Sydney is one of those places that most people want to visit. Whether it’s just to see the iconic sights of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in person or to soak up the sun on Bondi, the city attracts over 14 million domestic and international visitors every year.
The sprawling metropolis has something new and exciting to discover around every corner. 3 days is in no way long enough to uncover them all. Yet 3 days was all we had.
Determined to make the most of our short visit to Sydney here, my brother I decided to invest in the
What is the IVENTURE multi-attractions pass?
There are 27 attractions on offer including a guided tour around the Sydney Opera House, Entry into the Taronga Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and the Sydney Explorer 24-hour Sydney & Bondi ‘Hop on Hop off’ bus tours.
You get a nice little brochure which lists all the attractions and where they are. We used this to help plan our 3-day attack for our visit to Sydney and cross them off as we went.
The 3-day pass will set you back $270 Aud but if you buy it online there is usually a discount. However, you will still need to activate it in person at the kiosk at Circular Quay.
Yes, I know, it sounds like a lot of money, but with a little planning it is easy to gain your money back and go on to visit attractions essentially for free.
I warn you though, if you’re not looking for a jam packed few days then this pass is probably not for you.
Below is how my brother and I spending our 3 days and hopefully it will give you some ideas on how to spend your time when you visit Sydney.
Day 1 in Sydney – Culture and Sport
Sydney Opera House
After activating our 3 day Sydney IVENTURE passes down at Circular Quay, we kicked off our 3 days by walking around the corner to the Sydney Opera House and onto the next guided tour. Now this is definitely not something that I would have ever gone on without the IVENTURE card. However, since we had already paid for it, off we went.
We got to go behind the scenes and into the theatres which was cool. Although we didn’t get to go into the main theatre as a rehearsal was going on and they didn’t want us in there – this is not always the case.
We did however get to have a sneak peak where they bring the sets in and store them. Plus, the giant elevator which moves the set pieces up and down. The guides are all really friendly, super knowledgeable and you get to learn about the whole history of the building.
I’m not even into opera and I loved it!
ANZ Stadium Tour
We then jumped onto the train and headed out of the city centre towards the Olympic Park. I was looking forward to seeing this place. The Sydney Olympics back in 2000 are the first Olympic games that I have any memory of, and it was a little surreal to see it in real life.
We were headed to the Olympic Stadium, now more commonly known as the ANZ stadium, for one of their guided tours. As with any stadium tour its cool to see the things as a normal spectator you don’t really get to see. Especially when they still have the Olympic Podium laying around!
What I hadn’t realised was some of the other non-Olympic major sporting moments that had happened here. For example, this was the very place that Johnny Wilkinson kicked that drop goal. I can still remember exactly where I was, on the other side of the world when it happened.
Now there isn’t really much else out in the Olympic park that is on the
The wheelchair rugby world championships no less. One of our favourite disability sports for its sheer aggression and huge hits we hit it lucky that team GB were playing that very afternoon. So up we rocked, bought a couple of tickets and headed over to sit where all the GB flags were being displayed. Yes, that’s right we joined the team’s families and friends and felt right at home. If you were wondering, yes team GB won.
Day 2 in Sydney – Boats, Busses and footsteps
The Sydney Eye
After a relatively early night we were up and off ready hit the city at full speed.
First up on day 2 was a trip up the Sydney Eye. After a small kerfuffle finding the entrance (its hidden away within a shopping centre) we presented our passes and headed off ready to be wowed.
Now so far in my Australian adventure I had ventured up a few lookouts at the top of buildings and had not been disappointed. This one, while providing a different view of the city was not as spectacular as I was hoping for. Perhaps once it gave the views that it promised from the ground.
However, the many years of expansion and construction in the city had brought with it a collection of other high-rise buildings and it was these buildings that dampen the view.
The Sydney eye isn’t really in the best spot. I mean you can only just spot the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House which are the 2 iconic places you’d expect to al least be able to see right? Or is that just me?
Needless to say, we didn’t spend much time up there.
The Sydney Observatory
Next on the list was the Observatory. Our route inadvertently took us via Agar Steps, a set of 108 historical steps linking Kent street with observatory hill. I always love stumbling across a little bit of history in a city.
The observatory sits atop the highest hill overlooking the settlement of Sydney. Its quite a cool place to look around with lots of telescopes and other trinkets.
Unfortunately, the guided tours only operate on weekends outside of school holidays, so we missed out on that. However, is space and the stars being something you’re interested in then I’d definitely recommend checking this out.
The Harbour Bridge
As the Observatory is literally next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge it seemed like a great time to go and walk it.
This was one of the things that was on my ‘I have to do when I visit Sydney’ list. Plus, it was free. While you can fork out extra to walk up to the top of the bridge or even to go up one of the towers, the views out across the harbour just from the path are pretty amazing in itself.
Perhaps I will go back and do the walk up to the top another time.
We then wandered back to Circular Quay through the Rocks. This little area of town is so different
You could easily spend an afternoon getting lost exploring here. There is actually a walking tour that you can join with your IVENTURE pass which departs every day at 10.30am and 1.30pm from clocktower square.
