotel has a superb location at Circular Quay next to The Rocks and gets excellent reviews for its five-star service and wonderful harbour views, especially the amazing nighttime views from the Blu Bar.
Further away from the harbour, there is a choice of hotels in the shopping & central business district for those hoping to spend a bit less on accommodation.
Budget: Sydney Central YHA, located around 4km away from the harbour near Central Station, is another good option for travellers on a budget. Central Station is a transport hub for trains and buses and it’s just a short walk to Chinatown for a selection of delicious fresh food options. Catch a train or a bus from Central Station to Circular Quay and the Opera House.
Mid Range: The Sydney Hotel QVB gets excellent reviews for its location near the historic Queen Victoria Building and the shopping arcade in the centre of Sydney next to Town Hall station. It’s a newer hotel and good value for money although the rooms are on the small side.
What is Sydney famous for?
Sydney is famous for its remarkable UNESCO World Heritage-listed Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Sydney has a beautiful location on the east coast of Australia with a stunning harbour that offers splendid coastal scenery with gorgeous beaches, sparkling white sands and deep blue oceans.
Is 3 days enough in Sydney?
In 3 days in Sydney is enough to get a good introduction to the city. You’ll have time to explore the harbour, climb the Harbour Bridge and see a concert at the famous Sydney Opera House. Take a walking tour of The Rocks and discover Sydney’s colonial history. Wander through the stunning Botanical Gardens, watch a stunning Sydney sunset at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and take a cruise on gorgeous Sydney Harbour.
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