Things to Know and Do in Sydney

Whether you're studying abroad this semester or planning to visit Sydney soon, here are some things to know and do.

Don't Miss What's Coming Up!

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia –  Come on down! Our seasons are opposite yours. Freezing your bum during winter? We're in the middle of Summer with bikinis and BBQs. We love to have a laugh and love to show off our city – so just take it all in.

  • January – all month – Sydney Festival
  • January 18 - The Big Day Out, Sydney
  • January 26 – Australia Day, Sydney Harbour
  • Feb 8 – March 3 the fabulous fun of the Sydney Mardi Gras and a jam-packed with concerts, parades, etc. Get your spot early – it's "chocka" -- as in "chock-a-block FULL" of people.
  • March 22 – April 12 – Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. See CARMEN – the original Bad Girl - on a giant floating stage in Sydney Harbour and all the action takes place there. You'll be enjoying drinks and nibbles outdoors! 

What to Know if You're Studying in Sydney

Sydney offers an excellent choice of World Class Universities ("Uni" as they call it) to choose from. If you're looking to work while you're there and make some money, there are also a great amount of study/work options for the student age traveler. There are work-based vocational training student exchange programs and a wide variety of ways to study and benefit from travel to New South Wales.

There are also some common phrases that you might want to practice before you get there. For instance, you should try to say "Mell-bun" instead "Mel-Bourne" and "Cans" instead of "Carns". If you practice these pronunciations, then locals will know that at least you've taken the time to get to know them a little bit. As always, also don't forget that you're a guest, so try to be nicer than usual. :)  

What to Know if You're Spending the Summer in Sydney

First things first, you won't need a car. Getting around is pretty simple so you'll be able to see iconic Sydney sights without traveling via car. There is also the option to take advantage of a hop-on and hop-off bus, like a lot of cities have. This bus is an open-top double-decker bus that includes commentary to help you get to know the different sites, which is helpful when you're new to a city. Tickets for the bus are good for 24 or 48 hours so you can hop on and off at your own pace. You can check out more information about tickets by visiting Besides the bus, there's also a nighttime Sydney Harbour social cruise that you will want to check out.

Meet some Sydneysiders!!

An area that's around 217 miles of bays and beaches, Sydney offers a staggering array of coastal walks. Just by utilizing online maps and tips, you can easily find your way around this beautiful part of the world, not to mention it's a cheap and easy way to see the breathtaking views while getting your heart rate up. If you want to see the best sunrises or sunsets, you can start your walk at Icebergs in south Bondi, or go from Bondi to Bronte, or Bondi to Coogee if you've energy to burn. In November it hosts Sculptures by the Sea, one of the largest sculpture exhibitions in the world. Just as dramatic is Manly to Spit Bridge, traipsing through bushland, around bays and along harbour beaches. For something more challenging, try the Royal Coastal Walk – a two-day adventure through the Royal National Park. Run by expert guides and fully catered, it takes in beaches, waterfalls, Aboriginal carvings, heritage-listed shacks and dramatic limestone formations.

Take one of the Sydney Coast Walks in Royal National Park. They take small groups on guided, single day or overnight bushwalking (aka hiking or trail-walking), camping and kayaking eco adventures through the Royal National Park on Sydney's Southern border. All equipment is supplied and transported.

If you like surfing, you'll like skateboarding. Sydney also has a powerful skateboarding tribe. A challenge for any skater, the Bondi Skate Park has a 12-foot bowl that in February hosts Bowl-A-Rama – the biggest pro concrete skate event in the Southern Hemisphere. You can also carve it up at the Monster Skatepark at Sydney Olympic Park, home to the only international ramp facility in the country. If you've never skated vertically and want to give it a go, the park's iSkate sessions are geared towards skaters of all skill levels.

In terms of nightlife, you can't go wrong in the hubs of Glebe and Darlinghurst, where you can find an almost endless list of great pubs, restaurants, markets and shops. Offer to buy a new Sydney friend a beer, tell them, "It's my shout" and he'll appreciate that you're paying!

In addition to nightlife, fantastic food is everywhere. Try some crocodile, 'roo or even emu (not bad actually, but it's a novelty for Sydneysiders too). Thanks to a real melting pot of world cultures, there is all manor of food to try and all ways to try it!  There is an entire month (October) dedicated to the serious appreciation of food and wine called CRAVE Sydney. There are food trucks, midnight menus, world class chefs and the like during CRAVE, but the real treat is that it's here all year 'round!

On any given weekend, check out the dozen or so Markets in various Sydney neighborhoods. Different markets offer different temptations, including vintage clothes, handmade items, Australiana, designer sunglasses, antiques and collectibles right along with gourmet food stalls. There is a little something for everyone at the weekend markets. 

Just landed and MUST. STAY. AWAKE.

Relax and stay vertical. Find a coffee. Thank goodness the Greeks and the Italians that came before us have established a really superior coffee drinking culture here. Order a flat white (coffee with cream/milk) or a short dark (espresso) and get yourself revived. Once full resuscitated, here are a few sure-fire things to keep you going:  

  • Aboriginal Heritage Tour, Royal Botanic Gardens:
    Take a discovery walk with an Aboriginal guide and learn about the rich Aboriginal heritage that lives on in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Find out what this site meant to the original inhabitants of the Sydney area, and what it means to Aboriginal people today. This walking tour also provides an introduction to traditional music, dance, artifacts and bush foods.

  • Captain Cooks Cruises:
    Coffee Cruise: There's a reason this is so popular. This coffee cruise shows you the best of Sydney Harbour's public and private life. You'll see the Main Harbour attractions such as the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Fort Denison, and where the glitterati live in their waterfront homes, the Sydney version of Central Park, plus lovely beaches and marinas. Best of all – a nice morning (or afternoon) tea. There's a good newsy commentary along the way with amazing views from every deck.

  • Bonza Bike Tours:
    If you don't do this on arrival, do it the next day. The Sydney Classic Tour will help you get your bearings in the city and The Rocks area.

  • Hop on/Hop off Harbour Cruise: This is fun, easy, & fast. There are ferry boats and there are Rocket Ferries. Rockets are fast see? This avoids the city traffic and lets you visit up to eight harbourside locations in 24 hours.