Amazing Places To Visit In Singapore For Free

Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but that doesnโ€™t mean you have to compromise your trip. Singapore has so many free attractions and places to explore. If your on a tight budget or just canโ€™t justify making big splurges, then read this blog for lots of Singapores top free attractions and places to go sightseeing in the city.

Arab Street & Haji Lane

Arab Street (also known as Bussorah Street) and Haji Lane are neighbouring streets and located in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood. Arab Street has the famous Masjid Sultan Mosque one of Singapore’s most popular attractions, which stands proudly overlooking the palm lined Arab Street. There are plenty of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants along Arab street, as well as shops. It’s a lovely street to wander and there are plenty of photo opportunities.

Step across to the parallel bright and colourful street of Haji Lane which is filled with artsy wall murals, hipster cafes and independent boutiques. There are some gorgeous shops to browse, but if retail therapy isnt your thing, there is plenty of street art to admire along Haji Lane.

I would recommend visiting both streets in the morning to avoid the crowds especially if you want to take some good photos. Check out Selfie Coffee on Haji Lane where you can not only get your morning coffee fix, but can get your selfie photo printed on top it! It’s a great spot for people watching outside, and something a little different for your coffee break.

There is lots to see on both of these streets, and it’s easy to spend a morning or afternoon in this area. Just a stones throw away is the Malay Heritage Centre too, which has lots of information on the history and heritage of the Malay community in Singapore. The centre isn’t a free attraction, however it’s only a few Singaporean dollars to enter if you did want to visit.

Masjid Sultan MosqueHaji Lane

Botanical Gardens

Singapore’s Botanical Gardens are world famous and are the first and only tropical gardens to be placed on the UNESCO world heritage site list. The gardens have over 150 years of history and are set across 82 hectares, the gardens are popular with both Singaporeans and visitors. There is a huge array of plant life on display and a variety of gardens to explore such as the Ginger Garden, Rain Forest Garden, Trellis Garden, Healing Garden and many more, but the main draw of the Botanical Gardens is the National Orchid Garden.

All the gardens are free to roam around, the only exception is the National Orchid Garden which does charge a small admission of only $5 SGD, which is definitely worth it! The orchard garden was by far my favourite in the botanical gardens, along with the ginger and rainforest gardens. You could easily spend a full day in the gardens as there is so much to see. If your limited on time I would suggest maybe selecting a few gardens that you think you would enjoy, or at least go to the Orchid Garden you won’t be disappointed at the vivid colours of the orchid flowers, they are simply stunning!

Botanical Gardens SingaporeBotanical Gardens SingaporeBotanical Gardens Singapore

Bugis

The area of Bugis has lots of places to go sightseeing, it’s located not too far away from Arab Street and Haji Lane which are in Kampong Glam. Other attractions to visit are;

Chijmes is a great place to pop your head into especially at night when the area is lit up beautifully with twinkly lights. It was once a convent back in the 1800s but has been converted into a beautiful area for restaurants, bars and cafes. It’s also located just by Raffles Hotel, so if you don’t want to spend money on food and drinks come to the area for just for a wander around these colonial heritage sites. You can also shop until you drop at Bugis Junction and Bugis Street, or if your on a budget why not window shop at Bugis Junction and browse the stalls at Bugis Street?!

Chinatown

Chinatown in Singapore is a great place to explore at any time of day or night, the colonial buildings and shop houses are beautiful to look at. During Chinese New Year there are lots of displays and decorations that line the streets too. There are lots of temples and shrines to go and visit for free in Chinatown such as;

The two most popular temples are the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Mariamman Temple which are both grand and with lots of intricate detailing. There is also lots of market stalls, shops, restaurants, hawker centres and Chinatown Street Market.

Chinatown SingaporeChinatown Singapore

Emerald Hill Road

If your doing a bit of sightseeing around Orchard Road take a break from the restaurants and shopping, and wander down Emerald Hill Road the terraced houses are some of the most sought over in the city and are prime real estate. These beautiful ornate terraces take you back to days gone by, its a nice sight to tick off and won’t cost anything. You only need 20 minutes or so to wander this pretty street, just be mindful that people do live in these properties.

