A Solo Travel Guide To Exploring Sydney Australia
Sydney is a city of celebration. Its stunning contrasts with lush green parks, historic buildings, beautiful architecture, markets, and lovely beaches make it an ideal city for solo female travellers to start their travels around Australia. Sydney is where I started my first solo trip to Australia. Here is our Sydney guide with the best places to go alone.
If you haven’t booked your hotel yet, we recommend the following places:
Best Places to Stay Solo In Sydney:
➡️ YHA Sydney Harbour
➡️ Pier One Sydney Harbour
➡️ YEHS Hotel Sydney QVB
➡️ The Pacific House
A Sydney Solo Travel Guide
If you travel to Sydney solo, you will never feel alone. You can get a feel of the city just by strolling around in its tiny backstreets, beautiful parks, beachfront avenues, and everywhere you can explore and soak in the distinctive flair of Sydney.
Ten must-see places to visit alone in Sydney
You do not even need a city map of Sydney to find your way. Just step out the door to wander off and let Sydney guide you through its vibrant city life. Here are ten must-see places to help you explore Sydney city by yourself.
1. The Rocks Precinct and The Rocks Market
Rocks Precinct is a beautiful place packed with tiny colonial streets, historic hotels, shops, and many excellent pubs. While walking through its narrow streets, you may feel you are in a theatre setting with stunning contrasts of land and sea landmarks.
Each angle offers a different and vibrant view: slices of the massive harbour bridge peep out of old buildings, the deep blue of the ocean water mingles with the dark grey of the asphalt, the glimmer of water reflection on the creamy tiled roof of the Opera House.
The Rocks Precinct dates back to 1788 and has a fascinating history, from convicts to maritime commerce to today’s historical tourist precinct. You can also go stargazing at the Sydney Observatory, Australia’s heritage and scientific site.
The Rocks precinct gets a unique charm at weekends, with The Rocks Markets amidst sandstone and cobbles. These colourful markets are a Sydney institution with over 200 eclectic stalls. An array of local arts and crafts booths draw multitudes of people.
For your stay, we recommend these accommodations in The Rocks
2. Hyde Park
You will not be able to walk past Hyde Park without stopping there for a while. This heritage-listed Park is the oldest public parkland in Australia, containing well-kept gardens and magnificent fig-tree-lined avenues. You will find the Pool of Reflection and a beautiful monument to honour Anzac Soldiers within the park. And just across the road, you can admire St. Mary Cathedral.
There are many festivals, parades, and events throughout the year, like the Sydney Food and Wine Fair and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander celebration.
This park is also a popular place among the locals. You find many park benches where you can sit for a lunch break or a rest from shopping, listen to street music performances, relax on the grass, watch people walking by, or enjoy the shade of lush towering trees—on Hyde Park boulevard. From there, you can also visit the Australian Museum located in nearby College Street. This museum is worth a visit.
3. The Botanical Garden
The Royal Botanic Gardens is a massive park with hundreds of different species of plants and birds. Please take one of its tours at 10:30 am to learn fascinating things about the park’s aboriginal culture. It also has a beautiful ‘Choo-Choo Express’ that passes through every 30 minutes. On it, you can relax, enjoy the park’s scenic wonders and learn a lot.
4. Circular Quay
Circular Quay is one of Sydney’s primary focal points because of the enormous commuting hub with the ferry quay and the train station and for being an accessible location for entertainment with buskers, street vendors, walkaways, and parks. Circular Quay is linked on the eastern side of the Sydney Opera House. On the western side, a short stroll along the harbour walkway takes you to the Rocks District and the Museum of Contemporary Art, where you can view a beautiful collection of modern art from Australia and worldwide.
The park around the museum is also an accessible location at weekends for a lunch break or chill out on the green — the photo you see here on a sunny Sunday morning.
5. Museum Of Modern Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney is a fantastic place to spend time alone. With over 4000 works by Australian contemporary artists. It is housed in a magnificent sandstone Art-Deco building overlooking Circular Quay. Come here to immerse yourself in its gorgeous art forms ranging from paintings to photography, sculptures, and intricate works by Aboriginal artists.
6. Sydney Harbour Bridge
This bridge is a heritage-listed steel arch bridge lying across Sydney Harbour. You can explore this fantastic site by using its pedestrian-only walkway. An imposing bridge connecting the harbour’s southern and northern points to the port joins Sydney City to North Sydney. On the bridge’s western side, you can travel by car, train, and cycle, and pedestrians use the eastern side. Walking over the bridge is an excellent way to experience it. However, the Harbour Bridge climb is something special.
Is the Harbour Bridge Climb worth it?
Yes, it is. To reach the summit, 134 meters above Sydney Harbour, you must not suffer from giddiness and be afraid of heights. The sight from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the most rewarding view of the city.
The alternative to the Bridge Climb?
But if you are afraid of heights, do not worry. There are many more ways. You can have a stunning view of Sydney Harbour Bridge from Pylon Lookout. Located at the bridge’s south end entrance, this is the cheapest and easiest way to view the harbour from above. The best views of the Opera House can be seen from Milsons Point, in the direction of The Rocks.
7. The Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is an iconic building in Sydney. Sydney’s symbol is a masterpiece of architecture, and its beauty has become an iconic symbol in the world. To stand in front of the Sydney Opera House gasping in amazement is one of those “once-in-a lifetime-dreams” everyone wishes to fulfil one day. If you want to see the Sydney Opera House up close, you can view this magnificent architectural building from the inside with one of the Sydney Opera House Guided Tours.
This is a famous venue for performing arts at Sydney Harbour. It hosts more than 2000 shows annually, including stand-up comedy, indie rock gigs, orchestras, ballet, and international concerts. The best time to visit is early in the morning or late at night to avoid crowds. There are even frequent guided tours to give you more insight into its history and learn some exciting things about the Sydney Opera.