24 hour Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
Dragging ourselves away it was time to jump on the open top hop on hop off bus tour. Now with the IVENTURE pass you get access to the 24 hours hop on hop off tour. If you plan it right, you can really maximise this option as a great way to get around the city.
The bus comes equipped with pre-recorded commentary which you can listen to in the language of your choice using the headphone provided. We decided to do a full loop and eat our packed lunch at the same time – multi-tasking at its finest!
I actually really enjoyed the bus tour. The commentary is really helpful, and it helped me to orientate myself better.
Captain Cook Harbour Cruise
Our final sightseeing stop of the day was the Captain Cook Harbour Cruise.
Chilling out on the top deck of the boat as it cruises around the harbour, watching the sun slowly descend beneath the horizon was the perfect way to end our busy day.
There is accompanying commentary as well. However, don’t expect to be able to hear it apart from in one particular spot. I’d also recommend patience on the photography front.
In the first 20
The cruise gives you another view of the city which is actually pretty beautiful.
I’d definitely recommend catching the last cruise of the day and being able to see the sun setting over the harbour.
Day 3 in Sydney – Busses, Beaches and wildlife
24 hour Hop on Hop off Bus Tour Bondi Loop
With a few hours left on the 24 hours hop on hop off bus tour we jumped on the 2nd loop toward Bondi Beach. While some of the commentary overlapped, we were treated to yet more little nuggets of information.
Bondi beach just looked incredible, even in the middle of the Australian winter. Unfortunately, due to our afternoon watching wheelchair rugby on day 1 we didn’t quite have time to explore Bondi. That will have to wait for
The bus then wound its way back to the city through a more residential area.
I mean most of them either had a view of Bondi or of the city. Definitely one for those of you who like to nosy at properties you have no chance of ever being able to live in. or is that just me?
The rest of the afternoon was spent down at the world-famous Darling Harbour. Here we hit up 3 different attractions that we probably would not have visited if we hadn’t had bought the IVENTURE pass. Not because we didn’t want to go see them but because of the price.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
First up was SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Somehow, they have managed to pack a whole lot of aquatic life into a small space. Complete with walk-tunnels where you can see sting-rays and sharks up close it was time well invested. Despite having already seen lots of tropical fish on the Great Barrier Reef I still enjoyed the Aquarium.
Definitely join the queue for the penguin expedition. Its included in the entrance fee and is a fun little ride.
You basically get to go on a little log-flume type ride (don’t worry you will not get wet) through the Penguins enclosure and see them a little closer. If you do choose to skip the penguin expedition you do still get a chance to see the penguins.
WILD LIFE Sydney zoo
Next up was WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo.
This was my least favourite of the 3 attractions. Probably because I had seen most of these animals in the wild already. Here they were a little cooped up for my liking. Maybe I have just been spoilt by Chester Zoo back home and its wide-open enclosures?
If your Australian trip doesn’t allow you time to get up to the Australian Zoo just outside of Brisbane or even Taronga Zoo (included on the IVENTURE pass) here in Sydney, then I guess this is the next best option to see those Aussie creatures.
Last on the list was Madame Tussauds Sydney.
How have I never been to a Madame Tussauds before? It was so much fun! It probably wouldn’t have been as much fun if I had gone alone though. Constantly asking strangers to take photos of you with the waxworks quickly sucks the fun out of anything. However, taking random, silly photos of each other didn’t.
There’s a huge selection of both Australian and international celebrities from Kylie to Heath Ledger, there’s even one of Obama! Plus, they had a comic book heroes’ exhibition which included batman and wonder woman and dramatic lighting and sounds.
We topped off our 3-day visit to Sydney by heading back out the Olympic Park to watch the South Sydney Rabbitohs play the Sydney Roosters. Not as into sport as we are? Then why not cap your 3 day visit to Sydney with a few drinks in the Rocks area.
There are so many other options for you to see and do while in Sydney with your IVENTURE pass. So, if any of the things that we got up to aren’t really your thing, I’m sure you will be able to swap them for something that’s a little bit more you.
Where to Stay
As you can expect there is an abundance of accommodation options in Sydney to suit every budget. However, don’t think that you have to stay in the city centre. As we were travelling in a campervan we stayed on the outskirts and travelled in on the train each day. This was really easy, and while we had to factor travel time into our planning it meant that we could stay somewhere a little cheaper too.
Sheralee Tourist Caravan park
If you’re camping, then I would recommend this place. Located in Rockdale and only a 15min walk to the train station, this small campsite is a perfect base for exploring Sydney. It has got washing facilities, hot showers and a camp kitchen complete with an oven. There’s also a little communal space where you can watch tv or just hang out.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to hostels in Sydney. From living it up in the rocks in the YHA to partying hard over in King Cross. There’s a hostel for every type of traveller. I haven’t spent any time in hostels in Sydney so I can’t personally recommend one to you. However, if you check out Hostel world, I’m sure you will find your perfect fit.
Until Next Time