Emerald Hill Road

Fort Canning Park

Fort Canning Park is a a must for any history fanatics, the 18 hectare park sits on a hilltop and is steeped in historical landmarks and artefacts. Some of the main sites are the fort gate, remnants of a fortress, maritime corner and a military complex from WWII. The park grounds are lovely to walk around even if your not a history buff and there’s also a spice garden and some sculptures to look out for too.

Gardens By The Bay & Garden Rhapsody Light Show

Gardens By The Bay is one of Singapores top attractions and most recognised landmarks, the main feature is the Supertree Grove which is in the centre of the gardens. The gigantic trees are really impressive and are great to walk around, they are surrounded by lots of other gardens, sculptures, plants, play areas and ponds which are all completely free to look around! The only attractions that charge admission in the gardens are the Cloud Forest Conservatory, Flower Dome Conservatory and the OCBC Skyway.

Depending on your budget I would recommend paying to go up the OCBC Skyway as it’s only $8 SGD, and you get the most incredible views over the gardens and Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Keep an eye out for the local resident otters that live close by in the Marina by the gardens, they can be spotted frequently swimming and playing in the water.

Make sure not to miss the Garden Rhapsody Light Show which is on twice every night at the Super Tree Grove at 19.45 and 20.45. It’s a stunning music and light show which is free for all to sit and watch. The light show is magical and a must in Singapore!

Gardens By The BayGarden Rhapsody Light Show

Geylang & Joo Chiat (Katong)

Geylang is one of Singapore’s more seedier areas and known as the red light district in the city, however the area is pretty untouched and unmodernised and still has a certain charm to the district. It’s a melting pot of ethnicities and full with traditional eateries, bars, shops, temples, mosques and more. Visit the Sri Sivan Temple which is a stunning Hindu temple. When in the area visit Geylang Serai Market which is one of Singapore’s oldest Malay settlements and is one of the biggest and busiest wet markets in Singapore. The market is a social hub for the community and provides a unique Malay culinary experience, try the Piseng Goreng (banana fritters) they are a real sweet treat!

Joo Chiat is also known as Katong, this neighbourhood is the heart of Singapore’s Peranakan community. The community are descendants of Chinese settlers who married locals and have created a blend of cultures between Chinese and Malay traditions. This area of the city has lots of colourful shop houses, hidden temples, workshops and local eateries. Seek out the beautiful multicoloured houses on East Coast Road and Koon Seng Road. There are also some small temples to visit called Kuan Im Tng Temple and Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple which if your in the area are great places to go and see.

While in the area pay a visit to Kim Choo Kueh Chang which is a traditional Peranakan shop serving up rice dumplings and other traditional rainbow sweet treats preserving the communities traditions since 1945.

Koon Seng RoadKim Choo Kueh Chang

Little India

Little India is one of the most colourful neighbourhoods in the city, the small narrow streets are filled with spicy aromas. This area is a complete contrast to other more sanitised areas of the city. There is plenty to see, do and eat in this vibrant district. The good thing about Little India is it is one of the smallest neighbourhoods in Singapore so everything is easy to find and most attractions are within walking distance of each other.

Little India is great for delicious eats, make sure to visit in time for lunch or dinner as there’s some amazing food around. If your wanting street food check out the Tekka Centre. Theres lots of sightseeing to be done in the area, I would recommend walking along the Buffalo Road which is a busy street full of bright buildings, Indian produce shops and stalls selling flower garlands. Stroll into the Little India Arcade to pick up some keepsakes from your trip and to browse the beautifully made Indian wares. One of the most popular sights in Little India is Tan House which is a rainbow coloured building. Little India is bursting with temples, which are so bright and colourful with beautiful designs, such as;

Little India SingaporeLittle India Flower Garlands

Marina Bay, Spectra Light Show & Merlion

Marina Bay is a popular landmark in the city and world famous for its stunning and futuristic architecture surrounding the waterfront. Go down to the waterfront in the evening and splurge on a cocktail in the Marina Bay Sands hotel for spectacular views, or grab a cheap drink from Gluttons Bay Streetfood market and wander around the waterfront to see the skyline lit up at night. Make sure not to miss the Spectra light and water show which is on every night at 8pm and 9pm. There are plenty of places to sit around the water edge and watch the 15 minute light and water display. While your down at the waters edge take a walk along to see Singapore’s mascot the Merlion, this large statue and fountain is a must see when down at the waterfront.