8. Darling Harbour
Located near Sydney’s city centre, this harbour is a vibrant place with unique laneways, world-class dining, and cultural institutions. Don’t miss exploring the Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour. It is a place where you can explore solo the off-beaten path places and relax in an inner-city oasis. It is incredibly calm, with swaying willows, babbling waterfalls, and serene pathways filled with exotic, blooming flowers.
For hotels, we recommend these accommodations in Darling Harbour
9. Sydney Markets: Paddy Markets
Paddy’s Markets in Sydney consist of over 1000 stalls divided between two large markets in Haymarket and Flemington. Flemington Market sells fruits and vegetables; on weekends, they have clothes, gifts, and souvenirs. The Haymarket location is like a flea market with many incredible things to pick from. Besides this, you will also come across the Sydney Flower Market, which has a wide variety of fresh-cut flowers from 170 traders. You can spend hours in there on your own browsing through the stalls.
10. Take a Walk at the Sydney Beaches
Sydney is famous for its beach culture and is home to many dazzling golden beaches. Here you will find some of the best places to go swimming and walking alone.
The most popular Sydney beach is Bondi Beach, where people come to enjoy a day of fantastic surfing or relax at a beachfront cafe. You can take a trip along the 6km Coogee Coastal Walk with views of beach cliff-tops and great cafes along the way from the beach.
For your stay, these accommodations in Bondi are perfect
Manly Beach is a trendy beach spot connected by ferry to the Sydney Circular Quay. It is an excellent place to start your day and explore the several little bays and beaches on the way up to Palm Beach. You must try the Spit Bridge Walk from Manly, spanning over 10km one-way. It is a breathtaking walk where sculptural rock shelves and beautiful cliffs look spectacular at dawn and dusk.
Check out accommodations in Manly
Royal National Park – Cronulla and Bundeena
In New South Wales, you will find the 151-square-kilometre Royal National Park. It’s a protected national park with something for everyone: swimming, trekking, picnicking, bike riding, and outdoor adventures. You can access the park by driving or taking the picturesque ferry option from Cronulla to Bundeena.
Bundeena is a small community within the National Park that is fantastic for bush-walking, picnicking, and discovering Aboriginal carvings at Jibbon Point. Cronulla is a beautiful beach town with trendy cafes, a great music scene, and exotic dining places.
The Northern Beaches
In the north of the coastal suburbs of Sydney, you will find some beautiful beaches. The Whale Beach has a secluded bay where you can see golden red sand and lovely beach swimming pools. The other is Palm Beach, a charming place with glittering blue waters and golden sand. It runs from Little Head to Barrenjoey Head for 2.3km. It has a heritage-listed lighthouse at Barrenjoey and is a fun place to enjoy water sports, ferry rides, and cruises.
Staying in the The Northern Beaches will give you access to these beautiful beaches.
Best ways to get around Sydney
I have been solo to Sydney many times. Walking is the best way to explore the city centre. However, I recommend using buses and the city trains for longer distances. Bus 555 is a free bus that rides in a loop between Central Station along George Street to Circular Quay. So you can always jump on and off the 555 whenever you need to rest your feed. If you plan to use the ferry to explore the Sydney Harbour and more of Sydney’s surroundings, get a free Opal Card to save money on ferry and train fares.
Here is a Map of the Sydney Rail Network.
Also, check the Sydney Transport NWS for more info on how to move around Sydney.
Reasons for buying the Opal Card in Sydney
If you plan to spend a week solo in Sydney and travel around to places near Sydney, it’s worth purchasing an Opal Card to save money on transportation. Also, if you plan to use the ferry and explore Sydney Harbour, the Opal Card is the way to go; it will save you lots of money on ferry tickets. You can read more about the Transport Cards Guide for Australia.
How to get into the city from the Sydney Airport
The easiest way is to use the train. It only takes 13 minutes into the city. You need to pay an access fare of 14.30 dollars on top of the standard fare. You can also take bus no 400 or 420 to the nearest train station, Mascot Rail Station, catch the train there, and you will not need to pay the Airport GatePass fee. Or you can take the same bus to Bondi Junction and from there the train.
Check the Sydney Airport Link for more info on how to get to Sydney City from the Airport and calculate the airport fare.
There are alternatives to trains and buses. By shuttle bus, directly to your hotel. The price is between 20-25 dollars; you can purchase your ticket at the terminal, 1 and 3, or book it online. A taxi from the airport to Sydney will cost you around 50 plus dollars in normal traffic conditions.
Where to Stay in Sydney Solo
If you travel solo and want to stay in Sydney on a budget, I recommend the YHA Sydney Harbour. This is a top-notch budget accommodation. You can book a private room for around 100 dollars. Or a bed in a shared female dorm for 50 dollars. If you like a hotel with style, stay at the Pier One Sydney Harbour. If you like to stay in Sydney CBD stay at YEHS Hotel Sydney QVB.
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First published in 2014, last updated in Feb 2023
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July 7, 2011 @ 3:48 pm
I known the Sydney Opera House, but not eventually concern with other. Thanks to mention these beautiful places.
July 9, 2011 @ 4:41 pm
Hi Paul, thanks for stopping by!
July 18, 2011 @ 3:49 pm
Opera House has its own reputation and popularity in Australia. Travelers visit Sydney to see gorgeous structure and scenatic surroundings.
July 20, 2011 @ 4:43 pm
Hi Jack, you are right! Travellers want to see the amazing architecture Sydney has to offer. Besideds that Sydney has got a distinctive flair and beautiful city beaches!
October 22, 2017 @ 3:57 pm
I love it