Marina Bay

MacRitchie Reservoir Park & Treetop Walk

Singapore is a green city and there are so many hiking trails and parks to explore. The MacRitchie Reservoir Park is popular with Singaporeans and nature lovers, it’s a great day out and offers lots of recreational activities such as hiking, kayaking and canoeing. It’s a huge nature reserve with pristine forest and has lots of native wildlife, and it sits on Singapore’s first reservoir. There is a choice of hiking routes so plan your route before you go as it’s bigger than what you would expect.

There are lots of long hiking routes in the nature reserve but if your short on time and still want to experience the park then spend a morning hiking the Treetop Walk which is a suspension bridge which sits up above the canopy providing views over the forest, be cautious with the macaques and try and stay away from them as they weren’t very friendly. The hiking loop to the Treetop walk and back takes about 3 to 4 hours and is an easy walk, just go prepared with plenty of water and allow time.

Mac Ritchie Reservoir Park Treetop WalkMac Ritchie Reservoir Park Treetop Walk

Raffles Hotel

The world famous and one of the most iconic places to visit in Singapore is the Raffles Hotel, this is a must on any visit in the city as it’s steeped in colonial history. Most people come from all over to visit the Long Bar for a Singapore Sling which is Singapore’s signature drink and was invented there. However if you want to visit but don’t like the cocktails price tag (approx ยฃ15 per drink), then you can still visit the front and walk around the building to take photos and admire the colonial decadence, also visit Chijmes across the road to discover more of Singapore’s colonial heritage.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is located to the south of Singapore and can be easily reached by cable car, MRT, driving, walking, Sentosa Express and cycling. The island is linked to the mainland and is a resort island full of hotels, theme parks, beaches, trails, museums and more. Once on the island there is a whole range of free activities to do, my personal favourite on Sentosa are the three beaches which are Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach and Tanjong Beach.

Personally I love Palawan Beach as it has a suspension bridge across the water to the southern most point of continental Asia, and feels like a lagoon rather than the sea. Siloso beach is great for grabbing a spot of lunch, Coastes is my favourite as it’s a lovely beach bar and restaurant and not too badly priced for a salad. Tanjong Beach is good for beach bars and clubs, I would recommend walking along all three and seeing which one takes your fancy, you can also get the free beach shuttle bus which runs between all of the Sentosa beaches.

It’s a great place to come just for a bit of beach time as it has lots of facilities and amenities and the beaches are really clean, however if beaches aren’t your thing then check out some of Sentosas other free attractions;

Sentosa Island

Southern Ridges

Southern Ridges is one of Singapore’s top attractions and connects the jungle to the city. The wave like walkway provides gorgeous panoramic views over the jungle, skyline, southern islands and out to the South China Sea. The whole trail can take between 3 to 5 hours depending on your pace and how often you stop there is also a canopy walk and forest walk.

Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru is the oldest housing estate in Singapore and is a mix of new and old buildings. The neighbourhood is steeped in history and over the years has been regenerated, and is now one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the city. It’s a great place to come for a coffee and quick bite in one of its hipster cafes, and do a spot of retail therapy in one of its niche shops. It’s a great place to spend a lazy morning wandering around.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula โ™ก xx

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Gluttons Bay

Cheap Eats In Singapore

Singapore is a melting pot of vibrant cultures all living in harmony together. Singapore has had many cultural influences over the years and that shows through in its cuisine throughout this city state. Singapore is also one of the most expensive cities in the world, and many people may feel that it is out of their reach and they couldn’t possibly afford to travel there. I would be lying if I said Singapore wasn’t expensive, and in comparison to other countries around south east Asia it isn’t cheap! That being said Singapore can be done on a budget.

I have travelled to Singapore on holiday and also being cabin crew have had many layovers there, and I’ve always managed to eat really cheaply. I would recommend when planning a trip to Singapore if you are on a budget then do your research before you go. If you eat cheap and visit the many free attractions in Singapore it’s a really easy place to stay on budget.

There are so many places to grab cheap eats in the city, stick to the hawker food centres, food courts in the malls, Chinatown and Little India which are great places to visit for delicious local food. If you want to taste lots of authentic Singapore cuisine these are easily found throughout the city such as Chilli Crab, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Beef Rendang, Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Kaya Toast, Satay and if your vegetarian there is a huge choice of vegetarian Indian food available. You really will be spoilt for choice for food in Singapore. In this blog I will cover some of the best places to eat in Singapore and even better all of its super affordable and delicious.

Bugis Market

Bugis Market is a great place to visit for shopping, but if you want to find some amazing street food head to Bugis Food Street. There is a huge choice of stalls serving up fresh fruit juices, sweet treats, novelty bites and quick and easy snacks that are all so cheap!

China Town

Chinatown is the place to come for a huge choice of budget eateries. This area of the city is full of restaurants and cafes which are all pretty reasonably priced. Many people flock to Chinatown for the street food and hawker centres, some of the best ones to visit are;

  • Amoy Street Food Centre: This two storey complex is bursting with stalls and has several stalls that have been featured in the Michelin Singapore Guide.
  • Chinatown Complex Food Centre: This is the largest hawker centre in Singapore and is a hit with locals and has lots of lunchtime regulars.
  • Chinatown Food Street: This beautiful undercover street is set in between old traditional shophouses, and has a real buzz about the place at night, also its a great place to stop for a drink or two.
  • Maxwell Hawker Centre: One of the most famous hawker centres in Singapore, and always popular with both locals and tourists. It has a huge array of stalls selling a variety of food.

Maxwell Hawker Centre

Geylang Serai Market

Geylang Serai Market is a historical market and has been around since the 19th century when it was a trade emporium, it is also one of Singapore’s oldest Malay settlements. The market sells a whole range of produce, and there is so much to see and explore in this bustling market. It’s popular with the Malay community and other Singaporean locals. I didn’t see many other tourists there so it has a really authentic feel to the place, and is a great place to watch locals go about their lives. While there try the Piseng Goreng (banana fritters) they are a real sweet treat!

When visiting this market it’s also only a stones throw away from Koon Seng Road Terraces which are famous for their 1930s pastel coloured Peranakan terraced houses, you have probably seen them on instagram before. After exploring the market I would recommend wandering around the neibourhood and visit the beautiful architecture of Koon Seng Road.

Gluttons Bay

Gluttons Bay is one of my favourite areas to eat at in Singapore, it has a a row of stalls serving up street food, there’s enough choice without it being overwhelming. It’s al fresco dining and sometimes you do have to spend a few minutes trying to find a table. The reason I love this market is it’s location! It’s set next to Esplanade so after dinner it’s the perfect spot to wander around the bay with views of the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands. You can also watch the Marina Bay Spectra Light Show after dinner which is at 8pm and 9pm every night.

Gluttons Bay

Kaya Toast

Kaya Toast is my favourite go to breakfast in Singapore it’s quick, easy, filling and cheap! Kaya toast is simple but delicious it’s slices of toasted bread with cold butter and Kaya jam which is made from coconut and egg. It’s sweet and perfect for breakfast it’s normally served with a side of two soft boiled eggs, and a tea or local kopi (Singapore coffee). The set Kaya Toast menus are normally only a few dollars, so it’s perfect if your on a budget. There are lots of places to grab kaya toast all over the city, and many branded kaya toast cafes, however my two favourite ones that I go to are;

  • Toastbox: Is a contemporary cafe chain and they are dotted all over the city, you are bound to stumble across one while on your trip, they offer great kaya toast set menus.
  • Ya Kun Kaya Toast: Is a household name in Singapore from humble beginnings back in the 1940s, it started up as a small coffee stall and is now a huge chain with cafes all over the city, and are now popping up in other places around the world.

Kaya Toast

Little India

Little India is one of the best places to visit in Singapore not only are there lots of free sights and attractions, but the food is incredible and great for vegetarians. Little India is a bright and colourful neighbourhood full to the brim with character. There’s lots of stalls, cafes and restaurants to eat at, and all at pretty affordable prices. Some must try places are;

  • The Banana Leaf Apolo: The Banana Leaf Apolo has been around since 1974, and is extremely popular with Singaporeans. All food is served up on a banana leaf, the food isn’t the cheapest in Little India but is still reasonably priced and always consistently delicious, and has a more restaurant style setting.
  • Sakunthala’s Restaurant: There are several Sakunthalas that have sprung up around Little India, my favourite one is the one located on Syed Alwi Road, it’s a small non fussy restaurant. The portions are generous so go easy on ordering, there is a huge choice of food on the menu too. I would recommend one of their thalis as they are amazing! One of the best thalis I’ve ever had!
  • Tekka Centre: Tekka Centre is a hawker centre located just by Little India’s MRT station, there is a huge array of stalls and is great for cheap eats and finding authentic local cuisines.

Little India

Satay By The Bay

Satay By The Bay is a great place to stop for lunch or dinner especially when visiting Gardens By The Bay. It’s located in a quiet corner of the gardens over looking the waterfront and other than satay there is a good variety of stalls and street food to choose. There is lots of outside and undercover seating available, so it’s easy to get a table. Keep an eye out for the local resident otters that live close by in the Marina too, they can be spotted frequently swimming and playing in the water.

Satay By The Bay

Singapore Malls

Singapore is bursting with malls that are all over the city, and most of the malls have food courts with lots of vendors and stalls, some have a selection of restaurants and cafes too. If your on a budget then head to one of the malls and search out the food court, avoid the high end malls as these tend to have more expensive and up market restaurants in them. The food courts vary but personally I’ve always found lots of tasty food in the malls, best of all it’s mostly quick and easy food, so you can eat then get back out exploring this incredible city some more.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula โ™ก xx

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Sydney Travel Guide

Sydney is probably the most recognisable city associated with Australia, it is a major gateway to Australia and has lots of world famous landmarks and famous beaches. I have been lucky enough to travel to Sydney on many occasions with my work.

With the airline I work for we stop over in Sydney for about 36 hours, and stop in Singapore for 48 hours on the way to Sydney and stop back in Singapore again on the way back. The Singapore/Sydney trip is a 9 day trip and is actually one of my favourite trips to do with work, as I love both Singapore and Sydney and they have both started to feel like second homes now.

The first time I went to Sydney with work I was so excited as I had never been to Australia before, and couldn’t wait to go exploring. On my first ever trip to Sydney I actually got to spend 3 days there as unfortunately for our passengers our aircraft went tech, and parts had to be flown over from London Heathrow. I have to admit I was over the moon to get some extra time in this exciting city.

Since my first ever trip to Sydney I have done many more Singapore/Sydney trips and always try to visit an area or place that I haven’t been to before. My brother in law lives in Adelaide and on one particular trip I bought my husband along and my brother in law flew up from Adelaide to meet us which was great, as I love having a layover with family it makes it feel like a mini holiday, even though I was really tired we packed lots in, and met up with some of my husbands friends that now live in Sydney too.

Sydney has so much to offer from beautiful beaches and bays, to world famous surf spots and landmarks. Sydney has a really cool vibe and there is always something going on in the city.

Sights & Activities

Bondi Beach

Most people I speak to seem to prefer Manly Beach to Bondi Beach. I think maybe I’m one of the rare few that actually prefer Bondi Beach. I just think Bondi is so iconic all around the world, and has so much to see and do there, it really does have something for everyone. It has lots of street art to admire, surfing or watching surfers, and lots of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. Even if your not a big fan of swimming in the Ocean you can swim and relax at the ocean pool at Icebergs Club.

I really love the atmosphere around Bondi it’s got a really cool laid back atmosphere to it, but with a bit of a quirky edge. Even if your not a surfer just going to the beach and sunbathing here is great, I have been to Bondi on several occasions and always have a great time there.

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

The coastal walk between Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach was one of the best coastal walks I’ve ever done. We started from Coogee Beach and walked to Bondi Beach it is approximately 3.5 miles, and takes just short of 3 hours to walk, it is a leisurely walk taking in many bays, rock pools, cliffs and coves along the way and lots of breathtaking scenery.

This is one of my favourite things I’ve done in Sydney, I went when I took my husband and my brother in law and their friend that lives in Coogee took us along the walk, and we also had some of the other crew that I was working with join us. It was a beautiful sunny day when we went and we had breakfast then headed off for the walk, we took our time and stopped to admire views and take photos. I cannot recommend this walk enough it is an absolute must do in Sydney!

Chinatown

Sydney’s Chinatown is like most other Chinatowns around the world, the Main Street which is Dixon Street is the heart and soul of Chinatown, it has a huge selection of Asian eateries and shops. As Sydney can be quite pricey this is the place to go to get cheap eats if you are on a budget and craving some Asian food.

The Main Street also has some ornate gates either end of the street which are decorated with dragons, bamboo tiles and golden writing. If your in Sydney for a while I would recommend having a stroll through Chinatown, and not too far from the Main Street is Paddy’s Market.

Circular Quay

Circular Quay is one of the main tourist hubs in Sydney, with many of Sydney’s main landmarks located within the area. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and The Rocks are all located within this horseshoe cove.

Circular Quay was once where Australia’s first European settlers came and was once home to ex convicts, sailors and whalers and had lots of brothels and pubs. Today it is home to upmarket bars and restaurants offering champagne breakfasts overlooking the opera house, lots of street performers and the many tourists and locals coming in and out on the many ferries that run from the harbour.

Circular Quay is a bustling vibrant area of Sydney, I always really enjoy having a wander around the Quay and seeing what’s new, sometimes it’s lovely to just sit and relax with a drink and watch a cruise ship coming in.

City Hall

Sydney City Hall was constructed between the mid to late 1800s. It’s function and use is very different today and is mainly used now for meetings, events and exhibitions and is home to the council and civic offices. When exploring Sydney try to stop by this historical building in the heart of the city centre.

Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is a former dockland which was regenerated in the 80s and is now home to a numerous amount of restaurants and cafes. It has lots of Sydneys tourist attractions such as a Sealife Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife Zoo, Madame Tussaud’s and various museums and parks.

Darling Harbour is an upmarket area of Sydney, I enjoy wandering around Darling Harbour and grabbing a drink here, however I wouldn’t recommend spending too much time here it’s great to wander around maybe for an hour or 2 but you won’t find the authentic Sydney experience here it’s more purpose built and office spaces.

If your in Sydney during Australia Day go to Darling Harbour as they normally put on lots of family friendly activities and entertainment, and some years have beautiful firework displays on in the evening which is a perfect way to finish off the day.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach is Sydney’s second most famous Beach after Bondi Beach. Over a mile long stretch of golden sand beach makes up Manly Beach and lined by pine trees. Manly Beach attracts lots of tourists and locals, every time I have visited Manly it’s always been busy that’s one reason why I tend to prefer Bondi as I always find it less busy.

Manly Beach however is still iconic to Sydney and is a must visit on any Sydney Itinerary. I do love wandering down the Main Street of Manly and looking in all the shops which sell a selection of clothes as well as souvenirs. Manly also has lots of cafes and restaurants that line the beach front.

Paddys Market

Paddy’s Market is located right next to Chinatown in a large brick building. It has a variety of take away or eat in food options. Paddy’s Market is ideal for budget conscious travellers looking for a bargain. It is a traditional market and offers womenโ€™s fashion, kids clothes, accessories, jewellery, food, souvenirs, gadgets, and lots more. Paddy’s Market in Haymarket is open Wednesday – Sunday, and is a great market selling a variety of products.

Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens are a free attraction which expand over a huge area of Sydney, you can enter these gardens next to the Opera House. The gardens have a huge array of plants and trees from both Australia and the rest of the world. The gardens were created in 1816, and is steeped in history. There are several free walking tours from November to March, and aboriginal tours are also available for approx AUS$40 per person.

When I visited the gardens it was on my first visit to Sydney and we wandered through the gardens in the morning before heading to the Opera House. If your only in Sydney for a short period of time I wouldn’t make the Botanical Gardens a must do on your itinerary unless your an avid gardener. However if you do have time I would suggest walking through the gardens while visiting the Opera House – time permitting.

The Rocks

The Rocks is located in Circular Quay, and has lots of old buildings and quirky lanes which is quite rare for Sydney as many of the cities buildings are modern and high structures and more high tech buildings being built, its great to see The Rocks being maintained and preserved.

The Rocks used to be a maritime hub and was known in the old days for its open sewers and dingy alleyways, since the 1970s it has been transformed into a tourist hub. The Rocks is now home to some amazing restaurants, bars and pubs.

As well as having lots of places to eat and drink there is some gorgeous little boutiques, and also has a weekend artisan market which has stalls selling local arts, crafts and food. On Fridays there is a foodie market which has lots of street food and local products available, and during the month of December there is a Christmas market.

The Rocks also hosts many festivals and live music events, and there are several museums and galleries to visit, The Rocks is the cultural core of Sydney and should be on every Sydney itinerary.

Watson’s Bay

Watson’s Bay is a quick 15/20 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay. Watson’s Bay is a quiet suburban area of Sydney which is a lot less well known compared to other beaches in Sydney.

On one of my trips here I got the ferry over with one of my colleagues, and we had the most lovely day. As we arrived during lunch time we started our day at Doyle’s Fish and chips take away, and then wandered along the South Head Heritage Trail which took us past Lady Bay, which to our surprise was a nudist beach, we didn’t go down to it as we didn’t know where to look. We carried on over to the Hornby Lighthouse which has breathtaking views over the cliffs below and out the vast Pacific Ocean.

After having a little walk we decided to go and sunbath at Camp Cove which has the most gorgeous beach and calm clear waters which makes a change from both Bondi and Manly’s crashing waves. There is a small beach bar located at Camp Cove, if your needing some rest and relaxation, this is the beach for you.

Wildlife Sydney Zoo

The Wildlife Sydney Zoo is located in Darling Harbour next to the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium. This is a small zoo which houses lots of Australian native insects, reptiles, snakes and other small critters as well as having kangaroos and koalas. It’s a small zoo in comparison to Taronga Zoo which I still haven’t been too, however if your short on time and want to see some Australian wildlife without leaving the city this is a great little zoo.

You can purchase combo packages too with the Aquarium next door, if your just wanting to visit the zoo it was AUS$40 per person, I visited here on my first trip to Sydney when we were delayed and we spent a few hours here and really enjoyed it.

Food & Beverage

Bondi Icebergs Club

When visiting Bondi then a trip to Bondi Icebergs Club is a must, on weekends it is absolutely heaving as it offers great value casual bistro dining with excellent views over Bondi Beach. If you don’t fancy eating here then you can just go in for a drink as there are 2 bars inside.

As well as having a restaurant and bar you can pay to access the famous Ocean Pools which were the Bondi Baths, and have been there for over a 100 years in your ticket price you also get access to the sauna. When I visited Icebergs I went there for lunch and got a lovely salad, the portions are big here I ordered a side of chips with my salad that I really didn’t need.

City Extra

City Extra boasts an amazing location in Circular Quay with great views overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge with both outside and indoor seating areas. It’s a great spot with incredible views and also good for people watching. The food is modern and delicious and not only is it a great place for dinner but also a great for breakfast too. The food is also reasonably priced considering it’s location. Its also open 24 hours a day so even if your jet lagged and can’t sleep this is a great find to come and grab some food or drink.

Coogee Bay Hotel

Coogee Bay Hotel is a little gem right on the beachfront of Coogee it has a really friendly and casual atmosphere. It’s great to come here for drinks or dinner. We came and had a few drinks at their beach bar and also ordered some food from their menu which serves up comfort food that is affordable. After dinner my husband, brother in law and some of their friends and crew sat outside enjoying some drinks, we really loved the mood here and the view of the beach.

Doyle’s

Doyle’s is situated in Watson’s Bay and was set up and is still run by the Doyle family since 1885. They serve up a selection of seafood dishes and delicacies. They have their restaurant which is Doyle’s on the Beach which is more up market sit down restaurant, or if that is a bit out of your price range, go to Doyle’s on the Wharf takeaway which is just opposite the restaurant, and also has some seating but is more laid back and affordable, we ordered some fish and chips and it was delicious and great value.

However if your a big fan of seafood and want something special I would suggest reserving a table at Doyle’s on the Beach, try to book in advance as it gets extremely busy. Doyle’s is associated with Watson’s Bay and is well know by many locals and tourists.

Fish Shack

Fish Shack Is situated in Manly directly opposite the beach and serves up fish and chips either as a takeaway option or you can sit in. They also sell drinks here too so if you fancy a cold beer that’s close to the beach then this place is for you.

Gloria Jeans

I am obsessed with Gloria Jeans! They are a coffee shop chain situated all over Sydney and the rest of Australia, they are kind of similar to Starbucks. I always love their cold iced drinks which change seasonally, Gloria Jeans offer up great pick me up drinks and snacks which are great for on the go.

Kazbah

Kazbah overlooks Darling Harbour and specialises in Middle Eastern cuisine such as grills, meze, sharing platters and tagines etc. It’s interior is sleek and stylish and has touches of Moroccan flare.

North Bondi Fish

North Bondi Fish is my favourite bar in Sydney and sits overlooking Bondi Beach. It is a bar but serves up fresh and delicious food, and amazing cocktails and on a weekend there is a DJ. North Bondi Fish just oozes cool and is full of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. Their cocktails and sharing jugs are so tasty and easy to drink I usually always loose track of time in there.

Olivo

Olivo is set overlooking Darling Harbour and when your jet lagged and craving a decent breakfast this is my go to place. Their breakfast is fresh and tasty and affordable and always hits the spot. It is an Italian restaurant and has a great menu on offer for lunch and dinner too.

Opera Bar

As you may have guessed Opera Bar is situated just by the Opera House. Opera Bar is always busy with both tourists and locals, it has amazing views overlooking the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Opera Bar on a hot sunny day is the place to be in Sydney, and I always like to come here for a glass of prossecco. Sunset at Opera Bar is always pretty magical and I can’t recommend this bar enough.

Ribs & Burgers

Located in the heart of the Rocks is Ribs and Burgers and you guessed it, it just sells ribs and burgers but done really well. It’s a casual restaurant you order at the till and orders are cooked up fresh. Staff here are really friendly and welcoming and the outside seating area is perfect on a warm day. They also offer take out and delivery too.

The Glenmore

The Glenmore is a heritage listed building and has been in The Rocks since 1912. It is a popular watering hole and had a large refurb a few years back. The rooftop bar is great and has amazing views across the harbour. The Glenmore is also a great spot for a casual lunch on the rooftop.

Tropicana Cafe

We went to the Tropicana Cafe in Coogee before walking along the Coogee to Bondi coastal walk. I’m not normally a huge fan of breakfast but the breakfast at the Tropicana Cafe was one of the best I’ve ever had, I had the chicken breakfast wrap and it was absolutely delicious. I would recommend starting your day off here before heading off on the coastal walk if your starting from Coogee.

Transport & Getting Around

Sydney is really easy to get around once you get used to it. Sydney has lots of public transport available from buses, trains and ferries. I always tend to try and get ferries when visiting the various beaches and bays in Sydney, as I find it easy to leave from Circular Quay.

The Opal Card is widely available throughout Sydney and can be purchased and topped up in many newsagents around the city. The Opal Card is capped at AUS$15.80 per adult for a day of travel on all public transport.

I would suggest before travelling to Sydney or venturing out for the day to plan your public transport, as there are quite a lot of options, it can be quite daunting for someone who isn’t familiar with the city, and Sydney is quite spread out. You can plan all your travel plans online at Transport New South Wales.

Top Tips

Sydney is a great city and iconic all around the world. It’s best in the Australian spring and summer, I have spent time in Sydney when the weather wasn’t great and I have to admit it does loose some of its charm when the weather isn’t great.

This city has lots to offer, but it’s also one of the cities you don’t have to spend weeks getting to see everything. You could easily spend a day or 2 exploring the city and a bit more time if you want to spend time on Sydney’s many beaches and coves.

Sydney is quite expensive so be prepared this is not a cheap city. However a lot of the main sites and attractions are free, such as the Opera House. I would recommend sitting at Opera Bar at the Opera House and treating yourself to your favourite tipple and enjoying the view of this iconic building on a sunny day.

I would also recommend if you are strapped for time in the city but would like to see some of the beaches and coves then try and squeeze in the Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk, it takes about 3 hours but you will take in so many beaches and coves along the way and can see two of Sydney’s famous beaches, which is great if you don’t have much time and gives you a taste of the beach life in Sydney.

One last tip would be if your flying into Sydney, then prior to landing make sure to look out the window of the plane, as you get the most spectacular views of the Blue Mountains and the coastline of Sydney.

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